A Partner's Personal Touch Matters
Some 85 percent of the SMBs in the survey said that when they have issues, they want to pick up a phone and talk to a real person who can answer questions about all the cloud technologies they have.
"It's very clear businesses want to buy software from a local trusted advisor that they can get help from over the phone," Saks told ITBestOfBreed. "That's the most staggering data point."
More than one-third of respondents insist on having an easy way to access customer and technical support at any time of day.
Those requirements pose a clear challenge for the channel: It's difficult enough to have in-house mastery of a few SaaS products, yet alone dozens, Saks said.
"Offering the right SaaS applications is only the beginning," Agosto's Bandy said. "A good partner should also ensure that the applications are fully implemented, integrated and supported," Bandy added. "Following through by making sure everything works the way it's supposed to is what establishes a trusting, healthy relationship with the customer."