Most resellers and integrators want vendors to assist in the sales process when creating a business case for customers and chasing big deals, according to exclusive research conducted by Channel Enablers in conjunction with CRN.
The survey found that 73 percent of VARs, system integrators and network integrators who responded, required vendors to be involved in the process of chasing big contracts. Further, 72 percent wanted vendors to be involved when they were creating a business case for a customer.
The results were indicative of the requirement for vendors to do a better job of assisting channel partners develop their skill sets, sales processes and general management skills, said Peter Thatcher, a director at Channel Enablers. 'I think the vendors need to do a better job in certain areas,' he said, adding that the research indicated that there haven't been 'clearly defined' roles and responsibilities set out by vendors and their channel partners.
'There are some vendors who are doing this and leading the pack and the majority of partners want it [sales assistance],' he said.
Vendors are engaging channel partners more than ever before, which creates a problem, he said. 'There's a finite number of good quality partners out there,' he said. Vendors must decide whether to 'fight over' the Tier 1 resellers or up-skill the Tier 2s and Tier 3s,' he said.
These Tier 2 and Tier 3 channel partners don't necessarily have the top level sales management skills or the budgets to bring the high quality people on board, Thatcher said.
VARs that responded to the survey, rated the 'big deal process' as their number one sales competency area with the majority expecting vendors to be involved in developing this competency. More than half (53 percent) said they sell highly customised solutions with each sale required to be individually tailored to customer needs. Fifty three percent sold to companies with between 100 and 499 employees with the sales cycle taking one to three months.
Resellers and integrators couldn't afford long sales cycles but it was a Catch-22 situation because sales are complex but the cost of sale must be low to ensure profitability. 'Cash flow constraints push them [resellers] down to take smaller orders but they want big deals aswell, said Phil Moon, VP at Channel Enablers.
Moon said that partners need the skills and tools to consult at senior levels. 'It's exactly the same challenge that vendor's direct sales teams face when chasing Tier 1 accounts. This kind of selling may not come naturally to these people [channel partners],' he said.
When it came to training and channel programs, resellers and integrators were reluctant to complete paperwork but would use the right sales tools. 'They're not going to complete paperwork,' he said, adding that vendors need to put in place predictive metrics that match desired partner behaviour.