Partner programs, or channel partner programs, are business initiatives that many companies have created to engage and encourage business partners, such as channel partners, resellers or consultants to sell their products and services to final customers. In the guide Managing technology providers to meet business initiatives: A CIO guide Margaret Rouse defines the concept of Partner Program as follows: A partner program often serves as the primary method information technology vendors use to cultivate solutions providers as a sales conduit for their products and services.
What are the features of partner programs?
- Partner programs are a way to ensure that an ongoing and direct relationship is established between the vendor and the partner through constant interaction and effective, powerful communication.
- They constitute a training channel, and training sessions are usually organized to ensure that resellers and distributors are aware of the features and strengths of the products or services they are selling, as well as of the most effective sales strategies to put in place.
- Partner programs are a way to provide a more efficient technical support to partners.
- Partner programs contribute to supporting lead generation activities and marketing actions.
- Vendors usually include their partners in partner directories to increase partners’ visibility.
- They provide access to the most relevant and updated marketing tools and product information.
- Within the framework of these programs, events are regularly organized to engage the community and awards are usually granted to the best and most successful partners.
VR environments are increasingly serving as an effective tool to develop and manage integrated partner programs. How?
- VR environments are the place where product launches, training sessions, regular meetings between the vendor and the partners can take place on a regular basis.
- VR is global and barrier-free.
- They represent an effective way to engage partners long-term thanks to lifelike interaction, in environments that enable to communicate the natural way.
- They are an effective way to deliver content to partners. A VR environment serves also as a unique repository of brochures, products sheets, 3D and high-resolution images, videos, webcasts, white papers, and documents that help resellers, vendors and consultants find the right marketing material for every situation.
- They give channel partners increased visibility thanks to live virtual events that feature all the partners, with a technology that is 30 times more engaging than any website directory.
- They are an effective tool for highly-qualified lead generation campaigns and events.
- Live events can be organized any time online quickly and efficiently at lower costs.
- Gamification experiences can be organized during virtual events, and prizes can be awarded as a way to engage the channel partner community.
Many companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, HP, VM Ware have developed partner programs, most of them providing a combination of all these tools. To that end, Virtual Reality is becoming increasingly relevant in serving as a hub for an integrated partner program management strategy that brings all the partner program initiatives together in a cost-effective, engaging and efficient way.
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