Segment’s area – they route first party customer data to hundreds of different tools to better integrate it and amplify its effectiveness – is relatively new, but they are already seeing a lot of interest from elements of the channel.
San Francisco-based Segment has launched their first channel program, designed to enable the growing number of partners that have shown interest in the company in the last year. The program supports both channel partners and technology partners.
“What we do is provide customer data infrastructure [CDI] which provides customers with a foundation to collect and route customers’ data from interactions with their own customers to where it needs to go,” said Tom Pinckney, Segment’s Head of Partnerships. “We can send it to over 200 different destinations, like analytics tools, data warehousing tools, and messaging tools. Every company wants a better relationship with customers, but integrating all that first party data is a challenging and sophisticated requirement.”
Pinckney described CDI as a pretty new market.
“Our customers range from fast growth tech companies to traditional enterprises,” Pinckney said. “Our primary competition is usually with customers’ IT departments natively integrating server-side applications into their own tools. We have some great enterprise customers [Levi’s, IBM, Gap and Trivago are among the referenceable ones] but we also play with a lot of SaaS startups, particularly digitally native enterprises. That’s where the majority of early stage customers came from. The enterprise only really came into focus in the last year and a half. That’s one of the reasons why we have a larger partner focus now. As we go into enterprise accounts, customers ask us who we would work from a channel perspective.”
Pinckney said that channel partners had shown a lot more interest in Segment in the last 12 months.
“In the last year, we have seen a large partner ecosystem involved in this,” he said. “Hundreds of partners have come to us to register interest. At this stage, its not large system integrators, but rather primarily smaller shops and consultancies.”
The new Segment Select program is Segment’s first channel program, and is designed to better enable that growing ecosystem. It provides partners with technical certification, sales training, dedicated technical support, and personalized co-marketing opportunities.
“Scaling this transparently means that we have to be clear about benefits and expectations,” Pinckney said. “We have a substantial interest in the ecosystem, so we want to enable them, train them and work with them on marketing and customer success front. Our primary goal is to enable partners. There is a massive opportunity for a lot more partners and we expect to scale our ecosystem even faster than our company growth. Initially, however, the focus is on helping current partners who have expressed interest in us be successful.”
The program has three tiers – Standard, Advanced and Premier – each with a set of requirements and benefits.
“In terms of the requirements, training and certification is very important,” Pinckney said. “The sales and technical training is delivered via a Learning Management System [LMS] and the time it takes to complete modules is measured in hours, not data or weeks. It’s easy with the right training to get certified. As you scale up tiers, financial benefits increase, as do the scope of personalized enablement and marketing programs.”
Sales enablement includes co-selling, custom marketing collateral, listing on Segment’s website and a fully-featured Segment test account. A Segment partner relationship manager provides technical pre-sales support as well as on-site, in-person training.
The program is also open to Technology Partners as well as channel partners.
“We have over 200 integrations with our product already, and we partner in some form or fashion with the majority of those,” Pinckney said. “With some BI tools, we don’t have a direct integration, but we do with all the others.”