One of the more popular goals of channel partner recruitment for traditional telecom company agent programs is the lure of adding large numbers of the estimated 150,000 VARs to the ranks of an industry dominated by somewhere between 5,000 to 10,000 telecom broker agents. With the potential enlargement of the recruitment pool by that large a factor, conventional wisdom says those channel programs and their channel managers will all retire in tropical waterfront mansions and luxury yachts.
But a decade after many have tried, penetration into this group is largely by informal “parking lot programs”, where leads are shared between telecom agents and VARs, mostly as an agent rep to VAR rep level. The VAR business ownership and business itself is not directly engaged. A quick look at most VAR website validates that reality. There are few traditional VARs in the 150,000 who feature relationships with telecommunications service providers on their websites “about” pages where they position their business, or in their “strategic partners” pages.
We know from years of research that indirect channels now account for over 70% of technology purchases, with Hewlett Packard noting earlier this year that 80-85% of their revenue is done with or through the channel, and they claim the involvement of 250,000 channel partners in their extended ecosystem. 1
If anything resembling that penetration shifts to the direct sales dominated telecom services segment, the growth in channel programs would be immense.
Here are a few of the challenges that VARs are concerned about: Continue Reading →