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Sessions

 

Day 1: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 

Keynote: Panel: We’re All Talking About the Channel Eco-System but What Does it Mean and How Do You Build One?

The channel partner ecosystem can be a powerful and effective way to go-to-market. Your platform, products or services can provide the underlying value upon which your partner channel add value through their own services, customizations, and relationships. How do you get started in building a channel partner ecosystem? And how do you strengthen the ecosystem to provide value for those involved, most importantly your customers. Hear from a panel of industry leaders who will share their best practices in this opening thought-provoking keynote session.

Session 1: How Do You Integrate and Measure Your Partners Role in Your Customer Success Strategy?

Managing a channel is complex because the overall customer success is influenced significantly by the partner’s relationship with your customer. Measuring the satisfaction that customers have with your platform, products or services means that the success measures need to include the partner experience as well. How do you include customer success measures into your partner relationship management to show impact with your channel program?

Session 2: Panel: The Latest Thinking on Partner Portals – What are Partners Really Looking For?

Partner portals are prolific with many vendors providing them as a core gateway to participation in their channel program. However, as most partners have relationships with multiple vendors, it can be complex for your channel to manage and take advantage of the benefits. Partner portals have advanced over the years providing even more value. But what are partners really looking for from these services in helping them build a profitable business?

Session 3: Panel:  If MDF is Dead – What Will Replace It?

Managing the channel used to be simpler. Incentives based on partner tiers like gold, silver and bronze, discounts with deal registration, and promotional tools with MDF were the foundations of most channel programs. Now with movement to the cloud, innovative business models, and disruptive technologies, do the old rules for managing channel incentives still work? Find out how to embrace these changes to grow from our industry leading panel of executives. 

Session 4:  Leveraging Your Partners to Sell Services in an XaaS Model.

Cloud platforms can provide partners with a scalable way to deliver services to your customers. In some ways, it is simpler for partners to get trained on your products given that the infrastructure is hosted by the vendor. How do you provide a partner program that helps partners delivering cloud services to be profitable and loyal? This session will detail the business model for leveraging partners to sell services in an XaaS model, best practices, pitfalls, and success.

Session 5: Building a Marketing Strategy that is Flexible Enough to Meet the Needs of Partners with Widely Differing Marketing Capabilities.

Managing a channel marketing program has its challenges. You invest in content, incentives, and training programs for channel partners, only to have them poorly utilized due to the lack of skills in the partners to execute. Channel partners can more efficiently utilize your program with automation and enablement. Find out how to build flexibility in these marketing services and show more value from your demand creation activities.

Session 6: Panel: The CAM of the Future: What are the Key Skill Sets They Will Need?

The Channel Account Manager (CAM) is more important to the success of your program than ever. Yet the skills they need to be successful with your channel program have changed dramatically over the years with the advent of new ways of going to market. The needs that your partners have has changed too. A panel of industry leaders will discuss what skills your CAMs need to have in recruiting, onboarding, and managing partners now and for the future.

SPECIAL LUNCH SESSION: Challenging Traditional Thinking – The Steps You Need to Take to Leverage New Channel Opportunities?

Our partner channels are changing. With the shift to software, subscriptions, and services, partners are facing new competition and new opportunities. Meanwhile there has been a big change in the range of platforms, products and services available. Now is the time to challenge our traditional thinking of how to grow in the channel. This thought-provoking special session will be led by senior industry leader with best practices to share on the steps you can take.

Session 7: Panel: Best Practices in Leveraging Marketplace Private Offers.

Marketplace private offers allow independent software vendors that use cloud platforms to offer custom prices, billing terms, and pricing for specific customers that are different than public offers. These arrangements can be valuable in offering incentives for certain customers and improve competitiveness for your channel partners. Attend this session to learn more about how you can leverage this important trend that customers and partners are demanding.

Session 8: Partner Performance Metrics – Building a Model to Measure Success.

Building customer success into your partner channel means measuring key performance metrics. The growth in funding of your program rests on being able to measure how your partners are performing. Choosing the right metrics, frequency of measurement, and analysis of the data can be some of the considerations. This session will highlight the best practices in building a model to measure success from an industry leader.

Session 9: Panel: The Latest Thinking on Partner Compensation – What Should You Be Paying For?

Compensation can provide incentives for partners in your channel. If incentive compensation is done well, it helps the partners to grow your business profitably, build value for your brand, and create channel and customer loyalty. If designed poorly, it can create hurdles for partners or erode value of your platform, products or services. This inciteful panel of top industry thought leaders will share lessons on what you should be paying for.

Session 10: Beyond Partner Recruitment – How Do You Effectively Activate and Engage with a New Partner?

Building an active channel community is important to drive loyalty for your brand. The initial period after recruiting partners and onboarding can be challenging for partners as they look to close their first opportunities. By actively engaging with your new partners during this initial period in your program, you can ensure their experience is positive and they promote your product effectively to drive customer success. Hear from a successful industry veteran on how his team managed to grow a channel with exceptional results, loyalty and satisfaction.

Session 11: Panel: Cutting Through the Noise: How Do You More Effectively Communicate with Your Partners?

Your partners have multiple vendor relationships to manage which creates complexity in getting the right information. Effective communication is key to ensure partners can take advantage of the features and benefits of your program like new incentives, products, pricing, etc. Putting in place an effective and targeted communication program will make the difference in success for your channel. Attend this session to learn best practices you can begin to implement now.

Session 12: How Do You Integrate Partners into Your Overall Marketplace Strategy?

Marketplaces have become very effective vehicles in providing products and services to your customers. However, they can create some channel conflict between selling direct to end users versus with your partners. How you address getting your partners involved in promoting your marketplace can be key to create true customer success and value in your brand. This afternoon session will highlight best practices from an industry leader.

Evening Panel: The Partner Panel – 4 Partners Discuss the Key Steps They Have Taken to Transition Their Business and How This Changes What They Want From Their Vendors.

The final session of the first day will be a special panel of partners sharing how they have transformed their businesses over the years. Assessing your current program features, adding new ones, or evolving others can help partners to be successful, and drive growth for your channel. This is the session to ask the provocative questions and have an open debate about what is working, and not, and discover how we as an industry can continue to perform.

 

 

Day 2: Thursday, September 15, 2022

KEYNOTE: What are the Biggest Partner Challenges We Face Today and How Do We Overcome Them?

Day two of the conference kicks off with a thought-provoking session over breakfast. Attend this session to continue networking with your peers and discuss what are some of the biggest challenges we face in the channel today. The session will be moderated by industry leaders offering best practices on how to overcome the challenges we face in the channel today. It promises to be an inspiring start to the second day of the event.

Session 13: Partner Retention – The Key to a Successful Partner Program.

Partner loyalty is important for success of your program and promoting your solutions to customers. After investing in recruiting and onboarding, keeping your partners profitably growing is how to grow your channel. But retaining partners can be difficult if not built into the features of your program, and actively managed for success. An industry leader will share best practices on how you can take your channel program to the next level of loyalty.

Session 14: Panel: The Demise of Technical Certification and the Rise and Rise of Sales and Marketing Enablement – How Do You Re-Define What is Important in Your Channel Program?

The traditional channel program was to provide partners with technical training toward becoming certified then addressing demand in the market. However, today we need to be much more sophisticated about creating demand through sales and marketing, because mere technical certification is not enough. Here from industry veterans explain how they are building sales and marketing enablement into channel programs that is re-defining success. 

Session 15: Panel: Does Distribution Have a Role in Your Channel Eco-System?

Distributors have been a very important partner in scaling your market by managing resellers, launching new services, and expanding into verticals and geographies. As the market continues to transition what role do distributors have in getting your hardware, software and services to your channels? This panel will discuss the changing role of the distributor and how they are helping leading vendors to be successful in driving demand and building the ecosystem.

Session 16: Panel: Building an MSP Program: What Do They Really Want?

Managed services are in high demand from IT buyers today who seek to reduce the complexity and provide more scale and flexibility on their investments. Partners that offer managed services on your platform can become essential in helping these customers be more successful. So, what do these partners need that is different than other features of your channel program? Speakers in this panel will share their own experience in building success in their MSP program.

Session 17: The Latest Thinking on Influencer Programs.

Influencers are those who are important to the customer but are non-traditional partners. They often do not have the technical knowledge to deliver your product or services. But they are influential in other ways by providing ancillary business services, consulting, or relationships with key decision makers. How you work with influencers can open up new ways to grow your channel. This session will cover the latest strategies on building influencers in your program.

Session 18: The Latest Thinking on Hardware Sales Models in an ‘As a Service’ World.

Demand for cloud services has been very strong with customers attracted to flexible purchasing or subscription models. If you are selling hardware in the channel, you may be asking what sales models can be deployed to take advantage of the trend. Bringing a creative approach to new sales models in the channel can help create demand for hardware too. Learn from an industry leader on how to drive sales in this “as a service” world.

LUNCH – Women’s Leadership Council Report

The Channel Focus Women’s Leadership Council is a professional group that shares best practices companies can take to enable more diversity to expand opportunities and reach the most senior roles in the channel. The Council will hold a special pre-conference event, then later during this special lunch session representatives will share how each of us can leverage the lessons learned to boost our businesses, innovation and profits in the channel. 

Session 19: Panel: Internal Conflict - How Do You Bring Direct and The Channel Team Closer Together?

Conflict between your direct and channel teams can slow growth of your channel program, unsettle partners, and create confusion with your customers. Getting the direct and channel teams working together will ensure success. The issue can involve incentives and compensation, technical capabilities, measures and metrics. Getting the balance right is how channel leaders succeed creating a winning partnership. Join this important panel to hear how they do it.

Session 20: The Journey from a Channel Fulfilment to a Channel First Strategy.

Is your channel leading or simply fulfilling demand created by your sales and marketing teams? Orchestrating a program that puts partners first can make a big difference driving growth and using your resources efficiently. Partners not only provide scale but also create demand and should be prioritized in your overall revenue growth strategy. In this session, you will learn how to evolve your program putting channel partners first for success.

Session 21: Panel: How Will the Agent Model Evolve, and Will It Become More Prevalent in the Cloud and IT World?

Agents in your channel partner program are those that receive referral fees for bringing new business. They don’t take ownership of the delivery of products or services but are influential in generating sales leads for your channel. Now that more direct models enabled by the cloud are gaining prominence, will the agent model become even more important? Learn from these industry veterans on how they are creating value and growth with agents in their ecosystem.

Session 22: How Has The GSI Model Evolved, and How Should a Smart Vendor Respond?

The Global Systems Integrator (GSI) has become a large and dominant force in many IT channels. For customers, GSIs create value with a large portfolio of products and services, custom solutions, skilled qualified resources, and professional consulting. Getting GSIs on board your channel program can be a big catalyst to growth, but how do smart vendors partner with such large and complex organizations? And what are the competitive dynamics in the channel where GSIs are gaining share?

Session 23: Panel: How Do You Build a Program to Attract More Specialized, Vertically Focused Partners?

Customers are demanding partners and solutions that offer more customized products and services tailored to industry verticals like financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, public sector and many others. But having specialized, vertically focused partners also means your channel program needs to be suited to that industry. It makes it more complex to manage across multiple industry verticals. However, the higher customer loyalty from tailored solutions can be worth the effort. Find out in this session how to make your vertical strategy work.

Session 24: First Steps – Creating a Partner Program in a Green Field Environment!

New markets are new opportunities, but how do you break in with your channel program? If you don’t have sales, marketing and channel managers on the ground, where do you start? Sometimes outsourcing to service providers is a great way to start these first steps while you develop the business case for further investment in that market or geography. Learn how these strategies can give you scale to create partner programs in greenfield markets.

Benchmark Survey & Concluding Remarks: The Channel Focus Benchmark Survey - The Results - What Really Matters to Vendors and Partners?

During the conference, attendees will be asked to rate various industry features and best practices in a survey. At the culmination of the two-day event, these results will be presented in an insightful read-out on what your industry peers think about channel programs, techniques, and strategies. Be sure to stay to the end of the conference to hear these insights. This session will provide you with important takeaway strategies and key messages from the conference that helps you summarize the event and begin to enable new channel management strategies.