ARC: Top 10 Vendors At Managing Channel Conflict3:44 PM EST Mon. Sep. 28, 2009
Vendors often talk the talk of managing channel conflict, but they don't always walk the walk. Our Annual Report Card research asked VARs about how their vendors performed in this matter. Here's a look at the 10 vendors that are most successful at making peace with their partners.
Cisco's ability to manage channel conflict in the Unified Communications/VoIP category finished tenth overall in the Annual Report Card survey. Cisco has a clear go-to-market strategy that is built around partnerships and alliances. According to Forrester, Cisco has seen big improvements in driving sales through the channel: In 1996 38 percent of its revenue was derived through the channel, while in 2009, that number is greater than 90 percent.
NetApp took ninth place overall for its skills in managing channel conflict. The vendor was recognized for its efforts in the Network Storage technology category.
Hewlett-Packard's VARs selling Workgroup Color Printers rated the vendor's methods for alleviating channel conflict as eighth overall. Over the past few years, HP has instituted a sales-engagement model aimed at removing key conflicts that existed among channel partners and direct HP sales reps. VARs get exclusive services, including increased compensation and prioritized presales, technical support and access to technical Q&A, information research, infrastructure solution consulting, configuration assistance and validation.
Ranked seventh overall for its ability to manage channel conflict was Hitachi Data Systems' program in the Network Storage (SAN or NAS) category. HDS has differentiated its sales force and has recognized that managing the channels for its different product lines will be a top challenge.
Cisco's abilities in managing channel conflict for its wireless infrastructure VARs ranked sixth overall. The vendor is investing in channel financing to support partners with working capital during the recession, and has provided the credit support to drive an additional $2 billion in sales since October 2008.
Kaspersky Lab earned accolades from its VARs, coming in fifth for managing channel conflict in the Client Security Software category. Key to Kaspersky's success is its pledge to never take a deal direct; to guarantee to bring leads to top-level partners; to ensure exceptional profitability to partners; and to protect partner margins.
Sophos' program in Client Security Software ranked fourth overall in the survey. The vendor features lead-generation and marketing support as well as a full suite of sales and marketing tools and support to drive leads and close business.
Fortinet got a thumbs-up for its emphasis on reducing channel conflict in the Network Security Appliances category. It came in third overall in the Annual Report Card. Fortinet conducts numerous lead-generation campaigns and shares those leads with partners. Fortinet offers comprehensive programs to drive sales and services, including a lead referral program, access to co-op funds, and support for industry and partner events.
EMC's performance in managing channel conflict in the Network Storage (SAN or NAS) technology category came in second in our survey. Lsst year, too, EMC had impressively high rankings in this criterion in both the Network Storage and the Storage Software categories.
EMC took top honors in the entire survey for its skill in managing channel conflict within the Storage Software technology category. EMC's partners are the front line for services in the commercial market.