The Importance of Owning Your Customer Relationships

May 7, 2022

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There’s a reason IT channel partners make up such a large part of the technology ecosystem. It’s the customer relationship. Solution providers that provide indirect IT services can deliver an exceptional customer experience (CX) when they have the right support.

Why does this matter? Because in our customer-centric world, CX has become the great differentiator.

Nearly 50 percent of the organizations Gartner surveyed for its Trend Insight Report can track the financial benefits of their CX projects, and over 80 percent expect to compete mainly through better CX in the future.

But, with the rise of software as a service (SaaS) models, the traditional channel market is changing. Instead of using a transactional channel model, IT resellers are switching to a retention channel model, which entails an ongoing relationship with the customer. Savvy resellers understand that with subscription IT, the customer journey never ends.

As such, channel partners that act as resellers and own the customer relationship have more leverage over CX, which gives them an edge over the competition.

Let’s look at how the channel business model is changing and why it’s so important today to own the customer relationship when selling technology solutions.

In the Future, Ongoing Service Will Help IT Channel Partners Stay Competitive

Currently, approximately two-thirds of all dollars spent in the technology industry flow indirectly. Jay McBain, a channel analyst at Forrester Research, expects the global IT pie to double by the end of the decade, growing from about $3.5 trillion right now to $7 trillion. But indirect sales will continue to hover around $2.2 trillion, with direct sales and marketplaces taking a bigger chunk of the pie in the coming years.

While indirect sales won’t keep growing as fast as they were before 2020, there’s still plenty of opportunity for resellers that are focused on providing a high level of service throughout every stage of the customer journey, including after customers sign up for IT services. McBain predicts that 90 percent of IT sales will be partner-assisted before, during, and after the sale.

How IT Partners Can Own the Customer Relationship and Increase Sales

One of the biggest opportunities for IT solution providers today is to provide cloud-based communications solutions. With the rise of remote work and a renewed focus on business agility after the pandemic, more companies are turning to unified communications as a service (UCaaS) and contact center as a service (CCaaS) solutions to stay connected without the need to operate from a physical office space.

The problem is, you won’t be able to cultivate the customer relationship if you’re operating under a traditional sales agent model where you sell the software service and earn a commission.

In this case, the vendor takes over the relationship after the transaction is done. That means your business misses out on the opportunity to build an ongoing relationship by managing technical support, billing, and after-sales support.

You can use these interactions to build trust in your brand. An ongoing relationship will also help you upsell and earn a consistent revenue stream for the services you worked so hard to introduce your customers to in the first place.

The solution is to own the relationship through a reseller program. When you partner with a vendor that lets your company build the relationship, you have the opportunity to grow with each customer and to establish your brand as a one-stop source for your customers’ business IT needs.

When Your Business Owns the Relationship, It Owns the Opportunity

As a reseller, you can choose to put your brand out there, whether you white label the product or attach your brand to the vendor’s brand. When you do this, the success of the UCaaS or CCaaS product you sell is tied to your brand image.

And when you partner with a cloud vendor that offers a high-quality product, you can stand behind your IT services, manage the customer relationship, and thrive.

That’s why it’s so important to partner with a vendor that offers a seamless experience for customers and for resellers.

  • Industry-leading security, free cloud migration, and expert technical support should all be a part of the package.
  • You also want to sell a product that’s easy to use and that doesn’t involve a lengthy onboarding process. That way, your customers can be up and running with their new cloud communications services right away.
  • And, most importantly, choose a vendor that supports its resellers with resources and their expertise, so you always have all the information and tools needed to support your customers.

The better their experience during the early stages, the easier it is to build a positive relationship with your customers in the long term.

Foster Stronger Customer Relationships as an Intermedia Reseller

As a reseller, you interact with customers. Your business handles billing, bundling, and support. You set the price and control your margins. And you decide how much you want your brand to appear to your customers.

This level of control lets you determine the quality of the customer experience throughout the customer journey.

As an Intermedia reseller, you’ll also benefit from full support from us. From 24/7 technical support to help with training, demo services, and marketing, the team at Intermedia is there to enable your company to offer exceptional CX when closing the deal and years after the sale. We’ll help you forge your place as your customers’ go-to IT solutions provider.

Learn more about how you can own the customer relationship and own the opportunity as an Intermedia Partner.

Rob Gold

May 7, 2022

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