The Opportunities and Challenges of Embracing Relevance in the Channel

It is without a doubt that channel companies need to fully understand their customers’ needs when it comes to deploying a customer-centric business strategy and model. If the requirements and demands of customers are not met, businesses can face a variety of challenges. In order to make a business model relevant for customers, a company’s approach needs to be solely focused on their challenges both today and moving forward. If this is done properly, the company will become more aligned to its customers, building longer term strategic partnerships.

There can be many challenges associated with moving towards a customer-centric model. Due to this, some companies in the channel have no plans to move towards such a model. There are a variety of challenges that companies can face, from employee training and recruitment, to difficulties understand customers’ needs.

According to our recent research, over half of companies surveyed in the channel found it difficult to fully understand customers’ needs, whilst also finding challenges when it came to training existing employees. Additional training and development of existing employees is needed when adopting a more relevant approach for customers. In fact, when we asked decision-makers in the channel about this, 36% of respondents reported that training and development is a key challenge with adopting a customer-centric model.

New team members may also need to be recruited, which can prove difficult when companies are transforming their models to focus on their customers’ needs, due to having to teach new employees a blend of the old and new business models. Our recent research showed that 30% of businesses consider recruiting new employees to be a challenge they face in adopting a more relevant business model for customers. In fact, 61% of channel businesses said that they thought moving to a customer-centric model would have some impact on their recruitment strategies, with 23% considering this to be a big impact, and 38% anticipating a small impact on recruitment. However, nearly a quarter said that moving to a customer-centric model would have no impact on recruitment.

Another challenge which may be taken into consideration is the financial considerations involved in changing business strategy. This is an unsurprising factor, as finance is arguably the underpinning driver of most business decisions.

Anyone involved in the channel would advise businesses to ensure they are collaborating and working together with other companies when it comes to moving to a customer-centric model. This enables the company to identify and build a relevant partner network to operate in and meet the demands of customers. Working alongside other businesses will also help companies to be more innovative and offer more for their customers.

There are some companies within the channel that see no barriers or challenges associated with operating in a customer-centric model. As a result of this, many businesses have already moved to focus more on customer requirements and taking the partner-led collaborative approach to business. This could be because the benefits outweigh the minimal challenges significantly.

Companies that are already operating in a customer-centric model report seeing an increase in sales of up to 20% due to focusing more on customers, as shown in our own research into the channel.

With sales increasing, businesses are only going to grow further and faster. Evidently, this can show that there are a variety of benefits for companies moving to, or operating in, a customer-centric model. Operating such a model allows the company to give extra value to customers, which is essential in today’s market. In turn, increasing value for customers will mean that businesses can further increase customer loyalty and reliability, meaning they will continue to develop and strive continuously for customers.

On the whole, it is clear that at the moment and into the future, more and more channel companies are making the move towards a customer-centric, as-a-solution approach. With today’s landscape proving to be unpredictable and changing almost daily, channel businesses are now expanding their companies across the globe and embracing collaboration and innovation. It is evident that the need to focus on customers in order to increase stickiness and loyalty has never been more essential than it is today, and if this doesn’t happen companies may cease to remain relevant for customers and shrink in business growth.

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