How Will Partner Programs Need to Evolve to Meet the Needs of a Post-COVID Marketplace?
Additional Questions Answered:
1. What approach have you seen work to motivate channel partners to go after competitive take-outs or acquire net new customers, for example rebates, 'credits' towards additional training, up front discounts, etc?

Gary Morris: 
What we have seen is that the simple task of end-user account planning with partner sales directors and individual sales managers is the most effective way to get new accounts for your brand. Although incentives and training will help, the most important is meeting with the sales team and coming up with a targeted strategy on an account by account basis to sell on the benefits of your solution. And coupling this with a regular review / QBR process on the account status and what if any assistance you can provide them to move these deals forward

2. What's the advantage of working with a PRM software? We've built out partner program grassroots and manage it through our existing systems which can be clunky. How do we know when a PRM system is necessary to scale 

Gary Morris: 
There are two answers to this question: PRM: This is the operational ‘front-door” to you partner program. This shows partners how to do business with your brand and provides the appropriate support. The second is partner planning, scorecarding, and QBR tools. These build partner commitments, partner capabilities and more partner-led revenue by measuring and managing

3. Have you ever worked in a business that has a channel and direct sales division and if so how have you overcome the issue of providing leads to pass to partners? 

Gary Morris: 
1+1=5 with a well designed channel program. Channel fills gaps, extends your market coverage, and generates more opportunities for all.  

4. For partners who are not very adept at Marketing, they struggle with capturing data or sharing data. How can we increase transparency and show the benefits of data.

Gary Morris: 
Make it easier for them to build demand. This starts with a guided marketing planning process that suggests goals, strategies and tactics that support these goals. And coordinating the collection of marketing results to assist in performance to plan reporting for marketing investments

5. Should a vendor's internal partner segmentation model align exactly with the external facing partner program tiers / segments? 

Gary Morris:
The best partner segmentation is generated from a profile / Scorecard of key partner potential (e.g., training levels achieved, areas of expertise, vertical market coverage, etc.) and partner performance metrics (e.g., Sales Perf. To Plan, Pipeline Performance to plan, # of leads / opportunities generated). The most powerful segmentation is comparing partners on performance Vs. potential to identify where you should be making your greatest investments 

6. Do contests work as incentives or are rebates or cash incentives more effective?

Gary Morris: 
Gamification is a good method to foster competition and gain partner sales executives time and attention

Lisa Salvino:
Contests can be a lower cost to entry than some other marketing activities and right now are a bigger motivation to those individual reps who may be seeing smaller bonuses.  

7. Are partners having a challenge with moving to virtual environments and how can vendors help facilitate the new normal of minimal/no face to face discussions and the increase of virtual meetings and events?

Gary Morris: 
Digital is the new game. Partners have to either build their own game or hire experts that can fill this gap. This is a critical capability moving forward.

Lisa Salvino:  
Many of the higher tier partners are set up to move to virtual – and have already done so, but the lower tier partners will need help not just from a technology position but the social component as well. The manufacturer can provide this training as a value-add whether direct or contracted, otherwise these partners are going to have to educate themselves or find outside help to help them migrate to an almost completely Digital world.

8. What are the best design criteria for deal registration to enable partners to protect and work their business?

Gary Morris:
Consistency and transparency in application of rules is the most critical to build trust and increase deal registration rates

9. Thanks... follow up: yes, MSPs might be signing up with more vendors because they are strengthening their service offerings. How about VARs... what we are seeing is that VARs are sharpening their focus to their best-selling solutions and not inclined to take on new vendors... does that ring true, and if so, how do we combat that?

Gary Morris:
VARs are looking for vendors that will take the time to understand their needs and build a path to their success. The partner value proposition for how they will make money is the most important thing for recruiting new partnerships that will be revenue producing and will last

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