In the fast-paced world of the IT channel, choosing the right partner can make or break a business. According to Stuart Day, Director of Channel, iland a successful partnership should mean that customers benefit from outstanding technology, service, and support, which in turn brings the partners sustained revenues and opportunities to grow sales.
Ineffective partnerships are a real threat to success, and that’s why we’re seeing a real push among Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) towards strategies to empower the channel and recognition that the first steps are selecting the right partners, followed by proactive investment in the ongoing relationship.
Why strong partnerships matter when it comes to delivering cloud solutions
When customers turn to a managed service provider (MSP) to deliver digital transformation, migrating infrastructure and mission-critical workloads to the cloud is a central undertaking. Customers can be nervous about this transformative step, despite knowing that it’s essential if they are going to stay competitive. This puts pressure on the MSP, who owns the customer relationship, to be confident in the solution they are proposing and capable of reassuring tentative customers that they’ll get the results they’re looking for. That confidence can only come from having a close and trusted relationship with the CSP and the ability to draw on their expertise throughout the migration process and beyond.
Attracting the right partners
Establishing a sound rationale for building a partnership is an important step. That could start out with identifying areas of specialism common to both CSP and channel partner.
That said, while the CSP needs to demonstrate a commitment to delivering added value to the MSP to improve success in existing target areas, they also need to show how forming a partnership will help expand the business opportunity and create propositions for new sectors.
Effective onboarding - knowledge is empowerment
CSPs need to be offering an outstanding service to channel partners during onboarding, building strong relationships and delivering the right training so that teams have complete knowledge of what the CSP can deliver, how to scope the customer environment using CSP-provided tools, what customer options are available and how the environment is managed and monitored.
Maintaining the relationship – building trust
As the partnership matures, CSPs need to commit to working closely with their partners to become an integral part of their offering. This means recognising that each partner is different and one-size-fits-all support won’t deliver the results that either party is hoping for.
CSPs need to be proactive in helping to identify and scope opportunities, shortening the sales cycle and ensuring that the customer onboarding process is as painless as possible. Regular reviews of opportunities, contract wins and reasons for losses helps to refine the partnership and identify what can be improved.
What are the rewards for CSPs and channel partners that get this right?
As customers get on board with the as-a-service economy, they’re looking for partners that can offer the whole suite of technology services from the ground up, and that’s where channel partners have the edge. They can build cloud services into their wider portfolio, bringing CSPs a more diverse range of business opportunities and expanding their own customer base and service offering.
That’s why it’s essential that as CSPs we focus on empowering our partners and delivering as much value as we can to help them explore new markets and consolidate existing areas of strength. Getting it right means more opportunities, more sales and more success in a dynamic market.