I talk about recruiting, enabling and managing indirect partners all the time. The goal of 99% of all technology companies is to leverage indirect channels for increased sales reach, market penetration and customer satisfaction. But beware, there is a tectonic shift coming. It will greatly affect the traditional channel model and some vendors are feeling the ground rumbling.
A Shortcut to the Top 6 Takeaways in the 2018 State of Partnering
The maturity of partner programs has changed greatly in the twelve years we’ve studied channel ecosystem trends. As an industry, we are far from perfect but continue to improve every year. We believe the survey, data collection, partner and vendor interviews and subsequent analysis represented in our annual State of Partnering is important to advancing the development of channels. Industry trends, challenges, best practices and benchmark data help prepare our clients for success with their channel ecosystems. The data in this report will help you perfect your partnering – elevating your partner engagement, sales and profitability.
A lot of our discussions in the channel of late have focused on the changing demographics of the channel partner and how vendors must respond to accommodate these changes. Everything from partner program models to sales enablement motions and even what we call channel partners these days is evolving—and mostly for the better, in my opinion.
Channel partner programs used to be simple: Resellers were VARs and System Integrators were SI. Each had their own programs with lines that were not crossed. But today we have VARs, MSPs, CSPs, SIs, agents, consultants, solution providers and others that can’t be labeled, and few fit neatly into any particular channel partner program.
Data, data, data! Who doesn’t love data? No doubt you’d enjoy program benchmarking information as you go into 2018 planning, so here are a few highlights from the 104 vendor respondents in our 2017 State of Partnering. Surprisingly, more vendor respondents offered co-marketing funds than deal registration.
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.
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.
Partner experience drives partner engagement. The better the experience, the better the engagement. And partner engagement drives sales, market reach and customer satisfaction. Are you giving your partners the best possible experience with your company? In our recent State of Partnering study, we asked solution providers to rank six pillars that affect their experience with a vendor. Overwhelmingly, they ranked “people” as the most important.
I’m a bit obsessed with goals, metrics, benchmarks, ROI. I believe if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it (just ask my team). Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about metrics and measuring return on investment and specifically, the importance of measuring your partner performance and your program success. The response has been, “But what specific metrics should we to track and report to management?” What are the key partner program KPIs?