Since the 1950s, Formula 1 racing has evolved in ways we never thought possible. We went from cars made of aluminum to carbon fiber, speeds of 180 to 220mph, and from scrappy teams to multi-million dollar businesses.
Today, each team wants to be as predictable as possible. From knowing the moment rain will fall on the circuit to chiseling milliseconds off a pitstop. In a similar fashion, channel teams are trying to orchestrate the channel to predict their revenue streams, nurture successful partnerships, and ultimately grow the business of their end-users – and turn them into the type of fans even Max Verstappen would be jealous of.
So how do you make things predictable? That’s what we’ll be exploring in the coming posts. We’ll be dissecting Formula 1 and comparing it to the channel and its partner ecosystem, teamwork, carefully engineered machines and tech, how it performs in different regions, building the ultimate predictability machine, and how it gets drivers winning championships.
The Happy driver
Put the partner experience first
F1 drivers are a lot like channel partners. They’re in it to win it. The great ones have a lot of vendors to pick from. So you’ll need to offer partners the best experience, enable them, and set them up for success. Much the same as a driver needs the best car. We believe the best partner experience needs the best infrastructure.
The ultimate goal is to create end-users that are your biggest fans. Giving partners a great experience means they are set up to give end-users – comparable to the F1 fan base – the best time of their life.
Orchestrating the channel
In order to take your partners to poll positions and create the most value for your end-users, you’ll need to create a killer team. One that works together closely to create an amazing partner experience. Having great partners is key to winning races, but there is another very important aspect. And that is the car.
In Formula 1, only the racers with the best cars can compete for the championship. Take 90’s and early 2000s driver Michael Schumacher. Even though he had the talent, grit, and perseverance, for four years straight he couldn’t win. It was all down to his car at Ferrari. It wasn’t enabling him to win races.
It took four years of hard work and determination, for him to win. Schumacher and his team of engineers created a car that got him the championship. It’s time we equal the playing field, and give channel teams the Ferrari they deserve!
The combination of a great driver and a great car makes for an attention-grabbing race. Allowing fans to have a great experience that they’ll want to have again and again.
Meet the team
If you want to be the best, you need to surround yourself with the right team. It takes a superb team to create the ultimate racing car for your driver. To orchestrate the channel with the ultimate technology solution for the partner, and the desired business outcomes.
So what does the ultimate channel team look like?
The driver = Your partner
Whether you’re a Verstappen, Hamilton, or Schumacher fan – no judgment here – all focus is on the partner. At least, it should be. They are, after all, the ones driving your car and winning races.
In the channel they are the ones you’re focusing your efforts on to offer the ultimate partner experience.
Head engineer = Partner Account Manager
Chances are you’ve never heard of Gianpiero Lambiase. He’s Verstappen’s head engineer and they have one of the strongest bonds in Formula 1. They know each other inside out, Verstappen needs to trust Lambiase with his life. Although that may be a stretch too far for you and your partners, you get the idea.
It’s an ongoing relationship, in which you need to continuously iterate to create the best partner experience.
Team boss = Head of channel
There’s no team without a team boss. From the ultra-focused Christian Horner to the ever-optimistic Guenther Steiner. They come in all shapes and sizes. They need to rally their engineers, keep the drivers focused, the engine running, and the sponsors happy.
We couldn’t think of a more apt description for the head of channel. They are the ultimate orchestrators. They create the ultimate team, steer partner teams, rally for channel budget, and are ultimately responsible for proving the ROI of the channel.
They’re also the ones researching smart alliance partnerships, much in the same way F1 does. What kind of motor do you need and what kind of tires. Compared to what hardware will elevate your software, and what can complete your product portfolio.
Team = Vendors
Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, Ferrari. They are the ones facilitating the show. They recruit the best team bosses and engineers and try to attract the best drivers. Everything is geared towards keeping the driver happy. So every interaction needs to be a positive one.
The largest teams in F1 have up to 1300 employees, how many would you recognize? Think of everyone behind the scenes, the engineers, marketers, product leads. It works the same way at vendors.
These brands have tremendous power, they can elevate partners and partner brands. Every driver wants to drive for Red Bull or Mercedes, much like every partner wants to work for Dell and Cisco. It’s like a badge of honor.
Suppliers = Alliance partners
No racing car is complete without a set of Pirelli tires. Red Bull couldn’t race without Honda motors. And each car has its preferred oil company. Much like in the channel, teaming up with other brands will make the teams stronger.
What does this look like in the channel? Well, you need an engine, much like software needs hardware to run on. You need wheels, much like an AV-solution needs screens. And don’t forget your data! But more on that in the next post.
Up next, getting your team in winning shape
Now we know what the team looks like with all its components. From the partner as the driver, the team as a vendor, and the car as the ultimate partner experience. In the next post, we will be exploring what actually makes for a happy partnership and how to get your channel team into winning shape.