Happy new year!  It’s time to settle back into our grooves and tackle the to-dos and new projects that come along with the start of a new year.  As more and more revenue is driven through channels, it’s an exciting time to be part of this growing landscape.  We’ve asked a few friends – channel marketing professionals and industry thought leaders –  what’s on their list for 2017.

“In 2017, Google is excited to help the channel partners (VARs) reach the B2B buyers through digital marketing. B2B buyer behaviors have dramatically shifted to online, but the channel partners still lack a presence digitally. Google is teaming with Zift to enable Tech companies to bring SEM programs to market at scale, helping channel partners find net-new prospects digitally.”
Seenu Brahmarouthu, Strategic Partner ManagerGoogle Marketing Solutions


“Channel Wish List for Partners:

  • Programs that don’t require jumping through needless hoops
  • Communications that inform, not bombard
  • Demand generation materials that fit their business
  • Leads that convert

Channel Wish List for Vendors:

  • Partners who are active and responsive
  • A Partner database that outlines roles, preferred communication methods and ideal marketing program or customer
  • Partners that nurture their leads to opportunities and opportunities to closed business
  • Metrics, metrics, metrics
  • And a Channel Maven Assessment….think Elf on a Shelf without the silly outfit.”

Heather K. Margolis, Founder and CEO, Channel Maven Consulting


“I would like to see a continued drive in 2017 towards a simplified partner experience. For me this is a commitment to partner enablement in everything from Digital Marketing to program eligibility. Understanding that creating simplification, not to be confused with gratuitous coddling, often takes a lot of work. We need to see the best of the best in the channel rise to the top, and reward excellence appropriately all along the well thought out way. And to quote George Carlin, Simon Bailey and our own industry pundit Sal Patalano (Lenovo Software), ‘perhaps it is time for some vuja de.’ ”
Steven Kellam, PresidentCCI Global Channel Management


“The lack of a rigorous and best practice partner segmentation during 2016 seems odd when considering the millions of dollars’ technology vendors invest in partner recruitment, enablement, and incentives. Historical partner segments have morphed into different business models due to the rapid growth of cloud platforms, solutions, and services. Lines between partner segments are blurred: Larger VARs act as Cloud Aggregators. Resellers and VARs are offering telco services. Distributors have augmented their traditional finance and logistics roles with the role of Cloud Broker. You can no longer rely on traditional partner segments for your partner profiling. In 2017 more than ever before, vendors will need to have a best-in-class methodology in place to ensure that they are recruiting and onboarding partners that can thrive in a rapidly changing marketplace.”
 Claudio Ayub, VP – Chief Channel StrategistPerks


“My greatest wish for the channel in 2017 is for suppliers to make enabling partners a top priority and area of differentiation. Channel leaders must suspend their beliefs about partner enablement and embrace a fresh and innovative approach to meeting the increasing demand of enabling partners beyond sales enablement. This means moving beyond random acts of enablement and taking a strategic look at the critical importance partner enablement has on growing and accelerating channel business from marketing, to selling and to supporting customers.”
Maria Chien, Service Director, Channel Marketing Strategies, SiriusDecisions


“Twenty-seventeen ushers in a great deal of expectations.  Everybody seems to be taking a wait-and-see attitude – both in politics and business.  In terms of a wish-list, we see channel leaders planning for success in three key areas:

  • Integration.  This is the year channel programs will see the benefits of integrating channel processes.  It will be a real turning point for most programs, which tend to work in silos across sales, marketing and operations.  Channel marketers, for instance will be able to employ partner profile data into their marketing campaigns, making them more targeted and effective.
  • Better Visibility.  Visibility is the Holy Grail for most channel programs.  With the emergence of data as a key performance driver, channel programs will begin to exploit propensity data, sell-through data and begin to carve out key performance indicators and dashboards, which will lead them to become more predictable over the next 12 months.
  • ROI.  We’ve always heard “I will not fund what I cannot measure,” but in 2017 this mantra rings in the new year with a move by most channel leaders to gain greater accountability and contribution from their channel teams and partners.  Every channel expense is on the table and channel programs will be on the lookout for those activities which drive revenue, doubling-down their efforts in those with the highest ROI.”

Laz Gonzalez, Chief Strategy OfficerZift Solutions

What’s on your list for 2017?  Share in the comments below.