Properly structured, vendor specialization programs for communications agents, dealers and resellers are critical to taking channel initiatives to the next level. Thats according to Amazon Consultings new report, How Special Are Specializations?”
The California-based firm recently survey almost 400 solution providers, as well as 40 IT vendors, to gauge the importance of channel specialization programs to their business models. The findings were, perhaps, surprising. For example, 57 percent of solution providers who considered investing in a specialization curriculum chose not to once they understood all of the requirements.
As we looked at the barriers to specialization investment, it wasnt that surprising that the high cost and time requirements were the two key factors that kept solution providers away,” said Lee Wells, vice president of B2B client services for MarketStar, which helped Amazon Consulting survey respondents. Despite those barriers, most companies we talked to did perceive specializations as an effective way to differentiate their business.”
The reason partners shy away from specialization may highlight a disconnect with suppliers.
In general, solution providers investing in specializations are most interested in gaining higher profitability and market differentiation,” said Beth Vanni, vice president of Amazon Consulting. Vendors, however, continue to be most interested in increasing partner competency as a way to create end-user satisfaction.”
To that point, Amazon Consulting has compiled five key recommendations to help IT vendors attract more partners to their specialization programs.
Above all, partners and vendors both want and, arguably, need their specializations and certifications to produce return on investment.
Vendors perceive the value of leads much higher than the solution providers do,” said Vanni. In fact, the top three benefits most desired by solution providers had little to do with marketing or co-selling support.”
For now, about half of partners surveyed said they already hold between three and five specializations with their top four strategic IT vendors.