Gone are the days when price and performance were the sole decision criteria for our partners and customers. In today’s ultra-competitive, fast-moving marketplace, the partner/customer experience is also a difference maker.
At a recent Hitachi Vantara partner event, Jay Baer, marketing expert, keynote speaker and best-selling author, asserted that 80% of companies claim to deliver exceptional customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree.
At Hitachi Vantara, we’ve been focused on bettering those percentages over the last several years. We’ve invested time to meet our partners and understand their challenges and requirements and build a world-class partner program that address both partner and customer needs.
In fact, we’ve been working toward delivering the three things Baer says that partners/customers care about: “they want you to be quick; they want you to be clear; and they want you to be kind.”
A Few Steps to Be More “Quick, Clear and Kind”
We’ve invested in being more quick, clear and kind in our partner and customer engagements. Some of our initiatives include:
- Faster Quoting and Deal Approvals: We’ve revamped our processes so that partners, and thereby, customers, can get quotes in less than an hour. This kind of speed and predictability allows partners to move from quote to close in days instead of weeks or months. Today, nearly all partner deal approvals are automated and more than 60% of all partner deals are approved within one hour.
- Simplified Deal Registration: We’ve made tremendous strides to streamline our deal registration system and provide increased visibility into incentives and discounts within the process. The early returns speak volumes, showing a 115% increase in deal registrations — created and closed — year over year.
- Microlearning: To make training and accreditation courses more accessible and digestible, we’ve cut down our modules from five minutes to an hour. This allows partners to go in and invest time toward their accreditation as their schedules allow rather than spending four to eight hours in a single session. In response, we’ve seen the number of partners who have engaged in our learning modules quadruple over the last four months alone. In July to November, our partners engaged in over 43,320 modules.
- Improved Marketing Hub Capabilities and Local Language Marketing Content: With several upgrades to our marketing offerings, including localization of even more marketing content, we’ve seen a 1127% increase in logins and 1300% increase in marketing activity via the hub year over year.
- Enhancements to Our Digital Selling Platform: From onboarding to opportunity management, our partners can leverage our Partner Connect portal as a digital selling platform to optimize their experience and execute against their business objectives. In addition to providing access to tools, promotions and discount information, and program resources, the platform looks to address unanswered questions and offer a forum for connection and engagement. One benchmark of the success of the new portal: a 324% increase in deal registrations. Plus, we have seen a 225% increase in unique monthly log-ins year over year within the first month of launch.
Speaking from experience, Lisa Muir, General Manager, Dicker Data NZ Ltd said “Hitachi Vantara has aligned their partner portal, Partner Connect, to their fundamental principles of predictable, profitable, and pioneering. The simplified expectations for partner competency, the clarity of and enhancements to their partner margin and rebate programs, and their inclusion of partners in their tools and advisory initiatives shows Hitachi is very committed to the partner experience and our success.”
Improving the partner/customer experience is all about the incremental steps and investments taken to address partner and customer requirements.
As part of this, we’re open to suggestions of how we can be MORE quick, clear and kind. What would you like to see your vendor(s) do to improve your experience?
To learn more about Hitachi Vantara, please visit www.hitachivantara.com
If you’re interested to become a partner, please visit www.hitachivantara.com/partners
Kimberly King is Senior Vice President of Strategic Partners & Alliances at Hitachi Vantara.