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Relayware Chief Product Officer Speaks at ChannelCon16 Part 1

Relayware Chief Product Officer Veronica Brunwin shared her insight at CompTIA's ChannelCon16

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Relayware Chief Product Officer Speaks at ChannelCon16

Part 1: Biggest Challenges for Vendors' Channel Partner Programs Today

Posted on August 3, 2016

Relayware Chief Product Officer Veronica Brunwin was invited to speak on the panel “What Keeps Vendors Up at Night” at CompTIA’s ChannelCon16 conference. She was joined by Brenda Dennis, Cisco VP of Global Sales Operations; Evan Leonard, President of CrushBank and Frank Vitagliano, Dell SVP North American Channels.

The conversation was deep and rich. To get things going, the moderator posed the seemingly simple question about the single biggest challenge for vendors as their relationships with channel partners evolve.

However, panelists acknowledged that there is no single biggest challenge for vendors. Vendors are grappling with a fast-changing world on many fronts. From non-traditional partners to new business models – vendors need channel partners, but they have to design programs that fit today’s realities.

Veronica said, “We see vendors who have to throw away their traditional product set, go cloud and rework their whole product offering. Getting speed to market is the most important, so they aren’t left behind, and that’s a big bet.”

“We have a solid, well known partner program, but it has to evolve to include lots of different types of partners. How do we keep partners invested with us to bring in the new partner types?” Brenda added.

Frank quipped, “I sleep like a baby; I wake up screaming every two hours.” He then went on to explain that the business model is changing at the solution provider level. “So for solution providers, we have to figure out how to remain relevant with a new model, and The second piece, which is more challenging is how the models evolve and are they going to stay relevant. As the business model changes for the solution provider, can they evolve quickly enough and still drive their business. Capitalization is a concern.”

MSPs, VARs, SIs – these are traditional channel partners. But today, technology vendors are finding new ways to market through accountants, agencies, and other non-traditional routes.

Frank pointed out, “The influencer model has been around for quite some time, but today they are so more relevant, and there are more types of influencers. We have to balance the programs to be relevant to everyone. It’s not the traditional programs for these new types of partners.”

So, the moderator asked, “How do you create a program that appeals to lots of different types of partners?

Veronica pointed out that typically at the beginning a vendor begins building their channel partner program with one set of requirements, and they ask they add in different selling models and new communities, they need to be able to add in new requirements. “Vendors need flexibility and adaptability in their PRM solution. That’s becoming more important.”

There was much more to the conversation, so we’ll post part 2 tomorrow.