Is your organization considering how to holistically optimize all of its routes-to-market? Curious how other firms are thinking about their direct and indirect selling channels in 2017 and beyond? Forrester’s B2B marketing, sales, and channel analysts have conducted new research that will prove invaluable in the quest to modernize your company’s selling systems and deliver a holistic customer experience across all routes.

B2B buyers continue to raise the bar on current and future partners, as they demand personalized, efficient, and consistent experiences when interacting and transacting across their route(s) of choice. Recent survey data show that B2B firms are lagging in customer obsession when devising their commercial strategies as only 19% of B2B organizations recognize “client needs” as a top factor influencing the setting of their annual targets.

Indirect routes prove even more complicated. Resellers, alliance partners, and distributors allow firms to expand market coverage, but it’s difficult to influence and support these resources. Our survey shows B2B marketing, sales, and channel leaders rate attaining mindshare as the top challenge with these partners. Lack of visibility into customer information plagues B2B commercial leaders as the second most difficult challenge when working with distributors. Combine these dynamics with an aging distributor network, plus the emergence of “shadow” channels, and there there’s a lot to consider.

As traditional interactions and relationships are disrupted in favor of more seamless digital experiences, the buyer’s journey is no longer linear. Come to our B2B Marketing Forum and learn more about what you and your organization can do to deliver a contextual and holistic experience to every buyer across all of your routes. Below are abstracts of two speeches to be delivered in Austin, Texas, covering the topics mentioned in this post.

Chart The Course For A Customer-Obsessed Routes To Market Strategy
To date, many B2B firms have focused primarily on narrowing the gap between field seller capabilities and buyer expectations. It’s now time to design and implement an interconnected, consistent, and customer-centric experience across eCommerce, inside sales, and field sales as well as partner and reseller routes to market. – Mary Shea, Principal Analyst, Forrester

Shadow Channels: Opportunity Or Threat For Partners And Vendors?
Shadow channels are a broad and diverse group of companies that engage, influence, recommend, and even resell technology to line-of-business executives. Emerging from SaaS platform ecosystems, industry-specific professional services, ISVs, born-in-the-cloud, and even the startup community, these new influencers are taking advantage of the shift in technology decisions from IT to business executives. Shadow IT has become the new normal; will shadow channels follow the same path? – Jay McBain, Principal Analyst, Forrester