Lenovo’s updates also include a new Lenovo 360 Solutions Hub to help partners with outcome-based solutions, and a major expansion of their ESG-focused Lenovo 360 Circle.
A year ago, Lenovo set out to rethink how partner programs worked with their Lenovo 360 Framework. Now they have announced an expansion to it, in order to continue to incent partners to sell broader solution sets than in the past. They have introduced five new competencies as well as a new Lenovo 360 tier, They have also unveiled a Lenovo 360 Solutions Hub to encourage outcome-based solutions, and are expanding their formerly elite Lenovo 360 Circle to bring in any partner who wants to join.
“Our object with the Lenovo 360 framework was how to capitalize on the big pool of device partners, our IDG partners, to increase our ISG [Infrastructure Solutions Group] business,” said Jeff Taylor, Executive Director of Worldwide Channel Marketing and Programs at Lenovo. “Our ISG growth through the channel the last year has been double digits. We have also seen an 11% increase in the number of partners selling across the portfolio. We want more solutions selling the end to end solutions, and so we have announced the ability for partners to service those ever changing customer needs at a more holistic level.”
The new Lenovo 360 Engage competencies, which add to the ones that Lenovo already had in place, are Life Cycle Services, Workforce Performance, Infrastructure, Advanced Infrastructure, and TruScale. Life Cycle Services and TruScale [Lenovo’s as-a-Service portfolio] both cut across the ISG and IDG areas. Infrastructure and Advanced Infrastructure are more IDG, while Workforce Performance, which encompasses areas like conference rooms and workstations, focuses on enabling the modern workforce and is mainly about devices.
“We’ve been mindful to get feedback on what partners want us to invest in the most in terms of accreditations,” said Cassie Jeppson, Director, of North American Channel Programs and Strategy at Lenovo. “Those are the five areas they called out for us.”
“We believe that the best way for partners to respond to market opportunities is by having an educated sales force,” Taylor stated. “Thus, it remains our obligation to create content to better respond to customer needs. Even in a slowing economy, we believe that diminishing demand is not a factor as the world gets more complicated. What we have done, however, is make it reasonable in terms of the ask for partners time committed.”
The five new certifications are complemented by a new 360 tier, which supplements existing ones for devices and for infrastructure.
“The new 360 tier is for partners selling across the portfolio,” Taylor said. “It has three levels, Platinum Plus, Platinum and Gold. We feel very strongly that it is our job to support the partner journey – not to dictate what they need to be. There are those who sell PCs and that’s their business model, and they are very successful at that. We want a model where they can became a stack seller within their business model in order to give them a path to Platinum.”
“For me, this embodies the biggest goal around our 360 messaging that we set out to accomplish,” Jeppson said. “It gives all types of partners a path to higher tiers. The feedback has been great.”
Also new is the Lenovo 360 Solutions Hub, which will appeal in the Lenovo Partner Hub in stages. It will be available in the U.S. on April 3, 2023, and rolled out to other markets over the year following.
“In Canada, we are planning for availability in the April time frame,” Jeppson said. “We have had Canadian partners involved in those advisory sessions around this, and we want them to see the fruits of their labour.”
The Solutions Hub itself consists of sales enablement tools that help partners to build proposals for customers faster.
“A lot of it is content driven,” Taylor stated. “They can come to the hub, and see the solutions available to them. This is geared towards outcome-based sales, not feeds and speeds, and partners are shown how to present it all in an outcome- based way.
“The other thing we are doing with this is enabling access to subject matter experts,” Taylor added.
“We did a lot of work with partners around this,” Jeppson said. “It was almost a specific advisory council by itself.”
Lenovo has also expanded their Lenovo 360 Circle, which connects partners with communities around sustainability and ESG initiatives.
“We launched Lenovo 360 Circle a year ago, and the most interesting development to me is that customers with a sustainability requirement are now up to almost 80%,” Taylor said. “When we launched, we identified 20 select partners leading in the space. We are now also recognizing that more want to get going on it. So we are opening the aperture to what may be many thousands of partners and bring them into this community, especially around sustainability.” The Lenovo 360 Circle initiative is now open to all authorized channel partners who wish to join.
“It’s all about empowering our partners to reach their goals and be to be the most relevant out there for them,” Jeppson said.”