Late last year, we had the opportunity to connect with Channel IT leaders to reflect on the milestones for the year. Now that 2019 is here, we are sharing insights from these leaders on how the market is shifting and how VARs can keep up with the new changes and embrace new opportunities, while improving the overall customer experience.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Molly Sherwood, Director, Business Development at Westcon-Comstor. Molly is responsible for leading the marketing and business development team that helps customers grow their businesses. Here is what she had to say:
EDGE360 Editors: What are the big opportunities for the channel in 2019?
Molly Sherwood: I expect to see VARs continue to evolve business practices to incorporate more services, software and annuities. To do so effectively, they must evolve their partner lifecycle marketing to be able to support these reoccurring revenue practices. That means more engagement and relationship building. The competition out there is fierce, so VARs need to stay top of mind with their customers and be seen as a valuable and trusted provider.
EDGE360 Editors: How can VARs take advantage of the opportunities available to them within the channel?
Sherwood: Comstor just completed a pilot Digital Marketing Workshop with 10 partners. We brought in experts to help VARs define their unique value propositions and develop customized marketing plans for their businesses and focused on creating the best customer experience. Based on the success of this pilot workshop, we’ll be offering more in 2019, as well as providing resources to help partners execute on their plans.
EDGE360 Editors: What should partners be thinking about in their marketing efforts in the coming year?
Sherwood: It’s important to understand that each digital campaign needs to be about your buyer, not your company, solution, product or service. Fine tune your digital strategies to be the #1 Customer Experience in your territory or vertical market.
Think about this:
– 71% of B2B research begins with a generic Google search. Where does your organization come up in this search? Do you have content that you are publishing? It is more than just having a company website.
– 74% of business buyers conduct more than half their research online before making an offline purchase. What will they learn about your company when they are doing this research?
– 81% of non-senior staff have influence over purchasing decisions. Who are you building relationships with, and do they know how you can help them solve their business problems?
At Comstor, we are helping our partners develop these messages and drive awareness for their services and offerings, so they can capture the attention of the buyer.
EDGE360 Editors: In your article on 2018 reflections, you said 2018 was the year of Digital Insights. How would you sum up your predictions for 2019?
Sherwood: From a marketing perspective, I believe that 2019 will be the year of Customer Experience.