Channel players must trust in transparency
Noman Qadir, director, Channels, Middle East and Africa at Citrix discusses the current market upturn and why channel partners need to have solid alliances with vendors based on principle and limpidity.
The recession that started in 2007 has proved to be a challenging time for the channel and vendors alike. However, IT spending is once again on the rise and customers are looking for solutions that can assist in creating better efficiencies. Across many businesses, every element of the organisation has been subjected to review, and the relationship a reseller or partner has with a vendor has been subject to scrutiny.
For channel partner businesses to grow, and grow sustainably, they need to ensure the relationships that they have with vendors are strong and stable. As these relationships are so valuable to both parties, it should be as transparent as possible with vendors responsible for codifying this in a clear reward structure. Once in place, all partners know where they stand and can work more effectively with vendors to drive sales and growth for all concerned.
Having a clear and transparent rewards structure helps create a level playing field among partners and resellers, ensuring each is treated fairly based on the amount of work they do. With global IT spending set to increase by 4.1% in 2014 according to analyst and research firm Gartner, there are considerable opportunities on the horizon for the channel. This needs to be managed as transparently as possible so that the rewards are distributed fairly and to ensure everyone experiences growth.
In my experience at Citrix, there are a few key considerations that vendors have to pay heed to in order to establish and maintain a transparent relationship:
Listen to partners: An obvious suggestion, but a necessary one. Vendors need to spend time listening and truly understanding their reseller partners needs in order to develop appropriate incentive structures. Different businesses have different needs and different motivations, so these all need to be taken into account when developing an appropriate structure that all can benefit from.
For vendors, providing clear and genuine incentives is not only a necessity, but should be at the core of their channel schemes and programmes to resellers. Vendors need to ensure the partners they work with have clear rebate and incentive structures that benefit both businesses. This means recognising some benefits are of more value than others and increased sales should be recognised with increased benefits. This is widely recognised throughout the IT industry through the use of different partner levels, but these need to be based on merit not on relationships or other factors.
Another aspect worth noting is that vendors need to be prepared to evolve partner structures. No partner structure will be fit for purpose for ever. They have to evolve and adapt as both partner needs and the market changes. The only way this can be done effectively is by having conversations with partners and recognising when changes are of benefit to both parties.
Aside from transparency, ensuring consistency in your rewards structure to resellers is crucial. Vendors need to be clear and consistent in how they run their incentive schemes. In doing so expectations are set for both parties and the vendor is seen more credibly by its partners.
With considerable growth opportunities on the horizon, vendors and partners need to ensure they have strong and stable relationships in place so they can both reap the rewards. Transparency is key to this and those channel relationships that are open and honest are the ones that are likely to last in the long term.
Noman Qadir is the director, Channels, Middle East and Africa at desktop virtualisation solutions vendor Citrix. The views expressed in this article are Handley’s own opinions and not necessarily those of Channel Middle East magazine.