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Nuzoo blog: Vendors – how are attractive are you to partners?

We talk quite regularly here about the importance of the partner experience (PX). That’s because it is cropping up more and more in the conversations we have with channel execs.

We all know about the importance of the customer experience (CX) these days. This is especially true during Covid, where consumers are embracing new ways to communicate, interact with, and buy from, the brands they love. Importantly, as customers, we’ve also never had more choice as to with whom we spend out money.

The same applies to channel partners. There are thousands of vendors right now looking to recruit partners – and as such, these partners are inundated with choice as to with whom they work. This has meant that vendors are forced to sell themselves to potential partners in a different way than they have before. For the first time we are seeing a shifting power dynamic where vendors have to put the needs of the partner first.

This is where the focus on the partner experience comes in. Partners are primarily interested in the ease of doing business with a vendor and the support they receive in bringing their solutions to market. Vendors – and distributors – are trying to ensure their engagement with partners is as ‘frictionless’ as possible.

Do the heavy lifting

But what made us think of PX again this week were the comments made by one cybersecurity vendor. Matt Halsey, VP EMEA of email security company Cyren said he believes that vendors still aren’t doing enough to make themselves attractive to channel partners. (This is particularly true in cybersecurity firms, he said.)

Halsey’s view is that vendors should do the heavy lifting in sales and support. The channel’s role is simply to build and maintain solid customer relationships.

“Traditionally a vendor would see a partner as an extension of their salesforce,” he told Channel Futures. “I feel that’s flipped on its head a bit. We’re saying to partners that ‘we’re an extension of your salesforce’. Because we’re here to support you at an end user level, a technical level, a marketing level.”

The channel is vital as the company’s route to market, said Halsey. He believes customers are increasingly turning to channel partners to navigate the “overwhelming” choice of security products on the market.

“So, we now have to go as a vendor to the channel. We have to differentiate ourselves and make ourselves more attractive to those partners, to get them to listen to us.”

PX is crucial to achieving this. We know every partner is different, so why do we still see a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the channel?

“The heartbeat of any channel is the organisations and people who operate within it,” noted one Channel Pro article earlier this month. “Vendors that are embracing a positive channel culture and actively investing to deliver a positive partner experience are pulling ahead of the market. The power of partners can no longer be overlooked. They are at the forefront of software as a service (SaaS) transactions and have a deep understanding of customers’ needs. You should therefore place them at the centre of channel strategy, rather than making them a secondary consideration.”

This applies to every aspect of engagement – from onboarding to incentives to MDF. As a vendor you should be looking to make it was easy as possible to work with you. Pure Channels has written about this if you’re interested in finding out more.)

Until next week.

Author: Christine Horton

Publish Date: 30/07/2021 14:47

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