Channel partners held back by marketing and finance skills

BT Wholesale has published new research from the UK Channel, with 73 per cent of respondents reporting that they are experiencing a shortage of in-house marketing and finance skills. This is fuelling challenges around maximising brand awareness, an issue suffered by 89 per cent of CPs. 

The research reveals that the top business priorities in the channel over the next 12 months are generating new leads and attracting new prospects and increasing revenue from existing customers. However, the survey of 100 senior decision makers in the channel also revealed that navigating the shift to all-IP is a low priority with only 18 per cent selecting it within their top two choices. With the PSTN switch-off happening in 2025, it’s vital that partners understand the steps they need to take now ahead of this change.

Channel partners feel they understand their customers. Business plans are shaped by customer feedback and advice (55%), research of industry trends (53%), and partner/vendor feedback (48%). While 65 per cent feel that transparency and simplicity matter most to customers, more so than value for money (55%) and ease of technology being purchased (49%). Only 29%, felt that having an existing relationship influenced decisions. 

Faye Dominey, Head of Marketing at BT Wholesale said, “channel partners are focusing on growing revenue to protect themselves from the economy, but what is yet to be fully understood is how the move to all-IP can bolster and future-proof revenues. It’s a unique technology shift that will support the future of the UK’s fixed connectivity, becoming the bedrock of digital capabilities that can protect and grow businesses.”

The power of marketing

The research revealed that 90 per cent believe there is a strong link between marketing and sales. Yet, 89 per cent believe it’s challenging to maximise brand awareness in the industry. Social media is the top lead-generating channel (71% rank in tier top three), followed by telemarketing (49%). LinkedIn (98%), Twitter (95%), and Facebook (90%) are the three most used platforms, but Reddit has potential with nearly 60 per cent planning to use it in the next 12 months. 

A lack of in-house skills  

Challenges around maximising brand awareness can be linked to a lack of in-house skills. Marketing and finance (both 73%) are the areas with the highest skills shortages for CPs, yet nearly half (45%) handle everything marketing-related in-house. 

The channel does see the issue, with 78 per cent intending to increase investment in MarTech tools and 73 per cent in upskilling marketing teams. In the short term, with a gap in resources available and desired output and impact of marketing, there is a need for ‘off-the-shelf’ marketing materials, with 88 per cent agreeing that it would help to engage and sell more. 

Christopher Wellbelove DL, Senior Marketing Consultant Partner Plus at BT Wholesale added, “partners clearly understand the link between marketing and sales, and while the shortage of in-house marketing skills can be daunting, there is a plethora of useful tools and support available to elevate their business to the next level.

“When it comes to branding and content, sales support and incentivisation, and marketing resources, BT Wholesale’s Partner Plus proposition has never been stronger and has something to meet all partner marketing needs. Our all-in-one Hub plus our hands-on consultancy support means that CPs can be optimistic about meeting business goals, particularly ahead of the all-IP future. With transparent and simple access to dedicated experts and ready-to-go engaging marketing assets, partners can rest assured that we’re in their corner and we’re continuously ramping up the support and resourcing available to reflect the road ahead.” 

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