Big Blue uses Watson to match customer opportunities with partners
IBM partners getting warm sales leads that close faster might have the Watson artificial intelligence platform to thank for their good fortune. Over the past year or so, IBM has used Watson to parse leads and match them with the most qualified and apt partners, resulting in a significant lift in partner sales and revenue.
The Lowdown: Partners consistently say they want more sales leads from vendors to drive new business and growth. For their own part, vendors face two challenges: generating customer demand and then processing the opportunities effectively to result in sales. IBM says a study it conducted in 2017 found that sales leads passed to partners within 48 hours of origination close 10% faster than older leads.
The Details: To facilitate faster sales lead processing for partners, IBM enlisted Watson to create a system for matching opportunities with the most appropriate and qualified partners. The result is the Smarter Cognitive Opportunity Recommendation Engine (SCORE), which evaluates sales opportunities and passes the leads to partners based on qualifications, capacities, proximity, and other factors.
The Impact: Since its launch in 2018, IBM Watson’s SCORE expedited the passing of leads to partners with a 50% increase in processing speed. The result, thus far, is $100 million in incremental revenue through partners with a 5% increase in sales close time.
The Buzz: “Passing quality sales leads from our salespeople to partners is crucial to bolstering a thriving partner ecosystem, and data shows that the faster we can pass these leads on, the greater the chance of closing the deal,” wrote Mike Fino, COO of the IBM Partner Ecosystem.