5 Steps to Building a Successful Channel Program in the Cloud

December 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm 1 comment

by Diane Krakora – CEO

Ron Huddleston, SVP ISV Alliances at Salesforce.com spoke at the Cloud Channel Summit event a couple weeks ago. He stressed the channel is not shifting to a cloud platform as fast as the market and that channels are missing out on massive opportunities.

Huddleston outlined his five steps vendors should take to channel cloud success:
1. Build an organization born for the cloud

He stressed the creation of a new channel organization designed for the cloud, instead of trying to enhance existing channel programs designed for traditional software.

2. Focus on customer and partner success

Relationships are different in the cloud, they last much longer as the vast set of resources go into the relationship AFTER the sale. For vendors to be successful in the cloud they need to have successful customers. And partners help drive successful customers, thus successful vendors will engage successful partners. The vendors’ relationships have to be stronger and deeper as they are sharing their business model, measurements and metrics with partners. Thus, by definition vendors cannot have as many partners, and thus they need to pick the RIGHT ones.

3. Understand the cloud economics

Huddleston cautioned the attendees not to overestimate the ramp and return for the partners or underestimate the initial investment required by the partners. The vendor should invest in the partner success by trusting channel partners are committed – they are in it for the long haul. Vendors should also provide flexibility in their models. If the partners have weird requests, you have to trust they know their business and value proposition and go with what they want (corner case included). He also stressed the vendors should assume responsibility for the partners’ business transformation. Half of becoming a cloud solution provider is getting the technology up and running. The other half is getting their business running. Salesforce.com has teams of people to help the partners transform their business.

4. Be the market maker

He conveyed vendors cannot expect the partners will educate the market in the core tenants of cloud computing. It’s the vendors’ responsibility to create a marketplace, provide thought leadership and support a ‘sell with’ model. At Salesforce.com the direct team is compensated well to provide opportunities to partners.

5. Develop a team of evangelists

Vendors need a team that can deliver the message that cloud computing is a transformation, disruptive and game changing. Success stems from everyone becoming trusted advisors and evangelists for building a cloud channel.


Entry filed under: Live from Events. Tags: , , , .

It’s About Building Trusted Relationships Where Solution Providers Can Turn for Financing

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