…adopting and embracing newer technology. Because of this, they’re able to identify with the industry a bit more closely and organically grow within it. That’s not to say there isn’t space for those who have a lot of experience, but the younger generation will most certainly overtake the channel very soon, both as sellers and consumers.
Verma: I don’t think that’s entirely true. I think every industry ages out because there are pioneers in each that people strive to be like, and they start young to reach their goals. However, technology is an interesting space because we have younger entrepreneurs and pioneers than any other industry.
Dante White: I see that sales organizations are getting younger. However, the channel still remains on the older end of the spectrum. Typically, to become a channel manager you must have advanced sales and management experience. This presents a problem, since most channel organizations are out of touch with how people are incentivized and learn nowadays.
CP: What do companies in the channel need to do to become a more attractive place for the next generation?
White: Education is key here. I think many younger professionals are unaware of the channel. Setting up a solid career path for new hires would be a great way. It’s not that channel isn’t attractive; I think it’s the best-kept secret in professional careers.
Reynolds: To attract consumers: embrace change. Understand who your customer is and who your customer is going to be. A lot of revenue is going to be produced by the upcoming generation, and if companies don’t realize that, then they might as well close their doors. They need to not only stay on the edge when it comes to technology, but also the techniques they use to attract and retain the next generation. They tend to think and make buy decisions differently. Don’t take that as a hindrance, take it as an opportunity.
To attract employees: Understand that the stereotypes of the future generations are just that. People tend to shy away from things they don’t understand. Embrace it. There are some very valuable minds in the coming generation, capitalize on it. The archaic “9 to 5” mentality doesn’t necessarily appeal to the next generation of employees. Instead, they value experience and contributions, and they value making a positive change above all. If your company is rigidly structured in a way that doesn’t promote this, you will surely lose out.
Verma: I feel there is a gap in helping each other advance in our careers. As a business owner in the industry, I feel it would be beneficial to find a way to generate leads and build genuine relationships to help each other. I find there is very little interest or true follow-up at events because there is no initiative to help each other. Perhaps a referral program or eligibility to be a vendor for some of the partners would motivate people.
CP: As someone who has entered this industry relatively recently, what areas stand out to you as areas where vendors, partners, master agents and so forth can grow?
Leveston: Being in technology, it is naturally assumed that innovation is our DNA. When it comes to the technology we sell, market and create, that is true. However, many of the techniques are antiquated when it comes to how teams are managed, HR functions and education.
Reynolds: Make an attempt to understand the next generation, but don’t treat them as …