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Is the Gap Widening Between Superagents and Mom-and-Pop Shops?Is the Gap Widening Between Superagents and Mom-and-Pop Shops?

Partners shared why they haven't sold their business and what they need to do to stay relevant with end customers.

James Anderson

March 31, 2023

6 Slides

While uncertainty swirls in the channel around macroeconomic trends and private equity investment, many technology advisor partners see plentiful growth ahead.

The technology advisor (agent) model for B2B technology purchasing continues to gain traction among end users. More and more end users are demanding as-a-service, opex technologies that advisors sell. More customers are also seeing the value and flexibility of the deep technology portfolio agents (and their tech services distributor partners) offer.

And vendors are replicating that adoption.

Toth, Matthew_C3

C3’s Matthew Toth

“When we started 14-and-a-half years ago, there were maybe 30 or 40 companies selling through the channel,” C3 Technology Advisors founder and president Matthew Toth told Channel Futures. “Today, there are at least 500 through the various TSDs we work with today.”

The channel does face its challenges, however, as the larger U.S. economy worsens. Although supply chain issues appear to have hit hardware-oriented resellers much harder, many agents report that recessionary pressures are influencing certain vendors to engage in unfriendly sales tactics. In addition, independently held agents are weighing their ability to compete against the so-called superagents. With those trends in mind, the latest Channel Futures quarterly agent survey saw a noticeable drop from in partners describing the industry’s health as “excellent” or “good.”

There will be more than 150 channel visionaries and experts speaking at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. The event also features more than 375 ICT companies in the massive expo hall. Register now for the world’s largest independent channel event, May 1-4, at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

IQ Wired's Darcee Nelan

IQ Wired’s Darcee Nelan

Talking About It

Rise Technology's Eric Ludwig

Rise Technology’s Eric Ludwig

A panel of partners will discuss these topics at the upcoming Channel Partners Conference & Expo. The “State of the Agent Market” panel will feature Toth, IQ Wired CEO Darcee Nelan, Kairos Data Communications chief revenue officer and partner Lucas Salvage, and co-founder at RISE Technology Advisors, Eric Ludwig.

Channel Futures chatted with Nelan, Ludwig and Toth about what they’re seeing in the industry and in their own businesses. They shared their thoughts on consolidation among agents, generational shifts and changing customer needs.

Read the interview transcript in the slides above.

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

 

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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