Important News For The B2B Channel: 2020 Will Be Epic!

We’ve seen a massive shift in how buyers go about purchasing services and products in the past years. We’ve seen how companies are responding with still new go-to-market strategies and customer relationship approach. The tech channel hasn’t been shaken thus in over 40 years and 2020 promises to get us to yet another level.

Emerging technology

5G, AI, IoT, automation, augmented/virtual reality and 3D printing continue to contribute towards profitability.  An easy-to-code environment means partners can readily create and/or modify the logic to easily repeat the business model as necessary.

Marketplaces and ecosystems effectively replace resell and old-style channel programs.

Partners in the future will need to find their niche in eCommerce, web-purchasing and short-term / project-by-project contracts.  The millennial generation will buy services as they need them from wherever and whoever offers the right mix of value and quality.  Gone are the days of one “trusted partner” for all your services.

Partners will partner with partners

Business executives will expect specific skills on tap, pushing partners into cooperating together to provide the necessary services as and when the businesses ask for them. Business models will not matter:  partners will be free to choose their own models for onboarding, certification and much more. The advance of AI means programs will be better able to advise managers throughout the channel on every next move.

Sales and marketing will move into a third stage

Over 3/4 of world trade is indirect.  This will spread to all industries. We saw CRM coming in to stay with only ten big vendors really playing the game. AI entered the scene ten years ago, providing, for the first time, the means to prove ROI.  Its providers have also reduced from dozens to barely ten now. The third stage will be the reduction in channel software companies to provide just a few horizontal platforms. Channel programs will move from intuition to science.

Channel Partner Experience will be just as important as Customer Experience

B2B is no longer a tier environment with resale and fulfillment components. We see a shift towards indirect ecosystems of affiliates, advocates, alliances, and referral partners. Partners are key influencers in shaping the customer experience. But most organizations have been slow to make the link between partner experience and customer experience. Marketing decision makers will be attuned to partner needs same as customer needs.

2019 saw strategy turn into practicality. Most companies lacked the necessary basics to fully implement their strategies to migrate to the cloud, costing some of them dear and leaving them with further consolidation necessary this year.  This has also resulted in them not meeting customer expectations.

In 2020 the channel cycle will close a full circle around partner experience, meaning collaboration, fluidity, accountability and transparency will be paramount to achieve clean engagement and neutral compensation in a fast moving environment.

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