What resellers, vendors and customers really think of each other

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This article appeared in the April 2016 issue of CRN magazine.

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What resellers, vendors and customers really think of each other

When looking at channel relationships, it’s easy to focus on the problems – the conflict, misalignments, and competing agendas. So it was heartening to dissect the findings of CRN’s wide-ranging 'Channel 360' research into industry relationships and discover that, on the whole, vendors and channel partners are largely in sync.

Our online survey attracted more than 500 responses from business leaders, IT solutions providers, vendors and end-user organisations.

The 'Channel 360' research, which we revealed at CRN Pipeline summits in Sydney and Melbourne, paints a relatively upbeat picture of the trading climate and relationships in Australian IT. Among resellers and vendors who took part, roughly 80 percent said they were feeling positive about the year ahead.

Not only is the channel optimistic about the market, they’re pretty chummy too. Among the nearly 300 channel partners who took the survey, 70 percent were positive about their vendor relationships, versus 23 percent who were neutral and just 7 percent negative. Vendors were even more cheerful, with 72 percent positive about their relationships with channel partners, another 24 percent neutral and only 4 percent negative.

But of course, it’s wasn’t all rosy. The research also pinpointed clear differences and there’s no points for guessing the top thing  resellers would like vendors to stop doing – dealing direct. So what is the No.1 thing resellers want vendors to do more? If you guessed leads, you’re wrong. Yes, channel partners told us lead-generation was important, but the biggest request by a fair distance was simple – better engagement and more respect.

Some 70 percent of resellers told us vendors were appointing too many partners. They’re out of luck, it seems, because 65 percent of vendors told us they expected to appoint more partners over the next 12 months.

Relationships between vendors and resellers are important, but we all know the most important person is the customer. So what do end-user organisations want from their IT providers? The answer is to listen more,  engage better, be proactive and, most importantly, show you understand their business. Customers said they want IT suppliers to stop the hard sell – they are tired of providers trying to flog products they don’t need.

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