Walker recently set out to answer the question, "What drives partner preference?" Or, asked a different way, "Why do partners recommend one product or brand over others?"
As we analyzed data from more than 20,000 partner surveys across multiple IT OEMs, one of the findings that emerged is partners have similar needs as customers.
As we reviewed the drivers of partner preference and compared them to the drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty, we noticed some similarities:
- Partners and customers prefer OEMs that offer reliable products. This area, more than any other, including the financial incentives that OEMs provide to their channel, has the greatest impact on partner preference and is a common top driver of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Partners and customers want to work with companies that are easy to do business with. While this is a nebulous concept, partners and customers generally consider the people and the processes they interact with when evaluating a company as being easy to do business with.
As we sifted through all of the data, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if OEMs adapted their voice of customer (VoC) best practices to their partner relationships. Best practices such as soliciting partner input, creating partner-specific action plans for vulnerable relationships, and leveraging partner feedback to prioritize improvement initiatives. Would that help them grow market share? Would this help them solidify their customer retention strategies?
Based on the work that we've done, the answer is yes.