How to Build a Better Channel Together

Key elements are clearly defined processes, dedicated resources and standardization on what success looks like.

June 20, 2023

4 Min Read
How to Build a Better Channel Together

By Frank Colletti


Frank Colletti

The channel partnership model is a power play for managed service providers. It helps them grow faster and more profitably by introducing new expertise, expanding on existing capabilities and building scale without adding an overload of operational expense. Can the same be said for technology vendors? Absolutely.

The business case for B2B hardware and software companies tapping into distribution and vendor alliances to get closer to their channel partners — new and existing — and expand their business reach and relevance has never been clearer. We need each other. No single vendor can do it all. Like the MSP’s formula for success at scale, channel partnerships will continue to play a pivotal role for us now and in the future.

The volume of technology mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is dominating headlines with nearly 156 being tracked to date in 2023, and more than 1,000 in 2022. There’s no denying it. M&A is creating powerhouse MSPs. It’s also causing some growing pains, but when you look broadly and deeply, there’s really no shortage of success being brokered less formally and shared silently within the IT channel. I’m talking about peer-to-peer relationships — good old handshakes — for teaming up on skills to scale; and closely aligned VAR-to-vendor ties for transformative technology, as well as more MSP-to-distributor business deals introducing more solution-selling and financial flexibility. When you tune in, the action is happening everywhere and the why is easy to see: the more we collaborate, the faster we grow together.

Market Partnerships Taking Leadership Position

With so much emphasis on the experience, we see the power of go-to-market partnerships taking an earned leadership position within the IT channel ecosystem in 2023 and beyond. I believe technology distribution will rise above, standing tall as a catalyst to growth, delivering greater value including market knowledge and bringing a more localized, personal touch to the experience.

Perspective and research from the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) echoes this energy. At its 2023 North America Summit, GTDC shared how and why technology distributors are transitioning to “ecosystem orchestrators” and using data to drive insights and business outcomes, as well as investing in digital platforms and marketplaces to speed the sales cycles through increased visibility, engagement, and ease of doing business. GTDC CEO Frank Vitagliano noted distributors are “empowering channel vendors and partners with greater capabilities and enablement opportunities to strengthen transactions with their customers.”

Sustainable Success

The takeaways are clear: The health of the channel is increasingly important, and the role distribution plays in our success is growing, not shrinking.

For those tasked with defining their direct and indirect sales strategies, consider this:

  • The importance of local and global representation that distribution brings to a diverse economy, especially around 24/7 support, local language and inclusion.

  • The ability to put these relationships to work for your customers and your own business extends your reach further and faster than you could do on your own or by simply sourcing additional talent.

  • And, as importantly, the growth potential of those channel members and vendors who partner, versus simply participating in the distribution channel, is evident.

I’m not talking peaks and valleys of wins and losses. When done right, a great channel breeds sustainable success. Look at your iconic tech leaders, including Amazon, Cisco, and Microsoft, to essential players including RMM and security providers, as well as top emerging brands in the categories of AI, data and IoT. A common thread among many of us: We leverage and invest in our channel.

The value of building lasting partnerships within the IT channel ecosystem is essential to growth. While many contemplate and consolidate their distribution strategy, we’re advocating for scale with service and are evolving and growing our ecosystem. As you develop and refine your growth strategy, look closely at how you’re collaborating with others and ensure they share in your view of what success looks like. Doing so will help you scale faster and create more value for your team members and your partners locally and globally.

Discipline Needed

Does it require discipline? Yes. Clearly defined processes, workflows, dedicated resources and standardization on what success looks like and how it can be achieved are nonnegotiable to make this work.

Optimization and profitably are critical in any economy, especially one with uncertainty and headwinds that include talent gaps, complexity and security. By working together as collaborative ecosystem the channel will continue to grow and gain momentum through partnership.

Frank Colletti is executive vice president of worldwide sales at N-able. He previously was senior VP of worldwide sales at SolarWinds. He has a bachelor’s in finance and marketing from the University of Ottawa. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @Nable on Twitter.

Read more about:

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like