Way back at the turn of the millennium, there were early murmurs on the potential power of developing partner ecosystems as a shiny silver bullet channel strategy especially with regards to partner to partner marketing.
The premise was that by creating multi partner selling teams involving solution providers, integrators, consultants and ISVs, one would be able to better serve the very specific vertical needs of enterprise and the mid-market creating better channel solutions and increased partner enablement opportunities.
IBM was the first company to pioneer the concept with Advanced Alchemy, a thought leading global channel sales and marketing execution agency, now incorporated as part of the Gorilla Corporation. The program was designed to be readily scalable and scale it did, reaching giddy sales revenue numbers in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Twenty years later, the world is a different place, and channel strategy has finally caught on to a good thing, and Partner to partner marketing developed utilising these powerful partner ecosystems is becoming more mainstream.
Partner to partner marketing complexity
To give you a perspective on the current complexity: In the USA alone there are 120000 partners. Within this envelope you can count the traditional VAR, CSP, MSP, DMR, System Builders, System Integrators, SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS partners.
To make it worse, they change all the time, adapting their businesses to the fast sweeping changes in the industry, adapting to cloud and to deliver everything as a service with rapidly fluctuating monthly recurring revenues meaning channel partner recruitment strategy and marketing solutions need to be infinitely flexible.
Gorilla Corporation and Impartner felt there was a gap in the market for Channel Chiefs to descend gladiatorially, into a think tank arena, to spar with one another and to be stimulated by unorthodox ideas that would over time mean vendors and hence their partners could be better equipped to handle the ever increasing pace of the tech industry.
This led to the creation of the Channel Chiefs University Series, which gathered in Palo Alto on June 24th 2016. Heavy hitting industry leaders used this roundtable as an opportunity to learn and debate some of key insights, presented by Theresa Caragol, former Channel Chief at several Fortune 500 tech companies.
There was a simple credo: Creativity, innovation and adaptability are necessary skills for today’s Channel Leaders. One can no longer think and do “standard”.
One of the main topics for discussion being around the evolution of channel and partner programs. Metamorphosis costs energy, overhauling a business model is eye-wateringly difficult. So, is it really worth it? What’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?
Cloud business (SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS) are set to triple growth to achieve market spending of $500B by years end even given the pandemics intervention. So, in short, yes it’s worth the pain. Besides, the alternative is certain extinction driven by millennials stampeding the channel horizon with venture capital funded new ideas, and limitless ambition and energy. In order for the tech channel to survive and thrive, with experienced vendors at the fore, there needed to be evolution and seamless consistency across the expanse of channel ideas
Strategic alliances and channel models are blending.
Now that technology solutions are sold less to CIOs and more to LOB Management, a whole host of new partners suddenly appear as not only viable but necessary.
Suddenly Agencies, Accountants, Venture Capitalists, HR and Training companies are becoming core to the channel strategy of many vendors. Aligning, enabling and empowering your existing channel to this new paradigm is exactly what will define and power your brand’s future.
This requires Partner Ecosystems to become culturally intrinsic in your business to the point of become encoded in your company’s DNA. Even more so when involving the cross promotional aspects of partner to partner marketing and assessing things in terms of vendor channel management.
Channel Managers of the present and future will need to be equipped with skills vastly surpassing the status quo, in terms of emotional intelligence, business collaboration and co-selling acumen.
The next 24 months will distinguish the winners from the losers, and we should expect the unexpected.
Can We Help With Your Partner to Partner Marketing and Ecosystems? Let Us Know!
Having a reign on your partner program from a brand perspective can be a challenge for even the most wily vendor, but add in the complexities of partner to partner relationships and the workload can be set to double. Gorilla can help , click here to learn more about our Partner Marketing services.