Coping with today’s marketplace disruption can be overwhelming and stressful to many channel partner business owners and their leadership teams. At the same time, it is equally if not more frustrating to their technology vendors, both manufacturers, and distributors, as they want their channels to sell new solutions. Dazed, confused and disoriented both parties have begun to realize that embracing these new solutions requires significant investment and changes to a channel partners’ business model to stay relevant.
Channel disorientation and lack of forward progress may best be summed up by the opening lyrics to John Lennon’s song “How.” Although it is a song above love, it starts with three basic emotional questions “How can I go forward when I don’t know which way I’m facing? How can I go forward when I don’t know which way to turn? How can I go forward into something I’m not sure of?” Albeit a topic for another day, a healthy channel operates when there is shared mutual passion. You may want to watch Ozzy Osburn’s tribute to John Lennon as he sings “How” as his look certainly epitomizes a sense of disorientation.
While well intentioned, today’s technology vendors often lack a basic understanding of their partner’s competencies and fail to empathize with their partner’s plight. Relying on technical certifications, customer satisfaction scores and purchase volumes to categorize and classify their partners, too few technology vendors possess a heat map of their channel’s competencies. It’s rare for a technology vendor to dedicate qualified resources to assist their partners in answering the above questions.
For Channel Partners it is time to get your bearings. Start with a critical look in the mirror and your core competencies. Competencies extend beyond a given knowledge and understanding of a product or solution. Below are six questions taken from the Cardinal Points L6®Methodology that you will want to answer before moving too far:
- What are your Company’s core competencies?
- How would you and your colleagues define your Company’s core competencies?
- How does your Company evaluate its core competencies?
- How often do you evaluate your Company’s core competencies?
- What process is in place for you to improve or add to your core competencies?
- How do you leverage your core competencies?
Having conducted countless partner transformation workshops globally, most partners have not properly defined their core competencies nor have they communicated them with their technology vendors, employees and or clients. Partners must take greater ownership of this issue and can download a complimentary copy of the L6®Methodology. This is step one in a partner’s quest for long-term relevance. Once defined partners should consider turning this into an essential marketing and communication tool.