TSW Sneak Peek: Three Innovative Channel Leaders Share Their Partner Priorities

Published On: October 15, 2019Categories: Buzz, Channels-as-a-Service, Uncategorized
TSW Sneak Peek: Three Innovative Channel Leaders Share Their Partner Priorities graphic

Since talking with the thought-provoking Anne McClelland last month about her charter as TSIA’s newly appointed VP of XaaS (“X” as a Service) Channel Optimization Research, I’ve been further exploring channel transformation through the lens of a trio of other channel innovators. These leaders – including Riverbed Technology’s Bridget Bisnette, Cisco’s Steve McGarr and HP’s Becky Connolly – will take center stage at TSW next week and have inspired me by their drive and dedication to partner success. I know they’ll inspire you too and that’s why I wanted to take a moment to offer a sneak peek at what they plan to discuss as part of Anne’s track on Emerging Channel Optimization Challenges in XaaS. Here’s what you can expect each of them to dive into:

  • Steve McGarr, Senior Director for Renewals, Cisco Global Partners Organization: Steve is a channel change agent who brings a big picture perspective to his role at Cisco. Tapped to deliver a breakout session titled “Choosing, Using, Loving: The Customer Journey to Optimizing Business Value,” he plans to share his insights on lifecycle engagement and, in particular, the significance of the renewal for partners. And when it comes to renewals, his mantra is this: the renewal event is much more than a commercial transaction; “it is validation that the customer derived value from your service, your software or your offer – and wants to retain that value.” From Steve’s perspective, renewals are the ultimate representation of a customer’s trust, and many successful steps in the customer journey must occur before they will commit to extending their relationship with you. Recognizing this, Cisco has innovated data-driven programs such as Lifecycle Advantage, which provides partners with digital motions to nurture full lifecycle success for customers, from onboarding, to contract and subscription renewals, to alignment to business value, which must be delivered, measured, and repeated. The bottom line is this: when partners look at their customer relationships holistically, they’ll be in better position to drive renewals. In turn, they’ll see customer health and retention rise.
  • Becky Connolly, HP Worldwide Senior Channel Director, Indirect Devices as a Service (DaaS): Becky is wicked smart, and the new HP partner portal that she’s behind reflects it. It’s a single pane of glass – a centralized place HP partners can go to get everything they need to run their businesses successfully, complete with high-value insights for elevating the customer experience. Make no mistake: there’s nothing traditional about this portal: it’s built from the ground up from the partner’s viewpoint – not the vendor’s. It’s easy to navigate and draws upon Becky’s personal experience running a reseller business. Together with her team, Becky has included integrated tools for marketing, enablement, quarterly business reviews, sales playbooks and more. One of the most interesting features is that it is persona- or role-based. So if you are a sales rep, administrator or program manager you have your own HP journey in the portal, tailored to your specific needs. It’s all about creating a methodology for partners that provides a strong foundation as they navigate business model change to ignite growth in an XaaS world. During her session, which is titled, “Building the Partner Portal: Paving the Way to Success,” she’ll team up with Roger Farnsworth, HP’s Global Lead, DaaS, to provide an inside look at HP’s portal journey along with valuable takeaways for attendees.
  • Bridget Bisnette, Riverbed Technologies Senior Vice President, Global Partner Sales: Bridget and I have spoken quite a bit before and I have the utmost respect for her channel knowledge and vision. She’ll be part of a panel at TSW together with Anne and others on the topic of “Building Partner Models That Cross the Chasm.” The session will cover the “trainings, tools, programs, and incentives that top vendors are employing to assist partners to cross the chasm from a traditional model of hardware, software, and on-premise sales to as-a-service subscription sales, adoption, expansion and renewals.” Bridget is the perfect person to speak to this. Riverbed has brought in a team and is standing up its own Customer Success practice to support its business around its SteelCentral Aternity offering and will be looking at how their partners can serve as an extension of that practice and/or set up their own if they desire. In her TSW discussion, Bridget plans a deep dive into what it takes for partners to adapt to the evolving needs of the customer, including how they want to buy technology and how they want to consume it today so that customer stickiness soars.

After talking with each of these three executives, I was once again reassured that the future of the channel is in good hands. Speaking of the future, during my TSW session with nVision Consulting Group Founder and Managing Director Robert Saxe, we’ll cover the next-generation strategies that Cisco, HP, Riverbed and several other top vendors are using to empower their channel partners to evolve their business models for XaaS. I hope you plan to go to the live event (you can still register here). It’s going to be fun and I encourage your participation.

As always, I don’t want to leave anyone out as I continue to explore best practices for building partner success in today’s cloud and subscription-driven economy: ping me if you’d like to set up time at TSW to talk on this topic, or if you want to arrange a meeting after the show. It would make my day to hear all the cool channel ideas you are contemplating.

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