Every good vendor knows this: hard numbers – sales data, market research, consumer sentiment – are vital. However, on their own they do not necessarily represent true understanding.
A telling anecdote, a good yarn, or simply the insight of someone working in the IT channel are often what provide the real breakthrough in comprehension.
Selling is still an activity that relies on human interaction and empathy. It's not just about the numbers.
We've all known for a while that buyers, especially at the SMB PC market end, are very conscious of cost. Since the beginning of the 2008 downturn, PC assemblers have competed for SMB customers with mixed results.
Looking at sales figures gives you great hindsight but doesn't always provide any inkling of what people are going to want in the future.
The best insights come from a variety of sources, particularly resellers, who shake hands with end users day in, day out. Just as helpful is talking to distributors, who assist the resellers.
The feedback from those on the front line of IT sales is invaluable, and channel partners now have more power than they have ever had before.
The influence of channel partners on the policies of system vendors has never been stronger.
We are seeing more demand for our products, which we think is due to the feedback from assemblers at one end, and resellers at the other.
The differences between products really matter to SMBs as well as larger organisations looking to maximise their budgets and the lifetime of IT systems while optimising productivity. Resellers can give their customers more choice and, in doing so, protect and build trusted and lasting business relationships.
Our commercial channel inventory level with distributors for SMB systems has risen this year. They are ordering more commercial parts from us and from our system builder partners. This is primarily in direct response to reseller requests and reflects the growing power of the customer.
Meanwhile, business customers are much more tech savvy than they were and refuse to compromise. They demand choice.
Resellers are often advocates for the end customer and their voice is finally being heard loudly and clearly. Instead of simply selling what is in the distributor warehouse, they are demanding choice and PC vendors are responding by offering a wider range of systems across their portfolios.
The industry is moving in the right direction, and resellers are leading the charge.
James Blackman is EMEA commercial channel sales manager at AMD
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