Building a channel pipeline

As 2013 draws to a close, channel partners are already strategising for the year ahead. But where do you want your business to be in 2014?

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Building a channel pipeline ((ITP Images))
By  Manda Banda Published  December 9, 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, channel partners are already strategising for the year ahead. But where do you want your business to be in 2014?

With the 2013 version of GITEX Technology Week behind us, I have been pondering about the agenda that most channel players highlighted at the week-long premier ICT event for the Middle East. The industry’s most elite players met to showcase their B2B offerings and to talk about what’s important and necessary to build the perfect channel pipeline over the next 12 months.

From all the partners I interacted with during the show, their major concern focused on the channel and pushing it towards a new business model designed to drive customer engagement, partner profitability and a new way of delivering computing power to businesses across the Middle East region.

As margins are being squeezed in every category of IT and the resulting pressure on the cost of doing business, there is need to have a deeper understanding of customers’ needs.

But in a market that is heavily dependent on PC hardware sales and everything that attaches to a PC, is it easy to build a sustainable business pipeline that leads to success when their is so much over competition? How do channel partners go about building the perfect business for the future?

First and foremost, resellers that focus on hardware sales need to know that while this business will not die, it won’t earn them double digit margins. The era when hardware earned your business higher margins is long gone. This means that building the perfect business pipeline for the future is going to be much different than in the past.

As we move towards a world that is rapidly embracing cloud-based models, suppliers, be they vendors or distributors, are making decisions as to what their own go-to-market strategy is. Will they be cloud builders, suppliers, enablers, brokers, or all four?

Of course, building the perfect channel business is biased. One partner’s aptness is another’s dislike. One thing is certain though and it’s something that was highlighted through the engaging discussions by companies that participated at this year’s ICT event. Channel partners and suppliers need to talk more and be willing to bend past business practices if they are to build the perfect channel business in 2014 and beyond. Knowing what to change, when to do so and why the need for change will be critical if stakeholders want to create the perfect channel in the Middle East.

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