Artificial intelligence (AI) is automating and streamlining the once time-consuming and complex processes associated with managing channel partners. 

Because so many manufacturers today use a range of selling conduits for their products, maximising the revenue produced by those channels is crucial for organisational growth. 

Channel revenue depends on the third-party partners – dealers, retailers, distributors – being able to attract new customers and deliver competitively priced, quality products via an outstanding customer experience.

And, given 89% of B2B customers (up from 81% in 2018) say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services and 82% are willing to pay more for a great experience, it’s vital that manufacturers empower their channel partners to deliver great customer experience. 

Doing so involves complex levels of coordination and logistics. Fortunately, AI can make it much easier to orchestrate successful channel marketing strategies, nurture partner engagement and empower partners with the right tools and insights. 

Here are four ways AI can be used to support manufacturing channel partners to increase their success. 


1. Automate and tailor partner enablement

 

Introducing a channel partner to products and getting them on board with your approach to promotion and selling was once a time-consuming process. AI means that process can now be streamlined by automating a tailored on-boarding journey for each channel partner. 

Within those journeys, you can include paths to teach partners about new or complementary products and services. This paves the way for them to deliver great customer experiences and opens the door to new revenue opportunities through upselling, cross-selling or warranty agreements. 

You can also create personalised enablement that works with partners via email or mobile – whichever channel they’re most likely to engage with – and sends messages at the times they’re most likely to open them. AI can identify partners who are not engaging, and employ additional tactics to improve their engagement and loyalty. 


2. Enable partners’ personalisation 

 

Consumers are not the only ones demanding personalised customer experience. More than four in five business buyers want the same experience as when they buy for themselves and 83% of business buyers expect companies to use new technologies like AI to create better experiences. 

You can help partners meet these expectations with the power of AI. With AI-powered distributed marketing, partners have access to tailored, pre-built branded email templates and more. This makes it easier for channel partners to sell your products – which gives you an advantage when they're deciding between selling your product or a competitor's.

By building automated customer journeys and personalisable email templates for your channel partners, you can help them to consistently deliver personalised experiences that fit your brand throughout the customer lifecycle. From purchase to fulfillment and service, AI gives manufacturing channel partners the tools they need to successfully deliver great experiences at every marketing touchpoint and gives you the insights to measure and optimise them. 


3. Turn data into action 

 

AI analyses how customers engage with your channel partners at each point in the sales funnel. The insights it yields can be combined with site activity and audience data from a Data Management Platform (DMP) to produce valuable insights. 

Using those insights, you and your channel partners can collaborate to deliver personalised experiences across all platforms and drive revenue from both new and existing customers. delivering the types of personalised experiences across the web, email, ads or social that drive incremental revenue from both new and existing customers.


4. Measure ROI for each partner

 

Because your channel partners may each report differently, it’s hard to get an accurate picture of exactly where your marketing spend is yielding the best results. 

AI can take the guesswork out of calculating your ROI by standardising and streamlining the reporting mechanisms across all your channel partners. AI can measure partner performance, market development fund ROI and ad spend ROI. Thanks to AI-powered tools, immediate insights across the host of metrics can be used to make adjustments that accelerate results. 

Find out how IT leaders are planning to use AI, and other trends driving IT. Download the Salesforce Enterprise IT Trends report.