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In-depth

Two-thirds of resellers and distributors want better relationships with vendors

Head of Kaspersky UK's SMB channel says the channel lacks a "human touch"

Shaking hands

Two-thirds (65%) of resellers and distributors wish they had a better relationship with vendors, according to new research from Kaspersky.

Despite this, the same number of resellers and distributors admit to finding it increasingly challenging to build relationships with vendors, while 69% said they would prefer more personal contact with their dedicated account manager.

New research from the cyber security company, which was conducted in the UK in collaboration with Arlington Research, has shown that over three-quarters (77%) of resellers and distributors agree that having a personal relationship with vendors is one of their top priorities.

On the other hand, 71% of the 150 interviewees said that they are the ones burdened with establishing the desired relationship, rather than the vendors themselves.

According to Andy Bogdan, head of UK SMB channel at Kaspersky, the results of the survey are clear symptoms of the loss of "the human touch within the channel".

"It should not stay that way," he said. "In business, relationships are key. Building trust and having good, honest communication between all parties is imperative. Vendors must place a far greater emphasis on putting the customer first, and adopt a genuine, customer-centric approach".

Asked about what he means by "human touch", Bogdan said that Kaspersky is "trying to create this message and understanding that cybersecurity isn't just about the thing through on the laptop". 

"Cyber security is about both device-centric security and the human factor because we are probably responsible for 85%+ of cyber security incidents," he told Channel Pro. "We're trying to broaden the message that cyber security isn't just the technology piece - it's also a human piece."

The coronavirus lockdown, resulting in a sudden shift to mass remote working, was one of the events that furthered the need for a more human focus. According to Bogdan, "organisations were running, typically, on average five to 10% of personnel working remotely" before social distancing measures were implemented.

"All of a sudden, this lockdown happened, your entire organization has got to move its entire workforce remotely. Now think of the implications, the consequences or repercussions of that. When it comes on actually moving security from an office to remotely, the human factor is so important,” he said.

One of the ways that the "human touch" might be implemented is by focusing on better customer service - 47% of the resellers and distributors surveyed agreed that it is the most important consideration when deciding which vendor to work with. 

Vendors should be able to demonstrate a strong understanding of the industry that resellers and distributors are operating in, as well as provide the opportunity to establish strong relationships with the vendor’s key contacts. 72% of respondents saying that being able to reach the top executives and figureheads is particularly important to them.

According to Bogdan, "it’s not too late for other vendors to take action and ensure personal relationships don’t disappear from the channel altogether", but he added that "they must do so now". 

"More direct contact is becoming especially important, given that after the pandemic, remote working could be here to stay for many businesses across the UK," he said.

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