Technology growth isn’t slowing down. It’s poised for new, explosive growth as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Smart Cities and other advancements continue to develop. These are exciting times for the tech industry.
However, there’s a downside to all this activity: more and more vendors enter the space each day causing technology to become increasingly commoditized. Vendors are being challenged to find new ways to stand out among the competition and climb to the top of the pile.
In this race to the top, a vendor’s channel partner program is a critical component of their future success or failure.
The Characteristics of a Partner-Friendly Channel Program
Robert Faletra, the CEO of The Channel Company, said: “Solution providers have a lot of choices when it comes to selecting vendor partners. Identifying the right vendor, with the right technologies, and the right approach can make all the difference.”
So, what do distributors and VARs look for in a vendor partner?
Most vendors focus on providing training, incentives and marketing support to their partners. They invest significant time and resources into creating and distributing these tools.
But they’re missing something important.
Partners do want these tools. But there’s something even more basic that can make or break a channel partner program: ease of doing business.
Consider that you’re a VAR, and you are considering doing business with two different vendors with similar products. One requires cumbersome data-tracking and entry, which will require several hours of staff time that would be better spent on sales and other business-critical activities. The other offers automated data tracking and push notifications of customer renewal dates. You would choose the second vendor, without question.
Ease of Doing Business is Critical to a Successful Channel Partner Program
Take a walk in your partners’ shoes for a moment. Consider that an average partner may work with six or seven top-line vendors, and communicate with another 25 or more on a regular basis. Each vendor has different portals, content, pricing tools, procedures, and program requirements. If those points of interaction are cumbersome, frustrating, or time-consuming, imagine what the partner’s response will be. They will avoid the extra work.
The more difficult it is to work with you, the less likely you are to get what you want out of a partner relationship, or worse - they may choose to work with your competitor instead.
This common situation creates a huge competitive opportunity for vendors to find ways to make their partners’ lives easier. The less time and resources that partners must devote to doing business with you, the better the chances they will increase their business with you.
Vendors that are easy to work with offer:
- Business processes that are streamlined and easy to follow
- Automated data management, order tracking and reporting
- Support throughout the entire customer lifecycle including new sales and renewals
The Chief Digital Strategist for Publicis Hawkeye, Claudio Ayub, emphasized that “Partners today expect to engage with manufacturer-provided tools as easily as they do with online retailers or social applications.”
Get a clear look at how your channel program works for your partners by installing a channel chief or senior channel manager on your program’s “receiving end” for a day. Ask them to experience the flow of information, processes, interactions, and the required data submissions and report on how easy (or difficult) it is for partners to do business with you.
How to Automate Your Channel Partner Program
Managing data can be exhausting for many organizations within the channel, especially for those transitioning to a recurring transaction cloud subscription model. That’s why it is critical to find partners that will enable you to benefit from their efficiencies.
One easy way to ensure that your channel program is easy on your partners is to use iasset.com to provide streamlined and automated business processes. Find out how iasset.com can help you increase partner performance and generate more revenue by downloading our eBook, “Collaborate in the Channel.”