Channel Co. Exclusive Research: The Partner's Buying Journey Is As Big A Game-Changer As The Buyer's Journey

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The difference in the buyer's journey versus the partner's journey lies in where partners find the content and influencers along the path to discover and explore new technology, brand or business models, said Dignam.

"Some vendors think the partner's journey begins and ends when they sign up at an online partner portal," said Dignam. "What they fail to look at is how did the partner get to that portal? How did the partner hear about the vendor and decide to go to the partner portal? There is a whole journey that happens before a partner signs up for a new service or product that a technology supplier can influence."

The Channel Co. research shows that partners' primary source in the "awareness" stage as they set out to discover and explore new technologies and practice areas was third-party independent websites and magazines. In fact, Dignam said, 74 percent of partners cited third-party websites and magazines as their primary source in finding new technologies, brands and business models in the awareness stage.

Independent technology events and distributor websites were tied, cited by 58 percent for each, said Dignam. He said independent events are key in targeting solution providers who are making new technology or practice choices.  

Technology supplier websites were fourth in the awareness stage, cited by 52 percent, followed by distributor events at 51 percent, co-workers at 50 percent, technology supplier and distribution sales reps at 48 percent, and other solution providers at 41 percent, said Dignam. 

In the consideration stage, where a partner already has shown an interest in a new technology or business model and is now considering adopting it, the No. 1 source again was third-party websites and magazines. The consideration stage begins once a partner has taken an interest in a particular technology or practice and is doing additional research.

"Vendors need to get much deeper in the consideration stage," said Dignam."The conversation with partners needs to be much more detailed and deeper at this stage with case studies, webcasts, live events. Showing how your technology or solution solves a business problem is best done at the consideration stage."

In the consideration stage, 70 percent cited third-party websites and magazines, followed by solution provider peers at 61 percent, technology supplier websites at 58 percent, co-workers at 57 percent, and technology supplier sales reps at 55 percent.

In the final decision stage, where a partner compiles a short list of possible suppliers, the No. 1 source was co-workers at 41 percent, followed by technology supplier sales reps at 38 percent, technology supplier websites at 35 percent, solution provider peers at 29 percent, distribution sales reps at 27 percent, independent technology events at 26 percent, distribution websites at 25 percent, and third-party websites and magazines at 24 percent, said Dignam.

Dignam said that those vendors that understand the partner's journey and take advantage of the opportunity to communicate with partners at every stage from awareness to consideration to decision are poised to drive sales growth in the strategic service provider era.

"If you participate in the partner's journey you can influence the choice that partners make every day to sell your product or service," he said. 

Technology vendors interested in attending the "Surviving & Managing The Shift To The Strategic Service Provider Model" road show must register due to limited space. In addition to an in-depth review of the strategic service provider and partner’s journey research, vendors will learn what will be important in building a bridge from today’s channel model to the future.

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