The Channel has shifted significantly in the past few years. Channel Partners are working with multiple Vendors; end-users are driving digital transformation, and customers want business outcomes instead of solutions. In addition, new IT channels are cropping up across the landscape as S-a-a-S and other as-a-service Vendors enter the market with always on, from anywhere, cloud-based platforms to address user pain points.
As the shift continues, we’ve heard (repeatedly) from Partners that these three things are missing in some of their Vendor-Partner relationships:
Vendors who communicate without bombarding:
Channel Partners are busy wearing many hats, working with multiple vendors, tending to customers and growing their business hopefully with your solutions. They don’t have time to be bombarded with incoming emails about every little change to your program or filter through emails that don’t pertain to their role.
One of the most important steps a Vendor can take in today’s Channel is to align Partner roles and communication preferences with how information is delivered. It takes some planning but in the end, delivering the right messaging at the right time to the right people is critical to revenue generation for both organizations.
Ease of doing business with Vendor programs:
Another by-product of the shift from Partners working with a few Vendors to working with many is the complexity of tracking, understanding, and taking full advantage of Partner programs. If Partners feel bombarded by too many emails, imagine trying to keep track of assets, portals, rebates, deal registrations, social and content syndication offerings, MDF, tiers, and certifications; across multiple partner programs – especially if they don’t have a full-time person managing these relationships.
Partners want simplicity and the ability to immediately see the value a Vendor brings to their conversations. Within that simplicity, they want to see margins, understand your expectations, and have a roadmap that will allow them to get from here to there in sync with your offerings. Without an easy to navigate program with clear cut guidelines and a portal that provides the information and assets they need – when they need it – the temptation will be to use a competitor if that competitor has comparable solutions and is easier to work with.
Partner-facing teams that take a more consultative approach:
Vendor communications, through-Channel marketing, and Partner programs take flight or disappoint in large part due to the level and type of support and assistance Partners receive from Vendors’ Partner-facing teams. It’s important to build relationships with Partners and help them evolve forward, not just with your solutions but also with their business as a whole.
Many Partners don’t have marketing plans or teams and many are in reaction-mode because of the speed at which technology is evolving and demand is increasing. Partners need CAMs and other Partner-facing teams to be true partners in every sense of the word. They want to be kept up-to-date on information that impacts their bottom line, they want to work with an advisor who can help navigate inbound marketing and sales landscapes, and they want access to technical team members without jumping through hoops and waiting long periods of time for a call back.