By Jamil King, Panasonic Connect
The IT industry is experiencing a significant labor shortage. A recent survey found that 72 percent of IT workers in the U.S. said they are thinking of quitting their jobs by the end of 2022. The current and oncoming gap in skilled IT employees makes it difficult for businesses to build and deploy digital capabilities. Many IT executives cite talent shortages as the most significant barrier to technology adoption. Any gap in technology deployment could mean the difference between a profitable or fruitless year.
This is where channel partners have an opportunity.
Customers want to know they receive personalized technology options and customer service to meet their business needs. With integrated, data-backed solutions, channel partners can remove disruptions in work streams and help customers meet technology goals with a limited workforce. This type of managed service (as part of a broader solution offering) can fill these gaps, take on the IT burden, and free up current staff to focus on critical business needs. In 2023, single-source product management tools and data analytics will bring personalization back to the digital channel ecosystem to meet these growing IT needs.
Manage Technology Needs And Expectations From A Single Source
Delivery services have set a high standard in terms of convenience and service quality. If an item is not working as expected or customer support is lacking, customers will often look elsewhere for their purchase.
For companies across industries, this expectation remains the same. Time is of the essence, especially in mission-critical sectors such as the public sector and utilities. They need scalable technology solutions to become ready to deploy from day one. The ideal scenario? A seamless transition that requires minimal effort and reduces complexity at every turn. With limited staff to set up and distribute devices, the more channel partners can do on the backend, the better the experience for the customer.
Digital tools such as partner portals and asset management platforms remove these barriers in the buying experience. They help manage product and other asset inventory in one place. Rather than checking several different sites for product updates, inventory status, and pending orders, customers can use one site for easy management and communication. Vendors who give channel partners access to these solutions will strengthen customer relationships and improve sales outcomes.
Use Data To Get In Front Of The Right People The First Time
We constantly collect and analyze data. We review fitness goals on our smartwatches. We track how many likes, follows, or engagements we receive on social media posts. We even analyze our most listened-to musical artists and genres of the year. Data is the most valuable currency in every industry.
However, only 25% of organizations describe themselves as data-leading. McKinsey research shows that data-driven companies accomplish goals faster and that their initiatives contribute at least 20% to earnings before income taxes. Additionally, businesses that rely on data management tools for decision making are 58% more likely to beat revenue goals compared to non-data-driven companies. This trickles down to the customer level, with data-driven companies experiencing an 8% boost in customer trust.
When I started in sales, we went door to door selling our product. We often received about 100 “nos” before we got one “yes.” In our digital world, the ratio of “nos” to “yeses” is probably the same. But with data and analytics, we are more strategic about where we put our messages and how to reach the people who are more likely to say yes. Even with targeted marketing, search engine optimization, and automation, sales can still miss the mark without a personal touch. In our remote world, we have to find new ways to bring the personal back into the sales experience to match the data profiles with a human understanding of the business and customer needs.
Make Personalized Customer Service Your Top Priority
Every channel partner should seek to take care of their customers as well as they take care of their products. Without customers, you have no reason to make your products. In 2023, the best channel partnerships will use technology solutions to get personal. They will use data and analytics for targeted and streamlined sales as well as anticipating ongoing support needs.
Even with most people still working remotely, the channel can create technology-based avenues for personal buying experiences. While I look forward to in-office water-cooler talk, we can use technology to bring the same personalized experience to the digital channel.
About The Author
Jamil King is the Director of U.S. Mobility Channel for Panasonic Connect.