People.ai Partner Matching helps enterprises gain visibility into all channel partner activity.
Most companies first enter their markets with a direct sales team. When the time to scale and accelerate growth comes, scaling through channel partners and alliances are key methods of reaching escape velocity. Why? Because a partnership channel significantly multiplies the reach and ability to sell through partners’ sales reps or consultants– without having to add internal sales headcount. Simple, right? Well, not always.
Whether you want to increase growth in your existing go-to-market model, enter new verticals, or expand geographically, a channel partner model can be the wisest way to go. And, there are multiple partner types available, depending on your business: Independent Software Vendors (ISV – technology integration), Solution Integrators (SI’s – implementation partners), Value Added Resellers (VARs), and more.
The leading Fortune 1000 companies with enterprise sales organizations rely heavily on partnership channels; to the extent where they sometimes prohibit their own direct sellers from selling in certain verticals or even doing deals without partner involvement. It’s a win-win scenario if done right, but there are considerations.
Partner strategy means value on all sides but less visibility
How do you aggressively grow via partnership channels? The ability to reach more customers through your partners’ sales or consulting teams has proven to significantly accelerate growth (assuming strong product-market fit). For example, Cisco (approximately 25,000 employees in sales and marketing) leverages a robust channel model that accounts for more than 80% of total Cisco revenue.
For Enterprises, the objective of a partner model is to have more transactions and sales engagements without hiring infinitely more full-time employees and scaling headcount linearly. An ideal model builds on the notion that partners benefit from selling, deploying or servicing your product, hence, increasing your sales capacity without increasing your OpEx. But the value must be there for the partner, and the partner will need to be recognized for the work they do. A big part of that is complete transparency and visibility into what happens during the sales cycle amongst all parties involved.
With partner sales, you begin to significantly increase the number of touchpoints you have with customers, while quite often you or your sales team aren’t directly involved. Instead of you performing activities directly with the end customer, partners are engaging customers via emails, meetings, at events and via many other forms of activities. Essentially, this makes all engagements with the end customers a three-way conversation between you, your partner and the customer.
The critical aspect of a partner model is always knowing who did what and when, to generate and close a deal, and then maintain a satisfied customer account. Two key areas where partnership model typically goes sideways:
1. Partner attribution – was it a partner who introduced the deal or was it your own team, and then we passed it onto the partner
2. Partner visibility – accurately capturing what a partner is doing with customers AND being able to show partners what you are doing with the customer
If you can capture insights into the partner activities and interactions with end-customers, you can build a solid foundation for channel programs and company growth. By the same token, the partners will also appreciate this level of transparency. It quickly becomes clear for the company and the partner to understand where compensation is due, related to deals. Or, helps to uncover if your direct sales teams are withholding deals from the partner because they want to control where the commission goes.
Partners are just as worried about the visibility into the attribution of deals as you are.
People.ai provides the insights for partner activities
People.ai can help. Our Revenue Intelligence System leverages activity capture to provide insights across all your go-to-market teams. This extends to partners by providing visibility into ALL customer activity, whether it’s through a partner or your own sales team. We do this by connecting to email, calendar, phone, and other tools to capture all business relevant data, match it to the right contact, account, and opportunity, and then generate insights to help close more deals.
People.ai is the only system that captures partner activity and contacts alongside with client activity and contact data, automatically. Our partner matching capabilities uses our Intelligent Matching technology as well as Natural Language Processing to correctly match activities performed with partners, and through partners, to the correct end-customer accounts and opportunities. To create this level of matching, all the way to opportunity level is unique and is a patented technology. This gives you a full timeline of all events that happened with the customer from first touch and all the way beyond “Closed Won.” Given such visibility, it now becomes very clear where a partner was responsible for originating a deal, or where they were passed a deal generated by you, and just as important, everything they did to close that deal.
People.ai detects where to match and place activities in your CRM by detecting and discerning sales-related content of an activity, mentions of relevant people, products, locations, that uniquely identify a customer or a partner, and then matches it to the appropriate CRM account or opportunity. And it’s highly configurable: you can match activities (emails, meetings, conference, and phone calls) to the Partner (account), to an Opportunity on the Partner account, to the end customer (account), or to an Opportunity on that account.
Once you have partner matching enabled, and you are using it to track partner attribution and visibility mentioned above, there are other benefits for companies and their channel partners:
- Companies that have visibility into partner sales rep activities can leverage the insights to better understand how deals are truly trending. Sales leaders can assess if the teams are spending the right amount of time with partners to accurately predict the likelihood of deals to close or whether the overall partnership is trending in a healthy direction.
- As all sales activity is captured, People.ai is able to also assess partner sales performance. This empowers the partner enablement team to provide coaching and best practices based on how partner reps are performing, with comparisons and insights to other top performers across the industry. Therefore, leadership can address challenges related to messaging and positioning, sales process clarification, resourcing and any other challenge, all fed by data. It also enables the company managing the partners to target specific ways to improve partner enablement.
- Channel partners no longer have to worry about spending time logging customer contacts or activities in the partner portal as People.ai captures that information and matches it to accounts and opportunities; keeping CRM and partner portal accounts and contacts up to date. This provides even more contacts that can be engaged, marketed to and tracked for future opportunities.
- For anyone building partner marketing organizations and programs, People.ai can easily capture and create partner contacts directly into the CRM, so enterprise marketing teams are always using the latest contact details, increasing partner marketing effectiveness.
The key to a successful partnership channel is to understand how to enable your partner sales teams and make them as productive and efficient as your own direct teams. If you remove the often-seen conflicts of ‘who was first’ and ‘who did the work’ on the deals, it becomes easy to drive the right behavior on each opportunity and lets both direct and partner deals focus on closing more deals and delivering value to the end-customer. After all, that’s why you build a partner strategy in the first place.
Learn more about the People.ai Revenue Intelligence System and how Partner Matching can work for you by scheduling a demo.