Charting Channel Partners' Paths to Profitability for 2014

By Michael Vizard

Hope springs eternal this time of year in the channel. But a new survey of 175 solution providers in North America conducted by the channel consulting firms PartnerPath and MarketStar finds some startling advances in how solution providers are approaching new opportunities. Although the market development funds (MDF) category has historically been at the top of the most-wanted-from-vendors list, MDF is in fourth place this year. At the top of the list now is pre-sales support, followed by incentives and then technical support. Even more impressive, channel companies report that adding sales and technical people is still the No. 1 way they increase profitability, but marketing is a close second. The study findings suggest that channel providers are starting to have more control of their marketing destiny, without relying on the marketing efforts of vendors that have historically been too product-focused to be of any real help. In the meantime, channel conflict remains the biggest source of regret when it comes to partnerships with vendors, followed by lack of product profit margin. In both those instances, things in the channel are the same as they ever were. Here are key takeaways from the study.

This article was originally published on 2014-02-25