Partners are leading the transition to XaaS, expanding their value to B2B customers, so why are vendors still enabling them by type? Channel, VAR, solution partners, global systems integrators, resellers, OEMs, value-added providers, consultants, integrated solution providers, service providers. Wrong. Antiquated. Gone. Hey vendors, let’s give partners the credit they deserve.
For years, major partner ecosystems put multiple partner segments under one (very large) umbrella. But under that golf umbrella, the programs or enablement for the partner types remained vastly different with independent leaders, different enablement professionals, even different partner management personnel with widely varying skill sets.
Then XaaS happened.
Partners move faster than vendors
Consider an extensive mid-market, from $10K up to 1 billion in revenue for customers in the highly active B2B space. Partners moved fast – adjusting their operations and financial model and negotiating new terms with their vendors. Then, they expanded their capabilities – vastly.
Sales-oriented solution providers developed their training and services capability. A wide range of technically-oriented partners leveraged low-code to build value-based apps for their customers. Systems integrators began to focus on expanding (read: selling) to develop their practices, and almost all partner types are working on nailing customer success.
So, are vendors going to enable partners by type? Why? It’s limiting. Vendors find that to adjust to the new environment, it’s vital to stop the segmenting! As a recent Deloitte article points out, “embracing and extending partner ecosystems” is one approach organizations can use to take bold action to thrive in the future.
Partners can no longer be put in a box; all the lines between partner types are blurred. The modern way to drive partner success “as they are” is through offering broad training, development and enablement that partners (all partners) may need and let them consume based on their business. What we see is that partners consume different types of training and enablement at different times, based on:
- maturity level in the transition to XaaS – both the partner organization and the vendor
- which job function whether finance/operations, selling/marketing or customer success
- technical development with low code and the ability for partners to build relevant apps based on customer needs
- services competency in a XaaS environment with faster delivery, business process analysis and execution
Vendors have become too prescriptive in their enablement efforts, given partners are moving faster to serve their customer’s needs in a XaaS model.
Partner development = customer success
Partner development, training, and enablement are figuratively and literally equating to customer success. As partners have moved to build out essential functions, we notice that progressive vendor programs are moving to consolidate their efforts (read: no “types”) and offer their best training and enablement through critical categories, including:
- XaaS transition training
- onboarding of new partners and new partner personnel (all types)
- sales development
- presales development with technical depth and virtual demo capabilities
- digital marketing capabilities
- customer success development, KPIs / Customer Health Index training, playbooks/templates
- professional services development, capabilities, and business process assessments
Shorter modules: 95% online interactive learning (worth the money spent), easy access with clear communications to a single storefront for consumption and multiple ways for any partner to find what they need when they need it – that’s the answer.
Significant difference: partners are no longer limited or steered toward certain enablement based on the vendor segment. It’s open, and what they absorb is based on the market, the partner’s customers and their business maturity.
Models matter: partners operate in sell, build and service motions vs. types or segments. Any partner may be executing one or more of those motions with customers and desperately need their vendors to support those models.
As Allan Adler of Digital Bridge Partners states, “The priority today is thinking about partners based on their function, which speaks to how they build, market, sell, support, or manage shared customers.”
To reason over this new approach, look at how partner enablement is executed in your organization today – with a widened lens – across all partner types. How can it be done more effectively based on the primary partner motions and need to consume support? The key is to act, begin and take a step toward consolidated practices, without segments, to match the market.
At Siemens Digital Industries Software, we work with our partners’ key business drivers and hone skills, competencies and processes based on contemporary practices, customer and market demands. Working with our professionals and partners led us to embrace and invest in this new training, development and enablement approach.
Jason Watkins, Vice President of Global Partner Enablement and Productivity, has over 20 years of experience in sales management consulting and technology vendor leadership roles. His primary focus is on multi-channel profitable revenue growth and, most recently, on the development and growth of the global solution partner ecosystem.