Google Cloud Launches New Premier Partner Badges: 5 Big Things To Know

From the eight Google Cloud, Workspace and Chrome badges to how partners can obtain this new top-level partner status, CRN breaks down everything channel partners need to know about Google Cloud’s new Premier Partner badges.

For the first time ever, Google Cloud partners can obtain Premier Partner badges for Workspace, Chrome and Google Cloud which will lead to additional incentive dollars and new customer opportunities.

“This is the first time we’ve enabled partners to badge themselves in market,” Bronwyn Hastings, vice president of ISV Ecosystem and Channels at Google Cloud, told CRN. “The need for validated deep expertise, capacity and service excellence is becoming a core element of feedback from the customers.”

The $30 billion Mountain View, Calif.-based cloud computing giant unveiled a total of eight new Premier badges today that partners can attain and display to customers to show their top-level expertise for either Google Workspace, Chrome and Google Cloud—or all three.

Google partners can receive up to three Premier badges—Sell, Service, and Build— for Google Cloud and Workspace based on their business’s engagement model. There is also a Sell and Service Premier badge for Chrome.

Google’s New Premier Partners

Hastings said Google Cloud’s new Premier badging was needed based on how customers are looking to their partners today for more strategic counseling, implementation services and deep product domain expertise.

“Customers aren’t expecting just to buy something, they are expecting the strategic counsel,” she added. “So that deep expertise is really coming through right now and needing that domain knowledge. Some of the partners need to evolve their businesses. Some of them are looking at, ‘How do we actually stand out in this demand for deep domain expertise?’ So we had to look at evolving the [Google Cloud] Partner Advantage Program.”

Robbie Clews, senior director of Google’s Cloud Alliance for London-based partner Kin + Carta, said the new Premier badging is necessary for channel partners to stand out from the crowd who have a “proven track record and proven ability to execute.”

“The new Premier partner badges is just emblematic of the fact that we’re seeing a lot more customer demand for validation around partner capability. In itself, that is a correlation with how much demand Google Cloud is seeing in the marketplace,” said Clews. “It’s our plan and intention to secure the Premier Partner badging status for Google Cloud. That’s where all the focus and fixation is on the enterprises today, especially with the hype around generative AI.”

In an interview with Hastings’s, CRN breaks down the five biggest things all Google partners—from system integrators and resellers to ISVs and MSPs—need to know about Google Cloud’s new Premier Partner badges and how to achieve it.

The 8 Google Cloud Premier Badges

Partners can attain eight new Premier badges aligned with Google Cloud product areas across three engagement models: Sell, Service, and Build. They are:

Partners can choose to obtain one or more Premier badges.

“For example, a partner could be a Premier Google Cloud seller. And at the same time, they could be a Premier Workspace Service model provider. So they can choose,” said Google’s Hastings. “They can say, ‘I want to be acknowledged in different product areas and in different motions.’ If they have multiple engagement models, there’s also badging that allows them to say, ‘We actually are a Premier Workspace partner who has all three [Sell, Service, Build] motions.’

Hastings said partners can choose whether they use an induvial Premier badge or aggregate badges together during customers engagements.

Premium Badging Incentives And Benefits

Google Cloud is increasing the funding and incentives for partners who achieve Premier status, rewarding partners on both the product level and customer value fronts.

“We’re also increasing investments in areas such as deal sourcing and in acceleration of value to customers,” she said. “Think about sourcing, selling, and servicing, and accelerating the value to the customer is how we will invest in the partners engaging with us. … The funding overall is increasing for partners.”

For example, Google could help Premier-badged partners design a new generative AI practice, or help accelerate a customer’s migration journey to Google Cloud. “It’s about, ‘How do we bring value to the partner along the lifecycle? That’s from sourcing all the way through to acceleration with programs that are relevant,” Hastings said.

On the services side, for example, Google will make Premier-badged partners more visible to external customers as well as inside Google’s internal sales motions. “This allows service partners to participate even if it’s sold by us, in some instances, or sold somewhere else. They can actually triangulate with someone in that motion,” she said.

On the selling side, for example, Google will review a Premier-badged partners’ go-to-market activity to help them boost and expand their marketing presence.

Difference Between Sell, Service And Build

There are three Premier Partner badges: Sell, Service and Build.

The Premier badge for the Sell Engagement Model revolves around the transacting process. “The over simplified view for the selling [badge] is really transacting. So it’s everything from the pre-sales to the transaction types of things,” Hastings said.

The Premier badge for the Service Engagement Model is about providing services around designing, implementation and successful fulfillment of the solution. “The service [badge] is going to be: solutioning, implementing, and making sure that the customer gets the value that they think they’re purchasing,” she said.

The Premier badge for the Build Engagement Model is all about building solutions for customers, which could be based off an partner, Google Cloud or an ISV solution—or a combination of all three. “So it could be an ISV building a solution, or it could be an system integrator that determines that they want to build an asset. It’s the actual creation of the solution motion that we’re supporting in this instance,” Hastings said.

“Partners can choose what is the motion that’s anchoring their business. Are they going to sell? Are they going to service? Are they going to build solutions?’ she said. “Or they can do all three.”

How Hard Is It To Achieve A Premier Badge Status?

There are different requirements that partners need to achieve in order to receive a Premier badge which are based on the solution—Google Cloud, Workspace or Chrome—as well as on the type of engagement model—Sell, Service or Build.

Overall, achieving a Premier badge will be mostly competency-based and customer reference-based.

“If you’re in a sales motion, for example, it’s going to be sales specialization of individuals. It’s going to be the revenue being driven in that. It’s going to be capabilities to actually service the customer in their decision process—like their ability to represent products, etc.,” Hastings said. “It’s also customer references on the Sell side. So it’s a number of things on the sales side.”

In terms of partners obtaining a Service Premier badge, she said, “It’s their certifications and their ability to represent customer successes in their specialization areas.”

“It’s really important that it’s not just a single metric,” Hastings said. “It’s one that the customer can say, ‘I can take this and know that I’ve got certification competency and there’s other customers that have done something like this.’

When Premier Badging Officially Kicks-In

Beginning Aug. 1, 2023, Google Cloud’s new Premier badges will take effect within the company’s flagship Google Cloud Partner Advantage program.

New partner incentives based of these Premier levels will begin on in January 2024.

Hastings said “a number of partners are already on the journey” to obtain Premier badging. “We’re already having a number of them meet the requirements when this officially starts,” she said.

Google created its new Premier partner badging based off both partner and customer feedback.

“The need for validated deep expertise, capacity and service excellence is becoming a core element of feedback from the customers,” she said. “Customers are looking for a strategic counsel for the partnership that they’re in. At the same time, they’re expecting that expertise to be a part of that discussion that leads to implementation services and solutioning—and not just purchasing a product.”

By owning a Premier badge, customers will be able to leverage partners with the most relevant expertise.

“This is the right thing to do for the customer, the right thing to do for Google Cloud and the right thing to do for the partner,” Hastings said. “All of these things are lining up to add value for everyone involved.”