Archive for April, 2009

Who Drives Partner Growth: Channel Sales Managers vs. the “Community”

Beth Vanni

Beth Vanni

The buzz about the power of social networking is almost inescapable.   At today’s Channel Focus North America conference here in San Diego, Luanne Tierney, the VP of Cisco’s Global Channel marketing function shared a great story about the power of “community collaboration”.  Her company’s CTO recently tailored her technology roadmap presentation within ½ hour before she presented it to a very important group of Cisco’s biggest customers.  But more interesting was that she did that from her hotel room based on feedback she was getting from a dozen loyal Twitter followers.  Talk about tapping into the “community” and responding!

As usual, this Channel Focus conference tries to understand trends in channel development and enablement.  Which partner types are vendors investing in?  How are their channel programs driving growth?  Well, this year’s conference is really conflicted around the topic of how to impact partner growth.   There are two very divided camps – one that is struggling with all the age-old issue of the Channel Sales Manager role and how they drive partner engagement, loyalty and growth.   The other group is focused completely on the stimulating and vendor-independent power of partner “communities”  as a means for partners to expand their associations and grow.


April 29, 2009 at 6:30 pm Leave a comment

Passing It On

Diane Krakora

Diane Krakora

During these economic hard times, stories abound of people making a difference in their community, giving back to their social network and passing on support to the next generation. I don’t know if there are more good deeds being done now or we are so hungry for any good news that these acts of kindness are being reported more. In a way, it doesn’t matter, the awareness is being heightened. There’s the story of the chain of people paying the toll for the next car behind them, and the “free” café that serves the local homeless population fresh nutritious food (and the non-homeless who pay “what they can”) or the random man who pre-pays for the woman’s food in line at the grocery store (who can’t make the food stamps go far enough to feed her family).

I witnessed this type of selflessness this week within our channel community. The speakers at the Baptie Channel Focus event this week all passed on their knowledge, experiences and wisdom to the next generation of channel professionals. Some of the speakers were sponsors and were there selling their wares to the attendees, and some of the speakers were well respected channel leaders like Luanne Tierney of Cisco, Sheila O’Neil of Panasonic, Mike Haines with Microsoft and Stephen DiFranco from Lenovo. Talking with Maurizio Capuzzo, long time Channel Focus favorite Italian (formerly of Symbol), I discovered a giving spirit   in our channel ecosystem. Not only was he, like the rest of the speakers, willing to give two days out of the office to impart their knowledge on a relevant topic, but Maurizio also took vacation time and spent his own money to travel from New York to San Diego to participate. When my eyes twinkled with gratitude, he nonchalantly said “I enjoy passing it on”.

I am so inspired by this generous act to pass on knowledge to channel professionals, that we are dedicating our May webinar to the next generation of channel leadership. On May 14th at 11am PDT, please join me as I discuss careers in channels with four great channel chiefs:

Allison Watson, SVP Worldwide Channels, Microsoft
Keith Goodwin, SVP Worldwide Channels, Cisco
Steve Houck, GM Latin America (former VP WW Channels), VMware
Leonard Iventosch, VP Channel Sales, Isilon

Enjoy the lively discussion about their career choices, trials and joys of being a channel chief. And who knows, maybe you’ll inspired to pass on your expertise as well.

Register for Webinar

April 28, 2009 at 10:33 pm Leave a comment

Voice of the Partner – What lessons can we learn from Starbucks?

Sandra Glaser Cheek

Sandra Glaser Cheek

Starbucks is celebrating its’s first birthday. On this site, Starbucks asked “What would make your Starbucks experience perfect? We know you’ve got ideas – big ideas, little ideas, maybe even totally revolutionary ideas – and we want to hear them all.”starbucks-2

Starbuck’s has a dedicated team of “Idea Partners” – Starbucks employees who are experts in their respective fields. They bubble up the most popular and innovative ideas that are the best fit for Starbucks and present them to key decision makers within the company to recommend how they can execute on the new ideas. The top ideas are posted to the “Popular Ideas” section of the website and Starbucks customers can help decide which ideas are best by voting.

April 10, 2009 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Partner Profitability – Show Them The Money

Ingrid Krivin

Ingrid Krivin

One of the hottest issues right now in the channel is Partner Profitability.
In other words, showing your partners that by selling your products you can make them more profitable than if they sell other vendors’ products.

But how to do this with credibility? And who has the time to think about your partner’s profitability?

Well, I say, who doesn’t have the time considering that if you want your partners to sell your stuff, you’d better start thinking about what drives them – bottom line profits.

So how to make your footprint larger in your partner’s business, and how to drive more revenue out of the partners that you have?

April 9, 2009 at 10:41 pm Leave a comment

Recruiting the Right Partners

By Beth Vanni

Recruiting the right partners remains an age-old channel  management challenge.

Vendors have gotten increasingly more sophisticated at the “whys” and “hows” of recruiting over the years.  But the fact that nearly 50% of vendors surveyed in our 2009 State of Partner Program study indicated that recruitment represented a “very” or “somewhat” challenging issue in 2008 tells us there’s still progress to be made. (more…)

April 3, 2009 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

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