If your channel managers are trying to figure out what’s going on in channel sales by sifting through spreadsheets and various canned reports, chances are high your organization is being outmaneuvered at almost every turn in the channel. Why? Because digital business transformation in the channel starts with automation.
By the time your channel managers approximate a guess, rivals employing channel automation platforms have not only gained more accurate insights into their channel sales; they have already acted on that intelligence.
Think of it as trying to decide what to do next in a battle based on reports from the field that might be 24 hours or even weeks out of date. The enemy, meanwhile, not only has the latest accurate intelligence, but they also have an excellent idea as to when the most opportune time to exploit a rival’s weakness is most likely to present itself. It doesn’t take a data scientist crunching massive amounts of Big Data to figure out that product and services sales in a specific region or vertical market are hot or soft.
What’s needed is readily accessible information delivered via applications specifically tailored to enable channel managers to maximize those opportunities or, just as importantly, contain a potential disaster.
A lot of vendors are finally starting to recognize just how critical an issue this is – Forrester predicts the Through Channel Marketing Automation software market to grow to $1.18 billion by 2023, a compound annual growth rate of 25.2 percent.
The primary drivers behind those investments include:
- Reducing reliance on manual processes dependent on spreadsheets that are slow and often flawed
- Making it more straightforward for partners and distributors to do business in a way that accelerates time to revenue
- Gaining real-time visibility into channel offers that enable channel managers to make better business decisions, faster
- Improving market segmentation in critical regions and vertical markets
- Benefiting from enhanced Business Intelligence (BI) insights and demonstrate return on investment (ROI) in channel partners
What Channel Partners Want
But what most vendors fail to appreciate fully is the degree to which channel partners themselves are going to naturally gravitate to vendors capable of adroitly responding to changing business conditions. Channel partners are demanding vendors to be able to provide real-time actionable intelligence. Vendors that can’t offer this intelligence will soon find themselves unable to provide the level of “partner experience” required. The same emphasis that organizations today are putting on customer experience also applies to partners. Channel partners that consistently have a better experience working with one vendor versus another, are going to drive more business to that vendor. Improving that partner experience begins and ends with channel automation.
In fact, digital business transformation may be all the rage these days when it comes to buzzwords. But the fact is digital business transformation in the channel comes down to automation. Vendors that are unable to modernize channel processes will soon find themselves falling behind rivals. Before too long that gap will become too big to close. Once that happens, vendors will eventually be acquired for pennies on the dollar of their one-time value. Why? Because their channel became nothing less than antiquated.