Channel Marketer Report


PartnerPath Helps AT&T Develop Partner Program To Nurture Mid-Market

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By Jonathan Lee, Associate Editor

For many corporations, developing a partner program is one of the most effective ways to increase sales and mindshare. This especially is true for companies such as AT&T that are seeking to team with optimal service providers that offer valuable, objective insights on identifying areas for improvement and building corporate strengths in a competitive marketplace.

Although strong business practice is the foundation of any effective partner model, it’s “only the jumping point,” according to David O’Brien, Director of Client Services at PartnerPath.

PartnerPath, which specializes in maximizing partnerships through channels and alliances, was hired by AT&T to develop a list of service providers that could help nurture the mid-market space — an area where AT&T saw an opportunity for multibillion-dollar, double-digit growth. This case was highlighted in a webinar, titled: Rethinking Possible: Grow with AT&T’s Partner Exchange Program

AT&T established its own partnership development project, AT&T Partner Exchange, after hiring PartnerPath and consulting with various other outlets. The AT&T Partner Exchange program was designed specifically for solution providers that have corporate visions different than traditional business models. 

“We’re exchanging ideas and information,” said Vinay Kundaje, Director of Market Development at AT&T. “We know we needed to change things. We can’t keep doing things the way traditional telecoms have done it. We’ve redesigned the business fundamentally.”

Kundaje listed key components of AT&T Partner Exchange that were included to help differentiate the program:

  • Portal Access: Partner Exchange features a next-gen portal, designed to provide service providers with all the necessary tools they need to conduct business with customers.
  • Speed: Service providers can produce real-time price quotes to quickly decide on mark-ups. There also are marketing materials and product briefs to help generate contracts.
  • Visibility:Provision and billing systems all are accessible.
  • Customization: Solutions and client experiences don’t have to be done through the portal. Clients also can leverage APIs from their own systems.
  • Financing: Service providers receive special discounts on top of partner levels. They also are free to determine pricing margins.

 Kundaje also stressed the flexibility and autonomy of the Partner Exchange Program. The Partnership Program has internal marketing, sales, business development, operations, finance and legal teams. The start-up culture of the program allows it to adapt quickly and deliver rapid responses, traits that Kundaje hopes will bleed into the rest of AT&T.

 “We’re transforming ourselves for the future and this is one of the best ways to do it,” Kundaje said. “You can’t change the entire company overnight but you can start up new groups, have them be successful, and use them as a showcase for the rest of the company.”

 Advice For Vendors With Growing Partner Programs
In closing, O’Brien laid out five principles to growing a successful partnership:

  • Prepare A Foundation: Lay down the blueprint for each part of your program. Develop a route-to-market model, implement a channel market, draft budgets, build a communications plan, design the program framework for partnership and make a portal.
  • Engage:Create an engagement model. Streamline onboarding and deal registrations, develop a partner directory and look at the industry benchmarks.
  • Operationalize: Automate partner marketing and training processes. Refine engagement processes, build a dashboard for partner measurement and simplify global programs.
  • Globalize: Evaluate coverage and capacity to ensure desired ROI. Design a specific program for service partners. Analyze partner profitability, develop a partner-to-partner model and measure overall program compliance.
  • Optimize: Streamline communications. Begin considering innovative options, enhance the ease of doing business, integration portals and automation systems.

Click here to access an on-demand version of the PartnerPath/AT&T webinar.




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