Positioning the Growth Channel: Finding Ways to Engage Partners
The increase in a globally dispersed workforce and the new demands of working from home are putting extraordinary pressure on organizational networks. At the same time, COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation in many industries, with a move towards hybrid and multi-cloud to serve both customers and employees in this new environment. Chris Martin, Channel Leader, EMEA and SAARC, A10 Networks, explains how the company positions its channel partners for growth in a highly competitive market landscape.
The increase in a globally dispersed workforce and the new demands of working from home are putting extraordinary pressure on organizational networks. At the same time, COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation in many industries, with a move towards hybrid and multi-cloud to serve both customers and employees in this new environment.
These changes further underscore the importance of operational efficiency, management, visibility and security for organizations. This is where A10 Networks and its channel partners can ensure that customer data center applications and networks remain available, resilient and secure for months to come.
With 100% of our business handled by channel partners in the EMEA region, partners are at the heart of A10 Networks plans. The channel is incredibly important to us and the pandemic has not affected our engagement or investment in the channel. In fact, we’ve championed the channel in 2020, having made huge investments in our partner ecosystem and our Affinity Partner program over the past year or so. As such, we have focused on three key areas: education, engagement and transaction registration, and we currently have five key channel initiatives underway that include developing our distribution relationships, l ‘transaction registration, partner ecosystem, organic leads and channel activation.
That said, we are much more focused on certain key verticals and as such we seek to work with partners with specialized capabilities in verticals. Indeed, we seek to identify the right partners, filling the right gap on the right vertical market.
Training and certification
Training is the key to this empowerment and A10 Networks is passionate about helping our partners achieve the technical certifications necessary to help their customers navigate this new environment. We know that it is not easy for a partner to focus on their own business, while ensuring that their clients’ operations remain operational. Therefore, we want to make sure that our partners are up to date in their certifications, to continue to be a trusted advisor to their clients.
This year we launched new business and technical training certifications, free of charge and aligned with our new brand image and our latest products and solutions. For example, we now have sales associate training and technical associate training for service providers. However, when it comes to partnership, we know that one size does not fit all. As mentioned earlier, we work with partners to understand their vertical expertise, technical capabilities and strengths. We then develop a common business plan and establish key performance indicators so that we can best meet customer needs.
Distribution is the key to growth
Distribution is part of this strategy – which is why we are working more closely than ever with our distribution partners. We have doubled our presence of distributors in our territories because we believe that partners need choice. We onboarded 11 new distributors during the 18 months from mid-2019 to December 2020 in the EMEA and SAARC region.
Whether the distributor is a dedicated niche player or with huge scale and resources, they all deliver their own value. We have established KPIs for distribution around recruiting partners, new net income, certification and lead generation. We are also working with distribution to recruit the quality partners I mentioned.
Another area of increased interest is the recording of transactions. We actively encourage our partners to register leads based on the growth of our business and the increasingly competitive business landscape.
Recognize partners and individuals who go above and beyond
We’ve also created a new channel rewards program called Elevate. This is because we recognize that some people and companies within our channel community go above and beyond to conduct business with A10 and we wanted to reward their hard efforts. This year we will be rewarding both partners and individuals and categories for 2020 nominations, including aspects such as best financial performance, best marketing campaign, partners who provide the best technical support as well as individual nominations. such as top performing sales, and marketing manager. Any member of the A10 channel community is eligible within the EMEA and SAARC.
Likewise, we recognize that technical teams are not always rewarded for their contributions, so we have created our “Technical Packs” which offer a whole range of gifts that we offer to technicians who pass certain levels of certification.
Path to Platinum
Finally, we created an initiative called Path to Platinum. This new program is designed to accelerate the growth of our partners and enable Bronze and Gold partners to achieve the highest accreditation in the A10 Networks Affinity Partner program. Above all, we want to focus on certification, specialization and engagement rather than just judging a partner based on traditional revenue goals. If there is a partner with whom we want to develop a relationship, we will talk about the level of discount we can offer, the support and how to build that relationship. With buy-in from both sides, we will create a tailor-made plan to go out and win business together.
With the channel in the foreground, we grow rapidly and gain new customers. These are companies that have applications at the heart of their business, like Uber. Another is the food delivery service takeaway.com, which was set to continue serving customers, despite the huge demand placed on their networks during the forced shutdowns of COVID-19.
Last year was marked by unprecedented momentum for our partners. While we face many uncertainties this year, we know one thing for sure: A10 Networks will continue to grow and generate new business by putting in place the right incentives that will provide profitable and predictable business to our channel partners. .
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