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Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 coronavirus global pandemic, the channel has had to step up to support each other through the current challenging times.
Vendors have relaxed the demands of their partner programmes, increased access to finance and, in some cases, opened up the market development funds (MDF) coffers to help with cash flow.
Distributors also have a role to play, and beyond working on keeping supply lines going, there are increasing efforts to deliver practical support for resellers.
Mukesh Gupta, chief executive and founder of security distributor e92plus, said that flexibility and adaptability were hallmarks of channel businesses and those attributes were needed now more than ever.
“We sit at the heart of the channel, pulling everything together – but when times are tough or the model changes, we’ve needed to be central to that too, so we can demonstrate value and help drive growth, rather than becoming a legacy business that just facilities orders,” he said.
“In the current climate, more than ever distribution has a clear role to play. It’s essential that the channel works in partnership, bringing together our skills and experience to help our customers get through a challenging situation. That’s not just about goodwill and a collaborative approach, but practical steps that make a difference to our businesses,” added Gupta.
He added that it had been able to respond to the numerous efforts made by vendors to offer free licenses to help users through the shift towards remote working in the lockdown.
“Technology can be key to that, and the way all of us have embraced remote working and collaboration solutions in such a short time has been fantastic, and without a doubt that couldn’t have happened without vendors, distributors and resellers helping organisations of all sizes respond so quickly,” he said.
Given the current pressure on finance,s the distributor is addressing that issue with its Project Finance initiative, which can help keep the wheels of commerce turning for partners.
“Practical help is exactly what many people need right now, and the most important one is to keep the finances moving,” added Gupta.
“For those partners, having a close relationship with their distributor can help get those bigger deals through, allow for flexibility and keep things going in difficult times. It’s not just about offering the biggest credit limits – it’s about building a relationship, understanding the business, and offering the right service without putting either partner at risk.
“That’s why we’re now offering a way of increasing cashflow immediately by advance payment of margin through our Project Finance service. Where projects are a little more challenging, or credit limits are stretched, we can not only help make those deals happen, but our partners no longer need to wait for their customers to pay – we’ll get that sorted for them in advance, without any charges or additional costs.
“We all know the difference that positive cashflow makes, and hopefully this will bring further confidence into our partner community that we can move forward together,” he said.
Like many in the channel looking to increase support, Gupta shared a sense that this is a real moment to show that relationships matter and mean something.
“It’s an example of where we all need to invest in those relationships, and double down on our partnerships – whether it’s marketing support to drive pipeline, or training and knowledge transfer through online workshops. If we do that together, we’ll not only survive but come out the other side even stronger,” he said.
Read more about channel MDF funding
- With the current challenges caused by Covid-19, Dell has made changes to its MDF programmes to make life easier for the channel.
- Cohesity and Pivot3 are revamping established channel partner programs, emphasising ease-of-doing-business, expanded financial incentives and MDF funds.