How Alliances can Leverage their Channel Partners to Go To Market with their Integrated Solution

How Alliances can Leverage their Channel Partners to Go To Market with their Integrated Solution

Efe Senel 5 min

Alliances bring the best experience to the customer by offering an integrated solution that weaves specialist products and services together. Instead of developing all iPhone applications themselves, Apple brings developers all around the world to build dedicated apps in one easy-to-procure place: the App Store.


Maybe the most famous example of this in the B2B world is the AWS marketplace, a curated digital catalog where end-users can find, test, buy, deploy, and manage third-party solutions.


Why are alliances valuable? 

Alliances and tech integrations are valuable to customers because end-users don’t want solutions that do not work within their sandbox. Integrations with existing tech are a top priority for 76% of buyers (6).


The question is, how do you align with your alliance partners to implement a joint go-to-market motion to generate demand for your integrated solution and sell it to end-users? That’s where the channel comes into play.


Importance of the channel

Both AWS and and their alliances heavily rely on their channel partners to advise, sell, deploy, integrate, and manage their solutions. Instead of hiring thousands of employees internally, vendors spend a big chunk of their budget on recruiting, training, enabling, and engaging channel partners all around the world who have specialized expertise in local markets and specific verticals. Most importantly, channel partners already have existing relationships with a vendor’s potential customers which the vendor can leverage.


On the other hand, end-users trust their channel partners because they have been working together for years and understand each other’s businesses. End-users also need the expertise of channel partners to deliver and manage their IT solutions. Just in the SMB space, 80% of global IT spend is partner-delivered (2).


The problem is that vendors often recruit, train, enable, and engage channel partners to sell their individual products, not their alliance solutions. Although I believe getting channel partners to position an alliance solution rather than an individual product is more valuable to the end-user—leading to better deal metrics and retention—it is not easy to execute.   


Challenges in positioning an alliance solution through the channel

The first challenge is getting internal buy-ins from both vendors and their respective decision-makers. As Allan Adler points out, “Vendors typically manage alliances and channels within separate organizations, with different objectives/metrics, and they lack the operations and agility to connect the dots” (3). Each vendor will also have different goals, channel strategies, and enablement tools in place making it hard for alliances to align on a joint go-to-market proposition through the channel. Unless the motion is well aligned with each vendor’s strategic goals, it will never be signed off.


The second challenge is identifying the overlapping channel partners to include in this motion. Let’s say Vendor A and Vendor B are alliance partners that provide an integrated solution. They each have 10,000 channel partners globally with a 50% overlap. This means 5,000 channel partners sell both vendors’ products. 


How do you identify the overlapping resellers that could benefit from selling your alliance solution? Although some vendors such as Microsoft or Cisco have their partner lists publicly available, it could be hard for some vendors to share their partner information from a legal and compliance perspective.



The final challenge is working together with your alliance partner over a period of time, or indefinitely, to make sure that the targeted channel partners are aware of your alliance solution, they can generate demand for it, and they know how to sell it to their end-users. This will require continuous spending on resources and tools from both vendors. Alliance leaders will have to be able to report on ROI to justify that this project is worth continuing. 


How to overcome the challenges and align for a joint alliance go-to-market motion through the channel?

Alliance leaders have to understand their internal strategic goals and communicate them to their alliance partners to figure out how to align such a motion with each vendor’s strategic goals. An executive summary that ties how this strategy will help each vendor reach their C-suite targets will largely reduce the internal selling needed from both sides to get the ball rolling. 


It is also important to stress that this is not a one-time initiative. As the project evolves, alliance leaders should continuously report on ROI and keep realigning this project with the constantly changing strategies of each vendor.


To solve the challenge of identifying overlapping partners, Jay Mcbain suggests looking into double-blind mapping technology such as Reveal, Crossbeam, PartnerTap, or ecosystem mapping tools such as WorkSpan or TIDWIT (4). To run a “solution readiness” testing for the overlapping partners, both Jay McBain and Allan Adler agree on the importance of utilizing a solution such as PartnerOptimizer (5). When it comes to enabling the overlapping channel partners to generate demand for an alliance solution, Jay says that vendors should pair agency/concierge services with a Through-Channel-Marketing-Automation (TCMA) platform such as Channext (4).


Final words

It is not easy to collaborate with your alliance partners to build an integrated solution, come up with a joint-value proposition, and go to market with it through the channel. However, I believe there is massive value to be realized if executed correctly. 


As the problems of end-users get more complex and the demand for integrated solutions increases, the vendors that master an alliance proposition will be the ones who will gain a competitive advantage. I urge channel leaders to initiate conversations with their alliances as soon as possible to explore how a joint alliance proposition through the channel could benefit their business.








Efe Senel 5 min

How Alliances can Leverage their Channel Partners to Go To Market with their Integrated Solution

Master joint alliances for integrated solutions through the channel with Efe Senel. Here's your guide to navigating challenges and gaining a competitive edge.

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