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Some channel leaders shine particularly bright. There is an undeniable spark as they discuss channel sales and marketing trends, best practices and transformation. Maria Chien, Service Director for Channel Marketing Strategies at SiriusDecisions, is one of them. Maria recently spoke with Zift Solutions for ChannelVisions.TV and we’re thrilled to share her perspective and thought leadership in this new Channel Chatter Series. Catch up with key points from our interview with Maria, then read on to learn more.

Adapting to Change

Having worked many years in the channel, Maria Chien is quick to identify multiple industry and marketplace changes that are affecting today’s channel partners, including:

  • The delivery of products – and products themselves
  • The increasingly popularity of recurring revenue models and Cloud computing
  • Self-empowered B2B buyer behavior

“Channel partners are adapting to these changes by trying to transform their organization while maintaining some consistency and predictability within their own business,” she said. “Partners are also changing the way they’re getting out in front of their end-user customers, which requires suppliers to change the way they get in front of their partners.”

The Cloud As A Change-Maker

Maria pointed to the advent of Cloud as a significant change-maker within the channel marketplace. “Many channel organizations think they need to have partners that were ‘Born on the Cloud,’ but the reality is that ‘Born on the Cloud’ partners aren’t brand new partners necessarily.”

She encourages channel organizations to look closely at their partners to determine how to best support them as they sell and support Cloud. “Suppliers must examine their own enablement programs, incentive strategies and determine how working with Cloud solutions impacts partner incentives. You’ll need to look carefully at how you attribute incentives, align market development funds (MDF), and adjust volume rebates along the lines of a Cloud business,” she explained.

To win with Cloud, channel organizations may need to revisit some of their programmatic elements, enablement incentives and portal strategy. Maria stressed that, “It’s really about examining how you are engaging with partners, making the right information available to them, and really standing them up to help them be successful with Cloud.”

Dialing Up Partner Mindshare

Partner engagement is absolutely essential to channel success. While partner mindshare is driven on a number of different facets, Maria emphasized that “Only when you properly enable your partners, can you ensure that they will be able to respond in the best light possible for your brand and product offerings.”

She points to creating an active enablement program across the partner lifecycle as a clear path to dialing up partner mindshare. “That means looking at where your partners are in their journey with you and their lifecycle, personalizing everything within your program and communications, and really reaching out to create a cohesive enablement strategy that leads to demand creation.”

Learn more about how partners are adapting to channel changes in Video 3 and how you can creating a cohesive, holistic view of the partner lifecycle that captures mindshare and economies of scale within your partner organization on www.ChannelVisions.TV

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