CompTIA has published a Channel Readiness Assessment tool. This allows tech vendors to identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as provide prescriptive advice on ways to improve. Two of the creators discussed why knowing your position relative to other vendors is important. Technology vendors can be more successful when they interact with channel partners in a meaningful manner. But what does that mean? There are many things to consider, details to remember, and lessons to learn. The road can be bumpy without proper guidance.
CompTIA’s Channel Development Advisory Council published a tool called the Channel Readiness Assessment. This allows technology vendors to identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as provide prescriptive advice on ways to improve.
This tool was created by executives from multiple parts of the IT supply chain including distributors, vendors, and solution providers. It is intended to provide honest feedback and explain why technology vendors should adapt to the modern buyer’s journey.
Jason Bystrak (vice president of D&H Distributing’s cloud unit) and Juan Fernandez (vice president of managed IT services at ImageNet Consulting), were both co-chairs for the Channel Development Advisory Council. They discussed why tech vendors should use this tool and how it is important to know your position relative to other vendors in a session at CompTIA’s Communities & Councils Forum Online.
Why should tech vendors use the Assessment Tool?
Fernandez stated that they had given much thought to how to build something great to move the channel forward.
It doesn’t matter how large or experienced a vendor is when it comes to strengthening partner relationships. Although there are many ways a vendor could improve its channel programs, it can be difficult for many companies to identify gaps and plan the appropriate response.
Fernandez stated that there have been opportunities for technology vendors to align with channel partners. Fernandez agreed. “[We] came up with a meaningful solution to help the channel move forward.”
The Readiness Assessment Tool offers unique insights based upon answers to a variety of questions covering different areas such as strategic planning, financial forecasts, projections, sales strategy and enablement strategy.
Fernandez stated that it improves your approach to go-to market. It helps you align with a new marketing initiative. It allows you to approach partners in a new way and more meaningfully. This is what we are trying to achieve. Technology vendors can’t afford not to take the assessment. This will give you a complete channel strategy. It gives you direction. This is a major component.
The assessment tool can also be used by technology vendors to track progress. It’s not a one-time offer. Bystrak stated that the assessment can be repeated. He said, “You can use this as a benchmark to measure how your performance in the channel is improving.” Vendors can use the assessment to determine their strengths and weaknesses, as well as potential opportunities.
Collecting honest feedback
Although gathering feedback is simple, it can be difficult to get honest feedback. Technology vendors may misinterpret the results of their polls. Technology vendors are often more concerned with their channel partners’ best interest than they are about their own initiatives, products and services.
Tech vendors should not avoid difficult questions. They should embrace them. This is exactly what council members did with their short time together. Fernandez stated that they asked many difficult questions that not everyone can answer. The ability to tackle difficult questions helps both channel partners as well as technology vendors aligned for future success.
He said, “We had a lot fun having a lot more hard conversations and really trying help move things forward in a direction on how to actually improve go-to market strategies, partner engagement and partnerships alike across all boards.”
The Modern Buyer’s Journey: How to Adjust
Although the journey of the tech buyer in the channel has changed over the years, many vendors have not made the necessary adjustments to meet the changing needs of channel partners. Bystrak stated, “I think we can all agree that the buyer’s journey has changed a lot.” “Things have changed a lot in a digital world.” The assessment tool gives vendors detailed feedback that allows them to adapt to the modern buyer journey.