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CenturyLink, Partner Give Advice on the Future of Programs, Alliances

Giving Advice

Vendors spend billions of dollars on programs that partners can’t figure out, and partners waste significant opportunities that vendors create for them. Surely there has to be a better way.

Well, some people believe there is.

In their keynote, titled “The Future of Programs, Alliances and More,” at Channel Evolution Europe, Dec. 2-3 in London, one partner practitioner and one vendor program exec will talk about what the future looks like for programs and alliances.

Panelists include Craig Patterson, CenturyLink’s vice president of sales – indirect channel for the West division, and Jamie Claret, Amazing Support‘s director of IT support. The moderator is Dave Sobel, host of the “The Business of Tech,” podcast and co-host of the “Killing IT” podcast.

CenturyLink's Craig Patterson

CenturyLink’s Craig Patterson

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Patterson and Claret provide a sneak peek of the information they plan to share with attendees.

Channel Partners: What are some of the missteps vendors make when building partner programs and alliances?

Craig Patterson: Building an indirect channel program offers tremendous opportunities for businesses looking to expand their sales reach, grow revenue and extend their presence in specific regions or markets. However, even companies that have experienced substantial sales success through direct channels are not immune to missteps when it comes to establishing an indirect channel partner program. The indirect sales channel has nuances and challenges that are quite different from and arguably more complicated than a direct sales model. It is critical to set specific policies for how indirect partners can engage with potential customers (commonly known as rules of engagement). This helps minimize any possible confusion and conflict that could arise between direct and indirect channels. Also, it is essential to understand that the voice and needs of indirect partners differ from the direct channel, and tactics that work for the direct channel don’t always translate to partner success. Ultimately, when building partner programs and alliances, you are looking to give customers a choice of how they prefer to work with your business. It is critical to ensure that all channel program activities support the goal of delivering the best possible partner and customer experience.

Hear from top industry speakers and talk with key vendors, distributors and master agents by attending Channel Evolution Europe, Dec. 2-3, in London. Register now!
Amazing Support's Jamie Claret

Amazing Support’s Jamie Claret

Jamie Claret: Too much information which looks like it will be helpful, but in reality is simply too much to digest. Sometimes the idea of setting up and selling these products/services compared to the very small margin just puts you off. Minimum monthly spend always puts us off straight away. Enrolling in incentives is a pain. Registering a deal should be banned — too much of a pain in the backside. [There’s also a] question about loyalty … they get too big for their boots and now we just get emails, no proper account management.

CP: What are the components of a successful program that make it easy for partners to make the most of opportunities?

Craig Patterson: Successful indirect channel programs provide their partners with comprehensive, simple support that starts with full onboarding and moves through the entire sales life cycle. Offer partner benefits like training, pre- and post-sales support, and marketing programs and tools that make it easy for partners to understand and sell your services. Make resources digital, allow for co-branding and focus on mobility so that partners can self-service when needed. Provide sales, engineering and back-office support to assist partners through the full sales process. Equally as important, make sure the right compensation and incentives structure is in place to make selling your solutions more attractive and lucrative than the competition. The most successful partner programs are those where …

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