Vendors are failing to cater for rising demand among reseller sales staff for better market intelligence, research has suggested.
This is among the key findings of a poll commissioned by consultancy The Channel Partnership, which quizzed 250 channel sales staff on what makes them tick.
The research also revealed dissatisfaction with the standard of the support resellers receive from their vendors and suggested that – surprisingly – most aren't keen on vendors communicating with them via social media.
Some 59 per cent of respondents said better insight into market trends, competitor activity and customer needs would have a high impact on their sales performance.
Only increased investment in brand awareness, rated highly by 66 per cent, was ranked higher in terms of impact on sales performance.
Some 59 per cent of channel salespeople also cited brand strength as the number one factor in a choice between two vendors with similar products, followed by quality of pre- and post-sales support (45 per cent).
Contrary to the received wisdom, commercial terms were way down the pecking order, with just 36 per cent deeming them critical to vendor choice.
In terms of vendor support, more than half (51 per cent) of those questioned identified product and technology training and having good sales leads as most valuable.
Phil Brown, director at the Channel Partnership, said the poll, carried out by the Leadership Foundation, highlights the fact that channel execs need to be able to talk about more than just tech to compete in today's challenging market.
"Most [vendor] organisations are sitting on a wealth of knowledge that could be incredibly valuable to their channel. However, they're often not very good at externalising this knowledge," he said.
"It also highlights that technology buyers today are looking for different things from sales people. They don't engage with them simply to get a demo and a price; they want advice to help them navigate the best technology options for their businesses. The vendors that enable their sales channels to have such conversations are more likely to be successful than those that focus on pushing product."
Room for improvement
Just eight per cent of those quizzed rated the support they receive from vendors as excellent. Half of them said it was good, signalling that most vendors have room to improve.
When asked about their bug bears, more than a third (37 per cent) picked out inflexible product pricing from vendors. Just over one in five (22 per cent) listed lack of vendor support for individual sales and insufficient training and education for sales teams as frustrations.
According to the poll, channel salespeople want regular communications from their vendors, but not overload, with the majority (51 per cent) preferring monthly contact.
Just 10 per cent see social media as an effective communications outlet, meaning vendors will ignore more traditional routes such as email (which was preferred by 73 per cent respondents) at their peril.
Brown concluded: "Based on the findings, we recommend that vendors review their channel enablement programmes and look at how they can provide greater insight and intelligence to support their channel's sales and marketing activities. The channel is keen to receive this type of support so will respond positively to those who deliver it."
The deal builds on distie's earlier promise to distribute a broader range of electrical goods
Services firm sees revenue increase 23 per cent
Execs Zak Virdi and Neil Lomax open up on the rationale behind acquisition
CEO Steve Brazier slams vendor titans at annual event in Barcelona