A tremendous shift is occurring across the B2B channel with changing buyer and customer needs and preferences, evolving partner business models and value, and growing competition for partner mindshare. Leaders need to ensure their strategy, programs, processes, and systems are evolving in ways that will allow customer marketing to ignite, orchestrate, and co-innovate customer value across the partner ecosystem. To help channel marketing leaders prepare, Forrester has recently published its Channel Marketing: Planning Assumptions 2022, which identifies five key trends that will affect the priorities of channel marketing leaders. Here is a brief overview:

Ignite The Channel Marketing Multiplier By Formalizing A Partner Ecosystem Strategy

The expansion of new partner business models and the formation of formal and informal partner ecosystems have become pivotal trends for many leading B2B organizations. Channel marketing leaders must prepare for the future by formalizing their partner ecosystem strategy to align and optimize toward exceptional value-to-customer outcomes.

Orchestrate Partner Ecosystem Engagement

B2B channel leaders are grappling with the implications of moving from a transactional channel to an ecosystem model of customer value creation that is not tethered to a financial transaction. To support value creation for unique partner business models and to address buyer needs for integrated, end-to-end solutions, channel marketing leaders need to become ecosystem orchestrators to programmatically support co-innovation of multipartner, multiparty, buyer-desired solutions.

Innovate To Empower Partners’ Customer Success

There’s an opportunity for a major paradigm shift in supplier and partner relationships — putting the customer at the center — leading to an ecosystem that is aligned around the customer’s success. Many B2B suppliers have not yet realized the critical role that partners play in customer success. For organizations that go to market via indirect channels, a coordinated customer success approach must extend to partners.

Seize The Lost Opportunity In The Channel; Develop Customer Demand Programs For Partners

Forrester’s B2B Benchmark Metrics Data indicates that revenue from existing customers represents more than 75% of the total annual revenue stream. We often find this percentage much higher in the channel. Although the opportunity offered by customer demand in the channel is undeniable, an overwhelming majority of B2B channel demand programs target only new buyers rather than partners’ existing customers. Channel marketing leaders should seize this opportunity by establishing customer demand programs for their partners.

Elevate Partner Experience (PX) As A Channel Marketing KPI

In an increasingly crowded partnering landscape, suppliers are challenged to differentiate, to gain and sustain partner mindshare. Positive PX drives partner retention, loyalty, advocacy, and channel growth. As channel marketing leaders elevate their focus on PX, it is critical that they include partner satisfaction ratings as a primary channel marketing success measurement.

All five planning assumptions should be kept top of mind as channel marketing leaders establish their plans for 2022. What is top of mind for you as you plan and prepare for the upcoming year?