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Marketing and finance skill shortage is holding channel partners back – BT Wholesale

Businesses are making plans to plug the gap to help drive revenue streams, latest research finds

BT Wholesale has published new research that found the majority of UK channel respondents are experiencing a shortage of in-house marketing and finance skills. 

The data has revealed that 73% of those surveyed lack the abilities required, with 45% tackling all marketing-related activities in-house. As a result, the issue is fuelling challenges around maximising brand awareness, BT says - a problem experienced by 89% of channel partners.

It’s particularly concerning, considering the channel’s top business priorities over the next year are generating new leads and attracting prospects, as well as increasing revenue from existing customers.

However, businesses do appear to be making plans to remedy this shortfall. Of the 100 channel decision makers quizzed, 78% are intending to increase investment in MarTech tools and 73% said they will be upskilling their marketing teams.

On average, partners predict they will spend £36,050 on marketing activities over the coming 12 months. 88% said off-the-shelf marketing materials would help their business engage and sell more.

Partners appear to understand the connection between marketing and sales, with 90% saying there is a strong link - but 89% said they find it challenging to maximise brand awareness.

Christopher Wellbelove DL, Senior Marketing Consultant Partner Plus at BT Wholesale, said that it’s crucial that marketing does not get sidelined and investments are made.

“Partners clearly understand the link between marketing and sales, and while the shortage of in-house marketing skills can be daunting, there is a plethora of useful tools and support available to elevate their business to the next level,” he said.

The research also revealed that the shift to all-IP is currently a low priority among businesses, with just 18% of respondents placing it in their top two choices – despite the PSTN switch-off happening in 2025.

With the change just around the corner, BT says the channel needs to foster consultative customer relationships and encourage partners to “future-proof infrastructure by transitioning now”.

“Channel partners are focusing on growing revenue to protect themselves from the economy, but what is yet to be fully understood is how the move to all-IP can bolster and future-proof revenues,” commented Faye Dominey, BT Wholesale’s Head of Marketing. 

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“It’s a unique technology shift that will support the future of the UK’s fixed connectivity, becoming the bedrock of digital capabilities that can protect and grow businesses.”

She added that the pandemic has evolved customer requirements, leading them to prioritise transparency and simplicity over value for money.

“They are looking for long-term partners that support them in growing their businesses through innovative technology, meaning it’s more important than ever to know customers inside out and to have a consultative two-way relationship,” she added.

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