Shane Fugazy, VP of Sales and Strategic Partnerships, Innovative
This years’ Channel Partners Expo stood out from other CP Expos I’ve attended for a few reasons. Innovative’s newest messaging made way for a unique presence that had people coming over, specifically looking for our services. Overall, there was a lot I learned from this trade show – whether from interactions with people or observations I could see about the industry’s needs.
Check out my key takeaways here and where I see the channel going:
Cable Finder is an identified need in the industry.
When it comes to cable serviceability, partners feel that there’s a lack of information surrounding this service. Instead, what they want is simplification in not only the qualifying of cable services but their quoting and contracting of cable services.
Multi-site customers are moving to SD-WAN solutions which requires them to have broadband to make that transition. Finding who can provide that underlay broadband across multiple cable companies is something no one was prepared for until Cable Finder.
Cable Finder solves all complex processes, with no need to format any spreadsheets and can qualify the top cable companies in the U.S. – simply and easily in a matter of minutes for both coax and fiber.
Partners want technology that works and is easy to use.
Partners want accuracy. In fact, it’s everything. They want technology that works and is easy to use. A database that’s designed without a direct login or API into the company’s own systems is simply that – a database system. The problem is that databases get old and become inactive rapidly. Therefore, partners want technology they can use efficiently and easily.
Specialization and focus are preferred by sub-agents and partners. An expert generalist is not what they want out of a master.
Just like people seek out specialists when they are diagnosed with a deadly disease, technology partners and customers are turning their attention to master agents who specialize in the technologies they need so they can rest assured knowing they’re getting the best possible experience out there.
In contrast to generalists, partners have begun to realize that with specialists they’ll get the customer and partner experience and the true ease of use in specific verticals they’re looking for. For example, Innovative is a specialist in cable that develops technology specifically to solve the challenges of cable. Innovative is also a specialist in the SMB space and vertical, solving the challenges of the SMB. Partners like that focus and specialization. The days of 100 spiff emails and 1000 carriers are dying.
Automation versus communication was desired in transactional business.
For partners, when it comes to interacting with their master agents or vendor partners, system access is desired over emails and human interaction. In fact, email is also dying. What partners want, instead, is to interface directly with the system and the vendor in order to get the information they need. Partners want automation, not 15 emails back and forth to get the small amount of information they desire.
Partners wanted to understand specific business outcomes (for them and their customers) by using our technology or partnering with us.
As more technologies emerge and the industry continues to grow, partners have become fatigued over carrier agendas and vendor partner agendas that translate into master agent agendas. Now, more so than promoting the agenda of a specific carrier just because it’s a technology, partners want to understand the business outcomes and what the drivers are, not only for their customers but for themselves as well. Questions they want answered include:
- How does it change my experience?
- What do I get out of it?
- How will it help grow my business?
- What problem does this technology solve for my customer?
Partners simply want to understand the benefits to them and the business outcomes of using our tools, technology, talent, and staff.
Let’s Evolve Together
At Channel Expo, there was a great deal I learned about partners and what it is that they’re looking for. I came to the conclusion that it’s really all about quality automation, focus, and specialization. Rather than it becoming a comparison of back-offices, it will become about which tools are more accurate, more easy to use, and produce better-desired business outcomes for you and your customers. Realistically, master agents of the future will become more focused and more specialized. It will become less of a technology distribution warehouse and more about a specialized organization.
If you’d like to learn more about Innovative and how we can help drive your sales, reach out to us anytime.