In Technology Channel, Size Is Relative
The technology channel is a powerful vehicle for indirect sales – if leveraged wisely. To do that, vendors need to gauge their channel and assess their channel strategies, rather than just pouring resources blindly into indirect-sales initiatives.
That was the topic of today’s Webinar, “Sizing Up the Channel,” led by Larry Walsh, CEO and chief analyst of The 2112 Group.
One of the most popular questions fielded by 2112 has to do with the size of the channel: Exactly how big is it? Although there are plenty of partners out there in the channel “universe” – up to 175,000 companies in North America alone, by some estimates – the size of the channel is very specific to each vendor. So the question that vendors should really be asking is “How big is my channel?”
To answer that question, a vendor has to do some legwork, and that involves asking some other questions. First of all, do you need a channel at all? If you’re looking to defray sales and operational costs, expand your market reach, and extend your service and support resources, you probably do. Does a channel already exist for your product or service? What do you want from partners? Do your customers currently buy through the channel?
Once you come up with answers, you can go about the business of defining your total addressable channel (TAC), identifying appropriate partners, and recruiting them. Vendors talk a lot about finding the “right” partners, and rightfully so, because it’s not the simplest thing to do. A partner’s skills, expertise, and performance need to be taken into consideration. In 2112 parlance, it’s all about a partner’s capabilities (raw skills), competencies (specialized expertise), and capacities (ability to execute, grow, and accept risk). Then there’s a partner’s location. To be a valuable asset, a partner needs to be where the end users are.
Perhaps most important of all, vendors need to differentiate between true partners and resellers. Partners work hand-in-hand with vendors and demonstrate high performance. Resellers tend to be opportunistic, and their performance, as a result, is less consistent.
Need help gauging the size of your channel? 2112 can help. Our experts can offer the assistance you need to develop channel strategies, profile partners, define market and channel dynamics, identify partner targets, create channel enablement programs, and measure partner effectiveness.
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Sizing Up the Channel
The technology channel is big. Just how big is a bit of a mystery. That’s no excuse for just assuming there are enough partners in the channel to handle your sales and support needs. Vendors need a reasonable approximation of the total number of available, qualified partners to take their brand, products, and services to market. Understanding your total addressable channel is critical for business planning, partner recruitment, setting sales goals, and measuring performance.
In this 2112 Group Webinar, Chief Analyst Larry Walsh will explain why sizing up the channel is important to vendors, talk about the value of partner segmentation, and provide tips and resources for calculating the total addressable channel.