An opportunity for channel partners to thrive during COVID-19 times

An opportunity for channel partners to thrive during COVID-19 times

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

I hope you had a chance to enjoy the previous column, outlining the shifting models that support channel expansion for principle vendors, even when budgets and headcount is frozen.

Today, I would like to look how the channel can use the current unusual times as an opportunity to really deliver the VALUE in the VAR/VAD tier.

At no time like the present, have we all seen such a focus on Digital Transformation – I recently stated that the biggest C driving action this year wasn’t the CEO or CIO, but COVID-19.  Digital Transformation has been the trend-leading phrase over the last few years, thought to be solely in the domain of those with the money and time to implement such solutions.  Now we see all companies implementing digital workspace as a Business Continuity response.

But, not only are companies laser focused on technologies enabling robust work-anywhere environments, but everybody is also feeling the pinch of a market downturn – customers have been impacted…hardand the implication for the channel has been equally pronounced.  Deals stall as funds are diverted, terms have extended and new projects shelved – cashflows are under extreme pressure.

So, the opportunity I spoke about is simply this – at no time like the present do customers need value add like they do today – with disruptive technologies to enhance operational efficiencies, with converged/platform offerings minimising multiple contracts and reducing cost, with streamlined interoperability enabling business agility and with service delivery and great customer experience essential for business survival. 

So, great news for every VAR then, right?  Well, no, not for everyone. But some will thrive.

Those that ask customers about their business, and listen, then provide business enabling solutions, may be from lesser known but very effective disruptive vendors. Those that don’t see a Gartner MQ endorsement as the only way they can position a proposal, those that create value across a business and align to strategic intent, those that aren’t afraid to challenge a customer and be a true ‘trusted advisor’ – they will thrive.

Now, this means not sitting and waiting for a requirement, it means stepping out of the comfort zone of the usual contacts to engage with and understand the roles and responsibilities of CxO and stakeholders and work with them on strategic goals.  It means the level of salesmanship evolving past mere relationships and develop true sales skills, as the customer becomes more demanding, discerning and value focused.  The days of deals won over shisha are coming to an end, if not already gone, and as ‘buyer’ attitudes change, so must those of the ‘seller’.

Those that adapt to changing times, customer needs and buyer behaviour can ring-fence their own customers and revenues, while being seen as strong partners and trusted advisors to gain new customers, even today.  And will no doubt come out of the crisis stronger than before.

Those that don’t, may find they are no longer relevant.


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.