Guest Column | April 10, 2014

The Top 3 Things To Look For In A Partner Program

Bob Stegner, Senior Vice President, Marketing, North America for SYNNEX Corporation

By Bob Stegner, Senior Vice President, Marketing, North America for SYNNEX Corporation

IT distribution isn’t just about products anymore — there’s an increasing focus on leading with services and solutions to drive results. Distributors are going beyond their name and becoming trusted advisors to resellers.As part of this evolution, it’s more important than ever to develop strong relationships in the channel and engage in events that provide collaboration, networking, and education. Every recipe for success looks different, but here are a few things to consider when looking for a partner program.

1. Diverse Opportunities For Collaboration And Networking

A strong partner program should offer a menu of collaboration and networking events as diverse as its members. Large events or small, formal or casual — it’s important to consider that not one size fits all. Consider a partner program that offers an annual or semi-annual meeting for educational and collaborative opportunities as well as the chance to hear from industry experts and company spokespeople. Regional events are a good way to promote face-to-face collaboration in between major events. Partner programs that offer niche sessions such as sales or vendor training workshops give members the opportunity to take a break from the daily grind to really learn and grow. To mix things up, it’s important to look for partner programs that offer networking events in a more laid-back setting. Across the board, look for programs with a high-level of executive involvement — it’s a customer’s right to have the opportunity to sit down and talk with anyone, regardless of their title.

2. A Rich Menu Of Resources And Benefits

In addition to programs that augment your business offerings, look for ones that address business operations and back-end services. Many partner programs offer benefits such as recruitment and staffing support or marketing services. A partner program should address your pain points and provide resources and benefits that help solve them. Also, don’t forget about content, which serves as the bread and butter of a strong partner program. Partner programs should offer content on best practices, peer-to-peer networking, and overall industry trends. Make sure the partner programs you consider take member feedback — there’s no voice more important than yours. Just like the industry we work in, a partner program’s menu of resources and benefits should always be evolving.

3. A Solid Advisory Board

A successful partner program is only as strong as its advisory board. When looking for a partner program, consider programs that appoint advisors who truly embody the spirit of the organization. Members should be diverse and able to serve the members’ unique needs. Part of this is ensuring advisors are geographically diverse — aside from their proximity to community members (think connecting the dots on a map) this will bring in perspectives from across the country — or world.

As part of such an innovative and forward-looking industry, you truly deserve the best when it comes to a partner program. According to Forrester, we’ve officially entered the “Age of the Customer,” and it’s become most companies’ first priority to deliver real-time value to those they serve. The IT channel has followed suit and there are more opportunities than ever to collaborate, network and become more educated. By being armed with the right criteria, you’ll be ready to join the trusted advisor, customer-first revolution going on in IT distribution and select a partner program best suited for your business.