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Put Channel Data to Work in the Age of Digital Transformation

Data working
Janet Schijns

Janet Schijns

Steven Kellam of 360insights

Steven Kellam

By Janet Schijns, CEO,  JS Group, and Steven Kellam, Vice President, Alliances, 360insights

As digital transformation sweeps through virtually every industry, businesses are facing a new competitive landscape. From autos to consumer products, the shift toward digital is driving companies to re-examine their investment, personnel and operational strategies — particularly when it comes to reaching customers.Channel Partners Insights logo

Channel marketing has never been more complex, with shopping now taking countless paths to purchase and organizations juggling multiple partners. For businesses, data is their most precious resource in determining how to reach customers at the right place and time. According to a Google study, organizations using data-driven sales strategies have 2.6 times more annual growth than other businesses. But to unleash the full power of their data, businesses first need to understand how to turn it into actionable insights.

Deriving data-driven insights is a topic we’ll be exploring in more depth at Relevance 2019, which brings together channel experts from around the globe. The conference will feature guidance on how today’s professionals can successfully master the ever-changing channel marketing landscape. Here, we share a closer look at why brands need a more rigorous approach to channel data — and how to get there.

Evolving from Analysis to Insight

Data is foundational to the success of any modern channel marketing program, demonstrating proven benefits among those who leverage it intelligently. According to Forrester, better access to channel data increases sales by 15%, on average.

But access is only one part of the equation. While the typical business has an avalanche of data at its disposal, what it often lacks are the resources to put it to work. Key challenges include:

  • Data disconnects. The average partner program has 90 components, Forrester reports, and program data is often disjointed as a result. The same report reveals that 90% of channel data is scattered across different programs, which are often managed internally on homegrown systems. Without a centralized command center, businesses can’t get a clear picture of program performance.
  • Poor analytical capabilities. Businesses without the right expertise or tools are often bogged down by their data, leading them to develop strategies based on gut instinct rather than data-driven analysis. Unsurprisingly, this leads to low ROI for channel marketing programs.
  • Lack of differentiation. Have a sneaking suspicion your program looks the same as your competitors? You’re probably right: 92% of U.S. businesses offer 95% of the same channel benefits as the other players in their space. Data can help you see the real needs in your channel community and find creative ways to meet them, ensuring your products are the ones they highlight on the sales floor.
  • Poor vendor performance. More than two-thirds (67%) of vendors believe their channel partners are fully proficient at prospecting for new business, but just 17% of channel partners say the same about themselves. For anyone who’s ever invested millions in a program that fell flat, this data gap is hits home. Data-driven insights can help businesses separate star performers from stragglers and adjust allocations with pinpoint accuracy.

To illustrate the value that data-driven insights can provide, consider…

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