Time sure does fly when you are in a business environment undergoing a radical transformation. Earlier this year we published a white paper 2015 Trends and Predictions in the Technology Channel. In this paper the topic revolved around how 2015/2016 trends will impact you, your organization and your partner community. Now that we are halfway through the year, let’s refresh you on how we are doing and start by tackling the first trend impacting the technology channel. This particular trend is 3rd platform technologies that are driving channel and B2B buying behaviors.
3rd platform technologies are driving change
3rd platform technologies (aka, SMAC -Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) are are fueling growth and as predicted, are impacting how businesses make purchasing decisions. In fact:
What IDC deems the third platform of computing is transforming IT much faster than the first (mainframe) or second (client/server) platforms ever did. This has tremendous implications for the IT industry, yes, but also for anyone doing business in today’s world.
Bernard Golden, Named by Wired.com as one of the 10 most influential people in cloud computing.
In the 2015 sales cycle, most technology vendors and their channel partners going through this transformation are finding themselves in the early implementation stages of change. Evolving business models put more pressure on the traditional channel while they attempt to transform their business and their vendors. These vendors help their partners transform, and will ultimately build successful, loyal channels.
In the 2016 sales cycle, channel program spend must support partners with a variety of business models- hence vendors must thoroughly understand these varying business models and the challenges each represents in terms of enablement and support. To make matters more complex, not all geographies, markets, or theaters are adapting third platform technologies at the same rate. As a result vendors need programs that support all the various partner types beneficially into 2020.
Transformation is difficult
Providing your partners with business model transformation assistance and marketing knowledge transfer/tools will help them become more successful. Both you and your channel partners have the same end goal (selling to customers). Here’s how to help them:
- Shift from transactional to behavioral incentives. The shift from a transactional incentive model (associating with the sale) to a behavioral model (associated with learning how to sell, the sale and post-sales) addresses how/when to use incentives across the partner journey and the sales cycle. Behavioral incentive models should be designed around lead generation, lead management, and early opportunity registration. You need to move away from getting rewarded for your deals, to addressing qualified leads to the closed deals. Marketing/demand generation activities are essential to both drive and support rapid business model transformation. Education, training and certification programs help partners ramp-up and prepare for new business models.
- Education, it’s not just about your product. Think about what your partner needs to be successful. Offer your partner’s marketing certification programs that strengthen their expertise, along with marketing enablement and demand generation tools. Some of these demand generation tools include: self-service, pre-packaged cloud service marketing campaigns, and compelling incentive programs. All of these tools motivate both the partner organization and their teams to actively participate in this new way of doing business. On the road to transformation, consider the SBA Top 10 list and think about how you can educate them on topics such as such as how to project revenues, how to manage cash flow or how to re-design sales compensation.
- Decrease partner effort to increase loyalty. The ease of doing business is not a new practice. On another note it is clear that vendors have not delivered such features that partners want from vendor provided tools. Some of these features include: integration of a fully mobile experience, e-commerce aps and fully functionality social apps. The ease of doing business in this time of transition consists of delivering a consumer like experience. One must decrease partner effort to increase loyalty. Vendors who make it a priority to engage their partners will be the ones who achieve long-term advantages. Consider unified login, simple registration and activation. These are clear rules of qualification, engagement, consistent validation and claim procedures such as ‘table stakes’ in today’s business landscape.
In this time of intense competition to attract and retain the best partners, I’ll leave you with some thoughts from a CRN article written in February, about the merger of Accuvant and FishNet.
The channel-by-convenience model is characterized by erratic and inconsistent channel terms, engagement, pricing and compensation. At the root of it is a company that thinks its brand and singular product can carry the day. That might have been the case in the reseller era circa 1985. But it is certainly not the case in 2015.
Chris Scanlan, Sr. VP of North American sales for Accuvant-Fishnet
Are you ready? Do you want more information? I’d be happy to discuss this with you.
About the Author
Chief Strategy Officer Claudio brings over 20 years of global channel marketing experience to Perks. He is a loyalty marketing expert with broad knowledge in strategy development, market management and channel sales planning, who has developed and executed major go-to-market programs for a variety of vendors, including AMD, Bing, Cisco, Dell, EMC, IBM, Kaspersky, Lenovo, Microsoft, Motorola, Seagate, Symantec, and VMware among others.Claudio is a management strategist with cross-functional expertise in business, finance, sales and marketing, strategic planning, and customer relationship management; an area he has excelled at by executing complex CRM implementations, customizations, and business process re-engineering for CRM applications. He keeps current with changes in technology and is passionate about the business implications of new technology. Claudio is an avid social media user and early adopter of social CRM.More Content by Claudio Ayub