New Google Portal Wins Partner Approval

Google unveiled a Web portal this week exclusively devoted to its channel partners, and also created a new Premier Partner designation.

The moves were welcomed by partners who said they show Google’s commitment to furthering its channel relations and give them easier access to relevant information about Google cloud products and services.

The portal, called Google Partner Connect, will aggregate sales, marketing, training, product content, tools, deployment and regional home pages for easier access for partners.

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“Google Partner Connect is the result of an effort across Google's product and functional teams to deliver a single, global, and comprehensive resource to you,” Dev Bala, Google Global Partner Programs Manager, wrote in a company blog. “Ultimately, we believe GPC will help you reduce friction when conducting business with Google and your customers."

The initiative is being lead by the Google Enterprise business, which includes products areas Google Apps, Chromebooks, Search, and Geo.

Partners said the portal will help them focus their Google sales plans.

“The Google Partner Portal provides useful information in one place where everyone from Cloud Sherpas can find fantastic information,” said Michael Cohn, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Atlanta-based Google reseller Cloud Sherpas. “The portal is a big step forward for Google and really shows their commitment to the channel.

“One of the things we experienced as a Google partner is that they have a fantastic amount of information but there are many different lines of communication, with marketing channels, sales channels, etc.,” Cohn added.

Google has fine-tuned its channel relations in response partner feedback, Cohn said.

"We asked for more communication on plans for products and changes, whatever the case may be. They’ve responded,” he said. “We used to be surprised sometimes when a new feature came out. Not any more. It’s becoming a more mature channel."

Cloud Sherpas received SMB and Enterprise Premier Partner status this week, Cohn said. “Premier is based on number of sales, customer satisfaction, published marketing, sales materials, and technical accomplishments,” Cohn said. “If you are a Premier Partner, you get additional resources on the portal you otherwise would not receive. These are valuable resources that help us market the business.”

Crisantos Hajibrahim, head of business development for Los Angeles-based Google reseller ViWo, which received Premier Partner staus for the SMB business, said the new designation will help drive sales. "Premier status recognizes our certifications and gives our sales staff confidence when they meet with customers," he said.

The portal, he said, will make information on Google products easier to retrieve. “As a resller, you need certified information in one place,” Hajibrahim said. “If you want to find an SMB logo, a data sheet, a Microsoft comparison guide, it’s all there for you.”