Developing partner competencies is key to indirect channel value proposition.

As I indicated in my previous blogs, the power dynamic in the indirect channel is shifting more toward partners, and vendors must provide a compelling value proposition to attract and retain top partners. This includes a true focus on partner success, building partner competencies, and providing a good partner experience. Developing a comprehensive partner competency program strengthens vendor’s value proposition to partners and customers. Partners receive the market differentiation that comes with industry recognized accreditations and customers get the assurance that the partner has demonstrated the ability to deliver the solution in accordance with vendor requirements.

Competencies are not skills, although they are similar. Skills are learned, while competencies are inherent qualities a partner possesses – combining skills, knowledge, and ability. The best competency programs require more than just skills certification.  They also require referenceable customer success stories for the competency. For example; the AWS Competency Program identifies, validates, and promotes partners with demonstrated AWS technical expertise and proven customer success.

Top channel vendors like AWS, Microsoft, and IBM have implemented partner competency programs that prepare partners to meet customers’ needs, and to help them attract new customers who are looking for vendor-certified solution providers. To receive competency accreditation, partners must demonstrate expertise in business and technology.

Attaining an AWS Competency helps partners market and differentiate their business to AWS customers by showcasing their skills in specialized areas across industries, use case and, workloads. APN Partners are vetted, validated, and verified against a high bar to achieve the AWS Competency designation. Partner benefits for competency accreditation include:

  • Increased visibility with customers and AWS
  • Go-to-market support
  • Access to additional funds and discounts
  • Partner promotion at AWS and industry events

Competency programs should be developed from a partner success perspective. Competencies should be offered for market leading solutions which can significantly impact partner sales and profitability. Offering competencies for products or services based on vendor needs will not be as compelling to partners.

In addition to being highly relevant to partners, competencies must also be efficient to obtain. Partners are willing to put in the work to develop the appropriate skills and experience, but they have no patience for non-value-add, vendor driven, compliance steps. A good partner experience includes a clear partner journey and streamlined and automated processes. Some vendors, such as AWS, provide a competency enablement program that provides prescriptive guidance (partner journey) from trusted vendor experts on how to transform their business. They provide a step-by-step path to help partners build, market, and sell solutions which leverage the vendor’s products and services.

A comprehensive, relevant, and efficient partner competency program strengthens vendor and partner value propositions while ensuring customer success through the delivery of meaningful customer outcomes.