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Rackspace Sees Success, Growth from New Channel Strategy, Program

Failure vs. Success

After rolling out a new partner program this year, Rackspace is looking forward to building on its success and watching it grow in 2019.

During this past spring’s Channel Partners Conference & ExpoLisa McLin, Rackspace’s channel sales and alliances vice president for North America, said the new program has “partners’ fingerprints” all over it. It was designed to provide partners with better visibility and access into Rackspace’s portfolio of managed IT services across private and public clouds, application services, managed hosting, colocation and managed security.

Rackspace selected 40-50 partners that “we decided had the same value that Rackspace had and we were going to be able to add value to those partners,” McLin said.

Rackspace's Lisa McLin

Rackspace’s Lisa McLin

“So we created a tiering program with Tier 1 and Tier 2 partners with a global mission to create a Fanatical partner program that helped customers with digital transformation into mid-market and enterprise customers,” she said. “So that’s really been the focus through that, and the underlining changes were all around enablement, tools and systems, and ways to enhance our partners’ experience and then ultimately generating net new growth for partners and Rackspace.”

Its partner community includes master agents/VARs and indirect partners with mid-market and enterprise experience “that maybe traditionally weren’t selling cloud, but now they’re ready for that,” McLin said. It also partners with SIs, ISVs, and colocation providers, and has programs for government partners and private equity partners.

“We’ve seen the increase that we wanted to see, so it’s validated that the strategy that we selected works and now we’re just making tweaks to make sure we can scale this and we can continue to evolve in advance,” she said. “One way of making sure you’re competitive is making sure that you’re always thinking about the next big thing and how you continue to serve partners in a Fanatical way.”

The partner portal has been redesigned and it’s “laid out in such a way that helps the partner understand how do I easily put a go-to-market play together with my partner account manager and my team to go out there and win more cloud business,” McLin said.

Rackspace has added Youtube videos around specific products and solutions so partners can watch a two-minute video versus a 45-minute session to get the basics that they need to understand and then can pull in the Rackspace sales team to help them go deeper, she said.

“We also have a partner help desk to serve all partners that don’t fall into that Tier 1 and Tier 2 bucket so they’re still getting an automated service through the help desk,” McLin said. “In addition, a monthly partner newsletter is allowing partners to understand and communicate all the things that have changed, and then the new things that are being added. So that portal is really the gateway to all things new for Rackspace and we continue to provide updates on the latest videos and content, and reports.”

Also, quarterly “open book” sessions allow partners to connect with Rackspace’s executive team and/or product leaders to discuss the company’s strategy, she said.

In addition, Rackspace is working with a few of its partners to pilot the concept of partners selling professional services with the company, McLin said.

“We’re seeing some good trends early on to really determine that in 2019 we feel strongly that going to market with partners we can get more professional services out there,” she said.

In the first quarter, Rackspace will be rolling out …

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