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How Manufacturers Can Empower Channel Partners and Improve Customer Experiences With Artificial Intelligence

Manufacturers can maximize channel revenue by empowering channel partners to deliver great customer experiences by using artificial intelligence (AI).

Many manufacturers sell exclusively through third parties such as dealers and distributors. As a result, channel revenue is key to organizational growth.

Channel revenue is dependent upon a partners’ ability to acquire new customers and extend your brand’s promise by delivering quality products at competitive prices and providing world-class customer service. Today, 81% of B2B customers say the experience a brand or its partners provides is as important as the marketed products and services — and 82% will to pay more for better experiences. Manufacturers can maximize channel revenue by empowering channel partners to deliver great customer experiences.

However, it can be difficult for manufacturers to effectively coordinate their channel partners’ marketing efforts. Fortunately, tools like artificial intelligence make it easier to orchestrate robust channel marketing strategies, foster partner engagement, and provide partners with the right tools and insights to boost their revenue.

Leverage AI in these four ways to support partners and increase your manufacturing marketing success.

1. Automate onboard, enable, and engage channel partners

It often takes effort for manufacturing marketers to build trust with channel partners and get them on the same page. The time that can be spent increasing value and accelerating performance instead gets spent introducing channel partners to products and discussing your rules for promoting and selling them. In the past, there was no straightforward way to do this, but artificial intelligence has changed that. 

Now, you can create streamlined and automated partner enablement journeys, tailored to each channel partners. 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 personalized 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. 

For channel partners to deliver excellent customer experiences, they need to be familiar with your brand’s product, service, and delivery details. To ensure your products are top of mind, identify which partners are and are not engaging. You can then employ additional tactics to improve their engagement and loyalty. 

2. Give channel partners tools for success

Today’s manufacturing customers expect personalization. In fact, 72% of business buyers expect vendors to personalize engagement to their needs, and 49% say they ignore communications from companies unless they’re personalized. 

You can help partners meet these expectations by setting them up for success with the power of artificial intelligence. With AI-powered distributed marketing, partners have access to personalizable, 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 personalizable email templates for your channel partners, you can help them to consistently deliver personalized 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 optimize them. 

3. Capture and share actionable audience insights

Artificial intelligence gets to know customers by analyzing how they engage with your partners across the buying cycle. When you merge AI insights from marketing campaigns and site activity with additional audience data from a Data Management Platform (DMP), you can yield actionable insights to help optimize channel partners’ marketing efforts. 

Currently, 51% of manufacturing marketers believe a connected customer journey across touchpoints is critical to success. A DMP gives you the ability to identify common attributes shared by your highest-value customers in geographic locations and segment them precisely.

Using those insights, you and your channel partners can work collectively to start delivering the types of personalized experiences across the web, email, ads, or social that drive incremental revenue from both new and existing customers.

4. Measure and optimize channel performance

When working with channel partners, it can be difficult to know where your marketing spend yields the best results. Accuracy and timeliness of reporting may vary by channel partner, making it tough to calculate ROI. 

Artificial intelligence can standardize and streamline the reporting process across all your channel partnerships, giving you a powerful understanding of how much channel revenue is generated by each partner through each campaign. The right AI-powered tools will automatically measure important metrics like partner performance, market development fund ROI, and ad spend ROI. With these immediate insights, you can quickly adjust your approach and pivot to increase revenue and accelerate the ROI of channel program and strategies.

Learn more about how artificial intelligence can help manufacturers meet customer expectations in the State of the Connected Customer report.

 


Tiffany is Senior Director of Product Marketing of Marketing Cloud at Salesforce. She is an innovative, high-performance marketer with more than 15 years of experience leading product, channel, demand generation and customer success strategies in the Technology, Education, and Food/Beverage industries. Her areas of expertise include B2B, B2C, and B2E Marketing, Digital Marketing, Product Marketing, Partner/Channel Marketing, Loyalty and Retention Marketing, Demand Generation, Client Engagement, Product Launch, Sales Enablement, On-Prem and SaaS, Educational Technology, and the Gourmet Food/Gift Industry.

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