Given the disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to businesses globally , the first step for channel partners to do as they go about developing and mastering their art of selling should be to ensure they are aligned to the customers priorities . Partners should also be looking to maximise what has previously been sold to their customers , ensure the customer is receiving the value they expected . Was the customer ’ s business case met , are there other business pain points that the solution can address or new features that could be activated leveraging the foundation of what
HAYWARD ROSE , CHANNEL LEAD , CISCO
was already sold . What is the utilisation of the deployed solution , what barriers to solution adoption exist and how could the partner help the customer address them ? Would the customer renew the solution licences today if asked ? Having a life cycle approach to a customer will uncover hidden opportunities and secure renewals which will build the sales pipeline .
One of the skills a partner would need would be the ability to create actions from data , review what has been sold , understand where the gaps are , architect a solution leveraging the install base . Software and programmability skills are also key . In addition , the ability to leverage product APIs to perform integrations and automate processes .
Vendors and Distributors have a role to play in this and they can work with reseller partners to better understand how products they have sold into a customer can be linked together to create a business outcome . What telemetry is available to
Customers want to understand which partners have the required skills and the ability to partner with them on their transformation journey . measure the usage of the solutions they have sold ? Guiding the partner on the best path to build the required skills as well as provide assistance with customer proof of values goes a long way in building some mastery in channel sells .
Partners on the other hand , can differentiate themselves in a number of ways by selling packaged solutions made up of not just hardware and software but their services as well . This creates the business outcome as opposed to just a product . As pointed out earlier , having programmability and automation skills is another as they are able to leverage the advanced capabilities of products they sell to their customer , and this means they can integrate products with other software applications which would enable a customer to achieve a business outcome or automate tasks which can reduce the risk of failures due to finger errors .
What we are seeing from a standpoint is growth across most industry verticals and the channel partners that are succeeding the most are those with specific industry knowledge , who are engaging the lines of business within their chosen verticals and building momentum from there .
Looking ahead , partner capability aligned to customer demand will be critical and alignment will ensure the growth of channel sales . Customers want to understand which partners have the required skills and the ability to partner with them on their transformation journey . The way in which a vendor partner programme verifies and supports the partner in building the required capability is also key .