Networking Clouds Enhances Channel Partners’ Effectiveness

by: Nichole Gunn March 9, 2011

Channel partners are an essential tool for vendors. Creating an engaging and effective partner system takes carefully thought out incentive programs and communication.

Arrow Electronics, according to a report from CRN, in an effort to stretch their end user reach, recently designed an innovative strategy to motivate and engage resellers. The program is specifically crafted to allow for more efficient communication between partners, as well as engage customers.

Part of the company’s partner strategy, which it recently unveiled, includes a social networking site “for their IBM solution providers throughout North America.” CRN reports that the aim of this new media platform is communication. Connectivity is important among resellers; it allows solution providers to confer about tips, selling practices, and other sales techniques.

With construction help from IBM, Arrow titled the new platform Virtual Bench. And, they have plans to widen their own reach by including other solution providers such as, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard.

Discussing the program with CRN, senior director of software sales and marketing for Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions' North American IBM Group Robert Spee noted, "What we're providing is the ability for partners of many different types … to reach out and find each other online and make it very easy for them [to partner]."

The new partner strategy is working, Spee told CRN. Arrow is seeing an increase in the number of resellers interested in partnering with additional solution providers. This peaked interest includes resellers that are open to other services. Acknowledging that the economy most likely is affecting the current reseller interest, he is also sure the company’s ‘open line of communication’ initiative is playing a role.

Spee went on to explain, "The economy is certainly one factor. [Resellers] are always hesitant to invest ahead of revenue. This gives them a way to do that. But it also has to do with the trend of becoming more solutions oriented."

Taking advantage of networking clouds is becoming popular. CRN reported that toward the end of last year, Compuware also jumped on the bandwagon. Constructed by Cloudsleuth, the company launched a free network cloud site designed to “monitor their applications and check on the status of cloud service providers.”

With the overwhelming success of social media, it is a strong business force that will continue to grow. Cloud platforms allow companies to connect and communicate above and beyond what was feasible only a few years ago.

Communication and the ability to broaden a company’s reach adds to the bottom line. Using social media networks increases channel sales through connected partners by opening and broadening sales opportunities. And, providing this type of channel networking for free will provide the means for partners to increase sales, while at the same time encouraging partner loyalty.


About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.