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Amazon study identifies key channel sales trends

According to a recent study by Amazon Consulting, an increasing number of vendors are focusing on improving their channel sales skills. The company’s Fifth Annual State of Partnering Study surveyed 100 vendors in order to formulate insights pertaining to global IT vendor community’s priorities, challenges and spending plans.

In a recent article for eChannelLine, Amazon Consulting vice president Beth Vanni identified deal registration, sales rewards and similar programs as some of the offerings vendors use as channel incentives for partners. She also noted that many are sharing sales methodologies, playbooks and selling guides in an effort to provide partners with the ability to carry out effective pre-sales prospecting, as well as to sell business value to line-of-business decision makers.

“In last year’s study, [increasing sales competency] emerged for the first time as the number one vendor priority, which we think had a lot to do with the economy and the need to bolster top-line sales,” said Vanni. “But when it appeared this year as the number one channel enablement priority again, it seems clear that vendors have more work to do in this area.”

As channel partners become more aware, the guides being produced by vendors should aim to broaden their knowledge of industry-specific business processes, and align them around specific industry selling approaches, according to Vanni.

The staple of many formal channel programs is currently technical training and certification programs, which act as the basis for channel partners to earn recognition, rewards and support. Multi-product solution specialization programs have also facilitated this. However, writes Vanni, “many vendors with highly evolved technical certification programs realized these past two years that technical acumen does not necessarily translate to solid sales skills – especially when your suppliers are looking at you primarily to enter new markets, promote new solutions and expand their footprint.”

The study also identified vendors’ need to understand and direct partners’ business model evolution, and found that the majority would rather sell technology to services providers in order to build their own cloud services than deliver cloud services directly. As a result of the recent trend in cloud service delivery, service providers/carriers and managed services providers are becoming highly strategic partner sections after growing in importance among the vendor community for the past few years.