ZS Principal John DeSarbo Discusses Collaborative Channel Analytics

John DeSarbo, Principal

Hello, everyone. My name is Jonas Tichenor with CRN. And today we're discussing the idea of collaborative analytics in the channel, sharing data across organizations for growing both revenue and loyalty with partners. And I'm joined today by John DeSarbo from ZS Associates. Thanks so much for sitting down with us today.

Thanks, Jonas.

And so let's establish a baseline in collaborative channel analytics. So define first what that is for our viewers. Why do you consider it the most evolved phase of channel analytics? And how do companies reach that coveted stage?

Sure, so it's really-- what collaborative channel analytics is basically a new form of partner enablement. And the idea is is basically, vendors have invested to build these BI, or business intelligence, and analytics engines that they use for their businesses. Collaborative analytics is about taking partner data, or data regarding customers and partners from their partners, analyzing that, and providing insights back to the partners to help them grow their businesses.

So look. For years we've heard partners say they want more qualified leads, right? And in some cases, partners need help and vendors in a situation where they should be generating leads for the partners. And other cases, vendors are looking for partners that aren't necessarily order takers.

For years, we've invested in enablement to improve their marketing capabilities. But it really just isn't paying off, if you think about it. There's millions have been spent in unused MDF, co-op, collateral, prepackaged campaigns. And we're just not seeing the lift. What collaborative analytics is all about is actually taking support one step forward, beyond paying money or providing funds to the channel in assets. It's about providing guidance.

Now, not all vendors are doing this. Most vendors that we've seen actually develop their sales and marketing analytics capabilities are focusing internally. So they're using their capabilities to figure out who were the best partners. What are the most effective programs. The real payoff comes when they use those same capabilities to help their partners grow their businesses.

So you're setting up my next question perfectly. Are there any best practices in collaborative channel analytics? And are there examples of companies that you've seen that are able to really benefit from implementing this idea?

Sure. Let me give you two quick examples, just two areas where we see some real advancement in the industry. First, the proactive identification of replacement and service contract renewal opportunities. So we're seeing companies, say, for example, Cisco, doing a really good of tracking how their products are used day to day. And they're analyzing data on product utilization to figure out when a customer is more likely to need additional maintenance or service. So they analyze that information and provide the insights back to their partners. And this helps their partners really direct their service sales capabilities with resources.

The second area is in the area of predictive analytics, to identify cross-selling opportunities. So a great example of this is Sage recently-- I think it was early last year-- introduced a new program where they're taking customer data and then using it, essentially, to identify cross and up-selling opportunities for the partners. So these are just two great examples where we see vendors improving their value proposition to their channel partners by using their own analytics capabilities to grow their partners' businesses.

Perfect. John DeSarbo, thank you so much for sitting down with me today. I really do appreciate it.

Great. Thanks, Jonas.

And thank you for watching today. We hope that this provides some insight and even helps shine some light on opportunity for your organization.