Equinix Employs Partner Prospecting with AI for the WinEquinix Employs Partner Prospecting with AI for the Win
Equinix says AI is responsible for a lot of its sales, thanks to a system deployed to help find the most "fit" partners.
September 13, 2023
Partner prospecting with artificial intelligence (AI) is not something you typically think of when you think about the channel. As the channel can be notoriously slow to change, it almost comes off as a loaded sequence of words.
That is not the case for one channel-forward organization, Equinix, where Greg Adgate is vice president of partner management global programs. The channel leader at the global data center company says AI is how the firm has conducted business since 2021.
“Starting in 2021, Equinix began using AI as part of [our] data-driven sales prospecting approach to identify partners we determine best positioned to help the company drive new sales,” Adgate told Channel Futures.
This unorthodox approach to partner prospecting has been successful, he shared. That is apparent when you look at the figures. According to Adgate, in the second quarter of 2023, the firm’s channel program accounted for 40% of new bookings and nearly 60% of new customers.
So How Does It Work?
One of the factors contributing to that growth is an AI-driven approach to partner prospecting, which relies on channel-partner and end-user data to unearth who is, as he says, “best-served via Equinix direct sales over an indirect partner or channel sales. It also helps us understand where we can aim our efforts and even our budget.”
Of all the use cases for AI in the business space, this has to be one of the most imaginative, as it can assist in selecting the most suitable partners for the right customer and help align shared goals, Adgate added.
Its “strategic account mapping tool,” he says, also leads to an expedited time to sales and even to the potential for recurring revenue. AI deployment has led to overall greater efficiency and manual process refinement, Adgate told Channel Futures.
That is mainly because it now takes a mere fraction of the time to identify high-value clients — so the firm knows where to align time and resources, and to determine things like partner competencies and relevance.
Once the AI process concludes, there is plenty of other work to be done. There are sessions to educate and bring partners up to speed so they are in the know about the firm’s offerings and general alignment, Adgate related.
Clever Partner Prospecting Use Cases in No Short Supply
When it comes to the channel, there are many ways one might deploy the use of AI to enhance the experience had by those members.
There are tons of AI-fueled sales enablement tools and ways to leverage the technology for partner training and coaching. Monitoring and measuring progress on the partner side, quizzes, feedback, and even incentives are possibilities, too.
Most UCaaS and CCaaS providers already include some form of AI in their offerings, expecting channel partners to get on board with selling and marketing said tools.
To be effective, partners must embrace the technology with open arms, shying away from being skittish about the emerging technology, says Adgate. As AI continues to penetrate deep into the heart of the channel partner landscape, it will surely grow on partners well beyond the realm of partner prospecting. And this will make way for even more visionary implementations of AI-fueled technology sooner rather than later.
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