When it comes to partner programs, one size doesn't fit all. Vendors realize that by embracing the channel, offering customized resources to partners, and tweaking their channel resources, both solution providers and suppliers will coexist and prosper.
But first, suppliers have to stand out in a sea of IT vendors that solution providers are bombarded with on a consistent basis.
Wendy Hoey, director of distribution and vendor alliances for Denver-based solution provider Optiv, led a panel of supplier executives who discussed capturing the attention of partners, marketing changes and vendors' evolving value proposition to partners.
IT vendors haven't historically been known as agile or flexible. But, the ability to change and change quickly can help capture the attention of partners, said Pam Johansen, senior director, sales ecosystem for BMC Software.
These changes don't have to be large, sweeping changes to the channel program. Instead, offering customizations for channel partners is a good start, Johansen said.
Having both the vendor and partner be more mindful of how business customers are buying and consuming IT will also help both suppliers and partners succeed, said Regan Ogner, head of global channel marketing for Intel Security.
Understanding the customer's journey will help vendors customize and build the right marketing strategy alongside their partners, rather than supplying partners with "cookie cutter" marketing tools, she said.
"It's the harder way to go, but it's definitely [presents] more of an opportunity for long-term growth and an opportunity to deepen the relationship between partners and [vendors]," Ogner said.
Fortinet is already doing this by giving it partners access to writers that can help them create unique content geared toward their businesses, said Krissy Kelley, Fortinet's senior director of channel marketing and partner programs.
"This makes it more about the [partner's] value proposition tied with Fortinet's," she said. "Partners loud and clear are saying that this is the most valuable asset we've given them."