Lately there has been a lot of talk about automation. Setting up systems to do things without human intervention has become a popular notion in a number of different areas of IT and beyond. But when it comes to managing channel partner relationships – how is automation best leveraged?
Partner Development Managers think differently than traditional Channel Account Managers. Definitely look at a new hiring profile for this new role – more business savvy, more sales-oriented and an entrepreneurial spirit.
The recent news of Synnex’s acquisition of Westcon-Comstor’s American operations, on the heels of Tech Data’s acquisition of Avnet’s Technology Solutions group, has many industry pundits asking about the future of value added distribution. As I mentioned in the Channel Partners article on the merger, there’s an upside and downside for partners regarding Synnex’s acquisition plans.
In this year’s State of Partnering study, we asked partners the six primary elements affecting their experience with vendors. These elements sorted into six pillars, with program policies coming in fifth. Your policies have less effect on partner experience than you may think. As channel enthusiasts and experts, we get very excited about the details of partner programs. While these elements are not unimportant, but they’re mostly transparent to partners.
In our recent channel chief roundtable the Partner Engagement Lifecycle was one of the many topics we attempted to tackle and wrestle to the ground. Our goal was to collaborate across the 15 channel chiefs in the room – from Google, SAP, IBM, Westcon, Cylance, Avaya, F5 Networks, DocuSign and additional well-recognized companies – to develop some answers or at least establish best practices across several areas.
We've talked about the first three pillars of partner experience, People, Enablement and Infrastructure. Now, using the responses from our annual State of Partnering study, we're closing on the final elements. Coming in fifth place is (drum roll) channel model.
We recently held another of our infamous channel chief roundtable events where a dozen channel leaders across company size and channel maturity gather to discuss trends, opportunities and challenges they’re facing in growing a partner ecosystem. The topic for this session was driving the partner experience – why, how and where vendors can enhance the partners experience, increasing engagement and ultimately leading to more channel sales.
Partners want systems and tools. Make infrastructure a priority.
In this year’s State of Partnering study, we asked partners all about the elements affecting their experience with vendors. These elements sorted into six pillars, with partner infrastructure coming in third place. Partners were also asked to rank the importance of elements comprising infrastructure. The result: a virtual tie between simply ‘having a partner automation system’ and ‘having all the systems tied together with single sign-on (SSO).’ These are together at the top of the list because not only do partners expect automation solutions, they want them. These systems provide access to the tools, materials and people they need to be successful with your products.
As made famous by Marshall Goldsmith, what got you here, won’t get you there. Meaning, what you did to be successful in channel partner recruitment over the last decade will not be successful in recruiting the next generation of cloud-savvy solution providers.
I have an Apple Watch. It was a surprise Christmas gift from my adorable husband a year and a half ago. While I love it for immediate notifications like text and Slack, the Activity tracking app confuses me. If you’re not up on this latest craze, each week the watch sets a daily Move goal for how much you should stand and exercise. I see my progress throughout the day and if I don’t hit my Move goal, the watch recommends a lower daily goal the next week. It feels like a reward for missing the goal. That’s not right. The same is true for partner goals. If a partner doesn’t reach the goals outlined for them by the vendor or program, do you lower their goals? Awe, you didn’t make it … here’s a lower bar for you. That’s no way to drive excellence.