Always fun, we’ve had the chance over the past year to meet with the top IT channel leaders as they use the tools at their disposal (technology and product sets, program elements and options, resources, and teams) to gain attention from and drive business through IT partners of all types.
This is the time of year we share our thoughts on channel-focused companies that stood out over the past several months and the steps that they took that had an impact on the success of their partners. As a reminder, these awards represent our POV on partnering excellence, teams that employ best practices in both program design and execution.
Next up in our 2018 Channel Acceleration Award Winners is the team from IBM Storage, who succeed in re-establishing growth and success with both Traditional IBM Blue and new partners alike.
ESG Channel Acceleration Partner Loyalty Award Winner: IBM Storage (IBM PartnerWorld)
This category is open to any vendor that operates a U.S. channel strategy of hardware, software, and services in all vertical markets, and a channel program that has been in place for a minimum of three years. Through expansion of its own offerings, by focusing on next-generation workloads, and by refactoring its channel programs, IBM Storage has demonstrated a unique ability to gain and maintain partner loyalty and success.
- IBM has established and strengthened its technical foundation based on the breadth of its storage portfolio, core technology, and product options.
- Employed strategy and tactics to reposition the storage business and the result was to re-activate strong market share growth in 2017.
- Visible energy and leadership (substance as well as style) by the entire channel team, led by Eric Herzog (CMO and VP of IBM Global Storage Channels). This has been critical and led to the success of their partners' new business efforts.
- Initiating strategic business discussions with IBM’s most important partners, focused on the total business opportunity for products, software, and services.
- Identifying key drivers that ensure partner commitment and investment in selling IBM solutions.
- Focusing on workloads that drive incremental sales and services, with IBM Validated Solution status and BP Application Showcase listings.
- Deploying varied outbound marketing featuring social, MDF, and messaging.
- Improving competitive positioning and effectiveness of the IBM Partner Program.
- Providing enhanced marketing and sales support for “engaged” hi-potential growth partners.
Channel Acceleration Impact:
While the saying goes that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, IBM Storage might just be the exception that proves the rule; and if not all the tricks are brand new, IBM storage has certainly been driven to perform them way better than of late!
IBM’s partnering team has developed insights around changing demands for storage solutions, and how solution providers must therefore change their go-to-market strategies and tactics to transform their businesses around services-led, cloud-inclusive "whole-offers." This has helped both IBM and its partners develop advanced “up the stack” skills to connect with senior decision makers, and achieve revenue growth and market share expansion in a very competitive storage market.
Finesse can get you so far in generating loyalty, and force of will is often what finishes the job! The impact of IBM leadership, and particularly the personal visibility and investment from Eric Herzog, who will be first to lay any credit at the feet of their partners and teams, has helped (and allowed) partners to (re)focus their offerings, accelerate sales cycles, and, what truly matters, close more deals more quickly. Everything in the IBM storage approach has been all-star caliber, designed to drive market share for those of its partners that stand ready for the challenge, and the future looks even brighter.
Thanks for checking back in. IBM is the fifth of our six winners we will be recognizing this year, all outstanding leaders in terms of performance, program innovation, and evolution, so watch for our next ESG Channel Acceleration Award Winner soon!