Channel Research Report
Navigating the shift
The role of distributor marketplaces in Partner Success
In today's technology landscape, customers are increasingly seeking more flexible ways to consume and use their technology, particularly through subscription or consumption models.
This shift was already in progress prior to the pandemic, but the sudden pivot to remote work accelerated it. These changes have significant implications for the IT channel, affecting how products and solutions are bought and sold, how value is delivered and perceived, and the adoption of new sales models.
As businesses become increasingly digitised, the method through which technology is procured is also evolving. Online marketplaces and ecommerce platforms are gaining popularity due to the convenience, speed, and agility they offer in technology procurement.
To better understand the challenges and opportunities faced by partners in this changing landscape, Westcon-Comstor conducted a third-party independent survey. Our survey sought to assess where partners currently stand in their journey towards subscription and recurring revenue models, as well as the current state of distributor marketplaces and the opportunities they offer to partners.
“We see the B2B world evolving much as the B2C world did. We all know how important marketplaces, e-commerce and digital interfaces have become – we’re hearing it from our partners, our vendors, and the entire ecosystem."
Patrick Aronson, CMO Westcon-Comstor
This shift to services and subscriptions has had a significant impact on partners' businesses, based on our research. The transition to a recurring revenue model, while maintaining customers’ changing needs in a competitive market, and simultaneously scaling digital capabilities all pose a major challenge.
Many of the partners polled in the research have started to transform, but it’s clear much work remains. Channel partners agree that distributor marketplaces can be a potentially valuable tool to help partners overcome some of these challenges, but the current state of most marketplaces only partially addresses the market needs.
Partners are mainly challenged with managing a multivendor portfolio of products, which in this hybrid environment, is highly complex. Therefore, ease of transactions is critical to partner transformation. Subscription management, self-service quotes and orders, and simplified sales processes were all identified as benefits from the distributor marketplace.
Just as importantly, partners have outlined how they hope to see more meaningful data insights that enable partners to grow and pursue new opportunities as critical capabilities for distribution marketplaces in the future.
Partners polled outlined a need to learn more about how the market is changing and how to deliver Customer Success, a model that has become synonymous with subscription-based business. New skills and learning are crucial in helping partners deliver the value of technology over a longer period and to retain their important customers.
Distributor marketplaces, when developed with partner experience and their specific needs in mind, can help partners access the data and tools they need to be successful and grow profitable business with subscriptions and recurring revenue.