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CompTIA Research: Partner-Vendor Relationships Can Make or Break

Relationships seem to be strong and growing, amid a changing landscape and increasing expectations.

Allison Francis

August 17, 2022

3 Min Read
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Market shifts and changing expectations keep partner programs continually evolving, new CompTIA research reveals. Relationships between technology vendors and the partners they rely on to deliver products and services to business customers are on firm footing. However, both sides acknowledge that they have things to resolve.

According to the research, “Partner Experience Trends 2022,” two-thirds of channel partners say their relationships with vendors are solid and strong. However, one-half of channel firms have dropped a vendor partner in the last two years due to poor experiences.

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CompTIA’s Carolyn April

“Channel partners enjoy far greater choice of vendors to align with in a marketplace that has expanded in the cloud era,” said Carolyn April, senior director, industry analysis, at CompTIA. “Greater choice means greater chance to find the most optimal fit. Proactive vendors understand that they need to step up their game and optimize the experience for partners or watch them go elsewhere.”

Poor PX Practices

In the last two years, half of channel firms have dropped a vendor due to poor partner experience (PX) practices. That is not an insignificant number.

Individual channel firms vary widely on what they deem important, but what can’t be disputed is the importance of PX. Thirty-five percent of channel firms say they will only work with vendors that offer a seamless partner experience. Fifty-seven percent deem PX important enough that they will accept only slight deficiencies in it, even if there is positive revenue. 

“Ease of doing business covers many facets of the relationship, from swift technical support responses to transparent pricing and compensation information to effective communications in general,” April said. “Each of these areas shows signs of improvement but remains a work in progress.”

Changing Models

A lot of partners are selling fewer products and more complex services. Nearly 40% of channel firms said vendors are reworking compensation models to reflect this shift in the marketplace. Channel partners still get a significant amount of their overall revenue from vendor compensation.

The shift to more cloud-based and services-oriented work has also upped the ante. Expectations in terms of technical support from vendors that’s readily available and easy to access are high. Nine in 10 partners say a vendor’s technical support process is a significant or moderate priority for them.

Effective communication is now table stakes for channel partners, with better than eight in 10 identifying it as a significant or moderate priority. Vendors have responded to this by offering diversified communications across multiple channels, social media, video and gamification.

Vendors are altering other aspects of their partner programs to better align with changing expectations. They are making compensation and benefits programs more flexible (cited by 38% of vendors), updating how they find partners (33%) and adding training around consultative selling (30%).

“Smart vendors are constantly looking for ways to proactively build partner interest and loyalty,” April stated. “They realize that the personal touch still matters.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Allison Francis or connect with her on LinkedIn.

About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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