Mobile usage is on the upswing, with 56% of American adults now using smartphones, versus 46% in 2012, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Additional research from Pew also indicates that tablet adoption has accelerated tremendously: 34% of American adults own tablet computers, versus only 18% using the devices a year ago.
As a result, more B2B executives are leveraging these devices to ensure always-on access to content and sales/marketing resources, as well as current and prospective customers.
The mobile opportunity especially is becoming more prominent among channel organizations, largely because vendors — now more than ever — are striving to close the gap between corporate marketing and sales initiatives, and partner performance.
ChannelEyes, a mobile development and social media company, has experienced ongoing growth for its ChannelCandy solution, due to the continued proliferation of mobility in the B2B and channel spaces, company officials noted The company was named a “Cool Vendor” by Gartner due to its ongoing efforts to help IT organizations go to market more effectively.
ChannelCandy is an enterprise mobile platform designed to help connect vendors and their partners. Approximately 50 of the top IT vendors, including Cisco, HP and Verizon use ChannelCandy to help ramp up their partner programs and improve overall channel performance.
“More than 90% of channel professionals carry a smartphone, tablet or both,” explained Jay McBain, Co-Founder and Chief Social Officer at ChannelEyes. “They’re tethered to their devices from the time they wake up to the moment they go to bed. Mobile devices now are a primary source of doing business, especially for channel partners and resellers.”
ChannelCandy helps vendors instantly connect with and empower their on-the-go partners, according to McBain. Vendors can create branded apps to offer real-time access to deal registration modules, price calculators, service tickets and warranty information.
A content management system, which is presented in the style of a social media wall, enables partners in similar geographies or tiers to communicate. Using the feature, vendors also can create and share calendar events, schedule and expire posts, and manage feeds. A push notification feature also empowers vendors to instantly alert partners when new content, products and incentives are available. McBain noted that more vendors are incorporating a wider variety of features to boost partner engagement, such as surveys, quizzes and gamified loyalty programs into their apps.
“We built ChannelCandy with the goal of creating a mobile app that focuses on B2B relationships,” McBain said. “However, we thought a lot about the communication side; every partner/reseller works different and has different preferences of how they engage with vendors. We wanted to provide options so vendors can communicate with partners in the ways they prefer.”
ChannelCandy integrates with major back-end partner portals and PRM systems, as well as major CRM systems including Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce.com and SugarCRM. This helps create a seamless experience for partners while they’re accessing content or updating account information.
Using detailed reports, vendors can drill down and see what features or elements in the branded app are most important to partners. Detailed information on posting activity also allows executives to see how many people click on messages and even open the app.
However, by integrating with Google Analytics, vendors can capture a more comprehensive picture of partner data, including the type of device being used to access the app, as well as overall navigation patterns, according to McBain. He added that vendors can leverage data to “get better at delivering the information and resources partners require.”
Alicia Fiorletta is Senior Editor for Channel Marketer Report. Working closely with industry analysts and experts, Alicia reports on the latest news, technologies, case studies and trends coming to forefront in the channel marketing world. With a focus on emerging marketing strategies, including social, mobile and content for demand, Alicia hones in on new ways for organizations to market to and through their partner networks. Through her work with G3 Communications, Alicia also acts as Associate Editor for Retail TouchPoints, a digital publishing network focused on the customer-facing area of the retail industry.