(Pictured above, left to right: Moderator Lynn Haber, content director, IT channel, Channel Partners and Channel Futures; WTG’s Vince Bradley; Ingram Micro’s Jennifer Anaya; Intelisys’ Justin Marano; TeleDynamics’ Daniel Noworatzky; and Avant’s Ian Kieninger.)
CHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — Key master agents and technology distributors took to the Channel Partners Evolution keynote stage in Philadelphia Thursday to talk about the industry changes that are most impacting partners.
Technology, of course, is a significant one. Take WTG, for instance, which is starting to lead with IoT solutions.
“The customer’s needs have changed dramatically, and if you leave solutions on the table, we’re not going to do as much business,” WTG CEO Vince Bradley told the keynote audience.
Another is the approach channel-based businesses are taking to market. Jennifer Anaya, vice president of marketing with Ingram Micro, said she sees more and more traditional rivals cooperating with one another, citing an increasingly popular term.
“We look at ourselves as a business partner for the industry,” she said. “There’s a lot of ‘coopetition.’”
When asked where customers can derive value from their partner relationship, Justin Marano, vice president of sales – Northeast, Intelisys, homed in on the customer experience (CX).
“CX is the new battleground,” Marano said. “As our partners move up-market, the CRM conversation is becoming more prevalent. This is really about our partner’s customer’s customer.”
Marano cited the recent purchase of Canpango by ScanSource, Intelisys’ parent company, as an example of a strategy to carve out a new and growing practice area.
Consulting is becoming a huge play for distributors, noted Daniel Noworatzky, chief technology officer, TeleDynamics, the SIP and telecom distributor. He says it can be a challenge for many of the company’s partners to keep up with the rapid pace of change in technology.
“A lot of our partners have been in the field for many years selling systems or telecommunications … they aren’t the end-all-be-all for [knowledge about] technology changes,” he said. “The big change in distribution is in consulting, not just order taking.”
Customers with old technology – sometimes as old as 30 years – will have difficulty making a complete shift to cloud, so a distributor’s or partner’s consulting practice can help provide the expertise for the move to a hybrid solution, Noworatzky said.
Ian Kieninger, CEO of Avant, encouraged partners to take advantage of the training and tools that many masters and distributors now offer as part of their own evolutions.
“How do we prop up a partner to have more success in the field?” Kieninger posed. “We focus on sales enablement and market research, building tools to use in the field. [Whatever the product or service] … if we’re selling broomsticks, we can put it in our system, and have success with it.”