V. Yakobchuk - Fotolia
Vendor's put great stock in their channel partner programmes with many going to great pains to make sure they are rewarding for resellers to sign up for.
But according to Canalys the importance of those programmes has dipped over the past couple of years, with many resellers complaining that they are lacking relevance.
In a survey of channel members of its Candefero community Canalys found that 77% of those asked last month rated partner programmes as important, when evaluating vendor relationships, which was down from 94% in 2016.
The findings will be uncomfortable reading for channel managers at vendors who are responsible for devising schemes that reward and inspire loyalty from partners.
“Increasingly, the ball is in the channel’s court,” said Alex Smith, senior director of channels research at Canalys. “Partners have more levers to pull. They can provide more of their own services or make new technology vendor partnerships to fulfill specific opportunities. Meanwhile, vendors often change programs to reflect changes in partner business models and to spur loyalty, but such changes can have the unintended consequence of increasing complexity, leading to frustration.”
When the analyst house drilled down into the specific issues that partners were facing the top complaint was around a lack of consistency.
Despite the constant mantra from vendors that they are trying to make life easier for partners issues around complexity in achieving certifications and specialisations were also causing headaches.
Discount and rebate programmes were also proving to be far from simple for a segment of the partner base with complaints coming around that area.
Other concerns voiced by the channel were that programmes signed up too many partners and there was too much administration and form filling.
The advice from Canalys was for vendors to make sure that their programmes were able to cater for a wide spectrum of partner needs.
“They must continue developing programs to remain relevant to their partners’ evolving businesses, while also minimizing the level of disruption and frustration that changes often create," said Canalys analyst Sharon Hiu.
“Vendors must take action, such as investing in stronger digital tools, including integrated automation and AI-enabled capabilities, to help reduce partners’ manual administration work. Partner managers must also become more empowered and offer personalized support for individual partner needs. The channel is pressuring vendors to do just this," she added.