Every channel leader wants to stay on top of their game. At our recent annual 2020 Channel Manager Summit, vendors got a solid variety of thought-provoking 7-part content to help them do exactly this. It’s one of those things that you simply had to be there to get it all.

1. Just the facts:

Device growth is doing very well, unemployment is low (in most of Canada and the USA) and hardware-as-a-service has the potential for massive growth. Without understanding the latest market trends, regional economic conditions and the types of technologies being consumed, you will be flying blind. Tim Brunt from IDC spent an hour presenting all of the key technology trends and spends. He also touched on the local economical and job outlook, by region. All data points are big factors that will affect the buying habits of businesses in 2020. It’s smart to share some of this market intelligence with your channel partners to help them make better plans. Contact Tim Brunt from IDC to get the latest market reports.

2. Building sustainable partnerships:

What’s at the heart of all successful channel plans? – Building meaningful partnerships! I shared the top ten best practices for building the most successful channel partnerships. The list was built by studying the habits of the most successful vendors combined with the experience of three decades of developing channel partner ecosystems. Attendees were also able to follow along by comparing and scoring their current practices on a scale of 1 to 5. Vendors could quickly compare their results. Even more important, they could see how to improve their partnership-building game. This is one example of the unique success-boosting values that attendees received. If you would like to get a copy of this list, contact me.

3. Spreading your news throughout the channel:

I was then joined by Paolo Del Nibletto (Journalist and Channel Chief of Jolera, a security company). We discussed how any vendor can get their message heard in the channel. It’s clear that news and social media can shape the way people learn, think and act. As such, it’s imperative that vendors have a solid plan to leverage news media as well as social media all year long! Leaving this job to a PR agency or a spokesperson may not be the most effective way of disseminating news to channel partners. Test the theory now…do a search on your company on the various news media sites and ask yourself if results show enough content to present your message. Start with echannelnews! It’s one of the main resources where the channel community goes to learn and research vendors. Not sure how to leverage news media? Ask us.

4. Team players and communications:

Glynis Devine had the audience play a fun team-building game that demonstrated the importance of working together to achieve goals. It made the case as to why channel teams must work more effectively through deeper collaboration. She also helped each attendee to figure out what makes them tick and how to best communicate with all four types of personalities. Mastering this skill will help anyone to get more of what they want from their colleagues, peers, partners and friends. An important skill that everyone in your channel development team must learn. I encourage you to reach out to Glynis to have her teach your team this skill!

5. The future of channel ecosystems:

Jay McBain from Forrester brought some big data and deep insights to explain how the future of the channel is being shaped. This channel’s evolution is already happening in some partner ecosystems (such as Salesforce and Microsoft). Modern partner communities must encompass more than just the transactional players (traditional VARs and MSPs). Channel Partners should be defined into 3 main groups – Influencers, Transactional and Retention. Each type plays an integral role of the process. Simply using the traditional linear approach to building and rewarding partners is becoming obsolete. Everyone who can contribute value is important to the marketplace and must be acknowledged and compensated accordingly. Vendors got the insights to help them reinvent their channel playbook including strategy, programs and tactics. Contact Forrester to access the latest research. Book an “AUDIT” with TechnoPlanet to review your current channel game and explore how to renovate for the next generation channel partner community and marketplace.

6. What channel partners really want:

It is a “busy” World and channel partners are being bombarded by vendors every day. Knowing what to do and what not, can be the difference between success and failure. It is mission critical to master the art of building partnerships and relationships. One of the highlights was the channel partners’ panel discussion. Randal Wark (Channel Partner Alliance), Claudio Damaso (Crucial Technologies), Michael Contento (MY Blue Umbrella) and Paolo Del Nibletto (Jolera) discussed what vendors should and should not do when it comes to recruiting and building stronger partnerships. Demonstrating exactly how your solution fits into the technology stack of the partner and how you collaborate to grow business are critical requirements for success. Paolo Del Nibletto hosted the panel with some solid interaction with the audience.

7. Peer-to-Peer problem-solving:

We wrapped up the day with a peer-group mastermind session where vendors were able to share their pain points and collaborate to find solutions. The experience was eye-opening for many of the participants: they got to see first-hand how “group-power” can solve big pain points. (By the way, this is the same type of peer-group collaboration process that we use to help channel partners at the new format of the ChannelNEXT events.) Pain points like how to get partners to understand your value proposition or take your call or build a business plan or career. No topic was off the table. Vendors can continue with a peer-group to help them solve more problems and challenges in the future. Check out Channel Partner Alliance for details on how this works. Vendors also experienced how they could leverage this “mastermind” peer-group program to help their partners sell more (of their products).

The full day of channel-building education flew by very fast. The overall consensus was that everyone got big value. Here is just one of the cool comments we got…

“Thank you for putting on a great event yesterday. Fantastic content and speakers!! I’ll spread the word with my network that these summits are not to be missed”

Don’t miss the next event:

Each of the 7-part agenda was carefully designed and presented by the best channel experts to deliver on the end-goal of helping channel management to energize and empower their channel. It was truly a day well-spent. A day that will positively impact business (and lives) in so many ways. That said, it is impossible to explain or transfer this knowledge to you without you physically being there. If you missed this event, plan on the next one coming in November 2020. See ChannelNEXT for further details or contact us to be on the VIP notification list.