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The road to success: Five key takeaways for channel partners from our new research

Channel partners have been challenged in recent years

From navigating a global pandemic and the subsequent supply chain issues, to employee retention and recruitment during a skills. The road to success has not been straightforward, but the spirit of the channel has not been dampened. There remains a clear appetite to supercharge growth.


That’s why we’ve conducted research with 300 end-user business decision makers to get to the heart of what’s important to your customers. We’ve identified five key takeaways that will enable you to open and develop customer conversations, lead the charge ahead of the PSTN switch-off and stay in the fast lane.

1. Business priorities are clear

The number one priority for UK businesses in today’s uncertain economic climate is risk management. This could mean ensuring warehouses aren’t full of stock they can’t sell, to having flexible contracts without long-term unpredictable costs.


UK businesses are also prioritising attracting new customers and improving customer and employee satisfaction. They are working to meet connectivity demands and cybersecurity standards too, an area where enterprise respondents are significantly ahead of SMEs.


Importantly, as we edge closer to the digital switch-on – or in other words, the PSTN switch-off – three in ten business respondents identify a shift to all-IP (cloud or digital voice solutions) as an immediate priority. This signifies a huge opportunity to capitalise on the digital future.

2. Weighing up risks and opportunities

While a high number of UK businesses (88%) are ‘satisfied’ with their technology provider, there’s still room to elevate customer experience. 


For businesses looking for a new tech partner, it’s evident that the purchase experience is a key factor in decision making. Going digital with automation and self-service will be key, especially for SMEs. 


Reliability was also rated more highly than value for money, demonstrating the power of partnering with a trusted provider, particularly when it comes to all-IP.


What’s more, it was revealed that to meet customer needs, channel partners must complement the purchasing experience with higher-value interactions. This involves using a consultative sales approach to identify bespoke solutions. Only then can customer appetites be built, and the ‘fear of change’ be overcome, especially as the PSTN switch-off draws near.

3. All-IP urgency needs to be injected into the market

The four key business drivers for all-IP migration are simplicity, speed, flexibility, and reliability. It’s now a question of when channel partners will accelerate their migration plans.


By sector, we can see manufacturing leading the way from retail, with hospitality and transport having the least advanced plans and being most likely to report a one to two year timeframe.


Channel partners need to weigh up the risks of not putting all-IP at the top of the agenda, as failing to successfully engage customers could open the door to your competitors. It’s a fierce market and taking steps now will future-proof businesses.

4. Marketing is a viable tool

There is clear evidence that more work is needed to educate and inspire UK businesses on the benefits and potential of all-IP.


The ultimate driver of business customer satisfaction is value. It’s a combination of value for money and reliable technology, underpinned by tech expertise and customer service, and marketing crucially unlocks this dialogue between customers and partners.


Commercial transparency and simplicity will be the key to success for SMEs, avoiding industry jargon and clearly explaining features and benefits is essential. For example, businesses are looking for specific PSTN guidance, including the local area timetable and the implications for individual business assets.


Customer reviews, social media and content will boost communication strategies too, and BT Wholesale is here to help you every step of the way through the ready-to-go content toolkits within Partner Plus.

5. Together we mean business

There’s lots to be optimistic about in the channel. Our research has outlined what customers care about, but also highlighted their open-door policy. It’s important to take advantage of this and check in, learn about their evolving priorities and have customer satisfaction front of mind. 


It’s also demonstrated that with the 2025 switch to all-IP looming, channel partners need to take the necessary steps for migration to push businesses forward.


To succeed in the all-IP marketplace, we recognise that BT Wholesale will need to ensure solutions are seamless and our technical expertise is continually growing. After all, the strength of the channel is in its relationships. Going forwards, when encountering new challenges and opportunities, remember to talk to your BT Wholesale Partner Plus team about how we can better meet your changing needs. 


Together we can build on our successes, driving all-IP migration in the coming years, enabling UK businesses to take control of their futures.

Partner Plus members can find the full whitepaper on The Hub. You can also request a call with your account manager to discuss any of the opportunities highlighted.


If you’re not already part of Partner Plus, sign up here.

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