CP: What are the typical recommendations you give them?
TD: There’s often, especially for the larger OEMs, the tendency to view things in a very transactional manner where they say, "If I add a few points of discount here, that’ll do it." And no, that’s not how it works. But that can help. It’s a lubricant in the process and encouragement. But if you don’t have the right way of doing business, the right enablement and support and engagement, it won’t get you where you want to go.
CP: What path will take them down the right road?
TD: Leaders can do certain things to protect their partner ecosystems and invest in growth. I think a lot of it is about deciding where to focus your resources. It is recognizing that working with the channel and winning in the channel is a long game. Again, don’t over-rotate. Even when times are tougher, you need to keep on supporting your channel. But within that, obviously, everyone has budgets, which they need to be able to hold. And I think understanding how you can deploy incentives to align to joint outcome like favoring marketing and sales activities over the longer-term certification.
CP: How do you recommend they align their incentives and other marketing initiatives?
TD: It’s about aligning with your partners to target the right accounts and plan together. It can also be a very high gain when you include them thoughtfully in the sales process. Enablement matters a lot.
CP: What about from the channel partner perspective?
TD: Partners need to be deliberate about their own vendor ecosystems. I think the most successful partners will not just be thinking of the short-term customer opportunity, but also how different vendors stack together and how to create a better-together ecosystem.
CP: It stands to reason that many suppliers will tap their partner ecosystems more because they have had to pare down their own resources, right?
TD: That is right. I think it creates a lot of opportunities for channel partners, where the OEMs get pressure on their direct budgets and growth or expansion plans, and many of them tend to flow through the channel. It’s a moment where they tend to rediscover the value of the channel and it's a totally variable resource.