This article originally appeared on Channel Partners Online.

Vendors: Ever wonder what your channel partners are thinking? About you? About your channel program?

Partners: Ever wonder if your peers feel the same way about some vendors?

If the answer is “yes,” then maybe you should open up some lines of communication.

The fact is, the 2112 Group sees a “low birth rate” in the channel, with CEO and chief analyst Larry Walsh writing that “increasing complexity of new technologies and delivery models is creating a higher barrier to entry, resulting in fewer companies starting up in the channel. The problem, as we’ve noted several times, is that fewer start-ups mean fewer innovative partners to refresh the channel.”

Meanwhile, a steady stream of M&A activity means constant shake-ups, while the long tail of small partners can spread vendor enablement resources thin, especially where there’s little automation.

On the vendor side, start-ups are coming fast and furious, with many of them embracing a channel sales model.

Some trend stats from Jay McBain, CEO of ChannelEyes:

  • Recent reports from CompTIA and IPED show a current North American technology partner base of 160,000 companies. That’s down 36 percent since 2008 and continues to face 10 percent to 15 percent annual attrition for the foreseeable future.
  • 40 percent of the entire channel will retire in the next 10 years.
  • The average channel partner has eight employees; 97 percent of them have fewer than 50.

So yeah, you will need all the selling help you can get from a channel that wants to work with you. That means, at the very least, not doing these 10 things that drive them crazy.