Guest Blog: three channel trends you need to know

The IT channel is rapidly evolving. Gone are the days of a simple vendor-distributor-reseller route to market. There has been an explosion of partner types and go-to-market models in recent years, prompting an overhaul of how vendors engage with their channel partners.

Christine Horton, a channel journalist and content creator specialist at TechComms shares three teasers of trends to keep an eye on:

  • The explosion of the channel ecosystem

The growth of services – and of course the cloud – has changed the channel landscape forever.

Now the channel comprises distributors, resellers, Value-Add Resellers (VARs), Managed Service Providers (MSPs), System Integrators (SIs), and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) as well as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that carry other vendors’ tech embedded in their own.

Additionally, we are seeing the rise of the ‘shadow channel’, where non-traditional companies increasingly play a role in tech purchasing. For example, there has been a rise of non-transacting partners, often described as referral or ‘influencer’ partners.

  • Prioritising the partner experience (PX)

Channel partners today are surrounded by choice when it comes to vendors. So how can you, as a vendor, stand out from the pack? And how do you win valuable partner mindshare?

In the same way that companies claim that the customer experience (CX) is now a differentiator, more vendors are embracing the partner experience (PX), which places the partner at the heart of the relationship. It is a world away from the vendor-dictated model with which we’re all familiar.

  • Automation

The average partner works with between 7-12 vendors on average. And many are used to managing their compliance to programmes manually, relying on spreadsheets to juggle multiple vendor relationships and requirements.

But now both vendors and distributors are investing in automation to help reduce their and partners’ admin, as well as help partners stay compliant within their partner programme, see sales targets and better manage their performance. This level of personalisation also goes a long way to improving PX, as referenced above.

If you would like to discuss how to develop a PR strategy to target the channel, please contact TechComms, a b2b tech marketing and communications agency on + 44 (0) 203 322 8928.