In our engagements, we often see vendors missing a critical boat: They don’t share end customer data with partners, and so they miss out on a super valuable opportunity for collaboration. Sometimes there seems to be a sense of competition between partners and direct sales teams that leads to each segment working in a silo and jealously guarding everything associated with “their” accounts, but this paradigm can only take an organization so far. To truly drive more renewals, upsells, cross-sells, and new accounts, both the vendor and the partner need a solid, cohesive sense of end customer behavior so they can mutually drive toward effective go-to-market strategies. 

The Marketing Disconnect

Unfortunately, according to Forrester Research, only 43% of partners report to the marketing department, leading to a slew of data-related issues. Why is this a problem?

Limited Access to Customer Insights: 

When channel partners do not report to the marketing department, it often means that they have limited access to valuable customer insights and data. Marketing departments typically gather and analyze customer data, including behaviors, preferences, and trends. Without access to this information, channel partners may lack the critical insights needed to tailor their sales and marketing efforts effectively.

Misalignment of Strategies: 

Effective collaboration between vendors and channel partners relies on alignment in strategies. When partners operate separately from the marketing department, there’s a risk of misalignment. Vendors may have specific marketing and sales strategies in mind, but if partners are not closely integrated into these strategies, they might pursue their initiatives, potentially leading to conflicting or disjointed efforts.

Informed Decision-Making: 

To make informed decisions about how to approach customers and meet their needs, channel partners require access to current and relevant customer data. Without this data, their decision-making may be based on anecdotal information or outdated insights, which can result in suboptimal sales and service strategies.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: 

Effective sharing of end customer data can significantly enhance customer satisfaction. When channel partners have access to up-to-date customer insights, they can provide more personalized and relevant experiences to customers. This, in turn, can lead to increased customer loyalty, satisfaction, and higher chances of renewals, upsells, and cross-sells.

Optimizing Sales and Marketing Efforts: 

Data-driven decisions are essential for optimizing sales and marketing efforts. When channel partners have access to marketing data, they can refine their messaging, target the right customer segments, and execute campaigns more effectively, ultimately driving better results.

Vendors have to work to break down information silos and foster closer collaboration. Sharing end customer data can bridge these gaps, ensuring that partners are well-informed, aligned with vendor strategies, and capable of delivering superior customer experiences that lead to increased revenue and business growth.

Set Yourself Apart

Differentiation often spells the difference between thriving partnerships and fading into the background. Both partners and vendors have an opportunity to stay top-of-mind in each other’s organizations by sharing customer data and working together to win deals. After all, research from Forrester has shown that organizations with a system of data-driven insights are 140% more likely to create sustainable competitive advantages and 78% more likely to grow revenue. That’s a clear call to action. So how can vendors that leverage the power of data in their partner programs set themselves apart in the minds of their partners?

Transparency and Trust: 

Building trust is the foundation of any successful partnership. When vendors share end customer data with their partners, they demonstrate transparency and a commitment to mutual success. This fosters trust and strengthens the partnership, making partners more inclined to collaborate closely.

Tailored Partner Experiences: 

The data shared can be a goldmine of insights into customer preferences and behaviors. Vendors can use this information to provide partners with tailored support, marketing materials, and sales strategies. This tailored approach not only enhances partner performance but also delivers on the promise of partnership, inspiring loyalty.

Educational Initiatives: 

Many partners may want to embrace data-driven collaboration but might not know where to start. Vendors can take the initiative by offering educational resources and training programs. These initiatives can empower partners to harness the power of data effectively.

Collaborative Tools: 

Vendors can invest in tools like Partner Relationship Management (PRM) that facilitate seamless data sharing. These tools can provide partners with easy access to relevant data, ensuring that collaboration becomes a natural part of the partnership.

By sharing valuable end customer data with their partners and offering support in navigating this new terrain, vendors can create a unique position for themselves in the minds of their partners. The result is not only increased loyalty but also a stronger competitive advantage and revenue growth. 

It Isn’t Only Your Mandate

While it’s clear that vendors stand to gain from sharing end customer data with their partners, the equation of data-driven collaboration is incomplete without partners reciprocating. The aggregated data not only provides vendors with insights into partner engagement but also holds the key to optimizing mutual success.

Think about this: When vendors receive aggregated data, it offers valuable insights into how engaged their partners are. This data sheds light on which partners actively utilize the vendor’s sales and marketing initiatives. Moreover, it aids vendors in understanding how partners go about setting up, implementing, and providing support to end customers.

This data is not just valuable for vendors but equally essential for partners themselves. Here’s why:

Informed Decision-Making: 

Partners can leverage this data to make informed decisions about their engagement with the vendor’s sales and marketing programs. By understanding which strategies are yielding results and which need adjustment, partners can optimize their efforts to better serve end customers.

Mutual Growth: 

Data sharing fosters a culture of mutual growth. When partners provide vendors with insights into their activities and successes, it enables vendors to better support and tailor resources to their partners’ specific needs. This collaborative approach can lead to better results for both parties.

Strengthened Relationships: 

Reciprocal data sharing strengthens the vendor-partner relationship. It’s a two-way street that builds trust and mutual understanding. Partners who share data signal their commitment to collaboration and success, which can lead to increased support from vendors.

Enhanced Channel Management: 

Just as vendors benefit from understanding partner engagement, partners benefit from understanding how their efforts contribute to the vendor’s overall success. This insight can guide partners in configuring, implementing, and supporting end customers more effectively.

The Bottom Line

The importance of sharing end customer data between vendors and their partners cannot be overstated. It is a pivotal step toward fostering collaboration, driving revenue growth, and staying ahead in the competitive landscape. To optimize sales and marketing efforts, vendors must break down information silos and prioritize transparency and trust. Sharing customer data not only enhances loyalty but also creates a stronger competitive advantage.

However, it’s essential to recognize that data-driven collaboration is a two-way street. This synergy ultimately benefits both vendors and partners, leading to more effective channel management and increased success.

We all know that data is king, and organizations that embrace data-sharing as a cornerstone of their partnership strategy will not only set themselves apart but also position themselves for sustained growth and competitive advantage.