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Relationships between partners and vendors appear to be getting stronger, but the resellers are the ones choosing who to work with.
The latest Partner experience trends 2022 from CompTIA shows that the majority of those quizzed by the industry group described their vendor partnerships as very strong to strong.
CompTIA surveyed hundreds of US resellers, but the findings will echo on this side of the Atlantic, with many of the themes being familiar to those that operate in the UK channel.
But the survey also revealed that channel partners were being careful in choosing which vendors to work with, which meant those strong relationship were the result of considered decisions.
“Channel partners enjoy far greater choice of vendors to align with in a marketplace that has expanded in the cloud era,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis at CompTIA.
“Greater choice means greater chance to find the most optimal fit. Proactive vendors understand that they need to step up their game and optimise the experience for partners or watch them go elsewhere.”
There has been evidence that partners are prepared to drop vendors, with 60% of the channel reporting they had done so in the past two years, if their experiences were poor.
Partner experience is ranked as one of the top demands from the channel, with many stating that they are looking for a seamless experience with suppliers.
“Ease of doing business covers many facets of the relationship, from swift technical support responses to transparent pricing and compensation information to effective communications in general,” said April. “Each of these areas shows signs of improvement, but remain works in progress.”
Vendors are under pressure to ensure that the partner experience is good, but have to do that at a time when things are shifting to a subscription model. CompTIA found that close to 40% of partners quizzed were working with suppliers that were changing compensation models.
Vendor compensation remains a vital source of revenue for the channel, so there is a need for changes around that area to be handled sensitively.
The other challenge is that the shift to cloud services has meant that many partners look to vendors to supply even more technical support and a failure to provide that will also undermine relationships. The demand for training continues, with an expectation from partners that they will be able to tap into resources provided by their chosen suppliers.
The survey also found that despite the world moving online, the channel remains a people business and vendors need to make sure they know and work closely with partners, and vice-versa.
“Smart vendors are constantly looking for ways to proactively build partner interest and loyalty,” April added. “They realise that the personal touch still matters.”