Photo by FutUndBeidl on Foter.com / CC BY

by Allan Adler


By now, most of our clients have adopted a cloud-first channel and partnering model and supporting program. In many cases, this has involved taking an existing on-premise partner engagement model and tuning it for cloud and incorporating cloud pricing and licensing, cloud compensation, and associated enablement.

The challenge for many of these companies has been moving beyond a repackaged on-premise model to a totally transformed and cloud-enabled partnering program that really drives customer lifetime value.  This requires companies to align the partner strategy and program with the end-to-end cloud customer journey, including:

  1. Acquisition – Identification, consideration and selection of a cloud solution.
  2. Adoption – Subscription, implementation and onboarding of the cloud solution.
  3. Value Realization – Utilization and achievement of promised outcomes leading to retention and reference.

The disconnect lies in the difference between a typical on-premise versus a cloud-based customer journey:

  • Acquisition
    • In the on-premise go to market model, partners endeavor to sell customers on multi-year, long-tail solution and implementation BOMs.
    • Cloud, by contrast, requires partners to think about smaller initial projects built around a land and expand roadmap that often takes several years to manifest.
    • Transformed cloud programs enable partners to transition marketing, sales, delivery, and customer success functions to adapt to these new customer journey requirements.
  • Adoption
    • While customer adoption is important in the on-premise world, partners have plenty of time to drive implementation on-boarding given multi-month delivery projects.
    • With cloud, by contrast, customer time to value is critical in driving the land and expand process to support partners in achieving greater life-time value (LTV) with their customers.
    • Transformed cloud programs focus on transforming the partner delivery model to drive packaged IP and repeatable processes to lower the time and cost to deliver.
  • Value Realization
    • In the on-premise world, success is often achieved when the system goes live, users are trained, and business processes are automated.
    • In cloud, by contrast, customer success is a function of achieving business outcomes which typically require a partner to shift from a technical to a business-user orientation, not to mention the focus on customer success which requires a different sales, delivery, and economic model.
    • Transformed partner programs place increasing emphasis on renewals and driving cross-sell and an upsell to the customer success functions which are often new to the program and its channel partners

We recommend that as companies rebuild their partner programs for cloud, they focus building the business case and the approach on the end-to-end customer journey.  This means emphasizing lifetime value in addition to reach, and driving cross-sell, upsell, and increasing customer retention.