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Partner Program Development

A defined partner program is the core of any technology business that sells through a partner channel.  Defining the right benefits and requirements is essential.  Outlining a governance model is also an important part of ensuring success.


In addition to developing an in-house partner program, technology companies must participate in large hyperscale Cloud and Enterprise ISV partner programs.  To stand out among thousands of other partners, a plan and the ongoing management of each program is required.  


ZS Alliance Consulting leverages years of experience building the AWS Partner Network (APN), Google Cloud Partner Advantage and the Google Cloud MSP Initiative.  Additionally, our team has experience participating in dozens of other programs including the Microsoft Partner Network and SAP PartnerEdge.  We can build innovative programs for your business and navigate the complexity of your partner program participation.


In addition to developing these plans for your business, we collaborate with TDIT Group to offer Alliance Management as a Service (ARMaaS) - a dedicated team of professionals delivering day-to-day management of multiple partner programs via their respective portals and marketplaces.

Strategy and Operational Planning


Partner strategy needs to take into consideration the long term goals of your technology company.  Just planning for “partner sales” on a quarterly or even six month basis sets-up your partner-efforts for failure.  Time is required to develop partnerships, including solution building and training, to ultimately unleash the opportunity of co-selling and scaling together.


We deliver the essential one year and three year plans, following the Amazon methodology of operational planning.  This consists of a six page operation plan for the next twelve months.  Developed in phases, the first draft (OP1) is a detailed plan for the next year with goals also defined for three years out.  After a few months of initial execution, the OP1 is revisited based on activity and metrics, and is refined into OP2, which is the blueprint of your business partner and alliance activity through the remainder of the year.

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Partner Business Models


In most cases, selling with partners is different from direct sales.  Resellers require discounts. Some partners expect a referral fee - or maybe your business is entitled to additional compensation.  Global and regional system integrators typically need to see the value your business and customers bring to them for a “win-win” scenario.  Furthermore, when combining integrated technologies, a completely new licensing model may be required.  


We can develop pricing and compensation models that are specific to your organizational requirements.  Our experience includes developing the first Marketplace pricing at AWS, reselling for managed service providers at Google Cloud, and transitioning from a free tier to a paid model for Mapbox partners.  Ultimately, a complete win-win-win pricing and joint compensation model can be developed to ensure the partner gets paid, customers get a fair price, and your company receives the highest compensation available.  

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Hiring and Team Building

Partnerships and alliances are strategic investments that require dedicated management.  The vast array of partner initiatives and processes also need ongoing governance to ensure they drive the expected ROI.  And because partnerships impact all organizations within a business, cross functional oversight of partner activity is also an essential component of success through these third-party relationships.

It is clear that the “Partner Business” within any organization requires a dedicated team, but how that team is structured depends on many factors including size of the business, customer demand, forecasted growth, and available resources.  We are able to assess existing partner team members and recommend additional headcount to meet the overall partner strategy and goals of the business.  Leveraging our vast network of partner professionals and overall experience, we can optimize existing team members, develop a broader 1-3 year hiring plan, and then actively recruit, hire and onboard the highest quality people.  Specific KPIs, goals, compensation plans and business impact are all developed and integrated into this plan. 

Cloud Marketplace Development


AWS, Google Cloud and Azure all rely on their solution marketplaces to sell the products and services of their partners.  These marketplaces started over a decade ago as simple portals for discovering and deploying software on compute instances but have since evolved into enterprise procurement engines for ISV solutions, SaaS, PaaS, data sets, professional services, and fully managed offerings.  Just as Android and Apple monetize sales in their app stores to consumers, the hyper-scale Clouds equally rely on their Marketplaces to sell strategic partner offerings to businesses.


Listing your solutions and services in these marketplaces starts with a technical investment to integrate with the marketplace APIs.  Of course choices need to be made around pricing, self-service, private offers, and co-selling incentives.  But this is just the beginning - content then needs to be developed and regularly updated to ensure dynamic and relevant offerings are always available to customers.  These marketplace listings also require aggressive marketing, both through the relevant stakeholders at the Cloud alliance - Marketing, Direct Sales, Product, Business Development, Vertical teams - and out into the market of your target customers.  


Our Cloud Marketplace Service covers the entire journey of driving meaningful sales and revenue through the Cloud marketplaces.  We advise on the technical implementation, business decisions and develop a comprehensive GTM and sales strategy.  We then develop and execute a marketing plan and, most importantly, engage, train and enable both your sales team and those of the Cloud providers to drive awareness and measurable sales activity of your Marketplace listings.  This gets the flywheel spinning to drive long-term sales growth through these essential channels for your business.


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