Here’s How 25 Vendors Improved Their Partner Programs Over The Last Year

We asked the honorees of the Channel Chiefs 2020 list to tell us about the most significant investments they made in the channel and their partners in the past year. Here’s what they had to say.

Vested Interests

Solution providers rely on their vendor partners for a lot more than hardware and software products. Training – everything from the nuts-and-bolts of working with vendors’ products to higher-level sales strategies – is key. So are resources like marketing collateral and demonstration products to market development funds and sales assistance. And then there’s the basics, from partner portals to deal registration systems and other self-service tools, that help smooth vendor-partner relationships.

So what have the channel executives at the top IT vendors done for their partners in the last year? We asked the honorees of the Channel Chiefs 2020 list to tell us about the biggest channel/partner investments they made in the past year. Here’s what some of them had to say.

Amazon Web Services

Doug Yeum

Head of Worldwide Channels

We continue to invest deeply in the people who support and lead our partner development and go-to-market initiatives, including a focus on partner success managers who live in the field with our sales teams, providing last mile connectivity between partners, customers and our field sellers, leading to more effective and earlier engagement. We are also accelerating our investment in partner solution architects to provide deep technical support for new solutions and customer engagement. We continue to grow our MDF, training and proof-of-concept investments and are expanding our field incentive programs for working with partners early in the customer journey.


Stacey Marx

SVP, Partner Solutions

Master Agent Support Model: Continue to invest in sales and support tools for Alliance Channel; [AT&T is] simplifying and streamlining parts of the order entry process for our master solution providers to save them time. New Partner Marketing Tool - Alliance: Enhances program members’ ability to promote AT&T products and solutions using advertising, email [and] social campaigns. Fiber Fast Automation: Launched early 2019, speeds up installation of AT&T Dedicated Internet in as little as five to 15 days. [AT&T has] automated the process, allowing solution providers to qualify and quote an address for Fiber Fast in real time within the AT&T Partner Exchange portal or via the API platform.

Check Point Software Technologies

Frank Rauch

Head of Worldwide Channel Sales

Increased our presence and solution integration on the cloud marketplaces (Azure, AWS and VMware), including co-sell demand generation with channel partners. Increased our breadth of pre-sales tools, sales and technical partner enablement. Increased demand generation for partners through Check Point local events (CPX) around the world as well as our presence in the major cloud security industry events.

Cisco Systems

Julia Chen

VP, Partner Transformation

Customer experience lifecycle enablement: working with partners directly to craft our joint customer experience strategy and motion such that customers, partners and Cisco derive the most value. DevNet Certifications: specializations to enable and incentivize our partners to develop business outcome solutions on top of Cisco. Augmenting Portfolio Explorer with facilitation of partner-to-partner go-to-market motion to access new buying centers to give our channel a short cut to finding and co-developing vertical solutions on top of Cisco products. And development of IoT operational technology VAR route to market- understanding and adjusting to the unique needs of the OT VAR.

Comcast Business

Craig Schlagbaum

VP, Channel Chief

Increased amount of sales resources dedicated to partners - additional partner sales managers, sales directors and field marketing resources. Dedicated indirect team to help partners sell and position our SD-WAN/SDN solution. [Provided] more operations resources to aid in ease of doing business.


Matthew Polly

VP, Worldwide Business Development, Alliances, Channels

We built out a cloud-oriented partner organization responsible for driving adoption of CrowdStrike's products for protecting workloads in clouds like AWS and GCP. We listed products on the AWS Marketplace and engaged heavily with resellers who leverage the digital platform to rapidly transact business and piggyback on their AWS contracts. We increased the size of our partner organization to over 60 employees, an increase of over 60 percent from 2018. With partner-facing reps in 15 countries, CrowdStrike is more ready than ever to stop breaches around the world.

Dell Technologies

Cheryl Cook

SVP, Global Partner Marketing

Invested millions of dollars in rebates, incentives, front-end margins, seed units, automation and self-service tools. Continued to offer earned and proposal-based MDF, working with partners to ensure a compelling, flexible program with measurable ROI. Continued to invest in Dell EMC MyRewards SPIFF program to incent partner sales and systems engineers. We're investing multi-millions in intuitive self-service tools, like the partner portal, digital marketing tool and unified Dell Technologies Partner finder tool, that will make it easier for partners to do more business with us.


Chris Carter

VP, Americas Channel

Enablement training enhancements: It now takes partners less time to go through our training and become ready to sell FireEye products. Simplified deal registration process and systems: We've totally re-designed our partner portal to enhance the experience of selling our products. It is now much simpler for them to access benefits as they increase their tier level. Much improved MDF initiative, easier to access benefits as they increase their tier level. Developed new co-brandable digital campaign materials allowing partners to position themselves more strategically in the market.


Landon Scott

Director, Channel Operations

Xperts Academy: This intensive, four-day training attracted nearly 200 partner engineers. Attendees took part in hands-on workshops to hone their Fortinet and industry expertise and learn how to position Fortinet for customer success. Updating our Cyber Threat Assessment Program to include mail and SD-WAN: A natural progression of our successful tool, this year we added two assessments, mail and SD-WAN, which enable partners to evaluate a prospect's needs around two major industry needs and trends. Fast Tracks: This free, half-day training module has resulted in over 10,000 partners being trained on many of the industry's top solutions.


Carolee Gearheart

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales

Launch of the new Partner Advantage Program - focused on simplicity, collaboration and trust. Release of a brand new Partner Advisor team with presence around the world. Creation of the new Partner Success Services - allowing our partners to leverage the "best of" Google consulting expertise in new innovation areas.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Paul Hunter

Worldwide Head, Partner Sales

Invested in One Configuration tool across the whole portfolio, which has been deployed and now enables our partners to use one tool for all of our portfolio, with built in intelligence and recommendation engine to speed quoting HPE feet on the street. Co-funded resources to help partners with enablement and hunting new customers. Tech pro community and pricing: Improve partner experience, faster TAT [turnaround time], consistent and transparent experience, distributors to play a key role in helping partners sell.

HP Inc.

Scott Lannum

VP, GM, Americas Commercial Channel Sales

To help ensure the continued growth and profitability of our channel partners in alignment with key market opportunities, HP has invested heavily in: our product portfolio, to deliver innovative, ground-breaking new products and solutions; our partner sales training and certification with new HP University curriculum aligned to strategic priorities such as security and Device-as-a-Service; and our industry-leading Partner First program, updated twice each year, to ensure it moves accordingly with market dynamics, across compensation tools, specialist certifications and demand-generation tools.


Jason Kimrey

GM, U.S. Channel, Partner Programs

Intel Partner Connect: Our largest event and tremendous opportunity for our ecosystem to collaborate. Intel Partner University: To drive incredible training [plus] expertise for our partners. Intel Solutions Marketplace: Focused on helping drive awareness and demand for our 4k solutions.


Jonathan McCormick

COO, Head of Sales

Further enhanced our presence within the channel - trade shows and sponsorships, channel-focused trade publication investments and pitching. Introduction of Partner Advisory Councils across products and verticals, furthers the importance of the partner voice within everything Intermedia does. Increase in webinars that deliver ongoing sales and support training for partners.


Nicole Roskill

Executive Director and Worldwide Channel Chief, Lenovo Data Center Group

We made significant improvements in our tools, systems and processes to better support partners, providing a strong foundation for additional investments we'll make moving forward. Increased rewards for both sellers and firms for new customer acquisition through the channel. Re-deployed sales resources to equip our partners with the tools needed to drive sales into the SMB market and implemented process automation to better facilitate business with our partners and help deliver solutions to their customers more quickly. The changes we've made have already delivered double-digit year-over-year growth in our channel business, providing strong momentum going into our next fiscal year.


Chris Lamborn

Head of Worldwide Partner Go To Market, Programs

Over the past year we invested in: IT simplification efforts to help transform quoting, knowledge sharing and program visibility; over 70 Partner Academy events that helped to align 5,500 total attendees to NetApp core priorities; the Fueled by NetApp program - partner business consultancy services that help partners expand their own business-focused outcomes for consumptive cloud and industry solutions; and Partner Listening programs designed to create collaboration and feedback that help improve partner experience throughout the sales cycle and maximize partner profitability.

Palo Alto Networks

Karl Soderlund

SVP, Global Channel Sales

We introduced eight new channel partner incentives. We made numerous system automation advancements, including a complete overhaul of our quoting tool in support of the NextWave Partner Program enhancements. We invested in partner services development, including the creation of three new offering kits, as well as the hiring of a new channel services role. We introduced our first partner rebate for Diamond Innovators [and] we introduced a new partner relationship management platform.

Red Hat

Mark Enzweiler

SVP, Global Channel Sales, Alliances

The most important investment we made this year was in creating a Global Partner Executive Advisory Council. Also building a global mid-market/SMB team of more than 300, launching the Partner Renewals Engagement Program (PREP), and building a fully integrated ISV team with sales, marketing, engineering and brand teams.


Brian Breton

Global Channel Strategy, Americas Channel Sales

In-person, no-cost technical training for partner pre-sales engineers. Invested in partner rep rewards for key targeted enterprise accounts for partners to hunt and target. Added and funded headcount to key partners that fit the right profile for growth and expansion for RSA products. Increased the amount of spend on MDF and reseller-based campaigns.


Michael Valentine

Chief Revenue Officer

Increasing the spend in different marketplaces: This allows both resellers and end users alike to access Sophos' product portfolio on an as-needed basis through a preferred source. Ultimately, this enables them to securely manage their cloud environments. Adding MSP program enhancements: The new features help more partners deliver managed services to their customers in response to shifts in the market. Introducing new next-gen security solutions: Cloud Optix helps partners improve their clients' visibility in the cloud and MTR [Managed Threat Response] enables our partners to take targeted actions on their customer's behalf to neutralize even the most sophisticated threats


Lee Schor

VP, Sales, Americas

We invested in current and prospective partner roadshows, building personal engagement in tier-1 cities by sharing ransomware prevention and recovery best practices utilizing the StorageCraft solution. Our new Partner Zone portal ensures easy access to MSP license management, sales tools, MDF and deal registration, and features user self-service, support-ticket tracking and training. Our new, consolidated identity management system links all of our portal assets with a single sign-on (SSO) while bolstering security with multi-factor identification (MFA). We made considerable engineering investments to simplify doing business with StoragCraft by collaborating with Pax8, ConnectWise, Synnex, and Datto/Autotask to implement API integrations.

Tableau Software

Julie Slocum Bennani

SVP, Worldwide Partners, Alliances

Over the past year we grew our channel sales team by 40 percent, increased utilization of sales performance incentives and co-funded headcount to drive pipeline and revenue growth. We introduced continued enhancements to our global partner portal and deal registration to enable self-service marketing, sales and business management. We expanded and formalized our Partner Advisory Council structure to include one council per region (AMER, EMEA, APAC) with consistency in approach and topic coverage. And we introduced a global partner coverage model to drive more consistent Tableau engagement and partner support.


Bob Gagnon

VP, Channel Sales, Americas

New pre-sales engineer introductory certification (4-1/2 hour) curriculum. This is cumulative and can be applied toward the higher (40-hour) Tech Support-level curriculum. Prior to this, pre-sales engineering training was an “all-or-nothing” commitment, but the intro coursework offers access to a wider range of SEs [sales engineers] within our partner ecosystem. New PRM/portal implementation [with] new capabilities not previously available. Dedicated “channel only” pre-sales engineer [with] shorter queues for partner support. A 100-percent, year-on-year channel marketing spend increase in Canada and Latin America [and] ramping up emerging regions.


Cheryln Chin

VP, Global Partners, Alliances

Among UiPath's key channel and partner investments are its Acceleration and Innovation funds, which have recently allowed UiPath to co-invest in partners' business acceleration and product innovations. Launched 10 months ago, deal registration for business partners has led to more than 1,200 unique partners registering deals and over 3,000 different opportunities submitted. With enhancements to UiPath's partner portal, partners have boosted their productivity, enabled by a new ease of doing business with UiPath.


Bill Swales

VP, Channel Chief, Americas Partner Organization

We hosted our Partner Leadership Summit with 200 partner owners and operators, driving strategic relevance and instilling confidence in their VMware practices. We launched our IGNITE program with a select group of services partners to assist with the expansion of their VMware practices and achieve Master Services Competency. We launched a Big Bet Investments program with key partners that have the technical skills and sales capabilities to grow above market [pace] across a two-year horizon. We launched PartnerNow! to drive co-selling efforts among our most services-centric partners and VMware sales teams, resulting in over 5,000 selling engagements.