Read Part 5 in the series: Marketing and Selling – Getting the Word Out and Joint Selling
At Whitepages Pro, we follow the 80/20 rule and invest our time and energy accordingly – into our partners and clients. However, the time spent identifying, integrating with, and taking a partner model to market is just the beginning of the relationship. Post signature, the key to securing the 80% in results is consistent, multi-touch client support.
Unfortunately, B2B support is difficult. According to a Gallup study, “B2B companies have more to lose than B2Cs, when problems occur,” and on top of that, B2B clients are harder to please – 20% of the B2B clients reported issues and 60% of them believe that their problem wasn’t solved (compared to a 50% satisfaction rate among consumers).
Clearly, B2B support is tough to do well. Add in diverse end users across industries, products, continents, and languages, and providing exemplary support becomes infinitely more complex. Given these challenges, superior service provides both partners with a competitive advantage and a great opportunity to differentiate their unique partnership in the market.
To do this, a successful partnership depends on a clear focus on supporting end users through each partner and their respective channels. Different partners take different approaches to this issue, but here are some of the keys to our success:
- Training. It’s imperative that the stakeholding executives, sales reps, marketers, and product teams are fully educated on the joint offering. Without a clear, concise, and consistent story messaged at all levels on both sides, the potential for market confusion grows. By educating all client-facing staff, each partner is ensuring that the message reaching clients is more effective across all mediums. Key education items include:
- Each partner’s market focus and product(s)
- The joint product
- Support channels
- Integration specifics (i.e. how the end user engages with the product/service).
- More Training. One training session isn’t enough. Two isn’t enough. You have to repeat the message both internally and externally to ensure all stakeholders are fully informed on new features, upgrades, channels, and products.
- Maintain the Presence. This is a bit horizontal to training. It’s critical that key executives and touchpoints maintain an open communication pathway with their peers at the partner organization. “Early adopters” and “influencers” from the joint customer list also provide invaluable product feedback. We strive to get into the market to meet our partners and joint customers whenever possible to better understand individual business challenges. This understanding provides us with the intimate knowledge necessary to provide superior support and product innovation.
- Constant Feedback. Again, once isn’t enough. Both partners must closely measure adoption and usage with business intelligence to deliver feedback to the team. This feedback will help identify opportunities for growth and improved product delivery.
Ultimately, a great partnership means that everybody wins. 1+1= 5. Our platform partners help us deliver a superior product to the end users. Our joint clients become key partners and provide us with critical feedback, so we can continue to iterate and provide cutting-edge data. By bringing diverse strengths to the table and ensuring that we support our clients every step of the way, we’re building the foundation on which our clients can continue to innovate and succeed in their respective markets… without having to worry about vendor support.