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Channel partners act as the extended sales arm of the distributors and vendors. However, they are often perceived as mere fulfillment routes within the IT ecosystem. Both distributors and vendors often conduct channel satisfaction surveys, which certainly provide a good view of the satisfaction levels of partners on variety of areas with their distributors and vendors. However, there is a clear need to deeply analyse the actual pain areas of partners and then work towards building a strategy to address those issues.
Most distributors and vendors rely on a small set of partners for over 80% of their business; this isn’t because of the incapability of the remaining partners, but it is rather due to the lack of the support from distributors and vendors to the remaining partners. If distributors and vendors desire to develop a much stronger partner ecosystem, then it is pivotal to expand their vision beyond their top partners.
In order to capture the ground reality of the market; and understand the true challenges and expectations of channel partners; Enabler ONE conducted the region’s 1st vendor & technology agnostic channel eco-system survey, Channel Speak.
Channel Speak surveyed 52 large and medium sized channel partner organizations in the GCC. The overall survey was broken down into four key sections:
- Portfolio of solutions offered and sold
- Channel partner’s views on the buying behavior of enterprises
- Market challenges and counter strategies adopted by partners and
- The overall engagement between the IT ecosystem.
Most vendors and distributors boast a strong and closely integrated channel partner program. However, in reality, most partner programs are still disintegrated with the ground realities and pain areas of partners. Both distributors and partners need to rethink their partner programs and make sure that they are more aligned to address the needs and expectations of their partners. In order to do that, they need access to solid, and more importantly unbiased feedback from partners; which is what Enabler ONE has attempted through Channel Speak.
A perfectly aligned channel partner/distributor and vendor can deliver an optimal and the best solution to its end customers. Having said that, a survey, such as Channel Speak, aimed at knowing end-customer’s perspective through the lens of channel partner is very useful and can provide well-informed business data to enable partner/distributor and vendor’s collaboration for achieving a healthy channel ecosystem. Availing up-to-date insights, directly from the partners through this medium, into the changing market dynamics that is driving comparison between OPEX and CAPEX model, skills availability, training demands, growth and sustainability and risk criteria, financial behaviour, integrated or multi point solution and inputs on customer experience are some of the key business indicators that can help SonicWall engage better with channel ecosystem to achieve best productivity, channel loyalty and customer satisfaction and customer retainment.
It is great to see an initiative like Channel Speak being launched by Enabler One and Reseller ME as it aims to provide a platform to get unbiased feedback from the channel. The survey can surely help provide useful data to enable partners, distributors and vendors to fine tune their current offerings and make everyone work towards the creation of a more aligned channel ecosystem. We look forward to using the insights from this survey to plan our channel strategy and service offerings for the coming year.
Almost all global vendors rely on the strength and expertise of regional channel partners to ensure their offerings reach their targeted customers. It is vital for vendors and distributors to truly understand the challenges partners face and support them to address these issues effectively. Initiatives such as Channel Speak helps us to gain a clearer picture on market circumstances and the bottlenecks partners grapple with. We also commend the survey as it is the first time there has been an initiative of this scale at a regional level.
Channel Speak is ideal for getting conversations around major issues started. This will lead to more open and direct dialogues, resulting in success stories and secured business processes among channel partners and their stakeholders.
I am optimistic that Channel Speak will be a strong link between stakeholders to help understand each other’s business objectives. This is especially more relevant in current scenarios where almost all vendors have transformed their legacy products and services to map with the disruptive technologies.