Realigning and Running Your Channel Operations in the Age of AI

Date: June 29, 2023
Author: Daniel Nissan

The landscape of business has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, driven by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). As a Channel Chief or channel marketing leader, it is imperative to understand the power of generative AI and its potential impact on the channel. To navigate this new era successfully, it is crucial to redraw the map of the battlefield and realign your channel operations and marketing efforts accordingly.

According to a recent Canalys poll, 41% of partners are now optimistic about the opportunities associated with AI, indicating a significant shift in momentum and an increase in optimism within the partner community. In a report based on the poll findings, Canalys states, “Vendors need to focus on partners building service practices around AI and engaging with marketing and sales collateral that focuses on AI. In contrast, negative partners need dialogue and education to address concerns about fear, complexity and assumptions.”

Reassess Channel Strategy with AI in Mind

The field has clearly changed because of the introduction of ChatGPT and other generative AI solutions and a new and comprehensive strategy analysis is required by Channel Chiefs and marketers. It’s now essential to reassess your business, operations, and competition. By reshuffling the various facets of your organization, you can identify areas that can be improved or streamlined to reduce costs, react faster, and make better decisions. This realignment should encompass sales, marketing, market development funds (MDF), operations, and support – every aspect of your business should be examined to find opportunities for improvement and gain momentum.

Define Roles and Empower Partners

One critical consideration is the role of channel responsibilities. Empowering your partners to do more and equipping them with the necessary tools and information is paramount. By providing quicker access to information, partners can devote more time to solving customer problems and driving a higher level of customer success and adoption of your product. This, in turn, frees up time for partners to engage in meaningful interactions, building trust and relationships with their customers. Additionally, the role of customer success is increasingly shifting to the partners, necessitating that they possess the knowledge and expertise to deliver the required level of service.

Embrace AI Expertise

To truly embrace the potential of AI, it is critical to have an AI expert on your team. This expert should thoroughly understand the fundamental shifts occurring due to AI. Failing to comprehend and adapt to these changes may result in a significant diminishment of your investment in the channel. Partners will seek out organizations that can provide five times the value, leaving you behind. The speed at which AI is being deployed and improved is staggering, and it is imperative to keep pace to stay relevant in the market.

Anticipate Customer Needs in the AI Era

The deployment of AI technology has a direct impact on the cost, income, and output of channel partners. With AI’s increasing capabilities, the sales cycle is bound to shorten. Tasks such as generating quotes, connecting with customers, and configuring pricing can be automated, saving time and resources. It is not enough to merely understand how to utilize AI; you must also comprehend how your customers will be utilizing it. They are already leveraging AI, and it is crucial to align your offerings and strategies accordingly.

AI is Here, It’s Staying and It’s Adapt or Die for the Channel

The AI era presents both challenges and opportunities for channel operations and marketing efforts. As a Channel Chief, it is essential to recognize the transformative power of generative AI and reevaluate your business strategy accordingly. Redraw the battlefield map, empower your partners, and invest in AI expertise within your team. By understanding the shifts occurring and adapting to the changing landscape, you can position your organization for success in the AI-driven future. The time to act is now, as AI is advancing at the speed of light, and those who fail to keep up risk being left behind in the dust.