New research from CompTIA shows that relationships between technology vendors and their channel partners are strong even as they work through issues related to compensation, communication and technical support.
The study revealed that two-thirds of IT businesses surveyed for CompTIA’s Partner Experience Trends 2022 report characterize their current vendor partnerships as “very strong, growing in engagement” or “strong, steady in engagement.”
CompTIA’s report focuses on Partner Experience (PX) and defines it as “the totality of your engagement with a technology vendor, from recruitment and/or search to onboarding to support and ongoing communications/ease of doing business.”
Partners aren’t just looking for any company to work with anymore. Thirty five per cent of channel firms said that they will only work with vendors that offer a seamless PX. Additionally, 57 per cent said solid PX is important enough that they will accept only slight deficiencies in it even from a vendor partner they are generating revenue from. Only nine per cent believe PX isn’t super important when choosing vendor partners.
Over the past two years, 50 per cent of channel firms have dropped a vendor due to poor PX practices.
Effective vendor communication is another expectation of channel partners. Eight in ten respondents said it would be a significant or moderate priority. Vendors have responded by offering diversified forms of communications across multiple channels, social media, video, and gamification.
To align with the changing market and cater to channel firms, vendors are altering other aspects of their partner programs. According to the study, this could include adjusting compensation and benefits programs, redesigning the way they find partners, and adding training around consultative selling.
Focusing on cloud-based and services-oriented work has raised expectations among channel partners for technical support from vendors that’s readily available, easy to access, and robust in answers and solutions. Nine in 10 partners say a vendor’s technical support process is a significant or moderate priority for them.
The report noted that factors such as reliance on services dollars for revenue and profit, the desire to align with vendors that offer newer technologies, and the shift to the cloud and a subscription-based as-a-service business model has stopped partners from working with the same mix of vendors without evaluation and assessment to determine if the vendor is the right fit.
“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 optimize the experience for partners or watch them go elsewhere.”