That was the topic last month of JS Group CEO Janet Schijns’ keynote address at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. During her discussion, (as outlined in the summary article written by Channel Partners’ Senior Editor Kris Blackmon) Schijns (who recently rejoined the consulting company she co-launched in 1997) didn’t hold back on her advice, and didn’t “sugarcoat” what partners need to do to get going on this goal/challenge for the remainder of the year—first and foremost: “Partners must have hard conversations to achieve record growth.”
The article also mentions “a gap between the volume of tech that’s penetrating the broad market and the volume being sold by channel partners.” While Schijns doesn’t state that partners are entirely at fault; she also says how vendors must also take similar responsibilities for their actions. “In many cases,” the article states, “they (vendors) don’t even value their channel all that much. As a result, they’ve fallen out of touch with their partners, and the relationships between vendors and partners that the channel was built on are today extremely strained.”
So how can partners and vendors fix this disconnect (and ultimately) what sounds like a communication breakdown? In her keynote, Schijns suggests this can be accomplished by partners finding ways to “cull their solutions and vendors down to the good ones — the ones that listen, that provide education over training, that value their channel and understand that without it, they’ll never succeed.”
It was also noted how Schijns discussed that doubling your business in a short period of time isn’t as daunting as it sounds—if you take the time to make the big changes that are involved. “Partners should narrow their focus and stop trying to be the IT generalist of yesteryear. “Go narrow to get big,” she says.
The article adds that “Some hard conversations have to happen around partners’ talent profiles. Just like some vendors have to go, so, too, do some people — maybe even the business manager in certain instances, such as if they also act as the sales manager (the number one leader Schijns says most often needs to change).”
Before closing out her keynote, Schijns (as she often does) wanted to leave the audience with one last impactful information tidbit. She said that one of the biggest misconceptions in our industry today is that “business owners also need to understand that the old adage of ‘It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know’ no longer holds water. In today’s era of social media influencers, it isn’t who you know — it’s who knows you.”
The bottom line, according to Schijns, is that growing a thriving channel business simply requires a different frame of mind. “It requires partners to double down on recurring services, bite the bullet and let go of vendors and employees that are hindering growth, and put themselves out there so people can put a face with the business name.” With this, Schijns adds, you can “absolutely” double your business by the end of 2019.