Channel Impact: Understanding How Partners Influence Technology Market Penetration
Leveraging the partner channel is a useful way to uncover the attitudes and behaviors of customers who are primarily served by these types of providers. As key influencers of their customer’s decisions, partners are viewed as strategic and trusted advisors in their roles as ‘middle-persons’ between products/services and end-users/consumers. As an extension (spokesperson) of the brand, partners play an important role in promoting products and generating revenue.
Following the release of a new product within an existing category, our global technology client noticed a low ‘take’ or ‘use’ rate among existing customers. Pre-release research indicated high adoption rates, and the client was interested in understanding the disconnect between the previous research indicators and reality.
Understanding that the customer target market was largely served by partners, we designed a two-phased approach to gather their feedback about the product offering from their direct perspective, and indirectly their perspectives on behalf of their customers.
In Phase I, we conducted a quantitative survey among nearly 400 partners world-wide to gauge overall awareness, product perceptions, overall satisfaction, and likelihood to offer.
Phase II consisted of a qualitative deep-dive follow-up among a small subset of Phase I partners to understand their preferences for, and most effective ways of, communicating new product offerings in order for them to successfully sell to their customers.
The research found that partners lacked a general understanding of product, the value for them in promoting it, and how it differed from similar/ competitive products in the market. The results were used to inform partner-specific learning and training programs designed to keep them up to date on new products and services and how to sell and market to their customers.