Advice for Strengthening Your Channel Program

To strengthen your channel program, you need to focus on the success of the partner and your joint customers.

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The primary goal of a successful channel program is to empower partners to build a profitable and differentiated business. It’s important to elevate the partner experience by using technology to provide useful insights to partners. Throughout 2019, Cloudera strived to achieve these two goals, and, as a result, strengthened its Cloudera Connect partner portal.

In order to strengthen your channel program, you need to focus on the success of the partner and your joint customers. With the launch of our new product, Cloudera Data Platform, we wanted to ensure our program had the elements to help our partners help our customers. In the end, we made additions to the program that enabled partners to view their program activity in a centralized location, grow their skills, utilize a growing list of partner benefits, and stay up-to-date on new company resources.

Below are specific additions we made that you can also integrate to help strengthen your own channel program:

1. Centralized management of progress and productivity within the program

Creating meaningful conversations with partners is essential to a successful channel program. In order to do this, the team at Cloudera revamped the partner portal to facilitate goal-oriented discussions by adding a Partner Scorecard, which tracks annual bookings, pipeline, and Cloudera University certification data. By having everything in one place, it’s easy to see what we need to focus on and what’s improved with each of our partners.

2. Access to continuous learning and enablement

Empower your partners to grow their skills by giving them access to the same content you provide to your company field personnel. Through your program, partners should feel empowered to quickly build the skills they need to win business and drive customer success. Our Enable section of Cloudera’s partner panel provides easy-to-navigate learning paths and online resources.

In addition, our partner portal provides partners with continuous learning. We’re always adding new knowledge through our biweekly Showcase webinars, just for partners. We encourage partners to attend live, but we always post recordings for those who can’t make the live sessions.

3. Full deal management lifecycle

Help your partners achieve business success by allowing them to manage the lifecycle of their deal registration. Partners should also be enabled to update the opportunity information of any registered deals. Deal registration is key to maintaining and upgrading a partner’s status. The more opportunities a partner has to work with your company, the more business success you and your partner will have. This could also help partners earn funds under your company’s market development fund program, if offered.

4. Access to a growing list of benefits

Continuously adding benefits to your channel program gives partners a reason to invest in your program. Examples of benefits to offer include:

    • Market development funds (MDF): Partners can track MDF accruals and request for MDF withdrawals. This year, we introduced MDF for not only resell opportunities but also for co-sell opportunities.
    • Solution Competency program: We provide step-by-step instructions on how partners can attain a Solution Competency. It includes a submission form to initiate the process. A clear path for partners to submit their solutions will help increase go to market collaboration.
    • New sales and pre-sales resources, including demo tools: New materials to help partners build and sell solutions.

Making these additions to your channel program has the potential to greatly improve your company’s relationship with its partners. While doing so may take some time, it’s worth showing your partners how much you care about the value of their time, creating meaningful conversations with them, and ways to improve your work together. 


Jess Tan is Managing Sr. Director, Global Strategic Channel Sales, Strategy & Programs for Cloudera Connect. Debbie D’Souza, is Sr. Program Lead for Cloudera Connect. Cloudera delivers an enterprise data cloud for any data, anywhere, from the Edge to AI. Powered by the relentless innovation of the open source community, Cloudera advances digital transformation for the world’s largest enterprises.