Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

The Cloud Services & SaaS Offering Land Grab

Enable channel partners on their terms, not yours

We are in the midst of the Cloud services & SaaS offering land grab.  As an ISV selling cloud services or SaaS offerings your objective is to get more partners selling more of your products faster than ever.  It’s up to you to ramp up new partners and make them effective right out of the gate.  So you have to figure out the best way to do this, especially in these rather chaotic times for resellers.

But there is a challenge. You see, resellers and VARs have always had a wide variety of products in their “bags”.  Yet with the channel explosion of SaaS solutions and Cloud services, the speed of new product introductions and product evolution has dramatically increased.  This means that channel partners are inundated with a constant flow of changing information from ISVs. Sales decks, product data sheets, webinars and price sheets are examples of items constantly changing.  Unfortunately most of these materials end up in  giant scrap piles that never make their way to the account executives.

As an ISV you tend to be stuck in the ways of the past when it comes to channel enablement and training.  You throw together every bit of information you know about your product and then toss that one hour webinar and zip file of tools over to your channel partner.  You hope that the receiver at the channel partner will take that information your provided and get it out to the sales team.  You also hope that the sales team reads all that material you send to them and somehow magically come up with new sales.  Unfortunately this old school enablement “on your terms” isn’t going to get you anywhere fast.

Partner’s account executives want you to help them, but on their terms.  They don’t really care about the theory behind your product and the feature lists and dozens of documents you have for them.  What they need in today’s business climate is a very different type of enablement that is supported by these materials.  The account executive wants hands on experience brought up along side of them as a selling companion. They don’t want to tackle a mountain of materials and have to figure out how to piece the story together themselves.

Recently I wanted to learn more about the way that channel partner account execs look at enablement.  I talked with partner account executives across a wide variety of resellers.  From the discussions I  compiled the top 5 ways the account executive want ISVs to think about when creating their enablement programs.

5. Help me identify opportunities in my patch by giving me explicit instructions on who to target.

Simply put, tell the account execs exactly who to cherry pick in their territory to find some easy wins.  Create a checklist of the information that will help the account exec pull the right contact list.  Better yet, you can craft a simple campaign in a box that helps each account exec to target a set of customers, provide that first contact intro letter and then recommend a pointer to a recent article or 3rd party validation of the business problem.  It’s all about finding the right people and getting the conversation started.  By providing this kit as part of your enablement program you can help the account exec get started that same day!

4. Provide me with background information on the business problem you are trying to solve.

This is your bread and butter, yet it usually doesn’t get put into consumable information for the partner channel.  It’s hidden inside your training presentation on slide 35 or somewhere in hour number two of your online “course”.  The suggestion from the account execs is that you need to pull together a simple description of the problem, information on how companies are solving that problem, and why your ISV should be the one considered for the solution.   This should be no more than a 10 minute exercise for the account exec to go through, understand and add to their everyday thought process.

3. Don’t assume that every account executive is junior, doesn’t know your domain or wants you to train them on solution selling.

Stop forcing account execs to sit through hour long sessions that tell them what they already know.  Give them a way to quickly skim your guidance so that they can pick up at the point where there find it most useful.  Long webinars and structured course-ware should be things of the past.  Start thinking in terms of playbooks, quick start guides and workbooks that are available at any time the account executive wants them.

2. Show me how to best present your solution and give me the tools to back up the claims.

Just like a personal trainer shows their client exactly what to do to get results, you should do the same for your channel partner account executives.  Break down the selling of your solution into easily consumable pieces and show them how to be effective.  Start with the basics and focus the selling on the problem you outlined.  Don’t worry about all those functions and features.  As long as the account exec can build a case around your solution for solving the problem you win.

1.  Give me examples of how others have solved the problem.

We all know that references and case studies help a lot during a sales process.  This gets even more important with your channel partners. They need examples that help them explain the solution in terms that the customer will understand.  Even if you don’t have approved case studies or customer testimonials, outfit your channel partners with examples and stories based upon types of customers or challenges that customers face.

It all comes down to getting much more personal with the account executives of your channel partners.  You have the sales tools, you have the product content.  Now you need to work to make all of that useful in context of your channel selling team.

[Image credit: http://www.oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/?p=6856]

More Stories By David Abramowski

David Abramowski is a technologist turned product leader. David was a co-founder of Morph Labs, one of the first Platform as a Service plays on AWS. He was the GM for Parallels Virtuozzo containers, enterprise business, and most recently he is the leader of the product marketing team for the IT Operations Management solutions at the hyper growth SaaS company, ServiceNow.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


CloudEXPO Stories
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
Docker and Kubernetes are key elements of modern cloud native deployment automations. After building your microservices, common practice is to create docker images and create YAML files to automate the deployment with Docker and Kubernetes. Writing these YAMLs, Dockerfile descriptors are really painful and error prone.Ballerina is a new cloud-native programing language which understands the architecture around it - the compiler is environment aware of microservices directly deployable into infrastructures like Docker and Kubernetes.
Apptio fuels digital business transformation. Technology leaders use Apptio's machine learning to analyze and plan their technology spend so they can invest in products that increase the speed of business and deliver innovation. With Apptio, they translate raw costs, utilization, and billing data into business-centric views that help their organization optimize spending, plan strategically, and drive digital strategy that funds growth of the business. Technology leaders can gather instant recommendations that result in up to 30% saving on cloud services. For more information, please visit www.Apptio.com.
In an age of borderless networks, security for the cloud and security for the corporate network can no longer be separated. Security teams are now presented with the challenge of monitoring and controlling access to these cloud environments, at the same time that developers quickly spin up new cloud instances and executives push forwards new initiatives. The vulnerabilities created by migration to the cloud, such as misconfigurations and compromised credentials, require that security teams take a proactive approach, educating employees about the risks of human error. Cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications are some of the most notorious network blind spots, and with insider threat posing such a significant risk, visibility has also never been more important - or more difficult.
Blockchain has shifted from hype to reality across many industries including Financial Services, Supply Chain, Retail, Healthcare and Government. While traditional tech and crypto organizations are generally male dominated, women have embraced blockchain technology from its inception. This is no more evident than at companies where women occupy many of the blockchain roles and leadership positions. Join this panel to hear three women in blockchain share their experience and their POV on the future of blockchain.