Channel Automation: Risk or Opportunity?

With the 2112 Group reporting that four out of five business buyers say they want enterprise purchase processes similar to consumer experiences, it’s time to accept the inevitability of automated digital sales, and start planning for the future.


In an April 2018 report, Strategies for Engaging Automated Digital Sales (Strategies), the 2112 Group cites Forrester Research findings indicating as much as 40 percent of B2B transactions come through digital sales channels, and the percentage is rising. Automated digital sales channels are also impacting the technology sector, with the 2112 Channel Chief Outlook: 2018 report showing 11 percent of channel executives believe online marketplaces will drive the bulk of indirect revenue by 2023.


Not surprisingly, the trend is facing some resistance from vendors fearing it will endanger channel partner loyalty or diminish their control over customers. The 2112 Group validates these concerns in Strategies. It acknowledges that although automated digital sales are not the primary cause of channel churn (think cloud and shift to recurring revenue and LOB sales), the trend could disrupt an estimated 40 to 60 percent of channel partners within three to five years.


But the outlook for a channel shifting to automated digital sales isn’t all gloomy. As The 2112 Group suggests in Strategies, the automated digital sales model is a response to a new reality where not all products need a human touch to reach customers.


By Karen Dasey


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