PlanetOne Sentient Platform Creates 'Completely New' Partner Engagement ModelPlanetOne Sentient Platform Creates 'Completely New' Partner Engagement Model
PlanetOne wrapped a beta trial and has made the new business intelligence platform widely available to its agents.
September 13, 2021
PlanetOne has unveiled an intelligence platform that aims to show partners all aspects of their business.
The Arizona-based tech services distributor officially launched Sentient, which provides real-time data across the entire sales life cycle. Vice president Jake Schuman, who oversaw the two-year process of creating Sentient, said PlanetOne agents can log in to a dashboard where they can see all of this information.
PlanetOne’s Jake Schuman
Agents can access data pertaining to the full timeline of their deals, including prospecting, funnel velocity, provisioning, project management, activation and commissions. Moreover, Schuman said the platform brings data from multiple parties — including the agent, their customer, the vendor and PlanetOne.
“At a minimum there are four different companies involved in each engagement, and Sentient [aims to] connect all those parties together and enable real-time data flow that brings single-pane-of-glass visibility to the engagement and all the parties,” Schuman told Channel Futures.
PlanetOne chief operating officer Chris Werpy said he has worked with a variety of partner portals, platforms and demos in his career. He said they fall into three different categories.
PlanetOne’s Chris Werpy
“There are the table stakes: We’ve got to have this because people need it. There’s the overly cool demo that doesn’t do anything but looks really cool. And then there are the platforms that actually are built to serve the end users in a way which has not been available before,” Werpy said.
The Life Cycle
Sentient’s lists deal information in three categories. “Pipeline” includes the initial pre-sales motions. For example, Sentient helps partners track their list of prospects. After the partner wins a deal, data goes into the “project management” category. Following activation, Sentient lists the deal in “commissioning.”
“It’s all on one platform, and it’s right at our partners fingertips in real-time at any any point throughout that entire process,” Schuman said.
Historically, agents would need to send emails to all of the different parties involved in order to track the process.
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“The collaborative aspect of having those in one platform and the ability to efficiently respond at every step of the way is very critical,” Werpy said.
Analyzing the Base
Sentient also helps partners analyze their existing customers for upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Agents can track which customers have bought which technologies.
“At the end of the day, channel partners of all shapes and sizes have two parts of their business: prospecting new logos, and upselling and cross-selling their existing base,” Werpy said. “The business intelligence we give them allows them to create go-to-market motions based on readily available, up-to-date information on all their customers and the services they have sold them. So there’s no guesswork. There’s no rebuilding emails. There’s no tracking on old spreadsheets.”
Sentient also gives agents insights into their experiences with vendors. For example, they can see the statistical breakdown of vendors that comprise their business. They can see their hit rate on particular vendors and get a better sense of where they’re finding success. Vendors, on the other hand, can update their side of the platform with case studies and other information. Werpy said this two-way street creates a new business engagement model.
“It really does bring a bridge between the vendors and the agents. When PlanetOne is doing our quarterly business reviews with vendors, we’ve got real intelligent business data that we sit down with to become more and more strategic with them. The same thing works on the agent side,” Werpy said.
Werpy said the typical data partners and suppliers have historically …… used are customer opportunities and closed revenue.
“Everyone can pull that data; that’s pretty easy. But how do we get more at-bats as a vendor? How does an agent get more at-bats with prospects in their existing base?” he said. “It’s tying those worlds together. It’s not just the final score. What was the game plan and the strategy that went into producing the end result? And if the leading indicators are off track, you can course-correct sooner.”
Monday’s announcement represents phase one of Sentient. PlanetOne two years ago set out on the project with “sizable financial investment.” The company has been teasing Sentient’s debut at events and online for much of the year.
Sentient also includes tools, such as a co-branding feature. In addition, it provides agents direct access to support pods — groups of people who can help with quoting, contracting and other resources.
PlanetOne has already completed a beta trial with partners using Sentient. Todd Gorringe, co-founder of Elite Solutions, praised the platform’s user interface and user experience.
“… Sentient is the real deal – providing us with the data and tools we need to build our pipeline and expand our portfolio while better marketing our business, selling our services and supporting our customers,” Gorringe said.
Werpy said Sentient’s automation helped agents save time and resources.
“One of the things that channel partners struggle with every day is, ‘Should I hire additional help? Should I invest in additional SG&A to help drive my business?” Werpy said.
PlanetOne is also planning a phase two, three and four.
“We’ve made a large investment to bring this to market,” Schuman said. “We are continuing to commit to this and continuing to invest in the future.
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