Simply put, ecosystem collaboration means the facilitation of collaboration with and between the members of a business ecosystem. A good collaboration strategy will add growth impetus in the form of faster achievement of business targets, better human resource management, and better motivation and drive for improved performance by enabling multi-level communication, using different types of communication devices and mediums. There are various benefits that the ecosystem collaboration at every level over and above what CRM and PRM can offer. We have discussed the key benefits below.
Selection and Segmentation
The ecosystem collaboration must be selected in such a manner that it addresses the needs of the members. It is, therefore, important that the ecosystem collaboration must be aligned with the company’s marketing strategy:
Geographically – The number of regions covered by your ecosystem and the degree of coverage required.
Products – The kind of product knowledge, sales, marketing and technical skills required for own products and complementary products by suppliers.
Horizontal markets – The size and type of customers that need to be addressed and the skills and knowledge required for it.
Vertical markets – The expertise required to service the customers within a certain market.
Value Proposition – Your joint value proposition to the customers.
CRM and PRM systems will, undoubtedly, store the data and provide you with reporting capabilities; however, they will not offer you the capabilities of advanced analysis with balance scorecard with detailed profile matching. You will be able to access optimum market coverage and customer satisfaction only if you choose the right market strategy.
Recruitment and On-boarding
It is highly important that you select candidates for your organization who are aligned with its culture and needs. A CRM or a PRM system can manage a simple outbound recruitment campaign if it has the contact names and a delivery medium. However, just running any single campaign will not help in achieving the desired results.
An outbound campaign must feature multi-channel and multimedia delivery, using direct phone calls, social networking, instant messaging, and emailing to the recipients on their desired device. The recipient, in turn, must respond through conscious acts such as following up on your communications, downloading your mobile app, signing in or formally registering to join your community or even signing up to your commercial terms. All these activities are pursued online via various mediums and devices, which pushe this simple activity far out of the scope of the CRM and PRM. In the collaborative methodology, engagement is the building block and registration is only the first stone laid in the foundation.
This must, in turn, be followed up with on-boarding campaign to get the partner on the path of development, using communication strategies via multiple communication channels on personal and community level. One can also use viral communications, social re-communication, community interaction and simple mobile and web tools, such as invite-a-friend, to further aid the campaign.
Training and Enablement
For roles where the employee is in direct contact with the customers, such as sales and marketing, extensive role-specific training is of paramount importance as the employee becomes the face of the company and what they say is the words of the company. Thus, providing adequate knowledge and information regarding the company becomes a responsibility, which can be done by proper communication through various tools such as emails, videos and other forms of interaction within the capabilities of the CRM and PRM system.
On the other hand, training content creation, management, execution and testing, and certification come under the purview of the Learning Management System (LMS). However, even the LMS becomes inadequate if the employee is not geared for managing the complex processes associated with an ecosystem learning program. Interactive training programs delivered online or via mobile devices repeatedly or at intervals, as per their stage in development, will help them learn and assimilate processes more easily. Some tools that can be used include event-triggered, contextual media updates or refreshers using multi-tiered, curriculum-based certification programs. The automatically collated organization-level accreditation will further help in structured learning for the individual.
Motivation and Incentivization
Companies often outsource loyalty and/or other incentive based programs simply because they are time consuming and complex. Most incentive based programs are based on offering reward points, prizes or cash backs; however, they are unsuccessful because they are targeted at the sales team that is already engaged in selling on behalf of the company. Collaborative motivation and incentivization is designed to reward individuals for performing tasks, achieving objectives, and making additional contributions for the overall ecosystem effectiveness, which cannot be done through CRM ad PRM.
Ecosystem collaboration happens at a more personal level than the CRM and PRM as they consider the individual needs of employees before designing solutions.
Author Bio : Walt Robertson regularly writes about B2B channel collaboration and how modern day companies can leverage technology to create high performance sales channels. To learn more please download a free copy of our eBook "A Definitive Guide to External Social Collaboration and Indirect Channel Marketing"