It was exciting to meet with so many people this week at XChange Florida.
Thanks to our great relationship with our partner, The Channel Company, I’ve been able to do quite a few of these events. It’s such a great way of connecting with (and learning from) all kinds of different people in the industry.
I first presented at XChange back in 2015. At the time Webinfinity was in the early stages of its journey to fundamentally address the digital friction between Solution Providers and their many vendors. We ran focus groups with partners and heard again and again how difficult manufacturers made their lives through badly made portals and management by dashboards. We met with Channel Account Managers who told us they had no tools to do their jobs and were constantly stuck in the black hole between the partner portal and their CRM system.
We also spoke to several Vendor Channel Chiefs. They were all excited about the opportunity to be better, but all too often once the show finished (and everyone went back to their day jobs) other priorities took over. Fixing the pesky partner portal was no longer top of mind.
This time was different. The partner roles explosion and move to the cloud continues at a breakneck pace. There is a much bigger call for solution/deal centric selling. All kinds of agile new manufacturers are appearing in the space. There are even Cloud only distributors (a nod to the great team at Pax8) reframing the way we help partners do business.
There is a bigger opportunity than ever before to scale through the channel. But there is also a much bigger risk (especially to established vendors) – and in particular to those who are not getting how important digital tech is going to be in all of this. Thankfully many now are.
My recent blog post spoke to why now is the time to ditch the partner portal. Some great companies (you know who you are) already have. But thinking that digital engagement is not going to be critical in all of this is as much of a folly as questioning the validity of the consumer app economy we are now all a part of each and every day in our personal lives.
The digital first channel opportunity is here and it’s real. Webinfinity understood this was coming as early as 2013 - we’ve spent 4 years building an Experience-as-a-Service platform (XaaS) that will hugely accelerate the transformation the industry needs. We are driving the change from the era of bad partner portals to online workspaces that engage each and every member of a channel ecosystem in a way which is totally personal to their unique needs.
So don’t put the partner portal at the bottom of the list of priorities. Take it seriously. Explore the PRM space and see what our great competitors are doing. But if you are serious about the digital channel opportunity – just make sure Webinfinity is on your list :)