More personalized relationships with your vendor partners are on the horizon.
Referring to this shift in the way that vendors engage with their partners as “Partnering is Personal,” Diane Krakora, CEO at PartnerPath, explains that as vendor organizations realize their partners’ business models are all different, and evolving, and that it’s the individuals in the partnering organization that execute demand generation activities, sell solutions and provide support – not the partner firm – a different type of support is required.
“The “partner” doesn’t do these things … the people, or individuals, in the partner’s organization do,” she told us.
Partner-firm categories such as reseller, managed service provider (MSP), solution provider, or ISV, for example, are blurring, with many doing some of each. And certainly, cloud adoption has had a lot to do with the change. So, vendors, rather than dealing with partners en masse and shoving them into program tracks and tiers, are looking at ways to engage partners in a more customized way, depending on their strengths and their business models.
Clumping partner firms into homogeneous partner types, programs and tiers, may have worked well for the past 15 years, but not anymore, Sandra Glaser Cheek, vice president, global partners and alliances at Ciena, told us. “The way we’ve approached the channel in the past has been very dependent on our partner programs. This worked mostly because technology has been evolutionary and programs could be evolutionary. But we’re in such a disruptive time right now that we’re leapfrogging from a technology perspective. So, you’re not having a version 1.0 going to a 2.0, 3.0, etc., which would not have impacted how you go to market with partners through programs and initiatives,” she said.
In fact, Glaser Cheek suggests that we’re getting back to basics, the ways things were more than a decade ago when partnering was about the personal relationship and understanding the differences in partner business models.
In the past few years, in order to be successful, partners have had to find other selling motions, i.e. around services, consulting and analytics advice, in order to grow and be profitable. This change/transformation isn’t slowing down. Looking ahead, “Vendors will recognize their [partners’] uniqueness, as well as the differentiation between organizations and the individuals that are executing within these organizations,” Krakora said.
Forget about one size fits all.
With time, it’s becoming more evident that partners don’t need benefits of being in a particular partner program tier level, yet they’re very valuable to the vendors.
“They may not have that $5 million quarter run rate to get to a platinum level, but they’re a cloud aggregator or cloud services provider – so we’re seeing that the traditional tiers don’t always work for everybody – and partners get lost in that,” she said. “So how do you, the vendor, fit into their business model rather than shove them into your medallions and make them live there?” she added.
Glaser Cheek, who has spent her 20-year career in the channel, agrees and views it necessary to …