If, as a vendor, you discovered your partners felt your channel support team was a "shower of under-skilled numpties", it might raise cause for concern.
Equally, if your partners described your partner team as the best in the business, wouldn't you would want to know about it?
The first example is how one vendor who featured in the CRN Vendor Report 2014 was described by its partners. They felt that the top tier of partners were well treated and given all the resources and support their hearts desired, but the rest were left seeking answers and help from people who really didn’t appear to have a clue what they were talking about.
And the second example was also true – more about that later.
This year’s report features 50 vendors, and the only way to appear in the rankings is for your partners to feel motivated to write enough responses to qualify. This means that they have something to say, and they want their vendors to read it, and also that they are an engaged bunch of partners who want the relationship to improve and benefit both sides.
As in last year’s report, vendors are ranked into a top 50, with 10 brand new faces appearing in the mix.
However, as previously revealed, 14 vendors crept up the rankings, one amazingly so, jumping 16 places, but worryingly 26 dropped down, the biggest fall being 10 places. Which one were you?
Because the report allowed resellers to comment anonymously, they didn’t pull their punches. More of the comments – both positive and negative – will be revealed below.
This year, CRN’s research garnered more responses than last year, scoring vendors in seven key areas: product quality; account management; accreditation and training; after-sales and technical support; rebates and margin retention; demand generation and funding; and finally channel leadership.
Another vendor’s products were accused of being "ridiculously poor on margins", meaning partners were keen on the technology, but were being forced to look elsewhere to gain some extra revenue.
Were you the vendor whose account management had sunk like a botched souffle? Or do you employ too many "charmless, low-calibre dullards", causing your back-office processes to be viewed as a "dysfunctional shambles"?
Which vendor in the list was described as "not the easiest company to deal with" by a frustrated partner?
And worse, whose account management was labelled as "non-existent"?
Whose products are viewed as "substandard" and "constantly on offer"? And whose support is seen as "appalling", "hopeless" and "faceless"?
Of course it wasn’t all bad, and some vendors were given excellent comments by a bunch of very satisfied partners, but can you afford not to know which one you are?
For example, one vendor was described as having "outstanding products" and another’s products "did what they were supposed to do".
Another vendor’s staff were described as "highly motivated and qualified individuals", and yet another was labelled a "pleasure to work with".
And as the praise kept flowing, one vendor’s marketing team were described as "second to none", and yet another was described as having "better channel commitment than anyone else in the country".
Sara Yirrell, editor of CRN, said: “This report will make hard reading for some. But to feature in the report means you have an engaged set of channel partners that want to keep working with you and selling your products. They want you to listen to what they have to say.
“However, by ignoring their comments, you run the risk of them looking elsewhere, and appearing as if you don’t really care what they have to say. I know many vendors conduct their own research among partners, but can you really say the feedback is painfully honest? From what I’ve heard when speaking to partners, many are too concerned about the repercussions to really let rip.
“Communication is a huge part of a successful partner community, and there really is nowhere else you will get such honest feedback from your channel, particularly your top partners.”
To get hold of the CRN Vendor Report 2014, contact CRN’s commercial director Matt Dalton at [email protected].
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