IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Vox Channeli: Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt Regarding Channel Sales Skills

More than a few of the respondents to our latest reader survey may have undue confidence in their sales and marketing abilities.

By Rich Freeman

Most channel pros get into IT out of love for technology, not sales and marketing. Generating leads and closing deals are activities they learn to perform more because they must than because they enjoy it.

Broadly speaking, it shows too.

“The lion’s share of IT service providers are simply not where they want or need to be in the sales and marketing areas,” says Terry Hedden, CEO of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based IT marketing outsourcer Marketopia LLC. “They don’t have enough inbound leads to reach their goals and the leads that come in they have a tough time closing.”

We often see evidence of that anecdotally here at ChannelPro, too. Any time we include sales and marketing content in one of our SMB Forum events, attendees eat it up. Same goes for the articles we regularly post on those topics.

So when we decided to ask readers, via our latest survey, how they rate themselves on sales and marketing, we expected the results to reflect at least a mild lack of self-confidence.

Not so much. Here’s what you told us about your sales abilities:

Vox Channeli: Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt Regarding Channel Sales Skills
And here’s your self-assessment on marketing.

Vox Channeli: Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt Regarding Channel Sales Skills
But wait, you say. Only about a third of poll respondents call themselves very effective at sales and only a quarter or so said they’re very effective at marketing. So maybe our readers question their sales and marketing savvy after all.

Wrong again, and here’s the proof:

Vox Channeli: Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt Regarding Channel Sales Skills
Seems the vast majority of respondents to our survey either consider themselves pretty good at sales and marketing or consider their peers pretty bad. And to the extent the latter is the case, their judgement is probably correct.

“The challenges we face as an industry are well known,” says Hedden, who encourages vendors unhappy with the revenue numbers their partners are producing to do something about the situation by investing more in sales training and lead generation.

“Too often vendors assume it is their channel team or the product itself that’s the root cause of poor performance,” he states. “The issues they are having with channel sales may very well be because their channel partners are struggling with sales and marketing.”

Of course, it would probably help if those same partners acknowledged that they’re struggling in the first place. Step one in any recovery program, we all know, is admitting you have a problem.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor