Dear Mrs./Mr./Ms. Technology Partner C level,
First off congratulations on getting your role and the fact you have started the 2023 new year, and survived the 2022 one. I wanted to take the time to make sure you know that I know your job is hard and forever filled with tough decisions, super highs, super lows, and can be challenging. I know every allocation decision of the limited resources the board or your higher ups have given you to turn into the next best thing in the market is a possible win or a nail in the coffin of your career. That is why I want to make sure that when it comes to your AWS relationship, you do not fall for the obvious want that can start you down a path that will lead you and your company to ruin and irrelevance, even if it feels like it is the right thing to wish for.
AO, or Amazon Opportunities, are opportunity's sourced by an AWS sales team and sounds amazing. Why wouldn't it, AWS has millions of customers around the world, and their sales people are usually talking to a company as one of the largest spends after real estate and payroll. You would think that if this massive hyperscaler machine pushed just .00001% of their clients to you, your company would be rolling in cash right? Sounds wonderful, but ....it is not realistic.
When I was working at AWS and was scheduled from 7 am to 7pm to chat with partners on best practices of co-selling with AWS sales teams I spoke with so many CRO's and CEO's. I heard the same thing every time, " If AWS just realized the fantastic thing our app/software/service did, they would drop what they were doing and send us all their business, guaranteed!!!". My answer was always the same, " Your product could lay golden eggs at the feet of all the AWS sales staff and you won't get a glance unless you are Co-selling, Co -building and Co-marketing the way AWS needs you to do". Here is the "why" by the numbers. AWS sellers have 275+ products of their own to sell, they have 50% growth numbers in the millions starting on day one, they have hundreds of thousands of partners all trying to get their attention every day, and they do not have the time to sort through the golden eggs of all the other partners have dropped at their feet to even understand why it is a good thing for their client. That doesn't mean the army of ISM's/PSM's/PDM's/PSA's/PMM's at AWS are not trying to understand your value proposition and let AWS sales folks know, but it does mean that without a solid concurrent effort it is impossible. Most of the time all these AWS folks hear from the C level of their partners is " AO, AO, AO, AO, AO, AO, of and AO". This is not ever going to work, not without a lot of coordinated work anyway.
Think of it this way, you have a successful dealership to sell cars in a very saturated market, your customers are hard won, and they love you. You want to give them the option of three(3) different car rental agencies in your service department area. There are 100 local rental agencies in the area all wanting you to make them one of the three(3) options you provide for your clients. As the dealership, would you go with the one demanding the business from you with no existing relationship of success, or the one that has become an expert in your cars, makes it fast and easy to get a car right away, upsells the dealerships services, refuses to send customers to other dealerships, and has a reputation of taking really good care of their clients( your customers)? It is the same way at AWS.
The real goal is Strategic Partnership
As a partner, the goal should be to mold yourself to becoming a Strategic Partner in the AWS ecosystem. What that means is to build your offering to attach as many AWS products/services easily as possible, work together with your PDM to get your EDP, PAA, ISVA, Competencies, and Certifications. Sell and BUY on AWS Marketplace, bring all your renewals to AWS, create co sell motions with AWS as much as possible ( co selling with AWS products bringing and more of the partner eco system into your deals), throw AWS centric events to their sales folks, sponsor everything you can, teach your staff AWS speak, hire a Cloud Alliance Director (CAD) to be your brand ambassador inside AWS (not to close deals but to create opportunities), create a sales process around how AWS sells, and have an AWS facing body posture on line. If AWS sees you as a Strategic Partner, when a problem comes up with their client, you will be mentioned as a possibility for the client to choose from. If all that seems like too much work I completely understand, but that is what it is going to distinguish you from the thousands of other partners.
AWS is not a lead generation engine, but with time (18- 36 months in proper cadence) you can be there to receive the glory by being positioned in the right way. Please stop gauging your success by the number of AO's you receive. It will make you feel bad about what you do, it will leave a bad taste in AWS mouth, and it will not be successful in the end.
*P.S. if you need help in making these things happen, we can help. Reach out.