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  • Being a Vendor in 2018

    Posted by Jacqui Rand February 13, 2018 - Category: News/Updates - 400 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #Channel  #VAR  #distributor  #Reseller  #ISV  #Vendor 

    Gone are the days (unless you are Microsoft or Cisco), when you could expect your partners to visit your partner portal, profile themselves and collect the information they needed to go to market with your products. In those days your partner portal would simply contain folders for Marketing collaterals and one for Technical Information and a third for Training and certifications. Now however, the industry average for partners re-visiting partner portals is around 17% so how do you engage and communicate with the rest? 


    Firstly, you need to recognise that vendors are no longer the masters of this particular universe; pushing information into their partner portals for resellers and VARS to digest (once they find their way onto the partner portal and into the right section).  These old-fashioned methods will have to go, as the number of vendors increases exponentially, and they are all vying for the resellers’ mind-share. 


    The tables are turning as the reseller, VAR and MSP are becoming the power-house with the connection to the customer.  But, the customer is also changing, requiring more complex systems and supplier speciality.  Resellers need to specialise, to differentiate and to partner with other partners to ensure they cover all the bases. 


    Meanwhile, vendors need to review and pick from a huge array of technologies available to help them manage their channel.  Actually, it’s less about managing the channel and more about making things easy for them.  The new Forrester report on the Channel Technology stack from Jay McBain is an invaluable resource for any vendor and there are many ancillary products or modules sold alongside the profiled solutions – like Channeliser which is platform-agnostic and can sit as a “Community-as-a-Service” module alongside your choice of partner portal or PRM system. 


    As partners become more sophisticated in their solution portfolio, they learn which vendors are easiest to do business with and so any vendor serious about their channel needs to put systems in place to facilitate working together.  Ease of doing business has always been a key driver when choosing vendors and this is even more important when considering cloud, virtualisation, digital transformation and IoT.  Consider, for instance, when Azure was first launched, the complex pricing and licensing that VARS had to negotiate – now there are calculators and even distributors who ease this burden.  Distribution plays a vital role as broker, easing the transactional burden. But vendors still need to stay connected to their partners to understand the customer demands and be market driven.   


    Staying connected with partners (or finding new ones) has become harder as the whole partner ecosystem has changed; we no longer have a linear supply chain, but one that is riddled with variety. This brings opportunity, as these new customer-facing suppliers are addressing the need for the new system-buyer who is not necessarily in the IT department, but savvy, informed and they want to have discussions about technology, integration and business.


    In this changing landscape, vendors need a mixed ecosystem of partner types to sell to today’s complex customer needs. Finding and nurturing those new types of partners can be hard (especially when Google or LinkedIn searches don’t use industry terminology).  This is where an industry specific social business platform can be invaluable at finding and nurturing potential partners.  We are all familiar with the 80/20 rule, but how do you stay top of mind with the 80% “less engaged” so that when an opportunity comes along they remember and propose your solution.


    These partners can all be nurtured and managed more effectively and economically by bringing them together into a “Community-as-a-Service” platform, embedded in your partner portal, such as Channeliser White Label.  Or you can use our industry network; Channeliser for partner recruitment. 


    Remembering that Jay McBain’s predicts there will be 1 million software companies by 2028, with the associated noise level, all clamouring for your partner’s mind-share.  Best you stand out as a vendor who innovates.  Be a vendor who finds new partner routes to market and offers not only a valuable solution, but also leverages distribution for ease of doing business. And finally, don’t forget the softer side of doing business – providing an effective social environment or partner ecosystem where your partners can interact and contribute.  Those that take a leap of faith in 2018 and offer this democratised channel, recognising a flatter structure in the channel will be the vendor who succeeds. 


    Forrester’s Jay McBain in his 2018 Predictions here