Juniper Networks is updating its consultant relations strategy to better reflect the role these influencers play in customer decision-making. The new consultants program, under the umbrella of its channel partners program, is aimed “at partners who influence a customerâ€šÃ„Ã´s buying decisions but donâ€šÃ„Ã´t actually take part in the sale.”
This is an interesting approach to formalizing and updating consultant relations as part of a sales influencer program. For example, Juniper is looking to the consultants to provide neutral business or industry expertise as part of each customer’s decision-maker ecosystem. They bring in the consultant, or the prospect brings in the consultant. Either way, Juniper formally recognizes and supports the consultant during the sales process. This includes a stated emphasis on protecting the objectivity and independent advice of the consultant.
In a recent article in Business24-7.ae, Samer Shaar, a regional managing director for Juniper Networks explained:
“Independent players like Kallis, General Dynamics, Deloitte and Touche do not specialise in IT solution, but focus on the business concept. The system integrator and alliances come after that. Such an approach provides a business ecosystem that is functional and the neutrality of the consultant is also not lost… This is a trend and will become the next wave although it has not yet gone completely mainstream.”
It’s still fairly rare to see a corporate partners program embrace consultants in this way. Normally, the field organization ends up with the responsibilities — from ferreting out consultants in their accounts to putting together information packets and building relations without any special support from corporate.
It looks like a good approach.