The rapid pace of innovation is drastically changing how we live, work, and play. We must not only stay ahead of the curve, we need to also consider new ways to engage with customers’ increasing demands.

Consider: 150 petabytes of data traverse AT&T’s network every day, up 32% in the last 18 months alone. It’s hard to fathom how big that is. To put it into perspective, a single petabyte is enough to store the DNA of the entire U.S. population — then clone it, twice. That is a lot of data! Clearly, customers of all kinds have an unprecedented hunger for speed, mobility, and security — in every industry, community, household, and business.

If we’re going to be successful, we must stay in front of these trends, and remain relevant and cost effective, at a time when market disruption is an increasing threat. New business models are filling gaps and solving for customers’ needs in different ways. Businesses now look to trusted advisors with the expertise to pull all the pieces together for them.

So where do you fit in this equation? There is no lack of opportunity for those willing to dive in, embrace new trends, and look for ways to solve problems and bring solutions together for customers. From corporations that may have saturated the end-user market to midsize companies looking to grow, we all need to innovate strategies to unlock the door to new markets.

Mobilizing indirect channel partners is one of the paths to success here. They can be far-reaching, nimble, and have expertise to fill in gaps — if you can engage with them effectively. Here are a few guiding principles that will help technology executives assess their channel initiatives to ensure their programs — and their solution providers — are up to the task.

When we were evaluating new ways to reach mid-market customers at AT&T, we found there were solution providers well seeded in that market, offering up unique and integrated solutions to the very customers we were trying to reach more effectively. We built a whole new way to go to market through an innovative reseller model we created, called AT&T Partner Exchange, so that our services could be integrated into their solutions.

This approach was very different from the direct sales approach we’d taken in the past, but it unlocked new potential for us, as a result. New opportunities rise and develop constantly. The more you test and evaluate, the better the odds of unearthing some of those exciting revenue opportunities.

Working with solution providers requires gaining mindshare. When we asked what kind of business model would work for them, we brought them into our office and placed them in the center of the room. A lot of businesses say they are focused on customers, but how many truly put them in the center? We literally did. The act of asking for feedback established trust. We still throw open our doors to solution providers to listen and stay open to new ideas and collaborate on new processes.

A bad experience will always overshadow a great product. It’s simple: People want to work with people who make the experience pleasant and fun, while delivering great results. Solution providers want to work with companies that make doing business with them easy. In short, the experience is everything.

Treat your solution providers as valuable members of your sales team. Provide them with the marketing resources needed to sell your products effectively. They should be able to access, customize, and share these resources with ease. Training is also essential to help solution providers build in-depth knowledge of specific product and service offerings.

If you want to drive additional revenue growth through your channel, arm your indirect reps with the tools they need to sell successfully.

Since the launch of AT&T Partner Exchange four years ago, we continue to make bold moves on behalf of and with our customers, We’re committed to their success. We are constantly exploring opportunities to help strengthen their businesses and maximize their benefits within the program.

Solution providers want a commitment to delivering the top technology to help them build solutions that their customers need to connect and grow their business. We continue to drive channel innovation with new APIs, introducing new technology, certification training, and services to help solution providers create customized experiences for service availability, quoting, and ordering.

Your path to growth can be navigated side by side with successful indirect partners. Building trust and keeping things simple are keys to any effective program. Following these best practices will help engage your solution providers for continued success.

It’s simple: People want to work with people who make the experience pleasant and fun, while delivering great results. ”

Brooks McCorcle | President, AT&T Partner Solutions
 
 
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