Guest Column | March 9, 2020

Jay McBain: The Top 10 Channel Trends Coming in 2020

By Rob Spee, Channel Journeys Consulting

Rob Spee

Jay McBain
Channel Analyst

Cambridge, MA

Year Founded

Accomplished speaker, author and innovator in the IT industry. Awards include the Top 40 Under Forty by the Business Review, Top 8 Influencer by Channel Partners, and Top 8 Thought Leader by Channel Marketing Journal.

Channel Experience
25 Years



We're seeing the surge of influencer channels, they go by the names of affinity partners, referral agents, affiliates, advocates, ambassadors, alliances, all of those people. This is the Kim Kardashian of the channel. — Jay McBain

Chatting with Channel Analyst Jay McBain is always a great channel adventure. I was fortunate to have him on recently for his second Channel Journeys podcast interview. As always, he made some interesting observations about the channel and trends we can expect to see this year and beyond. Channel and sales chiefs should pay attention to these trends as they chart their channel strategy.

Key Take-Aways — 5 Channel Trends in 2020

Here are the five channel trends that struck me the most:

  1. Indirect sales will shrink every year for the next decade as the role of the channel continues to evolve.
  2. Channel leaders will contemplate a trifurcated channel model made up of influencers, transactional partners, and retention partners.
  3. Channel professionals will become channel ecosystem professionals with a flexible and scalable channel program to manage the trifurcated channel.
  4. Partner Experience (PX) will catch up with Customer Experience (CX) as a critical element of channel success.
  5. Channel Account Managers will turn into community managers. Think of them as mini-channel chiefs responsible for building like-minded partner communities.

Take Action — One Thing You Can Do Today

Take a look at your channel strategy and see how well it will hold up with these channel trends. Listen to the complete Channel Journeys podcast with Jay and check out his blog What I See Coming For The Channel In 2020.

About The Author

Rob Spee is the founder and CEO of Channel Journeys Consulting and host of the Channel Journeys podcast. Rob applies his channel expertise to help clients create and execute channel strategies to accelerate revenue growth. His global channel experience spans from building channels at startups to vendors and distributors like Arrow, BMC, Carbonite, and SAS. Follow Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.