As little as two years ago strategic planning with the typical channel partner involved maybe one or two meetings a year. An IT vendor would share their product rollout plans with key partners. Channel chiefs and the executive leadership of the channel partner would then commit to a sales goal based on the slice of the total addressable market (TAM) that both parties agreed could be reasonably achieved by the partner. Six months to a year later another meeting would be held to review results and then the whole process would then repeat.
Fast forward to today and it’s clear the rate at which new products and subsequent updates are being rolled out within any product category has turned what was once a comparatively leisurely process into a monthly, sometimes even weekly, imperative. Security breaches or product recalls, for example, require incredibly fast reaction times, putting the onus on IT Vendors to help expedite this down to the channel partners. Each new product launch or security update requires every channel partner to be able to intelligently respond to customer inquiries concerning what they should do next. The implicit question in all those queries, of course, is not just whether the customer made the right product decision, but also whether that customer can continue to rely on the judgement and expertise of their IT solutions provider.
Naturally, most IT vendors would prefer their partners to have an exclusive relationship with them, but the rate at which end customers now vacillate between various products for specific projects makes that impractical for most IT solution providers. Most partners serve their customers at the whim of the IT leadership that hired them. Savvy channel leaders that realize this IT reality know that unless they provide immediate guidance on how to respond to customer inquiries every time there is a new development in their sector whatever business plan was agreed to at the beginning of the fiscal year won’t be worth the time and effort it took to create.
Because of these issues it’s clearly now incumbent on the channel organization to stay much closer to their channel partners. Not only should channel teams be setting up “war rooms” to counter the latest competitive threat, they need to make sure someone who has a relationship with the partner will deliver the message. Unfortunately, it’s prohibitively expensive for most channel organizations to set up that level of “channel concierge” information service on their own. That’s why channel teams from start up to mature vendor rely on Gorilla to manage not only partner enablement, but also make funded channel experts available at the disposal of their channel partners. Our seasoned experts make sure channel partners not only stay on plan, they make sure all the latest competitive intelligence is conveyed and, most critically, well understood.
These days there’s a lot of time and effort being put towards automating partner engagement. But as valuable as those investments might be, people still buy from people. If IT vendors are not able to maintain a personal touch when it comes to engaging channel partners, it’s only a matter of time before those relationships become more and more distant. We know all too well what inevitably occurs when partners feel neglected.
The rate at which new products are going to be brought to market is only going to accelerate. What seems incredibly fast today will seem quaint by comparison less than a year from now. IT vendors and channel partners alike recognize the opportunities always go to the ones most prepared for change. Channel organizations that proactively engage their partners will always enjoy higher returns from their investments in the channel. The challenge is finding the most cost-effective method for making those investments.
To learn more about driving channel ROI by establishing and, just as significantly, maintaining successful partner relationships we invite you visit us at http://www.gorillaict.com/contact. We think you’ll find that one simple digital interaction will be remembered as the beginning of what we can guarantee will be a much more rewarding relationship for all concerned.