Now Available: Research Summary on Enterprise IT Buying in the Era Cloud Era

Wavelength Market Analytics recently partnered with Winn Technology Group to conduct a cloud computing research study.  While many recent studies size the market, we wanted to help our vendor clients better understand to whom they need to sell.  In our study, we sought to understand the differences between organizations that are currently adopting or planning some type of cloud computing solution from those that are not.

Study characteristics:

▫         IT decision-makers to include IT VPs and directors

▫         Sample size = 126 surveys collected summer 2010

▫         Large and medium-sized enterprises

▫         Three distinct buyer groups to include Pioneers who are using or testing a cloud solution, Planners who are actively planning for a cloud solution and Stragglers who have no cloud plans at this time.

▫         Complete results in a full-length presentation and report to be available March 2011.

We found that 41% are Pioneering with their Cloud apps, and another 17% are actively planning for a cloud solution.  A total of 58% are doing something in the cloud, meaning that the majority of participating enterprises have some kind of cloud project.

To find out more, a short summary, Generating Demand: A Summary on Enterprise IT Buying in the Early Cloud Era, is available on SlideShare. You can download it at  The full report will be available the second week of March.

You may also want to participate in our latest Webinar Leveraging Data for Demand Generation Success -Wednesday, February 16, 2011 1:00 PM and find out how you can substantially increase lead rates through data analytics best practices in demand generation campaigns.

Click on this link to REGISTER


Distributor CEOs Agree: Emerging Technology Sweet Spot for VARs

More VARs Should Sell Mobility, Virtualization
When the Global Technology Distribution Council gathered in May, the CEOs of the major distributors spoke out on what they believe their VARs should sell. The perspective of each one is as follows:

  • Tim Dolan, Chairman, Westcon Group: Video
  • Bob Dutkowsky, CEO, Tech Data: Mobility
  • Roy Vallee, CEO, Avnet: Unified computing or converged infrastructure
  • Kevin Murai, CEO, Synnex: Virtualization and server consolidation
  • Kia Hong Lim, CEO, SiS Technology Group: Mobility and Data Storage
  • Fabian von Kuenheim, President & CEO, Magirus: Storage Virtualization and Storage de-duplication
  • Meinie Oldersma, CEO, 20:20 Mobile: Mobility

The overarching theme – sell emerging technologies. Why? That’s where a VAR can add the most value and extract the highest profit. Enterprises don’t need VARs for commodity products – they can, and do, buy those products from DMRs, eCommerce or retail. They need VARs when technologies are complex and when those technologies need to integrate into existing network infrastructure without disrupting users.

Vendors – Make Your Technologies Easier for VARs to Sell!
Now, the trick for vendors is to make it easier for their VARs to sell emerging technologies. Easier said than done. Most vendors treat emerging technologies the same as a commodity technology. These vendors forget that VARs have to be taught how to sell the new technology. Not the speeds and feeds but instead the VAR needs to know:

  • How to recognize and qualify an opportunities
  • How to present technology benefits to the end user
  • Why the end user should buy
  • How to overcome objections
  • How to win against competition
  • How to identify purchase timeframe, budget and decision cycle
  • How to upsell to higher value solutions
  • How to cross sell to add higher profit to the sale
  • How the technology applies to various vertical markets such as education, healthcare/HIPAA, public section, etc.

Build the Right Go-To-Market Tool Set for Partners
VARs need all the same go-to-market tools as your direct sales force. Look to leverage these materials for quick time to market.

  • Selling skills training (prospect identification, overcoming objections, competition, etc.)
  • Technical skills training (pre-sales, installation, troubleshooting and post sales
  • Demand generation tools (lead generation and nurturing, co-brand collateral, MDF, etc.)
  • Product oriented tools (ROI calculator, product configuration tools, demo program, trade-in program, etc.)

Selling emerging technologies is a winning strategy for both VAR and Vendor.  It just takes work on both sides to make it successful.


Are Your Partners Getting Their Money’s Worth from Your Certification?

Channelinsider recently showed that the value of IT Certification, in terms individual pay premiums. For all but one category, it had turned positive in the last 3 months versus last year as compared to average base salary. Another way to look at this is that Partners are now able charge more for the services their technically trained people provide.

  • When you prepare your certification programs, do you consider the certification costs from the Partner’s perspective? You may want to make sure you’ve asked the following questions…
  • Do you evaluate everything the Partner must invest in certification before they will realize any revenue?
  • Have you looked at how long it takes a Partner from the time they become certified until they begin consistently producing revenue as a result of this certification?
  • Do you know how your Partners compare before and after training?
  • Do your Partners believe that their investment in certification was worthwhile? Did they see any ROI?
  • When will the Partner breakeven on their investment in your certification? Is this reasonable?

Here’s where analytics can help. Relying on sound data and quantitative analysis removes guesswork. For example you might want to do the following actions.

  1. Compare revenue and 2-tier POS in your Oracle, SAP or other ERP data base with information from your training and certification records in your learning management system.
  2. Marry that information to your Partner data base.
  3. Estimate the cost for each component of certification (course(s), equipment, testing, etc.).
  4. Identify average gross margin that your Partners will realize for each certification for your breakeven analysis.

Now you’re ready to start crunching numbers. Sound like a daunting task? It can be. Most of the information you’ll be gathering comes from different data bases. It’s in different formats that will have to be adjusted before you can even begin your analysis.

An alternative might be to work with an outside team of professionals such as WaveLength Market Analytics. Know Your Channel from WaveLength takes your partner, product, customer, company, and market data together with any necessary 3rd party sources to build your customized Partner Intelligence Scorecard. We work with you to identify Key Performance Indicators that your want to measure. If the data allows, we compare channels and partners, groups of partner-types, geographic locations, certification levels, experience levels, and any other types of analyses to assist decision-making, program evaluation and management.


Fine-tune Messages to your Partners Based on Their Purchasing Habits

We’re marketers, we target everything.  Right?  We do except, except when and how we communicate to our partners.  We seem to think one size fits all.

Sometimes, if we’re thinking about how to communicate to our partners, we do very simple segmentation.  We carve up our partner base by type of certification or “metal” we’ve assigned them as a badge (Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, etc.) or by training level they’ve taken for their technology specialization (Wireless, Security, IP Telephony, etc.). Sometimes we even try to categorize our Partners by what “type” of partner they are (Reseller, ISV, Alliance, Distributor, etc).

Maybe, if we take time and move to the next step, we target our message to each type of channel partner.  Our partners employ a wide array of different skill sets.  Each person at each partner has a different interest in your products, company, and technology and each person requires different types of information to do their job, be it selling or servicing your solutions.

The most overlooked area of analysis is behavior.  You can learn a lot from a simple analysis of purchase history.  Answer questions about your partners’ purchase habits, such as:

  • Consistently purchase every month?  Same products, same end users, same quantity?
  • Opportunistic purchases at random times?  Could your Partners be selling your competitor’s products more often than your Products?
  • Seasonal purchases? Government or education buying season?  End of quarter and always need special pricing?

Armed with knowing how your partners sell your solutions, you can fine-tune your message in new ways.  Take a look at how this might work when launching a new Internet security appliance, shown in the above graph.  Knowledge of buying habits enables us to target large, security-trained partners, those Security Super VARs. You further target your message to ONLY THOSE who have demonstrated loyalty, e.g., purchase frequently.  The last step is then to tailor messaging to each audience important to the buying decision– sales, marketing and technical.

Finally, characterizing partners by purchase history enables you to keep sensitive new product launch information out of the hands of “opportunistic” partners– those who only sell your solutions as a last resort and are more loyal to your competitor.

Target your partners using purchasing behavior builds greater satisfaction among your most loyal partners and ultimately more revenue in your pocket.


Give your BEST Channel Partners a Boost

Let’s be honest, not all channel partners are created equally.  We wish they were, but they’re just not.  It’s usually the 80/20 rule … 20% of your channel brings 80% of your revenue.  So how can your technology company drive demand for your high producing partners and make your revenue skyrocket?  The answer seems easy… focus 80% of your efforts on the special 20%.

Most channel co-marketing programs require partner to do all or most of the heavy-lifting.   Is it any wonder that partners do not have time to focus on executing your co-marketing campaigns?  Unless you’re their #1 vendor in a category, you’re just along for the ride at that trade show or seminar.

Let’s review some interesting facts:

  • The majority of partners in the IT industry do not employ marketing people.
  • Over 65% of partners in a recent Everything Channel survey are dissatisfied to somewhat satisfied with leads supplied by vendors.*
  • IT vendors spend, on average, 3% of revenue on coop/Market Development Funds (MDF).*
  • About 21% of the coop/MDF spending went unclaimed.*
  • 67% of a partner’s new business revenue is generated from their existing customer base* – partners just are not good at finding new business!
  • Partners carry between 2 and 4 vendors in every product category.**
  • Partners drop or deemphasize on average 2.5 vendors and 4.7 products per year (and 8 out of 10 partners won’t tell you if you’ve been dropped).**

Grow together instead of apart by investing your MDF dollars in a different way.  Target your best partners with smarter demand generation – sales targets identified using analytics and lead generation programs together — to help them grow.  Instead of relying on anonymous tools to produce their campaigns, engage with your channel partners in an entirely different way.  Use channel marketing to work directly with your partners to execute campaigns.  What is the net result?  Better partner relationships, increased satisfaction, higher loyalty, a measurable return on your MDF and higher sales for both your technology company and your best partners.

**”2010 State of the Market Survey”, Everything Channel

*The 2008 Survey: Vendor and Partner Attitudes to Key Channel Issues,” Baptie & Company