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Partner Exchange @ VMworld 2017: Realizing Possibilities

Partner Exchange @ VMworld 2017 in both Las Vegas and Barcelona was a resounding success, bringing greater awareness to all partner types the possibilities that exist in the cloud infrastructure marketplace.  While we are unable to replay the palpable excitement in the air, we can provide a recap of the highlights for those of you unable to attend.

The robust content offered included an inspirational Partner General Session, Business Growth Keynotes, Technical and Sales bootcamps and more.  Brandon Sweeney, SVP, Worldwide Sales and Operations and Ross Brown, SVP, Strategic Corporate Alliances hosted the Partner General Session. It provided partners with sneak peek into VMworld updates, as well as our vision and strategy and outlined the expanding ecosystem opportunity for partners across all routes to market.

Brandon  emphasized  that for partners to be successful moving forward, they must shift their thinking about both how and what we sell.  He challenged partners to think about “how can I surf these shifts so that on the other side I can capture the dollars?”

Interestingly, the majority of customers believe that hybrid cloud is the answer yet only 5% have begun their digital transformation journey. This huge opportunity is precisely why VMware is focused on transforming tomorrow through:

 

  • Services – a services path forward
  • Cloud – a partner centric cloud strategy to assist customers in getting cloud ready (upgrade all current customers to vSphere 6.5)
  • Partner Enablement -look for a cloud competency coming soon
  • Best in class Partner Programs (such as the newly announced ELA Fulfillment Rebate)

In addition to the Partner Exchange General Session, Brandon and Ross led a panel where partners heard from various route to market (RTM) leaders.  Partners were encouraged to connect with their RTM leaders to learn more about opportunities specific to their route.

Partner Exchange attendees were also privy to a new take on the keynote with special guest speakers alongside key VMware executives.

Business Growth Keynotes delivered an ‘inside out’ view on current and upcoming technology shifts and trends in:

  • Cloud Computing
    Bernard Golden, long-time tech innovator and visionary, and VMware’s Nick King, VP, Solutions Product Marketing, Cloud, discussing cloud computing and how organizations must shift to stay competitive.
  • Embracing Digital Transformation
    Business futurist Greg Verdino along with VMware’s Sumit Dhawan, SVP & GM End User Computing (US) and Duncan Greenwood, VP End User Computing (EMEA) offered a forward thinking take on digital transformation and its impact on customers globally.
  • The Future of Cyber Security
    Partners received a hacker’s take on cyber security from Keren Elazari, cyber security expert, and VMware perspective from Tom Corn, SVP, Security Products, and discovered what ‘secure’ really means with the game changing announcement of VMware AppDefense.

Over 50 partner specific breakout sessions delivered hard-hitting content around hot topics such as NSX, VMware Cloud on AWS, Cloud Service Provider Platform and Digital Transformation.  In addition to the business focused breakout sessions, Partner Exchange provided partner only technical sessions and enablement sessions with over a dozen partner bootcamps.

Additionally, our Partner Exchange Lounge was well attended his year.  Partners enjoyed complimentary snacks and beverages, relaxed, recharged, and connected with their peers and VMware employees. For added convenience, we doubled the number of meeting rooms available for partner booking and all were fully utilized.

Partner Exchange 2017 once again enabled our channel ecosystem to start thinking one-step ahead and realizing the possibilities as they help customers on their digital transformation journeys.  We hope those who were unable to attend this year will join us for Partner Exchange @ VMworld 2018.

Many thanks to our sponsors Arrow, Carahsoft, Tech Data, and Veeam.

 

 

 

Driving Cloud Readiness: Partner Power

With Gartner predicting that the public cloud services market will grow 18% in 2017 to $246.8B, up from $209.2B in 2016, there’s no slowdown of cloud adoption in sight.[1] Staying ahead of this rapidly shifting market takes conviction, and most importantly relentless innovation. At VMware, we understand that cutting edge technology is key to your customers’ journey to the cloud, and this is why VMware CloudTM on AWS is central in our evolution together with our partners.

When our partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) was announced last year, the positive reaction from our channel partners and customers alike was truly remarkable. This extraordinary enthusiasm continues to take flight with the recent announcement of the initial availability of VMware Cloud on AWS. Not only because it brings VMware’s enterprise class SDDC software to the AWS Cloud and enables customers to run production applications across VMware vSphere®-based private, public and hybrid cloud environments, but also because it unleashes new revenue-generating services streams for channel partners.

Channel partners are vital to our cloud strategy. As you extend workloads to the public cloud for your customers, we are wholly committed to supporting your growth and innovation through a variety of solutions. In fact, our enablement tools not only help you prepare for the future, they also capitalize on new cloud opportunities.

Watch Ross Brown, SVP, Strategic Corporate Alliances, as he expands on the power that partners have to capitalize on the opportunities VMware Cloud on AWS presents by driving cloud readiness with customers.

VMware will be releasing a new VMware Partner Network (VPN) Cloud Offering supporting VMware Cloud on AWS. The VPN Cloud Offering will provide partners with incentives and benefits to reward those partners who develop services and drive consumption of VMware Cloud on AWS. The VPN Cloud Offering availability will align with VMware Cloud on AWS scale availability around the world in 2018.

Seamlessly Expand Your Cloud Practice

The exciting news is that VMware Cloud on AWS opens the door for you to own the customer relationship with clients transitioning workloads to the public cloud. It unlocks an incredible range of opportunities for a variety of partner types including SISOs, MSPs, solution providers, ISV technology partners and more.

Create New Revenue Streams: Add value to customer relationships with consulting, implementation, and on-going support services – especially for partners who have customers seeking to remove the hurdles and challenges associated with moving applications to the public cloud.

Expand Service Offerings: Add public cloud services that replicate on-premises/private cloud application environment, without the need to retrain technical staff. 

Unify Solutions: Unite solutions in a common environment for customers already leveraging AWS Cloud.

Monetize Additional Differentiated, Value-added Services: Sell new services such as monitoring, migrations, support, lifecycle management, patch management, antivirus, compliance, education, automation and management across environments.

Increase New Product Velocity: Enable customers to reduce cost and increase efficiency by creating virtual versions of their existing data centers versus having to create new data centers from scratch using un-proven solutions.

In addition, VMware Cloud on AWS eliminates the hassles of learning new skills and tools, which gives your customers instant business value. Private data centers integrated with the AWS public cloud are operated using the same familiar tools your customers’ IT staff have been using in their data center. In fact, a single pane of glass is available for managing resources on-premises and in VMware Cloud on AWS.

Help Customers Make the Shift

There are many compelling reasons to drive extension to the public cloud, however, success begins with preparation. Work with your customers to understand their needs, engage in conversations to define their public cloud readiness and help them build out a strategy to improve business outcomes while driving ROI. Although your agile customers will be anxious to take full advantage of the cost savings public cloud offers immediately, remember you have a unique role to help prepare your customers’ legacy on-premises infrastructure and environments to extend to public cloud. Here are a few ways you can help your customers get ready:

  • Upgrade to vSphere 6.5 (this is a necessary step)
  • Recommend VMware Cloud Foundation or deploy the VMware SDDC stack
  • Move workloads in customer environments that support top use cases such as development/test and application migration to SDDC environments that support VMware Cloud Foundation
  • Expand virtualization beyond compute, across the data center, with VMware vSAN and VMware NSX
  • Advocate adoption of VMware vRealize Suite, which provides a unified hybrid cloud management experience

Prepare for the Cloud Future

We recognize channel partners are central to growing our cloud business and as such, offer you tools to support your customers’ journey to extend to public cloud. The robust enablement and training resources crucial for your success are available on Partner Central and include:

  • Current sales and technical certification information on VMware Cloud Foundation
  • Current VMware Certified Professional training on the latest versions of vSphere, vSAN and NSX including the newest features and capabilities
  • Training requirements and current education status for Sales and SE teams.

What’s Next

To find out how partners can make the most of VMware Cloud on AWS and how to help customers prepare legacy on-premises infrastructure and environments, please leverage our VMware Cloud on AWS Partner Central page.

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[1] Forbes, Roundup of Cloud Computing Forecasts, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2017/04/29/roundup-of-cloud-computing-forecasts-2017/#4b6c6ee431e8

Leading Customers into the Future: VMworld 2017


VMworld 2017 US has truly been a game changing event. With over 20,000 attendees in Las Vegas, VMware unveiled exciting new and expanded solutions addressing strategic IT priorities. If you were unable to attend, be sure to watch the on-demand general sessions to learn how VMware, along with our partner and customer ecosystem, is leading the charge to help organizations everywhere succeed in a multi-cloud era.

Highlights of key announcements at VMworld included:

  • The initial availability of VMware CloudTM on AWS
  • New VMware Cloud Services for end-to-end visibility into cloud usage costs, and, network
  • New VMware Cloud Provider™ services and partner offerings based on VMware Cloud Foundation™
  • Expanded VMware NSX® support of networking and security for clouds and cloud-native apps
  • New VMware Cloud Provider innovations including VMware vCloud Director® 9.0
  • VMware Integrated OpenStack 4 will be based on OpenStack Ocata and boost support for containerized applications
  • VMware vRealize Network Insight 3.5 to deliver increased monitoring and compliance capabilities for NSX
  • VMware AppDefense™ – a breakthrough solution for securing applications running on virtualized or cloud environments
  • Innovations that make VMware Workspace ONETM powered by AirWatch® the industry’s first unified end user experience, management and security solution for all endpoint platforms
  • Pivotal Container ServiceTM (PKS), enabling enterprises and service providers to deliver production-ready Kubernetes on VMware vSphere® and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), with constant compatibility to Google Container Engine (GKE).

Partner Impact:

Access the Partner Launch Resource Center for detailed information about all the products launched, action for partners, and “must do” enablement.

Read the Press Releases:

Cloud Press Release

SDDC / Cloud Platform Press Release

VMware Cloud on AWS press release

Security Press Release

VMware / HP Partnership Press Release

Digital Workspace Press Release

Containers / PKS Press Release

 

 

SISO Partners: 3 Can’t Miss Sessions at Partner Exchange 

Systems Integrators and Systems Outsourcers (SISO) headed to Las Vegas next week have access to a plethora of partner breakout sessions, keynotes, and panels – so what to choose?

To assist you as you build your schedule,  here are the three SISO specific sessions you will not  want to miss.

1. Emerging Technologies with VMware and Pivotal – Presented Jointly by VMware, Pivotal, and Special Guest Speakers from Cognizant and Worldwide Technology [PAR4411PU] Sunday, Aug 27, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

 Learn about VMware’s vision for emerging technologies and how VMware is partnering with Pivotal to build and take to market state-of-the-art cloud native solutions such as Developer-Ready Infrastructure.

 

2. Enabling Systems Integrators & Systems Outsourcers Partner Opportunity with VMware Cloud on AWS [PAR4410BU] Sunday, Aug 27, 2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

 Wondering how to leverage VMware Cloud on AWS? Chris Niederman, GM, Worldwide Strategic Alliances, AWS and David Parsons, Vice President, Global Systems Integrators & Systems Outsourcers, VMware, will discuss how partners can take advantage of the solution by focusing on customer readiness, datacenter transformation and application migration.

 

3. VMware & Systems Integrators & Outsourcers: Accelerating Digital Transformations through Joint Technology Leadership and Compelling GTM Partnership [PAR4408BU] Sunday, Aug 27, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

David Parsons, VMware Global SISO VP, will provide updates on SISO GTM and enablement programs, including news about VMware partnerships with AWS, IBM Cloud and Pivotal. Chris Wolf, VMware CTO, will outline technology investments and market changes creating new opportunities for SISO partners in the years ahead.

 

Interested in learning more about VMware’s partnerships with SISOs?

Check out VMworld sessions hosted by Accenture, Capgemini, Cognizant, Deloitte, DXC, HCL, IBM, and Wipro and add them to your schedule. See you in Vegas!

There is still time to be a part of the biggest VMware partner event of the year, so register now to attend Partner Exchange @ VMworld and follow us on Twitter @VMwarePEX to keep up with all the exciting news.

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VMware partners with Systems Integrators and Systems Outsourcers (SISO) to drive growth and innovation in the enterprise, combining VMware’s next-generation technology platforms with partner global presence, deep vertical market experience and business transformation expertise. Click here to learn more.

Partner Exchange Countdown: Know Before You Go

The countdown is on to the BIGGEST VMware Partner event of the year.

In just 10 days, Partner Exchange will light up Las Vegas. Your Partner Exchange pass gives you access to the Partner Exchange General Session, Business Growth Keynotes, Technical and Sales bootcamps and more.  To ensure you make the most of this once a year opportunity, here is an overview of key activities at Partner Exchange @ VMworld, Sunday August 27.

General Session at 11:15 AM
Do not miss the Partner General Session presented by Brandon Sweeney, SVP, Worldwide Sales and Operations along with Ross Brown, Senior VP, Strategic Corporate Alliances. In addition to getting a sneak peek into VMworld updates, our key executives will deliver our vision and strategy and share the expanding ecosystem opportunity for partners across all routes to market.

Business Growth Keynotes from 1:30 – 5:00 PM
Join the all-new Business Growth Keynotes delivered by our special guest speakers and VMware executives. This content is sure to inspire with an ‘inside out’ view on current and upcoming technology shifts and trends in:

Cloud Computing [PAR4418KU] (US)
Hear from Bernard Golden, long-time tech innovator and visionary, and VMware’s Nick King, VP, Solutions Product Marketing, Cloud, discussing cloud computing and how organizations must shift to stay competitive.

Embracing Digital Transformation [PAR4417KU] (US)
Join business futurist Greg Verdino along with VMware’s Sumit Dhawan, SVP & GM End User Computing, for a forward thinking take on digital transformation and its impact as companies embrace change.

The Future of Cyber Security [PAR4419KU] (US)
Get a hacker’s take on cyber security from Keren Elazari, cyber security expert, and VMware perspective from Tom Corn, SVP, Security Products, to find out what ‘secure’ really means as people, devices and objects become more connected. 

Over 50 Partner-specific Breakout Sessions
This year’s sessions are tailored for every partner type and relevant to your business. Some hard-hitting sessions to consider attending are:

Access the content catalog  for detailed descriptions of all the Partner Exchange sessions and use the schedule builder to add them to your conference agenda.

Also be sure to participate in all the other valuable activities that Partner Exchange has to offer including:

  • Partner-Only Technical Sessions – Special access to NDA-based product roadmaps, technology futures discussions, Beta product concepts and more.
  • Partner-Only Networking Reception – 5pm-6pm August 27 at the Mandalay Bay. Use this time to reconnect with your peers and meet new ecosystem partners.
  • Partner Exchange Lounge – exclusive access all week only for Partner Exchange pass holders. Visit the lounge to book meeting space with your customers, charge your devices, refresh with coffee and snacks, and network with peers. The lounge is open:

Sunday, August 27 | 9AM– 11AM & 12:30– 5PM

Monday, August 28 | 11:30 AM – 6:00 PM

Tuesday, August 29 | 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Wednesday, August 30 | 9AM – 5PM

Do not forget to make time to complete your most critical VMware certifications. Partner Exchange offers a plethora of enablement opportunities with over a dozen partner bootcamps on Saturday, August 26 including:

  • VMware Sales Professional – Network Virtualization (VSP-NV)
  • VMware’s Cloud Management Platform – Eyes Across the Hybrid Cloud
  • VMware Technical Solutions Professional – Network Virtualization
  • VMware Technical Solutions Professional – Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
  • VMware Technical Solutions Professional – Desktop Virtualization (VTSP-DV)

There is still time to be a part of the biggest VMware partner event of the year, so register now to attend Partner Exchange @ VMworld and follow us on Twitter @VMwarePEX to keep up with all the exciting news.

Driving Extension to Public Cloud: 4 Factors

With cloud adoption predicted to continue its significant growth curve through 2021,[1] you know the question is not “if” customers will make the leap, but when, how and who will lead their journey to the cloud. Fortunately, VMware partners are uniquely positioned with innovative software and service offerings to support customers along this trajectory.

Here’s a look at four factors driving explosive growth, including points to consider when guiding your customers to, through and beyond, their cloud transformations:

1. Business Agility and Flexibility Drive Cloud Adoption and Modernization

Business agility is an organization’s “ability to renew itself, adapt, change quickly, and succeed in a rapidly changing, ambiguous, turbulent environment.”[2] Today, agility equals faster time-to-market via reduced IT complexity, quicker deployments, pay-as-you-go pricing, and scalability; all of which map to private and public cloud adoption. In fact, 41% of companies embracing cloud computing say that agility is their primary business driver. [3]

What’s more, many customers are looking to hybrid cloud capabilities with a mix of on and off-premises resources to achieve business agility and flexibility. But still, most of their data centers aren’t adequately modernized to extend to the public cloud. This is where partners can step in and support modernization through implementation of fully virtualized, automated, software-defined data centers (SDDC).

2. Cloud Drives a Shifting Economic Model

The public cloud has long promised cost savings and a shifting economic model; however, there are compelling arguments for both the private and public cloud. In a recent Accenture report, organizations saved upwards of $28M after migrating 70% of their application portfolio to the public cloud.[4] While it seems this staggering metric paints a compelling picture; 41% of IT decision-makers say that private cloud can be less expensive than public cloud for some businesses. Legacy applications, privacy and security regulations, and SLAs play a part in cost savings as well as viability, and there are several other aspects to explore when choosing private, public or hybrid cloud.

Regardless, help your customer make smart decisions by considering these cost saving factors that result from extending to the public cloud:

  • Reduced Data Center costs: With increased storage and server density, organizations can lower costs associated with physically housing servers. Add to this, cloud service providers charge less for electrical and cooling as compared to in-house data center maintenance fees.
  • Increased Personnel Efficiency: On-premises technologies managed by IT resources are one of the largest operating expenses. As workloads move to the cloud, customers can utilize IT staff in more strategic areas in their businesses.
  • Shifting CapEx costs: Upfront investments (CapEx) for servers is eliminated and shifted to IT OpEx, which helps maintain a lean balance sheet and may be more palatable for smaller businesses.
  • Lower Downtime costs: Cloud Service Providers monitor and maintain availability, which results in fewer business interruptions for customers.

3. Cloud Computing = Predictable Revenue + New Revenue Streams

As we already know, customers and VMware partners alike can reap the benefits of cloud computing through subscription pricing models. But beyond the predictable, steady earnings that these services deliver, partners can create new revenue streams that develop as an offshoot of extending to the public cloud, such as:

  • Consulting
  • Implementation
  • On-going support
  • Auditing
  • Analytics and continuous improvement
  • VM provisioning and decommissioning
  • Backup and recovery

What’s more, continuous revenue is a direct result of sustaining customer relationships. Guiding migration strategies that align customer goals with yours sets customers on a course to success. Likewise, working with your customers to leverage their existing investment in technologies, people and skill sets adds value to your relationships.

4. Customer Experience is King

Customer Experience (CX) is “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”[5] In cloud computing, CX plays a central role due to a larger emphasis on services and also fierce competition.

You might be surprised to find that CX is a hidden opportunity for channel partners to set themselves apart from the competition. As you focus on a customer-centric approach, you will build long-term relationships and grow your reputation as a trusted advisor.

Of course, great CX begins with creating a strategy for the future and it’s impossible to improve if you don’t know where you stand. To get started with measuring the health of your brand, utilize Net Promoter Score (NPS), which is a powerful tool for gauging loyalty and relationships.

What’s Next?

Be sure to participate at this year’s Partner Exchange to learn more on how you can help your customers transition to the cloud, while solidifying your role as a trusted advisor.

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Sources:

[1] Gartner, Gartner says by 2020, a Corporate “No-Cloud” Policy will be as Rare as a “No-Internet” Policy is Today, http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3354117

[2] McKinsey&Company, The Keys to Organizational Agility, http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-keys-to-organizational-agility

[3] CIO.com, Business Agility Drives Cloud Adoption, http://www.cio.com/article/2455960/cloud-computing/cloud-computing-business-agility-drives-cloud-adoption.html

[4] Accenture, CIOs: Exemplify cloud value with C-suite business case, https://www.accenture.com/us-en/blogs/blogs-cloud-migration-value

[5] Gartner, Customer Experience Management, http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/customer-experience-management-cem

Driving Security Transformation: the Virtual Network Assessment

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step” – Lao Tzu

As a trusted partner, helping our customers to modernize their IT security infrastructure can feel like the proverbial journey of a thousand miles. Most traditional IT security architectures are ill equipped to handle the persistent and creative nature of today’s cyber security threats. The dynamic and very public nature of these threats have created a booming industry of new entrants into the security market. The result has been an expansion of opportunity for security-minded partners, but also a challenge in determining how to lead customers down a trusted path for security solutions. Some estimates have customers using an average of 70 or more security solutions in their current IT environments. At the same time, there is a growing need for a transformation in how we build, manage, and secure IT infrastructure. Traditional perimeter-based security models are ineffective, as proven by a steady stream of newsworthy hacks and data breaches.

In this expanding and complex cybersecurity landscape, where do we start? It can be overwhelming to keep up with the rapid pace of change in cybersecurity threats, and even more so in staying educated about the innovative solutions available to protect our customers. As Lao Tzu noted its starts with a single step. At VMware, we believe the first step is gaining visibility to the current state of traffic moving across our customers’ virtual and physical infrastructure. Today, an average of 80% of security budgets are spent on data center perimeter security and monitoring tools such as firewalls. At the same time, 80% of network traffic actually takes place within the four walls of our customers’ data centers. Fundamentally, this means our customers have visibility to 20% of what is taking place in their network at a given time. Before suggesting point products to patch against the latest threat, let us take time to gain visibility into our customers’ networks, and make informed architectural recommendations.

Enter the Virtual Network Assessment (VNA) with VMware. A VNA utilizing a VMware tool called vRealize Network Insight helps our partners to provide their customers a holistic view of the traffic in their data center across the virtual and physical domains. Help your customers define how much traffic exists between VM’s, applications, VLANs, and VXLANs. Identify threat planes across physical networks, virtual domains, cloud, and mobile environments. Ultimately, a VNA will provide the intelligence and visibility necessary to map an executable journey to a more secure IT infrastructure. A VNA takes about one week, and installs remotely in under an hour.

The thousand-mile journey of transforming IT security architectures to combat the ever-expanding nature of cyber security threats can be daunting.  Whether considering a mobile security strategy, securing next-generation cloud applications, or a micro-segmentation project, let VMware help you and your customers with a simple first step. Check out the Partner Virtual Network Assessment today and do not miss exciting sessions at Partner Exchange in Las Vegas including:

Also make sure to stop by the SDDC Assessment Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel to learn how VMware assessments can help you win more business. The lounge is located in the Desert Willow Room on Sunday, August 27, 1PM – 5PM, and Monday and Tuesday, August 28 and 29, 11AM – 5PM.

 

Transforming Security: Addressing Customer Challenges

 

Your customers face security threats everywhere, every day.  What can you do as a partner to help address the challenges customers face with transforming IT security?

Penton media recently sat down with Chris Campbell, Director of Product Marketing at VMware to talk about just this topic.

Listen to the FastChat and find out how you can help customers drive security transformation as Chris expands on:

 

 

  • The biggest customer challenges around security today
  • Why security interactions among silos is increasingly complex for customers
  • Simplifying security
  • What customers can expect by implementing a VMware security portfolio

VMware Partners – review our latest Transform Security campaign available via Partner Demand Center.

VMware is excited to further our partner’s success in driving security transformation for customers.

Partner Exchange: US Schedule Builder Live

 

The biggest VMware event of the year is fast approaching so as a valued VMware Partner, prepare yourself to make the most of it.

Partner Exchange takes place this year on Sunday, August 27 in Las Vegas with partner boot camps happening on Saturday, August 26.  Pass holders can attend a wide range of technical and sales boot camps, a partner general session presented by top VMware executives, solution keynotes, partner breakout sessions, route-to-market discussions and more.

Now that the US schedule builder is live, create your schedule to ensure that you do not miss out.  Hot topics this year tailored for every partner type include:

Examples of partner boot camps include:

  • VMware Sales Professional – Network Virtualization (VSP-NV)
  • VMware’s Cloud Management Platform – Eyes Across the Hybrid Cloud
  • VMware Technical Solutions Professional – Network Virtualization
  • VMware Technical Solutions Professional – Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
  • VMware Technical Solutions Professional – Desktop Virtualization (VTSP-DV)

In addition to quality partner focused content, all Partner Exchange pass holders receive exclusive access to the Partner Exchange Lounge open all week and an exclusive invitation to the Partner Exchange reception at 5pm on August 27 at the Mandalay Bay.

There is still time to be a part of the biggest VMware partner event of the year so register now to attend Partner Exchange @ VMworld 2017.

 

Ultimate Guide to Nurturing Leads with Content

With lead generation at the center of every marketing strategy, we know our Channel Partners go to great lengths to find and convert prospects. And although we all understand successful lead nurturing requires relationship building with potential buyers, it is precisely at this stage that many of our marketing efforts fall flat. In fact, according to Marketing Sherpa, 73% of B2B leads are not sales-ready [1]  and it often takes several touches through lead nurturing programs for a buyer to request additional information (13+ to be exact [2]). It is not uncommon for Marketers to pass leads to sales reps before they are properly nurtured. Consequently, a sales rep initiates a call and prospects are scared off because they are not ready to buy.

As part of our ongoing Marketing Best Practices blog series for Partners, this third article focuses on practical tips for building a winning lead nurturing strategy.

Map the buyer’s journey to the sales funnel

In an earlier post, we discussed the stages of the buyer’s journey, which is the research process that prospects follow before making a purchase. On the flip side, the sales funnel is the buying process that converts prospects from leads to customers.

When buyers enter the sales funnel, it’s critical to qualify and nurture them along the way. Understanding their buyer’s journey and how it maps to your sales funnel helps you make decisions around your nurturing strategy, and ultimately when to hand off leads to sales reps. For example, typically the stages map as follows:

  • Awareness Stage = Top of the Funnel
  • Consideration Stage = Middle of the Funnel
  • Purchase Stage = Bottom of the Funnel

First things first, understand customer characteristics

Before marketers can adequately nurture prospects, it is essential to understand and define their characteristics. A common framework designed to flesh out customer definitions is personas, which are fictional depictions of existing and ideal customers. This blog from Hubspot provides detailed instructions.

For example, if your business depends on building network and security services with the VMware platform, you may develop customer personas for various decision makers and influencers in Enterprise IT.

Build a nurturing strategy foundation with content

Content is an integral part of any nurturing strategy. However, before you publish content you must first develop relevant content for your audience. With a firm understanding of customers through personas, marketers can tailor content delivered to prospects matching each audience’s wants, needs, budget and pain points. Coupling this knowledge with the buyer’s journey gives you the ability to deliver the right content – at the right time.

Understand content types that generate Top of Funnel leads

Many of us spend a lot of time and energy generating top of funnel leads, but struggle to build relationships with prospects over time with nurturing. It is important to differentiate the types of content that build awareness for cloud computing, virtualization and IT solutions, which are defined below:

  • Social Media
  • Blog Posts
  • Web Content Optimized for Search Engines
  • Product Videos and Podcasts
  • Infographics and Other Highly Visual Content

The above content is the cornerstone of inbound marketing efforts. It should be highly educational, position your company as a trusted thought leader and set the stage for ongoing lead nurturing.

Utilize premium content

For buyers who are building their knowledge and entering the mid funnel stage, offer premium content, which is placed behind a registration form (gated). This content must offer enough value that the prospect is willing to “pay for it” with their contact information.

Examples of premium content in the consideration stage include:

  • Webinars
  • White Papers
  • eBooks
  • Newsletters
  • Research Papers

Nurture through email marketing and sales activities

Premium content opens the door for collecting email addresses and applicable data such as titles, which gives VMware Channel Partners the tools to progress through the mid-funnel nurturing process and advance to the bottom of the funnel.

We recommend deployment of email nurturing programs through marketing and/or sales, which are highly effective communication tools. Place prospects into nurturing drip campaigns on different tracks that depend on where they are in the funnel, their persona, title and other relevant customer data. Distribute the following types of content through each track, which align to their cloud computing or virtualization wants and needs:

Middle of Funnel content

  • Case Studies
  • Testimonials and Reviews
  • Comparison Guides
  • Newsletters

Bottom of Funnel content

  • Free Consultations
  • Personal Product Demos
  • Free Trials and Assessments

Decide when to hand leads to sales

Finally, Marketing and Sales must agree on when Marketing should discontinue their nurturing efforts and hand leads over to sales reps. Working together on the definition of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) support this alignment.

Typically, SQLs are nurtured through Marketing, and are at the decision stage in their journey; while MQLs are established as meeting the qualifications of a typical buyer. Those identified as SQLs are prepared to be handed over to sales. To identify the right timing, research past performance and define the optimal parameters for this lead handoff.

Next steps

 We invite you to take advantage of the VMware enablement tools in the Partner Demand Center designed specifically to help you build effective nurturing programs and content to ensure our mutual success:

Feel free to email us with any questions -we are here to help.

-Sources:

[1] The Complex Sale: Lead scoring effort increases conversion 79% https://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/case-study/lead-scoring-effort-increases-conversion

[2] Why it Takes 7 to 13+ Touches to Deliver a Qualified Sales Lead (Part 1)

https://www.onlinemarketinginstitute.org/blog/2013/10/why-it-takes-7-to-13-touches-to-deliver-a-qualified-sales-lead-part1/