• DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

    DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

    US Midmarket Digital Transformation Trends
    LEARN MORE
  • SAAS TRENDS

    SAAS TRENDS

    US SMB & Midmarket SaaS Adoption Trends
    LEARN MORE
  • IT MATURITY SEGMENTS

    IT MATURITY SEGMENTS

    US technology adoption trends by SMB IT sophistication
    LEARN MORE
  • BUYERS JOURNEY

    BUYERS JOURNEY

    Understanding SMB & Midmarket Buyers Journey
    LEARN MORE
  • CLOUD STUDY

    CLOUD STUDY

    SMB & Midmarket Cloud Adoption Trends
    LEARN MORE
  • SECURITY SURVEY

    SECURITY SURVEY

    SMB & Midmarket Security Adoption Trends
    LEARN MORE
  • MOBILITY SURVEY

    MOBILITY SURVEY

    SMB & Midmarket Mobility Adoption Trends
    LEARN MORE
  • IOT STUDY

    IOT STUDY

    SMB & Midmarket IoT Adoption Trends
    LEARN MORE
  • FEATURED INFOGRAPHIC

    FEATURED INFOGRAPHIC

    2017 Top 10 SMB Business Issues, IT Priorities, IT Challenges
    GET IT NOW
  • TECHAISLE

    TECHAISLE

    Global SMB and Channel Partner Market Research Organization
    SEE OUR SERVICES
  • TECHAISLE

    TECHAISLE

    SMB Data You Can Rely On | Analysis You Can Act Upon
    SEE OUR RESEARCH
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11

Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Why Vertical Specialization Matters for SMB Channel Partners

Most SMB channel partners are positioned as “your one-stop solution provider.” The approach – which one might refer to as “we sell IT stuff, and you need IT stuff, and we understand it better than you do, so buy it from us” – is likely to come under pressure in 2015. More successful SMB VARs would focus on understanding how technology is used within business processes. Processes in turn can be horizontal (e.g., content management) or vertical, specific to the needs of a particular type of business (e.g., construction project management). Understanding the connection between vertical processes and IT – the stuff a VAR might sell, the (cloud) stuff a VAR might broker, and the stuff the SMB client is already using – represents a kind of expertise that will support a long-term billable relationship between “trusted advisor” VAR and client, and that this kind of relationship will become more important than the capacity to deliver IT as a horizontal solution source.

From our global channel profiling studies we find that an SMB channel partner serves an average of 8.0 verticals.

smb-channel-partner-characteristics

Any channel partner that caters to 8 verticals cannot have deep expertise in all areas. Techaisle’s global SMB and Channel Partner data shows that there is a gap between what SMBs want and what channel partners are offering.

There do exist disconnects between channel offerings and SMB requirements. Red bars indicate that more SMBs are asking for these solutions than channel partners offering them. If one looks at 2012 and 2014 comparisons in the chart below it tells us a fascinating story. Vertical applications still stand out as the solution needed by SMBs the most but is least offered by channels.

smb-channel-partner-disconnect

Almost channel partners agree based on recent trends and their experience that manufacturing, healthcare, retail and financial services segments are the fastest growing with high demand for productivity, communication and collaboration applications.

Survey data shows that for SMB channel partners, industry expertise is a more important differentiator than technical prowess. Successful channel partners are emphasizing industry knowledge and giving importance to technical expertise & quality of service.

smb-channel-partner-industry expertise

In the above data, 50 percent of successful channel partners emphasize their industry expertise and industry knowledge during their interactions with SMBs. On the other hand, only 34 percent of unsuccessful partners do so. Not shown in the chart, 70 percent of these unsuccessful partners lead with their technical expertise and 43 percent lead with price. These channel partners lack the understanding of their customers’ businesses needed to offer sophisticated cloud solutions. They emphasize service quality without necessarily understanding what this means in a cloud context. They claim that they are able to demonstrate understanding of their SMB customers’ business needs, mostly at a technical level and are constrained by a lack of vertical understanding. Only 26 percent of very successful partners lead with price. They are able to demonstrate knowledge of the SMBs industry, and are therefore able to create confidence within their SMB clients. They are also the most likely to build and maintain long-term relationships with customers.

In areas with low business density, there will not be enough customers within any one industry to support vertical specialization but in most cases vertical specialization will provide proof of added value, and across an entire industry that is moving from resale to rental, “added value” will be important to “business viability”.

SMB Cloud is an IT priority and an IT reality reac...
2015 Top 10 SMB & MidMarket Business Issues, IT Ch...
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Search Blogs

Find Research

Blog Archive

SMB Data You Can Rely On | Analysis You Can Act Upon

Techaisle - TA