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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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‘From Value Chains to Business Ecosystems’: Featured Presenters from IBM, Salesforce, Dassault Systemes, and SAIC Join the Lineup for 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By John M. DeWitt, Friday, January 18, 2019

This week ASAP announced the lineup of featured speakers at the March 11-13, 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit in a press release distributed via PRWeb.

“Each year’s Summit is a one-of-a-kind event where the world’s most experienced and capable partnering and alliance management executives share successful practices and lessons learned from their business collaborations,” ASAP President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, said in the announcement. “The 2019 Summit will include the incredibly smart and provocative speakers, hands-on learning, and candid peer-to-peer conversations that participants experience at ASAP’s other annual destination events—the BioPharma Conference, Tech Partner Forum, and European Alliance Summit. But there are unique connections and insights that only come from the ASAP Global Alliance Summit’s diversity. In a time of rapidly expanding cross-industry alliances, public-private partnerships, and customer-centered collaborative ecosystems, the Summit attracts leading thinkers and practitioners from many industries, sectors, and geographies, allowing attendees to glean insights, engage with surprising new ideas, and even meet unexpected new partners.”

This year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit will take place March 11-13, 2019, at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Platinum Sponsors of the event include Vantage Partners and WorkSpan; The Rhythm of Business is a Gold Sponsor. Headlining speakers include:

  • Bruce Anderson, general manager, high-tech/electronics industry, IBM
  • Christine Carberry, CSAP, chief operating officer, biopharmaceutical senior executive
  • Steve Levine, PhD, Dassault Systèmes, founder and executive director, Living Heart Project
  •  Tiffani Bova, global customer growth and innovation evangelist, Salesforce
  • Charles Onstott, chief technology officer, SAIC

Bruce Anderson: “Partnering in the AI Era”

On the morning of March 12, as part of the conference opening session, Bruce Anderson will present a plenary talk titled “Partnering in the AI Era: An Essential Shift from Value Chains to Business Ecosystems.” He intends to share his deep understanding of marketplace opportunities and challenges facing companies, describing what he’s learned as he consults extensively with senior executives striving to optimize and transform their organizations, operations, and business models.

After lunch on March 12, four speakers will present TED-talk-style presentations during the 2019 Summit’s Leadership Spotlight plenary session.

Christine Carberry, CSAP: Maximizing Value

Is it a lack of time, resources, or ideas that holds back fulfilling the maximum value of alliances? Perhaps all these ingredients are available in abundance and what is lacking is the ability to connect the right ideas with the right resources at the right time, Carberry intends to explore. The concept is simple—find the right connections, collaborate on a common goal, and create value. Executing against this simple concept is far from easy. In this session, Carberry will talk about how to strengthen connections, improve collaboration, and increase value creation in alliances and beyond.

Steve Levine, PhD: The Living Heart Project

In the US, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. What if a virtual replica of your heart could be created, imitating its unique electrical impulses, muscle fiber contractions, and abnormalities? Valuable insights on human heart function could accelerate breakthroughs delivered to clinical practice. Dr. Levine will describe his methodology to unite the world's leading cardiovascular researchers, medical industry innovators, regulatory agencies, and practicing cardiologists on a shared mission to develop accurate personalized digital human heart models.

Tiffani Bova: “Growth IQ” and Partnering

Customers demand a seamless experience, regardless of who makes the sale. Profitable and sustainable business growth is top of mind in and around all industries. Alliance managers must develop their "Growth IQ" to meet today's business demands. Pulling from the 10 proven paths highlighted in her Wall Street Journal Best Seller book, Growth IQ: Get Smarter about the Choices that Will Make or Break Your Business, Bova will present customer-centric best practices and pivot points for partnering executives and their companies to consider.

Charles Onstott: Partnering to Help the US Government Move at Startup Speeds

Not known as an early adopter, many parts of the US government have been pushing for easier acquisition of new technology. SAIC, as a technology integrator, strives to help emerging technology companies expand into government business—and thereby bring valuable capabilities that benefit the government. Onstott plans to discuss SAIC’s partner engagement model, share lessons learned in establishing relationships with emerging technology companies, and provide examples of what worked and did not work well.

The 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit will take place March 11-13, 2019, at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Platinum Sponsors of the event include Vantage Partners and WorkSpan. The Rhythm of Business is a Gold Sponsor. For more information and to register for the 2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, please visit http://asapsummit.org. To learn more, read the complete ASAP press release distributed via PRWeb and stay tuned for more of the ASAP Media team’s preview coverage of the Summit in Strategic Alliance magazines and on the ASAP Blog.

John M. DeWitt is a contributing writer and editor for ASAP Media. 

Tags:  2019 ASAP Global Alliance Summit  alliances  Business Ecosystems  Charles Onstott  Christine Carberry  collaborative ecosystems  Dassault Systemes  IBM  partner  SAIC  Salesforce  Steve Levine  Tiffani Bova  Value Chains 

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Vanguard Ecosystem Leadership: The Highly Successful Evolution of Salesforce’s Partnering Practices

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Salesforce’s vanguard leadership has been exemplary when building strong partnering ecosystems. As a rainmaker in the API economy, the company designed the largest technology ecosystem and most active cloud marketplace. Leslie Tom, senior vice president of AppExchange marketing and programs, has played a significant role in that transformation. In her session “API Economy: Salesforce AppExchange Partner Ecosystem” at the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum, “Reimaging Part­nering in a Disruptive World,” on October 17, at the Four Points by Sheraton, San Jose Airport, San Jose, California, she plans to share strategy and insight on how to build and benefit from a strong partnering ecosystem, and the invaluable role alliance managers play in fostering a healthy ecosystem.

“Our alliance managers at Salesforce are different than at other tech companies,” Tom began the interview. “They are involved throughout the entire process of recruiting partners to build solutions, onboarding partners, and working with partners on their go-to-market for business growth. They are building customer success from day one. Our alliance managers are critical to the success of the partners, [and we are] all focused on the joint success of our customers. When partners come into our ecosystem, the sole focus really is on partner and customer success. We have a saying at Salesforce to our partners: ‘When you succeed, we succeed.’”

In late 2005, Tom joined Salesforce and started recruiting partners for the AppExchange. The AppExchange was launched in 2006. From the beginning, Salesforce had “partner account managers” that acted like alliance managers, she explained. During the past 12 years, the company developed a much larger team that is now “100 percent focused on partners, their success and joint customer success.” Salesforce’s alliance managers work with one to many partners, depending on the company size and revenue opportunity. One of the company’s newest partners, Nokia, underwent a transformation similar to what many larger Fortune 500 companies are now trying to create—new revenue channels through partnerships, she continued. The former phone maker transformed to serve communications service providers, governments, and consumers.  Nokia created Nokia Intelligent Care Assistant solution on the AppExchange to provide holistic view of the customer to drive fast solutions to customer care issues.

The AppExchange—the #1 enterprise cloud marketplace—also goes by another name: AppExchange, the Salesforce Store. “We refer to AppExchange as the Salesforce Store because it offers much more than apps,” she said. “In today’s customer-driven world, we have apps, components, bots, data sets, and more. In 2006, we were more of an app directory where customers could find Salesforce extensions. Today, the AppExchange offers intelligent recommendations, personalized engagement and guided learning paths to help our customers find the right solutions faster. We have more than 5,000 solutions and more than 6,000,000 installs on the AppExchange.”

Other app marketplaces offer a one-to-one exchange, such as if you download an app for your phone, she explained about the difference. “On the AppExchange, one solution can be deployed to thousands of users; it’s not a one-to-one exchange. In fact, 88 percent of all of our customers are using AppExchange solutions and 89 percent of the Fortune 100 use AppExchange solutions. What is also unique about the AppExchange is that we think about it like Amazon in terms of customer reviews and ratings. If you go to AppExchange.com, there are over 80,000 customer reviews with star ratings, so our customers can look at multiple solutions, evaluate on peer reviews, and find the right fit for their business challenges.”

She then returned to the central theme of the session and reiterated the most important point: building a strong partner ecosystem focused on the success of your customers. “If your focus is on customer success, your partners and your company will be successful together. That is how we work with our alliance managers—to ensure that our partners are focused on customer success.”

Stay tuned for more of the ASAP Media team’s coverage of the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum on the ASAP Blog at www.strategic-alliances.org. Learn more about the 2018 ASAP Tech Partner Forum at http://asaptechforum.org

Tags:  alliance managers  Amazon  API Economy  AppExchange  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  customers  ecosystem  Leslie Tom  partners  Salesforce  solution  transformation 

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Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth & Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, Joins the ASAP Advisory Board

Posted By John W. DeWitt and Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Saleforce evangelist and former Gartner analyst Tiffani Bova has quickly become a familiar face in the ASAP community over the past year, presenting two well-received talks at ASAP events—first, at the March 2017 Summit in San Diego, and again in June, when Bova helped to kick off the inaugural 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum in Silicon Valley.

On Feb. 2, ASAP officially announced (see http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/02/prweb15161458.htm) that Tiffani Bova, global customer growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce, has joined ASAP’s global advisory board. As a high-tech industry thought leader, Bova watches overall market trends to uncover best practices on how to improve sales performance and enhance the overall customer experience.

“We are thrilled to have Tiffani as a board member. She has already made a significant impact by presenting in 2017 at two of ASAP’s four signature events, the ASAP Global Alliance Summit and the ASAP Tech Partner Forum,” said Michael Leonetti, CSAP, president and CEO of ASAP.

Bova is a respected former Gartner analyst and popular keynoter. In her talks at both 2017 ASAP events, Bova addressing ways companies of all sizes can create new business practices that leverage technology to strengthen collaboration with customers and partners and accelerate sales and growth. She challenged the audience to recognize how in the business-to-business world, “customer and partner expectations are changing” thanks to technologies that were previously considered relevant only in the business-to-consumer world. 

See the official ASAP press release at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/02/prweb15161458.htm. To learn more about Salesforce and how the company empowers companies to connect with their customers, visit www.salesforce.com.

Tags:  accelerate sales and growth  best practices  business-to-consumer  collaboration  Gartner  Salesforce  Tiffani Bova 

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Can Partnering Keep Pace with the Speed of Digital Transformation? Salesforce’s Tiffani Bova, GE’s Karen Dougherty, NVIDIA’s John Fanelli and Others Tackle Seminal Topics at ASAP Tech Partner Forum

Posted By John W. DeWitt, Thursday, April 27, 2017

Remember the halcyon days when alliance management just meant making big one-to-one partnerships run smoothly? Remember when the channel just took your awesome products and pushed ‘em out by the thousands? Remember when your CEO wasn’t so concerned about the success of your alliances, channel program, and collaboration in general?  

Things change—in an eye-blink. While the fundamentals still matter very much, any tech veteran will tell you it’s a new game in technology partnering, whether they’re in strategic alliances, channel management, or other roles. Customers rule, ecosystems proliferate, silos get crossed (or crushed), competition (and collaboration) can emerge from anywhere, and no one goes it alone or with just one-to-one partners.

Tech partnering executives—both veterans and those newer in the role—now have a learning event of their own focused on what it takes today to succeed in tech partnering. Wednesday, June 7 will see the debut  of the ASAP Tech Partner Forum, “Collaborate at the Speed of Digital Transformation,” a one-day executive learning event to be held Wednesday, June 7, 2017 in Santa Clara, Calif., at the corporate campus of gaming video graphics processing leader NVIDIA.

Headlining the event are several featured speakers, including:

  • Karen Dougherty, vice president of channel and alliances at GE Digital
  • John Fanelli, vice president, product at NVIDIA Grid
  • Tiffani Bova, global customer growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce

You may have caught Bova at the ASAP Global Alliance Summit in San Diego back in March. She’s a widely respected former Gartner analyst and popular keynoter. In San Diego, Bova challenged the audience to recognize how in the business-to-business world “customers’ and partners’ expectations are changing” thanks to technologies we previously considered relevant only in the business-to-consumer world. 

“How many of you took a training class to know how to buy from Amazon?” she asked to knowing chuckles from the crowd. “Yet when we show up to work we have a very different relationship with technology. We need to learn from B2C because it’s bleeding into B2B. I’m talking about the experience we all have as consumers.”

Bova won’t be the only provocative speaker on June 7 in Santa Clara.

“Prepare to think hard and have your conventional wisdom challenged,” promised ASAP’s President and CEO Michael Leonetti, CSAP, in a press release issued this week http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/04/prweb14275335.htm. The ASAP Tech Partner Forum “brings together an all-star cast of presenters offering an eye-opening look at what it really takes to succeed when you collaborate at the breathtaking speed of digital transformation—which is sweeping every industry touched by new technologies, and disrupts no industry more so than high tech itself,” Leonetti added. 

Bova, Fanelli, and Dougherty will be joined on stage by other high-tech partnering executives and experts including Andres Sintes of Cisco, Jim Chow of Google, Maria Olson of NetApp, Olimpio DeMarco of NVIDIA, Mike Maturo of Relayware, Meaghan Sullivan of SAP, Brooke Cunningham of Splunk, and Gaye Clemson of Globalinkage Consulting.

The June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum will include five hours of in-depth executive learning content and three hours of networking. Continental breakfast, a networking lunch and reception, and two networking breaks are included in the cost of the event ($299 for ASAP Members, $399 for guests). Host Sponsor of the ASAP Tech Partner Forum is NVIDIA; the event will be at NVIDIA Corporate Headquarters, 2800 Scott Blvd., Building E, Santa Clara, Calif. Additional sponsors include Gold Sponsor SMART Partnering Alliance and Silver Sponsor BeyondTrust.

Read this week’s full press release at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/04/prweb14275335.htm. For additional information and to register for the ASAP Tech Partner Forum, visit www.asaptechforum.org

Tags:  allainces  ASAP Tech Partner Forum  B2B  B2C  BeyondTrust  channels  collaborating  Digital Transformation  GE Digital  High-Tech Partnering  John Fanelli  Karen Dougherty  NVIDIA  Salesforce  SMART Partnering  Tiffani Bova 

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