Going Global: How to nurture partner relationships across the pond
The past year has seen many industries navigate a multitude of challenges and shifts to remain operational. However, as we emerge from a post-pandemic landscape, it’s time for organisations to gather their bearings and analyse how their business has fared over the past year and what long-term implications the global lockdown could have had on them.
For those operating within the channel, this analysis can be considered an even more crucial step to enable them to move into a post-COVID reality. They need to consider their individual needs as a business and consider the current state of their partner network and what they could be doing to bolster it.
Success in the channel
Channel partnerships have long been a strategy that many businesses have utilised to expand and enter new markets. Despite a tumultuous and uncertain year, many international partnerships have remained strong across verticals that operate within the channel. Most notably, the industries that enabled the global workforce to operate remotely have been among the fastest growing.
No matter where you sit within the channel, 2020 has highlighted the need for robust and resilient partner relationships with all parties experiencing their own unique set of challenges and setbacks.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, you would often find that partners criticised vendors for not doing enough. At this critical point in time, many understood that following that path would be detrimental. “How can we help?” became a mantra, as vendors recognised that this was a serious moment.
Research by Kaspersky shows that nearly seven out of 10 resellers and distributors would like better relationships with vendors. The same research found that 56% of resellers and distributors felt isolated if there is a lack of communication from their vendors, while 65% say they are finding it increasingly difficult to build substantial relationships with their vendors.
One of the best ways for channel partners to continue to thrive and build strong relationships is through networking, and while our traditional forms of networking are temporarily on hold, there are still ways we can circumvent this and build rapport remotely, making full use of dedicated communication channels to prevent the issues disclosed in Kaspersky’s research from becoming more widespread.
A benefit presented by tools used to communicate remotely was that they facilitated channel leaders to keep conversations flowing with their partners. The flexibility offered by the various communication channels ensures that leaders can share with partners far more readily and this has been seen as a major positive.
The widespread risks which companies now face on a global scale are increasing as new advanced technologies, such as automation-based tech, are rapidly reshaping the way businesses work. Automation perhaps represents the area with the most opportunity for expansion within the channel. Many leaders and alliances are looking at new ways to incorporate and integrate automation into their operations, people and technology.
The channel will no doubt incorporate these developments further and other initiatives such as edge technology as it is vital for successful channel relations for it to be constantly embracing these innovations.
As more workloads are moved to the cloud and companies invest in cloud applications, there will be a need to keep technology and data sprawl in check. This is for efficiency and cost control and ensuring proper data governance, regulatory compliance, and monitoring of technology use throughout the company.
The adoption of automation will be important as it allows organisations to keep up with the growth in technology without adding to their workforce at the same pace. Automation will allow organisations to reduce manual work, deliver reports and projects in a rapid fashion.
In a turbulent 18 months for many sectors, the channel has managed to adapt to maintain a firm footing. Building and maintaining relationships will be important to continue to build momentum and prevent the sector from derailing. Embracing innovation is one way to nurture existing relationships and continue to adapt our forms of collaboration. Automation presents an exciting opportunity to help drive the channel’s future as it looks to continue its forward trajectory.