By Gurpreet Brar, Head, Channel Sales & Distribution, HP India market
For years, we have known that the digital age would require robust new skills of everyone – including those who make technology, those who sell it and, of course, the customers. As companies started to adopt the advanced technology infrastructure to keep their workforces connected for business continuity during the global pandemic, global digital transformation rates leapt well beyond where we would otherwise be in 2020. This also means that for brands and channel partners, staying a step ahead of customers’ needs just became the need of the hour.
According to the World Economic Forum, the capabilities that will define the future of work are both “digital” and “human.” Cloud computing and artificial intelligence will be one critical step to reach there. The other area would be the ability to tap into personal and cultural shifts with an eye toward how human interaction with technology evolves.
As on today, the mandate has never been clearer: To stay competitive and customer centric, brands need to engage with the right partners and invest in the future-ready capabilities to adapt and succeed.
Specializations for Tailored Solutions
Digital transformation has expanded the customer journey. Over the course of past few years, consumers have been accustomed to having best-in-class options at their fingertips, thanks to the massive growth of the e-commerce. Today’s buyer expects streamlined, automated and personalized experiences. To thrive in this changing environment and beyond, the business requires a combined shift to relate to the customers as individuals, not markets. The businesses need to adapt swiftly and show the agility to capitalize on emerging trends and play a central role in the evolving customer buying journey.
In such a scenario, the way to win and retain customers is to understand them and their evolving ways to make purchasing decisions. From the traditional people relationship selling, there is a greater focus on solving business challenges through a combination of online and offline experience. To implement this effectively, partners and brands should invest in digital capabilities which will share insights – What trends are influencing their sector? How can they drive efficiencies and productivity in ways that have never occurred to them? Understanding and addressing these kinds of questions is what sets innovative sellers apart from those just focused on completing a transaction.
Insights that translate in Connections
Nowadays, more and more customer-oriented brands are sharing their global learnings and solutions with the partners who in turn are feeding the ground insights into the brand’s product development and solutions process. Enterprises are also embracing the importance of insights and collaborating to customize the solutions locally. Such data can help predict the impact, address changes speedily and build a holistic solution for the consumers. Hence, it is imperative to invest in the analytics capabilities to make the best and most-secured use of data and create valuable connections.
One way to build that connection is to create additional touchpoints between customers and partners and between partners and technology vendors. Those additional touchpoints also create more actionable insights which in turn increases the likelihood that partners can recognize and anticipate customers’ needs. E.g. for an enterprise buyer, meeting with a technology partner is not likely to be the first stop on their buying journey. They will start online, and the technology vendors and partners must have a meaningful presence there. Ultimately, the way their collaboration operate should mirror the operational efficiencies and experience customers are seeking out.
Lasting Interactions in the Customer Journey
The market for technology and business solutions is crowded – both B2C and B2B industries have radically changed over the past six months. In this customer driven digital age, buyers will return to technology providers and partners they trust, who have proven that they have the skills and knowledge to help that customer succeed today and well into the future.
Providing the best customer experience is not a static process. In fact, enabling a unified customer experience takes work. As technology solutions and ecommerce platforms continue to become more sophisticated, the reliance on digital purchasing continue to increase. Hence reaching customers in the digital age does not have to be a guessing game. It is possible to anticipate their needs and exceed them. In doing so, deep, and meaningful interactions are one of the key differentiators that will be essential for the future. Vendors and partners need to make this leap together, by investing in the ecosystem to strengthen the shared capabilities.
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