Spotlight on Yan Anderson
Over nearly a decade Yan has fulfilled many roles at Relayware from configurator, to product developer, to implementation consultant and now as a senior business analyst and solution designer.
Ask the Expert
Spotlight on……Yan Anderson
Yan Anderson has been with Relayware for nearly a decade and has fulfilled many roles at Relayware from configurator, to product developer, to implementation consultant and now as a senior business analyst and solution designer. Yan has helped many vendors over the years to fulfill their channel program goals through the use of the Relayware software solution. Here he tells us of the learnings from many years on the job….
1. Reflecting back on 10 years at Relayware, can you describe how the company has grown?
Relayware has changed substantially. The day I joined I walked into the office as a naive young man into his first real job. And not a secure one at that. I joined as a temp happy to not be packing boxes in a local warehouse.
The company was small, perhaps working on two large enterprise projects at a time. It was a close knit team where if you made tea or coffee you made it for the whole office (I eventually took to whispering my intentions of making tea in order to avoid the inevitable half hour tea break).
Later as sales began taking off and the company started growing the company ramped up sales and marketing efforts after some early investment and product development became an activity driven from the CPO rather than off the back of any customer need.
Clear reporting lines were established between our Product team and our Professional Services team that still exist today and the Relayware product roadmap was born.
In other ways, some things have not changed. We have grown and still have clear teams with clear responsibilities however a new world is on the horizon. In eagerness to share talent and break down walls Relayware looks to keep a clear push into key business areas but without creating silos of staff.
2. When working with customers, do you notice any difference in companies' approach to PRM today compared to back then?
Over time our customers PRM needs have definitely evolved. There has always been a clear backbone of requirements though.
First and foremost vendors want to communicate to their channels. Relayware supports this and always will with a partner portal and information sharing capabilities like a rich content media library.
I've also noticed a solid backbone is sales collaboration. A vendor can take huge value from having partners share the deals they are working on, whether that purely helps fill a gap in pipeline reporting or if it gives a vendor sales manager a competitive advantage in the channel space.
What has changed noticeably over time is incentives and marketing bonuses. For instance we saw a real dip in the desire to setup marketing development funds around the 2008 recession, it was interesting to see how things move with the global climate.
There's also a large difference to PRM approach between the type of vendor and the business they are in. For example a hardware vendor is much more likely to be working with more complicated deal registration and product configuration processes than a software vendor.
Since being in a solution delivery role I've noticed that software vendors are often easier to put live and work with remotely due to the simpler single tier route to market. Hardware vendors in comparison benefit from an onsite engagement and talking to the often many departments who input into the wider sales and distribution process.
3. Any advice to customers on how to approach PRM based on your experience?
My advice would be to analyze your business and know what's important to how you want to communicate to your channel partners – but be open minded to the best practice advice offered by Relayware's sales and delivery consultants who have seen partner programs succeed and fail.
Create a full circle of relationship between the customers and you by including your partners in the sales cycle. Take advantage of the wealth of information your partners will provide about their opportunities in a web form and push that into your CRM system to relieve some overhead on your channel account managers.
Finally, reward and promote to your partners. Change partner tier into a reward system that means something rather than a badge that is taken for granted having completed training 10 years ago. Do this by measuring your partners collaboration and rewarding a tier for it. Give discounts or rebates to your partners based on the tier they've earned to encourage continuous engagement and promote your offering over your competitors'.
Thanks, Yan, for your many years of valuable service to Relayware. We're glad you're on our team.