By MARK JONES
CHANNEL resellers find themselves in a precarious position. With mounting pressure to cut costs and inflation at an all-time high, vendors are liaising directly with distributors and customers.
Channel reselling — a strategy in which a parent company sells products via another company — is in the sights of those who want to “cut out the middle-man”.
Now is the time to rethink things — tech giants Google, Amazon and Salesforce recently laid-off 55,000 workers. There have been redundancies throughout the sector; firms such as 8×8, RingCentral and Avaya have also relied on layoffs to cut costs.
Do resellers still have a key role to play? Their expertise and knowledge are important to the channel supply chain — but they must position themselves as invaluable to both vendors and customers. The question is, how?
By expanding their portfolio with more value-added services, for a start. Customer demand has shifted from consumption-based to subscription models, and resellers must act on that. Businesses no longer want to be tied into long contracts.
Showcasing value as a one-stop-shop for technology solutions allows resellers to prove their worth to the channel. If a reseller can provide services in-line with the vendor they work with, their expertise is recognised.
It is vital to establish trust and engender collaboration between resellers, vendors, customers, and channel partners. But trust must be mutual. Resellers must showcase their knowledge, and results, to establish a stable relationship.
Collaboration allows resellers to expand their offerings in new sectors, and explore new customer bases and opportunities for growth. That, in turn, provides more customers and sales for vendors. A full overview of the channel supply chain, and streamlined processes, enhances the channel customer experience.
One-stop tech providers can go further by providing customers with a single channel partner. Mutual trust creates a channel partner network that can deliver a great customer experience. Collaboration lets resellers showcase their value, and enables vendors to sell to a wider audience. A strong working relationship makes it less likely that resellers will be seen merely as middle-men.
Customer demands are increasingly high and could pose a challenge for resellers if vendors choose to sell directly to customers. The duty is on resellers to provide a seamless customer experience. They can do that by building an agile workforce, using hybrid-working practices, and unified communication solutions.
Retaining customer loyalty is now vital. This year will probably pose fresh challenges, so aligning now will give you time to prepare to seize opportunities.
Mark Jones is head of channel (UK & Ireland) at Sangoma.