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Observations from Channel Partners Conference and Expo

Observations from Channel Partners Conference and Expo

by: Dale Taormino | May 10, 2019

Wow! Is it May already?!? April was a busy month – several new implementations kicking off, interesting customer conversations about business challenges, and attending the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas (CPExpo).

CPExpo draws hundreds of suppliers, distributors, partners and consultants. For Vistex, it was a great opportunity to visit customers, prospective clients and partners, as well as hear new, interesting ideas. A few of my event highlights and insights:

Continued Convergence of Media, Telecom and Technology

I had several conversations with folks attending CPExpo. Given the prominence of telecommunications companies at Channel Partners, the harmonies are even more apparent, as are the conversations and focus on bringing voice, data, video, and media/entertainment content together seamlessly and synergistically.

While Vistex customers where we manage both rights & royalties, as well as traditional indirect channel programs are fairly rare, I think will see the Go-to-Market (GTM) Program needs of these two customer types continuing to converge in the coming years.

CX or Die

A keynote of particular interest was one by John DeLozier, Channel Chief of 8x8. John shared some super interesting stats around Customer Experience (CX). Paraphrasing here: one is that 89 percent of companies say their digital transformation journey is to enable them to better compete around CX. The second is that despite that, the majority of customers say vendors aren’t delivering on CX, and that 82 percent stop doing business with a company after a bad experience. Wow. He talked further about the new speed of business, and the need for vendors to provide better collaboration between tools to positively impact CX.

The interesting contrast is that as we continue to see technology complexity and integration needs rise, the speed to commoditization and slimmer margins continues. From a “how do I use incentives in my GTM approach?”, that strategy requires a much higher degree of visibility and predictability of outcome than many organizations have available today.

ROI Declining on Channel Spend

An intriguing – and entertaining! – session was the ‘Channel Partners Studio: Tips to supercharge your channel strategy’ that included the powerhouses Theresa Cargol, Tina Gravel and Janet Scheijns. All three women touched on the hyper-competition for good partners, decline in overall partner numbers (VARs in particular), and partners in the driver’s seat. Janet, in particular, talked about the decline of ROI on channel spend, and all three spoke to ways vendors can get smarter and more focused.

Channels to market have evolved, expanded and are more multi-faceted than they ever have been. A lot of organizations struggling with the transformed landscape are stuck using their channel spend like peanut butter–spreading it everywhere–and often are unsure about what their ROI is, much less whether it is declining or improving. In my option, to get the insights and understanding of gross-to-net and value delivered on products, BUs, partners and customers we will require a more holistic approach. One that encompasses both direct and indirect channels and views incentives, pricing, and revenue management as part of the larger whole.

Dale Taormino
VP Client Services at Vistex

Dale is a senior leader with in-depth understanding of international markets, expertise in cultivating new business, designing effective channel strategies, and managing results-oriented teams. She is adept at sales & marketing strategy, client management and engagement, and supporting multi-national organizations. She is passionate about customer success, and helping her clients achieve the business outcomes they are looking for.