My interview with Jay McBain was to be just a twenty minute chat about his thoughts on what happened in the channel this year and what to look forward to in 2020. It ended up being a 45 minute very interesting conversation.  Listen to it in its entirety without commercials!

It is all about building a more diversified channel community that includes consultants, influencers, channel partners and more. Combined, they feed each other to solve problems with best-in-class solutions.

Building a Security Practice and unified communications/VoIP has become mission critical to channel partners. Building a solution stack on top of this is what differentiates the partner. Expanding with Robotic Process Automation solutions (one of the fastest growth areas) should be shortlisted on partners’ plans for 2020. It is imperative that channel partners stay ahead of the customers’ buying journey to deliver what they really need.

One very interesting take away from Jay for channel partners is to be conscious of how you present your content on your web site. If it is too general, you may not show up in Google searches. You need to have dedicated landing pages or web sites for each market that you serve and be very specific. Since 81% of the buying journeys starts with a Google search, you need to be found.

Jay also said that 68% of the buyer’s journey has been made before talking to a sales rep. Buyers are following influencers, reading e-books, watching videos and research papers to figure out the right-fit to their needs. You need to be injected into as many of these influential steps as possible. If you are only at the tail-end of the journey, then you will probably lose the sale.

For vendors, 2020 must include stronger on-boarding of their partners. While partners may be selling the same solution, their needs will be somewhat different. The winners will be those who serve the specific needs of each of their partners. Things like rebates just do not play well in the MSP model.

Building vibrant and connected channel communities and marketplaces will be the sweet spot moving forward. With already over 20 successful marketplaces and over 175,000 ISVs, we can expect massive growth. With Microsoft attracting 7,500 new partners every month and Salesforce looking to double by 250,000 partners, other vendors may need to catch up.

Want a lot more? You can meet and listen to Jay McBain on February 13, 2020 in Toronto at our 8th Annual Channel Manager Summit. Several other channel experts including myself will be sharing the inside scoop on building the best channel partner communities on the planet. All channel leaders are welcome to this one-day educational, motivational and social networking experience see for details!