If you missed the events, consider this your ‘cheat sheet’ for what people were talking about most.
Now that we – and many of you – are finally getting unpacked and unburied from Sirius Summit and Channel Focus, it’s time to look back at some of the top takeaways and ‘aha moments’ that the Webinfinity team noticed.
A few themes that jumped out at us:
- Despite ominous warnings we’ve heard for years, the channel is doing anything but going away. …on the contrary it’s as important as ever. As Jay McBain of Forrester noted, at present, 75% of world trade flows indirectly. But the channel is changing fundamentally with new players (see below), the continuing shift to cloud and increasingly subscription-based revenue models. As Rod Baptie put it, ‘The Channel is Dead…Long Live the Channel!”
- McBain and others also pointed out the trend of what Jay calls the 'shadow channels'...tech partners that are business specialists and exist outside of the traditional IT channel. Often these partners don't even know what the term 'channel' means and can’t be found in the traditional places. These are folks at marketing agencies, accounting firms, corporate strategy consultants, and other service and advisory industries suited to support line of business buyers. They tend to engage with a partner program more sporadically on an 'as needed' basis...and not much in between. So it's vital that when they do engage, you make those experiences easy, rewarding and personalized. (sound familiar?) And as Rod Baptie noted, many of most of them want nothing to do with billing the end customer.
- Webinfinity friend and client Sal Patalano (CRO at Lenovo) discussed the growing need for CAMs to be savvy digital and social marketers, so they can use, model and evangelize these methods with partners. Amen to that. Luckily Webinfinity provides powerful content sharing and alerts features that make anyone – channel sales team members included - powerful evangelists for your program. One to many communications no longer needs to be the sole domain of the channel marketing team!
- Richard Flynn of Spur Group discussed the rise of the Internet of Things and its continuing growth as a key driver of partner revenue...which Webinfinity is seeing first hand at clients like Centrica. Further, Kathy from SiriusDecisions shared that according to their recent survey, 45% of b-to-b suppliers expect to see an increase in the number of IoT partners in the next 12 months.
- John Moses of Cisco discussed the increasing occurrence of 'multi-partner selling', where numerous partners come together and work collaboratively to close individual deals...which we're seeing first hand at many of our clients.
- Maria Chien of SiriusDecisions noted that 30% of the respondents in their recent CMO survey said they plan to invest more in Partner Relationship Management in the coming year. So clearly the need for purpose-built partner tools is bubbling up to the C suite more and more.
If you attended, what jumped out most for you? As always, join the conversation at our blog or check out our partnering best practice resources page. And if you're feeling it's time to modernize your partner portal and dramatically increase partner engagement, drop us a line.