Christopher Wellbelove

Enabling the modern channel through partner programme evolution

Christopher Wellbelove, Senior Marketing Consultant, Partner Plus at BT Wholesale explores enabling the modern channel through partner programme evolution.

Digital transformation and its promised benefits are motivating businesses to adapt. This statement is also true when it comes to channel partners, who are eager to collaborate with experts and integrate services in new and dynamic ways.

To respond to new demands and reap the rewards of the modern channel, partner programmes must evolve to match the pace of digital innovation. As emerging digital technologies present new capabilities, there are new opportunities for partners and service providers to benefit mutually.

End-to-end digital experiences are a prime example of this, which can be deployed in the form of self-service tools that empower partners to achieve greater control of their account, offerings, and reach. Learning support and enhanced brand association have central roles to play in facilitating partner innovation and progress.

Using the power of marketing
The rapid acceleration of technology progress calls for strategic education among partners, and harnessing the power of marketing.

With the pandemic having accelerated trends like hybrid and remote working, customers have been demanding different solutions and the support to match them. For this reason alone, it is vital that partners are armed with the right information and understanding. The right support will enable partners to take a more consultative approach to sales and customer service, which is in high demand among end-users.

Providing partners with a knowledge base or central repository of key marketing information and expert insights is an effective start. This can include guidance on specific portfolio propositions, as well as useful overviews of operational processes. These resources are conducive to better communication between partners and customers, in addition to a smoother sales process.

The power of brand association
Another key trend shaping the modern channel is a growing call for brand association. According to recent BT Wholesale research, more than 70% of partners have requested more opportunities for this kind of collaboration and support.

Brand association provides a vital launchpad for partners that are building and developing their own identities, at a time when customer trust and loyalty are hard to win and maintain. In response to this need, partner programmes must evolve to include enhanced marketing resources that reinforce customer confidence.

While customer trust and loyalty have always been valuable, they have become even more essential now that most interactions between partners and customers happen online. Emerging technologies and changing trends have amplified the need for robust and authentic counsel, with price no longer the only critical consideration for customers. The more transactional nature of this relationship makes brand association and marketing alignment a priority for the modern channel.

Much like education has an important part to play in helping partners to tackle emerging trends and customer demands, so too does brand association. When customers are looking to deploy new services or require different kinds of support, it is valuable when channel partners can offer useful resources that demonstrate credibility, expertise, and clear guidance. With effective brand association and marketing support in place, channel partners can focus on delivering first rate customer service.

Preparing for the future
The technology landscape has transformed rapidly and promises to carry on changing at pace. Because of this, the evolution of partner programmes must be ongoing and intuitive if they are to serve the modern channel.

Equipping partners with up-to-date education, training, and brand association opportunities will be key to expanding portfolios now and in the future. With these foundational elements in place, organisations will be well equipped to embrace digital solutions to tackle the bigger challenges, such as the looming ISDN/PSTN switch-off. Above all, collaboration and learning are the keys that will unlock access to the many emerging growth areas.

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