October 25, 2023
With nearly 100% of its sales coming from close to 200 channel partners, Panasonic Connect is an organization that places hefty conviction in the channel. We discovered as much in a sit-down with Jamil King, who heads up the multinational software developer/hardware manufacturer's mobility channel efforts in the United States.
And with its partner-focused Panasonic Connect event kicking off Wednesday in Tucson, Arizona, we wanted to unearth what Panasonic Connect does to sustain its small, but necessary set of partners. Panasonic Connect hosts an event for channel partners that maintains the company's namesake, and this year, it is in person for the first time since the global pandemic sent most of the world into home working mode.
"Connect," as Panasonic dubs it, is the arm of the firm that dabbles in the future of work, connecting employees via services such as onsite IT tech assistance charged at an hourly rate, a service it calls "staff augmentation." Panasonic Connect likewise extends account provisioning, installation, unboxing, boxing, shipping to various sites, configuring network settings and more.
Similarly, the organization dips its toes into the deep end, extending aid for various critical and front-line services, lending what King calls a holistic approach to channel partners and their potential to succeed.
Increasing Operational Efficiency with CRMs
King says the company launched a new partner portal a year-and-a-half ago, which he notes integrates with its customer relationship management (CRM) platform, lending partners more insight into real-time access to two-way communications.
Panasonic Connect's Jamil King
"This has been paramount to getting everyone on the same page, leading to greater operational efficiency," said King. "Records and submitting other requests is a smoother process and has led to smoother workflows as we have gone from document to digital, amounting to faster time to approval, greater visibility, and a more swift time to market. And on the customer front, it means faster and more accurate answers."
Leveraging Data to Make Informed Decisions
King said that Panasonic Connect's approach to data and decision-making has shifted over time. As with any business strategy that hopes to succeed, change is vital, King noted. Via its updated partner portal and placing a heavier emphasis on predictive analytics, King believes these two elements have put Panasonic Connect partners in a position to make more informed customer decisions based on things like sales history.
"A business is a living, breathing organism, and it has a behavior. We gain access to that data and begin to model that. All of our partners have needs, and many of them are predictable. We've driven forward with reducing time-to-market from 90 days to, in most cases, one week," King said.
Understanding lifestyles is a rudimentary necessity, King further noted. Things like what renewal and support cycles look like, with him adding, "We have started to put polish around customer journey and customer care."
He likened it to someone living in Dallas, their air conditioner is closing in on 10 years and has a warranty soon to expire.
"Instead of creating gaps in coverage, what if you could leverage data to understand that warranty would soon expire, to not experience interruptions, and know you're covered?" he said.
King reasons this is one of the many progressive ways Panasonic Connect leverages data to ensure solid customer experiences. In the end, he contends that it comes down to trusting channel partners to deliver the best customer solutions, telling Channel Futures that partner trust in developing the most fitting customer solution is the key to triumph given the present-day business landscape.
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