Emergence of new technologies and business practices have brought about a sea change in the IT Industry. It has changed not only in the way partners and customers do business but has also seen certain changes in job roles and responsibilities.
In India, businesses across industry verticals are in various stages of their digital transformation and it is sort of mandatory to take the next logical step in the entire Channel partner ecosystem to gain more edge and efficiency.
Channel Times comes up with some fascinating ways by which channel partners will find it helpful to propel their business.
1)Role of a trusted advisor- We have witnessed that customers, especially the small and mid-sized businesses generally rely on local partners as their trusted advisor. A lot of good will is generated and a strong relation is built for a long term business if customers are guided to expand their business in a very cost effective manner. An essential key is to maintain consistent communications and deliver on your promises.
2)Persistence- Great partners are pleasantly persistent. They exactly know where the line is between being annoying and being too hesitant with their customers. Very often we have seen that partners who have gone a long way are those who make sure to stay engaged with their customers, keep asking questions on customer’s problems and keep offering value at the same time also take caution as not to get themselves brushed away for being unrelenting.
3)Customer Value- Channel Partners while providing solutions- be it by system integrators or management service providers with deep vertical expertise. Proper understanding of the target customer’s requirement is a must. Partners should have clarity as how to meet customer’s needs. Amidst varied options the challenge is to achieve the best pick.
“Channel partners also come across new brand every now and then. Its difficult for them to switch brands frequently. Channel partners need to see the company’s history, channel policy, product features, support system & margins. If all these factors are favorable, then there shouldn’t be any issue in shaking hand with such brand. Once reseller is confident on vendor, he will find it easy to pitch to customer too with confidence,” suggests, Pankaj Jain, Co founder, Erus IT. (Read full article here)
The agility to be ahead of the competition by providing the best solution is also imperative.
4)Expert domain knowledge- Many a times, success comes to partners from not just deciding what to do but what to shun. As technology is becoming more complex over the years with the likes of Cloud, Big Data and IoT, channel service delivery model has also undergone a tectonic change.
“In today’s scenario, the industry verticals are expanding product domains and addressable solutions are growing, at the same time the competition too is catching up in the IT arena. The IT hardware Industry is also going through a change in dynamics of IT distribution & OEM business models, as the VARs, System integrators, Solution providers stretch out to look for multiple options in products & their deliverables to establish competitive edge over others,” said, B.Ananda Rao, CEO of Par Data Systems. (Read Full article here)
Partners should thus, deliberately focus on horizontal opportunities across verticals so to build on core capabilities. With this ever-changing technology scenario, partners who miss on evaluating their competitive position and customer value position constantly will most likely lose their business sheen by losing momentum.
5)Two- pronged dilemma- channel partners have the great task of making the hard choice of riding with both helpful vendors and good customers. The strategic selection of the right technology vendor can make or break a solution provider’s future survivability. Faulty decisions and mistakes are made despite the best intentions, but without a careful approach to vendor and customer selection the partner is at the hinge of a massive risk. A strategic go-to-market- plan should be the focus on the partner’s mind.
With innumerable vendors to choose from, a clear return on investment in the relationship with the vendor should be in place. Another key to success is to work with a vendor who treats the partner at par with their own sales force. Partners should be provided with the same tools and information as a vendor’s sales individual, such as sales tools, training, and competitive intelligence. Technical training by vendor is also required to ensure success for both partners and customers.
6)Financial Management – Channel partners who possesses a holistic approach towards a market section, and has the cognizance of assessing what is cost and what is investment for the future, tend to have better profitability and a better survival rate than those who concentrates merely on petty quarter-to-quarter return, chasing short term rebates and rewards. Partners should be able to leverage profits more effectively and drive new deals in both existing and new segments.
The aim of the channel partners should be to drive noticeable bottom line profitability not just in the short term, but also in the long run.