CONTEXT CAN NO LONGER BE OVERLOOKED
In a recent The VAR Guy interview , Wendy Bahr, the new Cisco worldwide channel chief, related how she spent the first 90 days of her tenure traveling the globe. Her mission: speaking with channel partners to determine what they need to grow, expand, and sustain their businesses.
That is one, all-encompassing and enlightened Voice of the Customer Exercise.
Take your lead from Wendy Barh. Conduct a channel partner walkabout. Develop a deep understanding of your and your clients’ contexts for strategic and tactical decision making.
- Make your Voice of the Customer exercise inwardly focused – as well as externally focused – on the marketplace.
- Analyze and interpret the opportunities offered to you by the rapidly evolving IT marketplace.
- Prioritize and determine where to start addressing client needs.
- Set your channel partner team’s wheels in motion.
- Embed this initiative as a continuous process in creating enduring customer experience.
The speed of change in IT (information technology) systems and software is outpacing your own business model’s ability to handle them. If you feel tsunami’d, think about what is going on in your customers’ organizations.
Your customers are confused. Determine their Achilles Heel. Identify solutions offering the greatest depth and value to their maxed-out business models.
DELIVER CLARITY TO YOUR CLIENTS. GROW YOUR CHANNEL PARTNER TEAM’S CONFIDENCE AS WELL.
Establish the business case for IT solutions across your entire customer base. What does your knowledge of customer context tell you? Are customer needs homogeneous or stratified?
Share your insights with your clientele. Grow your team DNA beyond its technical expertise. Become regarded by your clients as long-term business partners and advisors.
Your newly minted channel partner walkabout process enlightens your customers and prospects. You bring clarity and focus to their chaos and dysfunction.
Together, chart a course towards a solid horizon, instead of trying to boil their IT oceans.
A channel partner walkabout is a powerful process. Make it part of your permanent corporate cultural practices. Your channel partner team’s confidence grows as you reframe customer conversations and differentiate the value you create for your customers.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Her Workshops and Playbooks create more productive and profitable teams in healthier organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.