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What’s the Latest Thinking on Effective Partnering in Sales & Distribution? Veteran Sales & Distribution Expert Lawrence Walsh Shares with ASAP How to Improve Channel Structure, Performance & Value

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Tuesday, November 3, 2015

One in four resellers worldwide, and a third in the U.S., have fired a vendor, and “half of all value-added resellers (VARs) selling products as a cloud service aren’t satisfied with how their vendors listen to and act upon their feedback,” according to a ZS Associates study cited by Dede Haas, CA-AM, in her Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine article, “Optimize Your Channel through Trust-Based Relationships.” Vendors often are just as unhappy, complaining about underperforming partners, inconsistent sales, and unreliable resellers, according to Lawrence Walsh, CEO and chief analyst at The 2112 Group a new ASAP Corporate Member. Walsh explains why—and talks about how to improve channel structure, performance, and relative value—in this week’s ASAP Netcast Webinar, “The Channel Is Not the Best Route to Market but It Can Be.” 

Walsh, a veteran journalist, analyst, and consultant specializing in information technology channel sales, is the latest expert to explore this topic with the ASAP community. Two articles in the Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine and several recent ASAP Netcast Webinars have delved into the convergence and complementary skills of alliance and channel management. 

Previous webinars and articles have explored how the channel demands more collaborative and reciprocal relationships—to be treated as genuine business partners, each of which has distinct and sometimes unique requirements for a successful relationship. Smart vendors take this to heart, according to Mary Ellen Grom, vice president of U.S. marketing at SYNNEX, a Fortune 250 business technology distributor, who co-presented “A Changing Channel—The View from the Middle,” ASAP’s June 10 webinar. “We don’t move boxes—we are a trusted advisor, here to take partnerships to a whole new level,” Grom explained. 

In his July 23 ASAP Netcast, “Move from Capturing to Creating Demand in Your Partnerships,” presenter LaVon Koerner, chief revenue officer at Revenue Storm, emphasized that across industries the sales function is undergoing a profound transformation. As a result, advanced partnering skills are fast becoming essential to sales and customer relationships—and alliance managers must increasingly focus on proactive value creation with partners and end customers. “Now our customers are demanding Insight from us,” Koerner said. Don’t give us more data. Don’t give more information. Give us insight, take our minds to places we’ve never been, help us draw lines of connection we’ve never drawn.” 

What happens when alliance executives bring their partnering skills to bear in the sales and distribution channel? Two partnering veterans from Verizon presented their perspectives during the September 16 webinar, answering “What in the World Are Two Alliance Professionals Doing in the Channel?” 

“The ways alliance managers can add value to channel relationships is huge—we bring that expertise and experience into the relationship,” explained Leona Kral, CSAP, who has transitioned several times between alliance and channel roles, currently serves as channel alliance manager, global channel sales, for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, and also is president of ASAP’s Tri-State Chapter.

“Alliance knowledge supports the concept of partnership, shared objectives, where channel development is more focused on immediate near term sustainable revenue and profitable growth for both partners – all going to be 100% relative to what your company’s focus is, what your partners’ focus and strategy is, and where the two come together to make that old 1+1+3,” added Kral’s colleague and co-presenter Karen Robinson, CSAP, a global strategy and integration exec for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. 

Walsh’s webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 4 joins this year’s three previous channel-related webinars now archived in the ASAP Member Resource Library, available for free to ASAP members (nonmembers can access for a fee). You can view these events on demand, as well as explore more on the topic of partnering in the channel in the Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine, which includes the article by Haas as well as our Alliance Champion profile of Verizon’s Leona Kral.  

Tags:  Channel alliance managers  Dede Haas  global channel sales  Karen Robinson  LaVon Koerner  Lawrence Walsh  Leona Kral  Mary Ellen Grom  Revenue Storm  SYNNEX  The 2112 Group  VARs  Verizon Enterise Solutions 

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Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine: Alliance Leaders Make the Paradigm Shift to Cross-Industry and Ecosystem Partnering, Plus Partnering in the Channel and More

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Thursday, September 24, 2015

The latest issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine, Q3 2015, now available to ASAP members, invites readers to explore a paradigm shift occurring in the life sciences and healthcare industries (and many others too). Veteran alliance executives discuss how to adapt, lead, and orchestrate in new and innovative ways, as cross-industry collaborations proliferate thanks to high tech and other industries entering the traditional biopharma and healthcare arena. Alliance managers are challenged to read the tea leaves and adapt to customer-centric trends and other drivers forcing change.

 

SAM Q3 2015 also provides a preview of the 2015 ASAP BioPharma Conference that took place in Boston Sept. 9-11 “Alliance Expertise at the Forefront: Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Highlights include the opening evening keynote on the analytics-driven innovative partnerships Boston-based Berg Pharmaceuticals has formed with research hospitals, as well as three “ASAP Quick Takes” given by IBM Institute for Business Value's Heather Fraser, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson’s Cindy Warren, and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Lenore Jackson-Pope. The talks were preceded by professional development workshops and followed by a rich selection of educational sessions.

 

In our quarterly Alliance Champion feature, I interviewed Leona Kral, CSAP, of Verizon, who offered insights on driving revenue in channel management. Adaptation, agility, and innovation are critical components for alliance managers dealing with a fluid business environment, and that requires a wardrobe of hats alliance managers can wear to compliment their changing roles, she advises. Kral joined with her Verizon colleague Karen Robinson, CSAP, to present ASAP’s September Netcast Webinar, “What in the World are Two Alliance Professionals Doing in the Channel?” available for viewing in the ASAP Member Resource Library.

 

Continuing in the same vein of exploring the challenges (and opportunities) in channel sales partnerships, Dede Haas, CA-AM, founder and president of DLH Services, outlines the problems that make channel partners unhappy with vendors, and then offers practical advice from experienced channel executives on how to improve such collaborations through trust-based relationships.

 

The magazine also spotlighted how corporate member Dassault Systèmes and its partners use three-dimensional visualization technologies and collaborative tools—in the process changing the way business is being done in industries ranging from manufacturing and high tech to architecture and engineering, as well as in the public sector.

 

In the magazine’s quarterly editorial supplement, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, Michael Berglund, CA-AM and David Thompson, CA-AM, explore the powerful impact of the “conviction curve” on whether or not decision-making processes are actually collaborative. Berglund also delved into the topic in his well-attended workshop at this month’s ASAP BioPharma Conference, honing in on the crucial distinction of “Are We Negotiating or Collaborating?”

 

“Are you ready to thrive at the center of the action?” asks executive publisher and ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, in his engaging Up Front editorial. Alliances are taking new forms as partnering proliferates across the new ecosystem, and this issue of Strategic Alliance Magazine appropriately points out that alliance management needs to be embedded and is an essential component to the culture of today’s business enterprises if they are to adapt and proliferate in the emerging ecosystem.

Tags:  alliance  ASAP BioPharma Conference  Cindy Warren  collaboration  Dassault Systèmes  David Thompson  Dede Haas  ecosystem  Heather Fraser  Karen Robinson  Lenore Jackson-Pope  Leona Kral.ASAP Netcast Webinar  Michael Berglund  Strategic Alliance Magazine 

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Partnering Goes Interplanetary—in the Pages of Strategic Alliance Magazine and onstage at the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Wednesday, February 18, 2015

[Excerpted from the forthcoming Q1 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine]

 

What I enjoy most about the ASAP community is its raw intellectual rigor. It’s a real-life university on the leading edge of business practice—where the average grade is just 53%, based on success rates. It takes big thinking, by big thinkers—as well as professorial attention to the minutest detail—to succeed in the world of partnering, alliance management, and business collaboration.

 

Big ideas and the brains behind them converge in the pages of Strategic Alliance Magazine, at ASAP’s chapter and online events, and most powerfully at the annual ASAP Global Alliance Summit. As magazine publisher, moderator of many online events for ASAP, and frequent blogger on this site, I’ve gotten a good preview of what our community’s leading thinkers and practitioners will be talking about March 2-5 in Orlando. Two key discussion threads:

 

1. Strategy, sales, and revenue. Now partnering often gets its full due in “build, buy, or ally?” strategic decisions. But that puts alliance and partnering executives (many who also work in merger integration) on the spot: partnerships must deliver the goods and much more consistently fulfill their strategic intent. Yes, our well-developed alliance management practices and toolkits still matter, say Jan Twombly, CSAP, and Jeff Shuman, CSAP, Ph.D., in their January ASAP webinar and forthcoming summit session. But, they argue, our minds, skills, and tools must be leveraged much more strategically to improve our success managing mission-critical alliances, partner portfolios, and ecosystems. And what they say can be done. In one real-life case study about pushing alliance practice to that strategic level, Mission Pharmacal President Terry Herring will talk about restructuring a family-owned pharma company into a partnering—and sales—powerhouse.

 

Indeed, sales and revenue matter more than ever to alliance executives—and conversely, business development and sales are rapidly morphing into highly collaborative functions that require business skills long since honed by the alliance management profession. In recent ASAP webinars and Strategic Alliance Magazine articles, Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, and Dede Haas, CSAP, have honed in on the rapid convergence of practice between alliance and channel sales management—and Haas will join Ann Trampas, CSAP, to share their latest findings during a special 90-minute workshop at the summit.  

 

2. Entrepreneurial business models and complex collaborations. Multiparty and coopetition alliances, cross-sector partnering, ecosystem management, and other sorts of complex, multiplayer collaborative models come to the fore at this year’s summit. These aren’t just big concepts—we’re now in the thick of actually managing (with increasing sophistication) these highly complex and chaotic types of partnering models. Two keynotes and multiple summit sessions delve deeply into cutting-edge models and how they play out in practice. Talk about big thinking: How about multi-party, multi-sector, coopetition partnerships tackling global health challenges—and government partnering with entrepreneurs to send tourists and asteroid miners into space?

 

Partnering and alliance management are truly in the thick of the fray in business—and the prominence of our role continues to grow in our companies and organizations. That’s why learning and events in the ASAP community remain so vital and relevant to our daily work. We, the professors and student-practitioners of partnering and alliance management, must keep on our toes—with one eye on the big picture and one focused on each pixel. Or you can bet some really smart millennial or entrepreneur will be stomping our toes and filling our shoes.

 

About the 2015 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Held this year on March 2-5 at Hyatt Regency Orlando, the annual ASAP Global Alliance Summit is the world’s largest gathering of alliance, partnering, and business collaboration professionals. For more information or to register for this year’s summit, visit www.asapweb.org/summit. And be sure to visit this blog frequently during and after the Summit for the ASAP Media team’s live blog coverage of many event sessions.

Tags:  alliance management  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  collaboration  Dede Haas  Entrepreneurial  Jan Twombly  Jeff Shuman  Norma Watenpaugh  partnering  Strategic Alliance Magazine  Strategy 

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