Why do Channels Matter to Alliance Managers?

Posted: 5/6/2014 by Norma Watenpaugh

Because more and more, channels are becoming the preferred route to market for alliances.Routes to Market

As a recent CRN article on the VCE alliance illustrates, when alliance managers choose channels they need to understand how they work, what motivates channel partners, what are the economics, and how to deal with channel conflict.

With new models of converged architectures and XaaS, each partner relationship needs to redefine what are the sales engagement models that make sense. One partner can be a route-to-market for the other or they can meet in the channel or they can take the traditional influence channel model and collaborate on joint selling.  More often than not, it’s a combination of all of the above.  

What we have seen through our Go-to-Market Alliances Research is not only are alliances employing multiple routes to market: channels, OEM, and co-sale but the top performing alliances are more heavily invested in an indirect route vs relying on just joint sales for revenue. This is an ongoing trend with 65% of alliances choosing direct sales in our previous 2010 survey. 

What this implies is that it is not feasible to keep partners neatly siloed and alliance managers need to be as sophisticated about enabling channel sell-thru success as they are in sell-with.  And in this time of technology convergence and business model transformation, alliance managers need to be solidly grounded in what is happening in the channel and how to equip channel partners to succeed with your alliance offers.

What do alliance managers need to know?  Well it starts with tried and true partner value proposition but viewed through the new lens of technology convergence: social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC as we called in our last blog) and business transformation from transactional to recurring revenue.

The value triangle “what is the value the channel partner brings to the customer?”  What is the value or business proposition that is recognized by the partner?  What is the value that you as part of an alliance recognize?  We have written on this topic many times, but it is still useful in that the framework still serves even though the business model changes. The key principles being how do WE create value for customers and how do WE make money? That would be the inclusive WE meaning channel partner, your alliance partner, your company and perhaps even your customer. More in the next blog installment!   Or join the conversation: 

Changing the Channel: Succeeding as a Channel Manager in the Age of SaaS and SMAC

June 11, 2014 9:00am Pacific

The IT channel is rapidly changing, and true collaboration between technology providers and their partners has never been more important. This webinar will explore how to succeed as a channel manager in today’s world, where traditional hardware and software channels are at a crossroads and SaaS (software as a service) and SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, and cloud) present new challenges and opportunities for profitable and sustainable channel relationships.



Responses to Why do Channels Matter to Alliance Managers?

Barry Cohen

The ultimate value is always in the solution that meets a market need. Major trends including big data, managed services, cloud applications suggest that the solution that meets customer needs most effectively will likely be comprised of technology from multiple vendors. So channels matter more than ever. It's getting harder to sell a key component on its own. So if you're a vendor with a great technology, it makes great sense to form alliances with other vendors where the combined products form a compelling solution and one can leverage the other partners channels as an accelerated route to market.

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