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Sellers, Partners, and Customers: Reorganization, New Tools, and New Mindsets Drive Change in the Channel at National Instruments

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Before they headed home to Austin, Texas, I caught up with longtime friend Penny Wright, CA-AM, and a new friend (i.e., first-time attendee and presenter) Jimmy Hwang from National Instruments after their session “Connecting Teams and Systems to Advance Channel Opportunities” on Wednesday, March 13, the final day of the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Hwang is principal manager, alliance partner program; Wright is global enablement manager on NI’s sales and partner enablement (channels) team. Before NI’s recent reorganization, Wright and Hwang worked on the same team in a matrix structure; now they still work (and present) together, but are housed in different functional areas. In tag-team fashion, the two walked me through the story—and lessons learned—that they shared with the engaged group that attended their session. Here’s a segment of our discussion—you’ll find more of our conversation in forthcoming Strategic Alliance publications.

ASAP Media: What was the purpose of your presentation and what did you talk about?

Jimmy Hwang: The purpose of our presentation was to share the work we have been doing—to share best practices. In terms of how we use systems and tools, we’re trying to adapt to the changes that are happening internally at NI. Two important changes have occurred. The first one is we are focusing on three key industries where our platform is highly differentiated and we see the biggest opportunity to grow. NI serves a wide range of customers in a broad range of industries and applications—and we will continue to do that, but at the same time we are focusing more on our transportation, aerospace/defense/governments, and semiconductor customers. We want to maintain whatever we are doing—but in terms of incremental future investment, we’re want to deepen our relationships and solution offerings to the customers in these three industries.

Second is a change in how we provide sales coverage for our alliance partners. Sellers used to have a mixed book of accounts —for example, I’m a sales person for Texas, and as long as customers and partners are in Texas, they are my account. What’s changed is that we carved out partner accounts and establish a dedicated and separate sales coverage for them. Now, we have partner sales managers, responsible for a set of partner accounts, and they don’t own any end user accounts—all t do is to manage partner accounts. If I’m a regular account manager, that’s what I do—I manage end user accounts. This clarifies the role within sales, delivering more value to customers, partners, and National Instruments.

Penny Wright: We talked about there being a lot of friction over lead sharing. Because of that historical [organizational] setup, our partners were hesitant to share their leads with NI sellers, and sellers who said, “I’m not going to bring partnering into this opportunity because it’s going to bring my commission split down. We have implemented a standard GTM and account planning process where partner sales managers are now driving those integrations and collaborating with those sales account managers.  We adjusted our commission structure to break down the boundaries to opportunity sharing and incentivize sellers to bring partners in earlier in the buying cycle. We actually did that before the reorganization—one of the first steps to getting sellers on board.

From a tools standpoint, in 2013 we brought on our PRM system, Impartner, and were able to stand up a customer-facing directory, allowing partners to manage their own profiles and giving them the ability to market themselves for free. We don’t charge for that, it’s part of their membership. This really enabled us to get our salesforce more educated on who our partners are—it’s almost a sales directory for our sellers to find our partners, so it’s not just the customers who use it to locate a partner.

National Instruments also really was behind on industry tools for CRM. We had homegrown Oracle-based systems that were internally developed, but three years ago, an external sales vice president came onboard and said, “No, we’re standardizing on Salesforce.”

ASAP Media: What are other technology updates and how is the transition going for NI and its partners?

Jimmy Hwang: Because of the now separate, dedicated sales coverage for partners, there is an even stronger need to facilitate the collaboration between our sellers and the partners. So that’s why we introduced the connector module to connect the two systems—Salesforce and Impartner. 

Penny Wright: It’s worked out really well. We have an entire Salesforce business team internally, and that’s all they do is optimize our Salesforce instance. Everybody has tools, connecting with our install base of customers. They can do outbound marketing by connecting to our Eloqua marketing automation. We’ve replaced our internal sales opportunity systems and how we did quoting and pricing and commissions. Now that sales is standardized on Salesforce, Jimmy can pull a report from Salesforce and see partner opportunity pipelines by industry and application focus areas.

We’ve made a lot of progress, but are still just scratching the surface of where we want to go. And a lot of the things that we’ve been working on for years in the alliance program management team are now being adopted because the of the recent business strategy shifts. We now fully recognize that we’ve got to focus and bring our partners into our go-to-market activity. It’s an exciting time for NI and our partners and these efforts have put us in a really good place and position to support the global go-to-market strategy.

See more of the ASAP Media team’s comprehensive, on-site coverage of the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit on the ASAP blog and in forthcoming Strategic Alliance publications.

Tags:  Channel  go-to-market strategy  Impartner  Jimmy Hwang  National Instruments  partners  Penny Wright  PRM  Salesforce  tools 

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‘Recognizing Great Behavior’: Winners of 2016 ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards Receive Honors and Accolades for Innovative Problem-Solving at ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia Hanson, Thursday, March 3, 2016

“When we share and highlight best practices and learn from each other, part of the success worth recognizing is great behavior,” said Mike Leonetti, CSAP, ASAP president & CEO, emphatically as he presented the 2016 Alliance Excellence Awards during the awards ceremony at the ASAP Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. USA. In addition to the awards categories recognized in years past, ASAP introduced new honors at this year’s event.

 Warm applause turned into a standing ovation that swelled the room as Leonetti presented the new ASAP Guiding Light Award to Jan Twombly, CSAP, ASAP chairman of programming, for her exceptional and exemplary “good behavior,” leadership, and volunteerism. Leonetti noted that Twombly, president of The Rhythm of Business, for the past six years has invested literally hundreds of hours of time each year as a volunteer driving program development for the annual Summit as well as annual biopharma conferences for the past four years.  

 The new ASAP Chapter Excellence Award was awarded to the ASAP New England Chapter. Accepting the award was another ASAP luminary volunteer, Becky Lockwood, global board member and two-time president of the New England Chapter, for “going above and beyond alignment with ASAP’s vision. The New England Chapter continues to deliver excellence in everything they do for ASAP,” said Leonetti. In turn, Lockwood praised the suite of companies who have supported her efforts over the years, saying success would not have been possible without their volunteer time.

Leonetti then announced the winner of two ASAP Content Awards, first to Eli Lilly and Company and David Thompson, CA-AM, chief alliance officer, for their long history of devotion to ASAP from the early days of the association. Eli Lilly and Company's contributions include offering workshops, extensive volunteer time, and Lilly’s consistent editorial content in, and support of, Strategic Alliance Magazine. The second Content Award recognized Xerox and head of corporate alliances and ASAP chairman emeritus Russ Buchanan as well for countless hours of volunteer time “spreading the excellence we have been generating over the years,” and Buchanan’s colleague Candido Arreche, global director of portfolio & management for Xerox worldwide and a black belt in Six Sigma quality methodologies, for his dynamic ASAP workshop teaching style. 

The awards ceremony then announced and honored the finalists and recipients in multiple Alliance Excellence Award categories. 

The Alliance Program Excellence Award is presented to “organizations that have instilled the capability to consistently implement and manage alliance portfolios and demonstrated consistent success of those alliances over time.” This year’s award went to Bayer for its Alliance Capability Enhancement Project, now in its fourth year. The project was lauded for, among other things, its strong emphasis on collaborative capability and cultural development, deal-making and efficiency, new IT infrastructure, processes, and pilot programs. 

The goal was to “move the culture from an inward focus to a partnering mindset” commented Joseph Havrilla, senior vice president and global head of business development and licensing for Bayer Pharmaceuticals. This was accomplished through: 

  • Senior management engagement
  • Creating awareness within the organization and recognition and value of the importance of partnership, including pushing data out showing that a significant part of revenue came from partnership
  • Providing training to give people tools and techniques to manage partner conflicts and timelines

 National Instruments won the Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award, given to a company for “individual alliance management tools or processes that have made an immediate and powerful impact on the organization and/or the discipline of alliance management.” National Instruments received the award for outstanding achievement of a best practice with their innovative and highly accessible partner directory that allows customer to search across the partnering ecosystem and access in-depth profiles of partner capabilities, certifications, ratings, and reviews from partner customers. Implementation included the creation of more advanced search functions, markets, keywords, mapping, and other kinds of tools. As a result, the number of National Instruments partners grew very quickly from 600 to 1,000-plus over short time.

 This year’s Individual Alliance Excellence Award, which is presented for “excellence in planning, implementation, and results of a single alliance. … between two companies or multiple organizations,” went to International SOS and Control Risks. Their nearly seamless alliance has changed the way the market perceives support and assistance of business travelers and expats. Previously, Control Risk was doing pandemic planning, and SOS was doing security planning. The unique co-opetition through formation of a joint venture has resulted in significant benefits for both the companies and their clients in terms of crisis management, most recently during the Ebola crisis, Arab Spring concerns, and AcelorMittal Mining evacuation of 130-plus employees from Liberia.

 “The goal was to eliminate completely any competition, to merge and put them together into one. Obviously not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination,” said John Maltby, director, group strategy of alliances at Control Risks. “We took a year to design this alliance and structured it around distribution.” It works to completely eliminate the competition because “when it boils down, we are trying to operate safely in a difficult environment,” he added. “The alliance balances out quite complementary capabilities.”

 There were no submissions this year for the Alliance for Corporate Social Responsibility Award. The seven-member awards committee is chaired by Annlouise 

Tags:  alliances  ASAP Chapter Excellence Award  ASAP Content Awards  ASAP Guiding Light Award  Bayer  Becky Lockwood  Candido Arreche  collaboration  Control Risks  David Thompson  Eli Lilly & Company  International SOS  Jan Twombly  National Instruments  partner  professional development workshops  Russ Buchanan  The Rhythm of Business  Xerox 

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ASAP Announces Alliance Excellence Awards Finalists Slated to Take Center Stage at the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Monday, February 8, 2016

At this year’s much-anticipated ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards, some of the world’s most partnering-savvy companies are vying for center-stage recognition of their exceptional performance in the world of alliance management. Officially announced this week in an ASAP press release, the three categories of awards will be presented March 1 at the 2016 Global Alliance Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem,” March 1–4 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, USA. 

The finalists for the Individual Alliance Excellence Award are: AbbVie-Genentech Roche, Cisco-Dimension Data, International SOS-Control Risks, and Panduit-General Cable. One of two candidates will receive the Innovative Best Alliance Practice Award: National Instruments or Takeda Russia. There are three contenders vying for the Alliance Program Excellence Award: Bayer, Huawei Technologies, and National Instruments. 

“The Alliance Excellence Awards highlight the best and brightest in partnering and alliance management. The significance of these awards cannot be underestimated,” remarked Mike Leonetti, president and CEO of ASAP, in last week’s press release. “These awards are ‘proof in the pudding’ that effective leadership, a strong alliance management function, and sophisticated partnering practices pay off in successful, healthy alliances. The awards highlight the efforts, achievements, and innovations that improve strategy and productivity of partnering programs, with benefits to partnering companies’ bottom lines as well as to society in general. These finalists were selected because they have proven their worth as leaders in the field of alliance management.” 

The awards are presented to companies that excel in:

  • Leading, planning, and implementation with compelling and measurable results
  • The use of new, individual alliance management tools or processes that have an immediate and powerful impact on the organization and/or discipline of alliance management
  • Implementation and management of alliance portfolios that demonstrate consistent success, persistence in overcoming obstacles, and creative and/or efficient use of tools, professional development/certification, processes, and other elements
  • Creativity and out-of –the-box thinking that has evolved the art and science of alliance management

 For more information about the finalists and their achievements, read the full announcement on PR Web newswire at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/02/prweb13196184.htm

Tags:  AbbVie-Genentech Roche  alliance management  alliance portfolios  ASAP Alliance Excellence Awards  Bayer  Cisco-Dimension Data  Huawei Technologies  implementation  innovation  International SOS-Control Risks  National Instruments  Panduit-General Cable  partnering  Takeda Russia 

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