By Poonam Mondal
Mumbai: Channel partner networks plays a crucial role in connecting brands to users while helping organizations build a business through consistent revenue growth. However, if vendors and manufacturers do not adhere to some basic practices, things may change for the worse, given that customers are increasingly expecting better and faster service with virtually no downtime.
Docebo, the learning management system providers for corporate learning, claims that even though 80% of companies utilize partner channels for some portion of their revenue, 65% of CMOs report feeling overwhelmed in managing these growing networks.
In their latest report titled “Powering Partner Performance Through Channel Training” , they explore challenges in enabling channel partners and provides a number of solutions meant to increase the likelihood of a profitable partnership.
Channels members have their own difficulties as well, often struggling with brand selection, fixing product price and a host of other problems which holding the partner back. To enlighten the difficulties Channel Times discussed some of the problems with our partners:
Fixing Product Price Throughout Channel Industry
A major challenge across the entire channel industry is to find ways to keep prices fixed across some product portfolios, given that this creates a lot of confusion amongst dealers and customers. Says, Pankaj Jain, CEO of ERUS IT, “The anti-virus providers has many players with differing price range that falls below Rs.100 and goes above Rs.2000. Clients are confused about which product to buy and at what price point.” Consistency in the price among the channel partners will enhance the partners relationship with clients which will again help the brands to grow big, he feels.
Background Check of Brands
Often partiers find it tough to locate the right brand selling the right product with clearly defined industry standards. “Channel partners also come across new brand every now and then. It is 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,”Jain said.
Proper Training And Knowledge Of The Product
In fact, channel partners across the world have concerns over vendors capability to provide training and enhancement to their teams that allows adequate product representation. “If you give us the product and and deploy it yourself, customer stickiness will go away from the partner. So, in order to earn revenues and fuel growth, the partners too require enhance their professional abilities in the deployment avenues,” says Kartik Sahani, Director of RSA, the security division of EMC.
In this context RSA plays a safe game by asking partners to sell and deploy with support coming from the company in the latter part as some sort of a safety net. We believe in keeping limited partners - now we have six core partners - and lots of resellers who are trained in customer support so that the end consumer gets a far better experience, he says.
In any business consumers are the ones who help build the business but the challenge that channel partners face is to reach them and then retain them. Market reality of the day is that consumers now get enough and more information on price and product quality - both from partners as well as from online resources such as price comparison platforms. Every channel partner believes that they provide the best of solutions to customers to retain stickiness.
Rahul Kumar, the country head of WinMagic, says his organizations plays closely with tier-2 tier-1 partners who examine the quality of the products and the price points. This, in turn, helps the channel partners resolve the positioning with the customers.
Managing Partner’s Channel
On its part, the Docebo report states that managing partner channels across the globe could be a tough and expensive proposition. For enterprises to stay on top, channel partners need grow and generate leads, registrations etc. To ensure that this happens, emphasis needs to be put on training and maintaining other aspects of this relationship including having means to track training and its impact.
K.L lalani, President of the Confederation of Indian IT Associations believes that communication gap between partners creates lot of hindrances in business as well as industry growth. Our strategy is to remove communication gap between vendors & channel community, to talk about channel community interest, problem, to reach at mutually beneficial conclusions & to represent state government and other appropriate platform.
Many companies experience the pains when managing a partner channel and trying to grow their channel network. There are other challenges that partners face from implementing business transformation to planning business model, but to bring the next wave of IT partners, vendors and enterprises will need to thrive and conquer the digital peak to meet the new age customer demands.