Research from Investec suggests that only 32 per cent of vendors are hitting or exceeding their channel sales targets. Surprisingly only 52% are frustrated at missing the number. I am not sure why it isn’t 100%, but that’s a different story.

What is going on in the world of the channel to have such a big miss and what suggestions are there to close the gap?

I was the UK channel leader for a vendor, whose business model was indirect, so I can empathise from the perspective of the channel sales teams on how to engage and help grow your partners business. It is one of the most challenging sales jobs, but also one of the most rewarding.

I have now had the opportunity to review other vendors approaches to channel programs and the way they can harness growth across their base. One of the key areas I have seen is flexibility from the vendor to listen to the partners’ advice on how to engage with them.

The vendor is no longer in a position of power, especially with newer more nimbler competitors entering the market. Investec, research suggests their needs to be a cultural shift from the vendor with their partner engagement and channel programmes.

According to the survey, businesses that consider their channel programme to be ‘highly successful’ rake in £50m per year from their top five partners, compared with the £16m hauled in by those who consider their programmes ‘unsuccessful’.

As well as simplifying the partner programme, transparency and mutual support is needed. We have seen accelerated growth from vendors who have adopted the above, but also and this is vital have embraced a more modern sales approach through social selling.

Helping partners move to social should be incorporated into new partner programmes. For example aligning MDF to purchase Sales Navigator licenses, linking social presence to medal status, or helping curate content. Channel Account Managers need to be coached on social selling methodologies so they, in turn, can empower their partners for greater success.