Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 83

October 28, 2019

#83: Gina Batali-Brooks: How The Channel Ecosystem Thrives on Collaboration

Gina Batali-Brooks of Is Inspired

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Channel Implications

Right now, there's so much focus on the new technology that's coming out in the channel.

At the same time, the abundance of new tech makes it a little confusing, as well as exciting.

“There so much possibility, especially what we're seeing from a trend perspective is things around process orchestration,” Gina said.

Partners are starting to play different roles in the ecosystem. Not just sitting in their boxes anymore. “Now they morph and change and get very specialized,” she added.

Gina works to orchestrate one ecosystem that supports businesses. She identified process orchestrations as the thing that, from an ecosystem perspective, is starting to enable those relationships and interactions to happen.

Value Proposition and Customer Success

Gina likes to measure success on two fronts.

1) Partner Success

The impact of the partners.

“At the end of the day, the partners need to be successful for the business to be successful,” Gina said.

When you can offer something unique that’s a benefit to the partner enough that they’re amazed, that’s the goal.

She looks at partner satisfaction levels with surveys and partner-focused feedback.

2) Customer Success

Seeing partners succeed with customers is so fulfilling.

“It's as much about the team that our customers that we work with,” she said. “We get to work with amazing people and so it's just really fun.”

Seeing customer success motivates you to engage and deliver more value.

Simplifying Complexity for Success

It used to be all about the vendor — the vendors drove the show and the partners would sort of hang around.

Now, it’s so much more collaborative. Partners are playing different roles, and vendors are collaborating in different ways, too.

“Ecosystem partners that allow a single way to log in to multiple vendors is just really an exciting thing,” Gina observed. “It’s the advent of workflow that's starting to move activities that need to happen into the workflow of the partners themselves.”

That simplification leads directly to success.

If you think about the world of a partner, they have 20 or 50 vendors each with a different set of processes and technology and systems.

“The more that we can do to help simplify that process is helpful in the channel,” Gina said.

Being able to send emails that they can actually act on right from their email themselves instead of having to log into a system.

Being able to log into one system and see multiple vendors or business plans.

That’s the type of thing that removes complexity and increases success.

Collaborative business planning needs to be simple so that the channel can move forward.

“When I talk about collaborative business planning, it's not going to a partner and saying, here are the products you're going to sell. It's really about what's the win-win for the partner and for the companies selling through that partner,” Gina said.

Putting those shared goals in place, tracking them, and correcting them on a continual basis becomes the cornerstone for helping everyone win.

Channel Life

Relationships are everything in the channel.

“It's all about the people you meet along the way and what you're able to accomplish together,” Gina said.

There aren’t a ton of channel professionals out there, either.

“I've been so blessed to have made friends on the channel side, and some of the channel partners that I work with are now on my board,” Gina said.

Gina’s best practices for building relationships:

  • Focus on the partner first.

“Sometimes as we get caught up in our day to day world and getting this report in and fixing this issue, we forget that the partner at the end of it is really the one you're actually doing this all for,” Gina said.

  • Be simple to work with.

“It can be a win-win if your competitive advantage is to be as simple as possible to work with,” Gina said.

  • Review your partner on-boarding process annually (or more often).

“Make sure there are no broken links, that the messages are still right, that the process still works,” she advised.

In the near future, Gina will focus on helping partners adopt technology that promotes collaboration.

“We really want to focus on implementation so that you start on the right foot as you're going out the door,” she said.

This post is based on an Alliance Aces podcast with Gina Batali-Brooks of Is Inspired. To hear this episode and many more like it, subscribe to Alliance Aces here.

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