Monday, 23 November 2009

Channel Marketing – Failing to Deliver?

As you know, I have been quite critical about the UC vendor’s Channel Marketing efforts over the last few months. Apparently, I’m not alone… Sam Trendall published the article, Vendors Failing to Equip Resellers in CRN, highlighting some key findings from a channel study conducted by consultancy Demuto:

  • Less than one in 10 VARs feel they have a "relevant account plan" with their vendors
  • Less than one in 10 claimed vendor marketing material was always suitable for use with clients.
  • Two-thirds of VARs claim they have no input into channel strategy.

Although this is very alarming data, the vendor’s have had the criticism coming for a while. During the summer I published the whitepaper, Unified Communication: Capturing the Growth Wave, where I criticized many of the UC vendors for how they managed and supported the channel during the economic downturn. I also came out swinging in the blog post, Who is speaking the language of the customer? Reviewing several of the vendor’s sales collateral or web sites at the time, it was clear that vendors weren’t paying attention to how the market had changed.

In August, I wrote a article about UC vendors needing to recruit and develop new sales channels. Surely, technology disruption and hard economic conditions had a negative impact on the indirect sales channels, yet nothing was really happening.

But there is progress as well... I’m actually seeing more Channel Marketing activity by several of the vendors now than just a couple of months ago. A few of them have launched a new and simplified version of their partner program and there has been a lot of recruitment activity. But, I’m still critical about the resources and efforts dedicated to developing new or key reselling partners. Vendors need to claim ownership for what their markets are and lead their indirect channel to it. The resellers will merely fulfill the demand.

What do you think, is Channel Marketing delivering enough value to the channel?

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