COVID-19 forces a shift and a rethink of channel expansion

COVID-19 forces a shift and a rethink of channel expansion

Glyn Yates is Principle Consultant at GTM International. In this new monthly column, Channel Insider, for Intelligent Tech Channels, he shares his expertise and views on the channel and partner community.

Hello, and welcome to the first column in a regular contribution to ITC, providing an inside track to the changing landscape of the channel and partner community, looking at the shifting needs and priorities of the 360 channel and supply chain from the vendor view, through to distribution to the SI/reseller-partner and let us not forget those who make this all happen, the customers.

I have been intrinsically involved throughout my career working for, and with, many major ‘players’ within this chain, across many geographies and working cultures, from supporting strong multibillion dollar companies to drive new revenue streams, to defining go-to-market strategy and channel establishment for disruptive start-ups entering new markets. Whether customer facing, partner facing, alliance facing or vendor facing, I understand and appreciate the nuances that each element offers and needs to oil the wheels and cogs of the channel.

Today let us focus on how COVID-19 has forced a shift, not only in our daily lives, but also in the way we do business and has been a major force behind the rethinking of organisations’ operational infrastructure, with thoughts focused on today’s near-term pressures and the implications for mid- and long-term strategies.

Let us today look at the vendor view and especially the many disruptive vendors for whom expansion into new markets is critical, offering access to new customers, more success stories and net new revenues while impressing investor relations and reducing risk and reliance on narrow market exposure.

Since COVID-19, we have seen budgets tighten and hiring frozen, putting plans to enter MEA on hold leading to a gap in expected revenues and a reduced outlook. This is all understandable as normally market entry requires a hefty investment when considering infrastructure, operations and, of course, those nice salaries that often attach themselves to top talent. An operation with an Individual Contributor could be easily budgeted at between US$500k and US$750k year one, and you can add your own multipliers when looking at a small team. Quite expensive in the current climate.

Yet we still can’t get away from the fact that it takes some time to establish and enable a channel for sustainable revenues – the reason for the hiring in the first place.

But, as buyer behaviour changes, and seller behaviour needs to, then vendor behaviour should do, and go-to-market leaders have an opportunity not to count the cost of delay.

With disruptive technologies and disrupted markets, we are in disruptive times, and there are disruptive models to reflect this for entry to new markets. These models do not require heavy investment, do not carry any liability and offer flexibility while still driving channel establishment until a time where future headcount and operational monies comes from regional retained profits.

I trust this little addition will provide some insight either today or on the future and stays relevant just enough for you to keep coming back.


I have walked many roads and wore many hats and, although my experience and expertise can be valuable, my outlook on the world at large is my own and does not necessarily represent that of ITC.

This blog was published by Intelligent Tech Channels.