The evolving business models of tech vendors are making it a priority to create positive experiences for channel partners. This is possibly due to the global pandemic and may have been accelerated by the recent 9th State of the Channel research report. Learn more during ChannelCon Online 2021. Tech companies invest a lot of money, time, and focus on improving the customer experience. This notion is now extended to the relationship between vendors, their partners, and their customers.
According to CompTIA’s 9th State of the Channel research report, the shift is likely due to changing business models. Carolyn April, senior director for industry analysis at CompTIA will discuss the topic and other findings during a ChannelCon 2020 Online session titled “Are you Experienced?” How CX and X are Keys to Future Success
April stated that vendor relationships are changing quite dramatically, from buying to recruitment to support to ongoing management, during a Volley podcast. “Vendors used to hold all the cards. Cloud and new business models have made it possible to separate vendors and products from customers who are simply trying to solve a business problem. They are not saying, “I want to purchase X vendor’s product.” Vendors have to offer better service to partners who are more selective about who they want as their partner. Partners expect good tech support and easy communication.
This shift is evident in the State of the Channel. Channel companies reported a 74% net customer satisfaction rate to their vendor partners, a number that was historically well above 80.
April stated that “It’s still great, but it’s a decline.” “I wonder if vendors are giving partners different things they want. She suggested that if they aren’t getting that, they might look at other vendors. “Business model changes are important because it impacts how partners are paid and what they value in a partner program. Vendors are changing, but it can be difficult to restructure a partner program and appeal effectively to profitable partners.
Cautionary optimism prevails, so does channel relevance
According to State of the Channel findings released in April, channel partners are cautiously optimistic about their business prospects for 2021 and 2022.
“Companies are too afraid to predict the future. These channel companies are often small and sell to small customers. She said that those were the ones with the greatest negative impact from COVID. “There are pockets of upside. Some MSPs saw opportunities in the rush for remote work.
A plurality of partners still consider the channel relevant, noting that the business is becoming less product-centric, and more towards consulting and other services.
“This is because we live in the cloud era, where customers can purchase directly online. April stated that channel partners are often called in to assist customers once a product or service has been purchased or considered. It’s not about selling something; it’s about selling yourself to implement or deploy the product or service that the customer has chosen. Companies that realize this are more likely to succeed.
IT is the Biggest Vertical Opportunity – and Challenge
The State of the Channel research into potential vertical market opportunities has not changed much from year to year. April stated that the IT industry was the top vertical where channel companies see most opportunity. However, it was also the most difficult vertical to gain traction in.
The appeal of approaching the IT industry to sell is partly because it’s familiar. April said that this is in contrast to non-core vertical markets like health care, which may require more education and training to learn the market and the challenges faced.
“It is difficult to dive into a vertical at a high or deep level for a lot of SPs and MSPs. It takes a lot training. It is important to speak to all of these companies,” she stated. “There are a million niche applications that can be applied to manufacturing and retail, and you need to get up-to-speed to them. Each industry has its own unique quirks. Selling to the IT industry is possible because of our familiarity.

Are you not yet registered for ChannelCon? Register now for ChannelCon and get access to the complete agenda, including the in-person receptions as well as our solutions showcase!