Apps in the Channel: Changing Vendor/Partner Communications
Cloud, mobility, consumerization and business social are reinventing not only the way vendors and their channel partners work together, but also the way we receive and disseminate information. That means many of the more traditional avenues of communication no longer are effective.
Currently, vendors impart partners channel program information via email, newsletters, webinars, telesales and consumer social media. A web portal acts as a catch-all library for storing program details, sales enablement, incentives, education, certifications and technical information.
A tremendous amount of time and energy go into creating materials that are stored in these portals, but they receive little traffic. A recent CompTIA survey found:
- Fewer than 5 percent of channel partners regularly use vendor portals
- 17 percent of channel partners open vendor emails and only 2 percent click or take any action
- Information is usually sent to and filtered by a “vendor champion” — the information doesn’t reach sales, marketing or technical teams directly
- Partners who use vendor programs are the most successful and profitable
- 85 percent of channel professionals own a smartphone, tablet or both, and use them regularly for business
Most solution providers deal with at least 10 vendors and distributors each sending information about their programs, certifications, events and so much more. Bottom line, it is impossible for partners to continually absorb key vendor information.
There’s no easy way to constantly review all of the vendor portals, read all the newsletters or emails, decide what is important and then notify the people in their organization who need to know.
A vendor’s mobile partner app could be a single place for partners to see a snapshot of new channel information, news and updates every day. The channel partners can control the programs they need to follow, filter the information based on their job role and join the conversation.
Smartphones or tablets, are a unique way to communicate at a personal and consistent level. One of the results of the mobility trend has been the extension to the traditional business day — not only are devices being used during the day, at customer locations, but also they are being used just as much at night and on weekends.
A mobile partner application improves channel sales enablement, certification, incentives, tools such as marketing automation and technical updates.
Channel Maven Consulting recently reviewed ChannelCandy from ChannelEyes. ChannelCandy is a custom-branded mobile app designed for vendors to deliver channel highlights, company news and social tools into the hands of their channel partners. It runs on all popular mobile platforms including iPhone, iPad and Android.
Would your partners benefit from a mobile version of your channel program at their fingertips? What other mobile resources could the channel not live without?
Contributing blogger Heather K. Margolis, the Channel Maven, has led channel programs for major IT companies.