What does 2022 have in store for channel partners?

The effects of the global pandemic continued to impact enterprises throughout 2021, and there’s no doubt that we’ll continue to see ongoing changes in 2022. The technology sector has experienced several major shifts, from the emergence of remote and hybrid working to an increased reliance on cloud technology and collaboration tools.

To align with new customer needs, channel partners have had to take note and adapt their ways of working to ensure they’re providing the best service and products. As we move forwards into 2022, partners will need to navigate ongoing changes across the channel. To help them succeed, we’ve heard from several channel experts on their 2022 predictions and what channel partners should be looking out for. 

Mike Tankard, Partner & Alliances Director, Northern Europe, Citrix, reveals that uncertainty will continue to drive business changes and innovation.

He said, “I’m speaking with partners a lot and they’re all finding it difficult to predict too far into the future. The pandemic has shown us all there’s a twist at every corner, and no one can say with precision what is coming next.

“This uncertainty has itself become the single biggest business driver, changing the sales journey from longer range technical innovation, to greater agility and security around dynamic changes. Those conversations are very different. Partners and resellers are increasingly being asked for a broader range of capabilities, especially in specialist areas such as security, through to managed service models where innovation is commercially and technically built into an evolving relationship.

“Another key aspect for 2022 is likely to be the continued skills to sell virtually and digitally. We will continue to see the importance of building relationships remotely, but as we transition towards hybrid working, there may be an adaptation of the skills needed around client preferences and how to reignite relationships in person. Salespeople also need to be au fait with the digital tools available like Edison and Salesforce. These provide much more sophisticated insights than we traditionally had.” 

Ed Baker, EMEA Partner Lead at McAfee Enterprise highlights the importance of consultative selling and supporting hybrid working with flexible working tools.

He said, “when it comes to selling across the channel, the real value lies in being able to match customers with the right vendor and solutions. With product information now readily available online, consultative selling is going to become even more important next year. Partners will need to be able to understand the ‘why’. Not only ‘why’ in terms of identifying the customer business challenge, but also ‘why’ is the combination of what they and the vendor provide something unique.

“The road towards continued success across the channel in 2022 also lies in skills. These will include core consultative selling skills and skills in consumption selling – both crucial areas as we continue to experience disruption to traditional selling models. Partners will also need to focus on ensuring that they provide optimised customer experiences and services while implementing these new sales models.

“In 2022, remote and hybrid will remain fundamental components of the working environment. Partners will therefore need to continue providing customers with the right tools to optimise efficiency and productivity with flexible working. This is especially true as new generations of employees enter the workforce – they will expect instant access to optimal flexible working tools.”

Hasina Dhanji, Business Development for Cloud in EMEA, at CommScope, reveals that next year holds exciting opportunities for channel partners.

She added, “I’m optimistic about the new year, all analysts and experts point to continued growth, and there are some truly exciting innovations on the horizon leveraging the power of ML/AI to change the way we live and work. The shift to service-driven, outcome-led solutions is powerful and will change the way customers invest and who they choose to show loyalty to. I hope to see more partners embrace solutions that provide flexibility, investment scalability and interoperability to build comprehensive ecosystems and truly differentiated services to market.”

Ultimately, to be successful in 2022, the key will be for channel partners to keep up to date on the evolving tech landscape and ensure they’re in the best position to provide consultative, personalised guidance for their customers.

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