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Forrester: Vendors say their channel partners are just average

Today’s blog is brought to you by the letter C.

C stands for “channel partner.” On a report card, it also stands for “average.”

And that’s appropriate, according to a new Forrester Research survey of 20 IT vendor channel execs. Because in this survey, these execs gave their channel partners fairly average marks.

The Forrester report, “Introducing Forrester’s Vendor Partner Program Benchmark Assessment Tool“, by Michael Speyer, contains a wealth of information about the IT channel and vendor-partner relationships. Today we’re focusing on this question: “Please rate your partner’s performance in the following sales and marketing activities.”

The channel execs gave ratings on a scale from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). Here’s what they said:

  • Deal registration participation: 3.3
  • Selling solutions as opposed to point products: 3.3
  • Conducting marketing activities: 3.1
  • Selling to business, not technology, decision-makers: 3.0
  • Taking advantage of vendors’ sales and marketing tools: 3.0
  • Nurturing and closing vendor-supplied leads: 2.7
  • Reporting the results of marketing campaigns: 2.3

It’s no surprise that deal registration tops the list, but 3.3 seems low. Deal registration is one of the biggest concerns for solution providers whenever a vendor changes its channel program or starts a new one. It helps prevent channel conflict, and it protects partners’ margins. For all the talk about it, you’d think more VARs would participate.

The other surprise is that channel partners do a below-average job closing vendor leads, according to these vendor execs. Lead generation is another hot topic among solution providers. So when a vendor does provide them leads, why aren’t VARs taking advantage?

It would be very intriguing to see how solution providers would rate themselves on this same survey. What do you think? Do these results really show that partners aren’t living up to their vendors’ expectations? Or do they show that vendors are out of touch with the work their partners do? Or maybe a little bit of both?

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