Cracking the Code: 6 Strategies for Scaling CX with Partners

Today’s B2B customers are in the driver’s seat, demanding a fast, frictionless experience from the companies they do business with. In fact, 88% of buyers say experience matters as much as a company's products or services, according to Salesforce. That means an elevated digital strategy is essential.

For businesses that go to market through third-party partners, the only way to deliver and scale that type of experience is by working in lock step with those partners using modern, digital CX capabilities. Based on my 12 years helping Cisco build its Customer Experience function with partners, here are six key strategies for cracking the code and scaling CX with and through partners to, ultimately, improve customer loyalty and retention:

Make it relevant and personal: In the B2B technology industry, selling partners are known as “channel
partners.” To better understand channel partners’ pain points and critical needs and care-abouts, today’s
vendors need to focus on listening, and that often starts with research. CX teams should document their
research findings and work with others in the overall organization to address partner concerns promptly.
To make relationships more personal, it’s also essential to participate in industry and corporate events to
meet partners face-to-face and familiarize yourself with their perspectives, personalities, business
challenges, goals, and more. The more you listen, the better you’ll become at creating an experience that
builds trust and success.

Make it comprehensive: A B2B organization’s end-to-end digital experience platform should span
partners, customers, and internal teams and cover the “land, adopt, expand, and renew” (LAER) stages,
allowing everyone to have the same real-time view into the customer journey. Leaving out any of these
stakeholders – or any of the lifecycle stages – will create visibility gaps that could jeopardize your ability
to shape, operationalize, and optimize the complete customer experience. The platform should include
options for communications and collaboration that suit varying preferences, allowing your team to
address issues quickly and in synch across multiple channels.

Make it transparent: “Data is the currency of adoption,” according to the Technology Services Industry
Association (TSIA). The research organization adds that “partner customer success teams are
handicapped without access to customer usage data, telemetry, and analytics.” Vendors that want to
successfully scale CX should provide partners with application programming interfaces (APIs) for visibility
into customer data along with real-time insights into stage progression. Through shared data, analytics,
and insights, partners will be in position to engage more effectively with customers and act as an
extension of your organization’s CX team.

Make it guided and personalized: Use AI and automation to provide hyper-personalized resources that
expedite processes and remove friction from both the partner and customer journey. Include
personalized self-help resources throughout the customer lifecycle to get your stakeholders what they
want when they want it.

Make it transactional: Because today’s customers and partners prefer to be in control, giving them every
opportunity to transact on their terms improves their experiences and makes it easier to do business
with you. This is achieved by offering partners no-touch and co-branded e-commerce capabilities that
connect them with customers for simplified transactions, like renewals, subscriptions, upsells, and cross-sells.

Make it flexible: Understand that partners have their own business goals and that they have choices
when it comes to the vendors they do business with. It’s important to remain flexible with the way you
include them in your CX strategies and let them maintain their unique culture and operational
procedures. By cultivating a strong and mutually beneficial working relationship, you will earn their trust.

According to Forrester, channel sales represent over 75% of world trade. That number is rising as the
B2B technology industry has experienced an increasing vendor reliance on channel partners during the
changing business climate of 2023. In fact, Canalys Research reports that many top channel companies
are driving record growth this year.

Forrester adds, “Vendors can accelerate sales and grow revenue as a result of utilizing the channel as a
go-to-market strategy.” But now, as the focus on channel partners expands, giving them a world-class
experience has never been more critical. As competing vendors vie for their mindshare, expertise, and
customer connections, it’s becoming clear that leaders who prioritize enabling partners and scaling CX
digitally will have a competitive edge. Following these six steps will help you gain that edge while
building greater loyalty and retention – among partners and customers.