The channel landscape has undergone tremendous changes. These changes range from the expansion of cloud computing services to increased demand to target midmarket segments. Vendors starting to realize the importance of the evolving landscape are finding themselves revisiting their channel strategy. A study conducted by CSO Insights in 2013 discovered that 42.9% of large technology companies considered revising their channel strategy as one of their top concerns. However, vendors hoping to quickly adapt to these changes are realizing it takes more than a few simple program modifications. In order to address the needs of the channel, vendors must take a closer look at their channel programs and carefully articulate the requirements to support, reach, and capitalize on new market opportunities.
For instance, diving into midmarket companies is easier said than done. While a majority of these businesses have the same goals and concerns as a large business, they maintain only a fraction of their staff and budget. This means that vendors must take a different approach to reach these companies than their enterprise counterparts. The new approach would entail the development of a cohesive and focused strategy while providing the appropriate partner support infrastructure that can accommodate this type of market opportunity. For obvious reasons, smaller channel partners typically cannot afford to invest in programs designed for the larger partners targeting the enterprise market. Smaller partners require simpler and more budget-friendly programs that offer key support for pre and post sales, sales training, business plans, and prioritized deals.
Paid advertising has always been a channel challenge. Due to its real-time nature and auction-based pricing model, vendors have traditionally strayed away from such fluctuating advertising expenditures. However, search engine marketing is not an opportunity to be overlooked. It is estimated that by 2016, paid search is expected to grow by 75% and become a $61.1 billion industry. Paid search boasts a wide range of benefits, the most promising capabilities lie in its ability to report on campaign ROI. managers should set up co-op/MDF parameters to address paid search requests and outline best practices for budget, cost-per-click, cost-per-acquisition, keywords, and landing page framework.
It comes as no surprise that cloud technology has shaped the way businesses and individuals operate. Cloud computing has created a gap between channel partners whom we tend to classify as “innovators” and “laggers.” Innovators leap at the prospect of cloud technology and are readily available to incorporate it into their business plan while laggers follow the route of tradition. The new trend, however, dubbed cloud hybridization has effectively reduced the gap between the two sides by providing cloud services marketed to different verticals, making it simple for traditional businesses to adopt the cloud.
Regardless of what the future has in store for the channel, businesses need to be able to adapt to the changes that lie in their path.
If you forsee any other events happening in the channel, leave a comment below.