The report, entitled Channel Data Management Barometer 2017, collated responses from 166 individuals with responsibility for / visibility of the management of data collected through the channel. The statistics show that the lack of data management, in this area of the business, is having far-reaching business implications. A staggering 80% think they have lost commercial opportunities because of limitations in their ability to collect and analyse channel data whilst 42% admit inventory tolerance alert levels are based on inaccurate data.
A further result of these data collection limitations is that less than half of the companies included in the research are confident they have accurate, real-time data available to them in order to identify new sales opportunities quickly (42%), reallocate marketing funds (43%), accurately measure current demand (45%), drive profitable relationships with channel partners (47%) or provide accurate sales pipeline reports (49%). In fact, 70% went on to say that channel performance understanding was being held back by the accuracy of data. In the UK specifically this figure was 78%, up from 66% in 2015. Furthermore, a shocking 43% confessed they had shared data with the Board that they were not completely confident in.
This will, Im sure, kick-start some interesting conversations across departments within the consumer electronics sector, said Nick Andrews, GM for EMEA and India at Zyme. Companies expect sales opportunities to open up via channel partners yet fundamental supply and demand issues arent being correctly managed. This problem will only be further compounded as partner networks grow.
The channel is becoming more important to consumer electronics businesses. From a commercial standpoint, the research shows that three-quarters (74%) see indirect sales as a proportion of their total sales increasing over the next two years. This figure stands at 76% for the UK (compared to 55% in 2015) and 71% for the Nordics. With just over half of current sales coming via the channel on average, channel sales look set to become more significant than direct sales for businesses as we approach 2020.
According to Zyme, the flow of accurate data is the very foundation of effective channel management. Enabling businesses to share real-time product information, optimise inventory and avoid inventory discrepancies and write-offs is critical.
These statistics may strengthen the argument for more investment in CDM but a further recommendation becomes clear – businesses also need to ramp up the strategic credibility of the function, Andrews concluded.