In a recent survey of its global partner community, Enterasys Networks Inc. found that one in three North American partners and one quarter of partners globally had fired a vendor in the past 12 months.
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About half of the 170 partner respondents that had fired a vendor cited lack of trust as the No. 1 reason for the relationship breakup. According to the channel research, the other top two reasons for parting ways with a vendor were poor service and support, cited by 36% of respondents; and unshared business goals or go-to-market plans, cited by 27%.
"Clearly, it's not enough anymore for manufacturers to provide products that a partner can make margins on. They're looking for manufacturers that have similar business goals that they can align a business model behind," said Bob Noel, director of global channel and field marketing at Enterasys, in response to the go-to-market sentiment.
According to Noel, Enterasys, which has 700 active partners worldwide, conducts annual channel research among its partners as a measure of its standing with its partners and to benchmark itself in the industry. Some questions on the survey are carried over from previous years and others are new -- like the question about firing a vendor.
Anecdotally, the global channel executive said he's hearing more partners talk about walking away from a vendor partner, leading him to believe that it's becoming more competitive for all manufacturers to recruit new partners.
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"There was a time when it seemed like the power was with the manufacturer, who dictated that if you want to sell my product, you do it my way," Noel said. Not anymore. "Today, our partners tell us that one of the top trends for 2013 is selling integrated solutions -- 60% -- so they're more selective with whom they work with, looking for manufacturers who make it easier to integrate their solutions into a customer's ecosystem," he said.
Some other challenges with vendors that survey respondents mentioned were a lack of leads, cited by 43% of respondents; too much competition in the channel, cited by 34%; and poor service and support, cited by 31%.
The top three channel business trends for 2013 that rose to the top in the Enterasys survey were selling integrated solutions, cited by 60%; adopting new business models, cited by 20%; and industry specialization, cited by 9%.
The top three channel technology trends for 2013: Supporting BYOD, cited by 74%; and supporting mobility and cloud, each garnering a 60% response.