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How we're staying connected with our channel partners in a virtual world

For people like me who thrive on in-person interactions not only personally, but professionally, in my role leading partner marketing here at Sonatype, the past year has certainly been trying. We, just like all B2B software vendors, have struggled with building partner relationships, enabling the channel and sustaining the agility needed to maintain demand generation in a virtual world. But, we've also been lucky with immense support from our executive team to get creative, push boundaries and above all, remember that our partners are going through all of this with us.

In an effort to bring all of our channel partners together, and officially announce our new partner program, we recently hosted a virtual Partner Kick Off with 200+ attendees. It's hard enough to enable and inform a diverse partner ecosystem, and give everyone the attention they deserve in-person, let alone just seeing them on a screen. But, despite the circumstance, we enjoyed a lovely day of education and camaraderie, which included fun sessions to ensure it wasn’t too intense.

The good news: Sonatype is driving market penetration through our channel-first strategy, which makes everything we're doing completely worth it. With investment in strategic hires, tooling and infrastructure, we saw a 200% revenue increase through channel revenue throughout 2020, which we're focused on continuously growing this year. And, with new product launches and our latest acquisition of MuseDev Sonatype is only strengthening our position in the market by offering full-spectrum control of the cloud native software development life cycle (SDLC) including: third-party open source, first-party source code, infrastructure as code.

We of course wanted to share all of these great updates with our partners during our event, but we also wanted to make it more than just a commercial "update;" see above about all of us being human. In addition to various prize giveaways and a gift box that everyone received, we wanted to truly get to know our partners while bringing everyone some travel vibes and cultural diversity we haven't been able to experience in the last year. Therefore, we gave our partners a challenge! The brief that the partners were given was: You have a maximum of 10 minutes to host live or record a video that conveys your country's culture.

The results gave a heart-whelming feeling of nostalgia. We roamed over Europe seeing Emerasoft Italian families making homemade pasta before heading over to the history of Aservo in Germany outlining the traditional German stereotyped idiosyncrasies. We ventured through very cold ice fishing before warming up in the saunas in Finland with Nordicmind and watched Swordfish share the beauty of the Russian landscape. Feeling hungry, we watched our South African partners 9thBIT braai (BBQ) a whole lamb and share it with a local orphanage. We ended the day washing down a BarrierNetworks Scottish whisky tasting!

We made the challenge into a small competition in which Sonatype donated $250 to the winner. The South Africans with the Hearts of Hope charity won and the 9TH BIT executive team contributed an additional $500. Although $750 appears a small donation,  it will feed and shelter the orphanage of 36 children for 10 days. It was humbling and beautiful to see that although we all come from different backgrounds and cultures, and haven't seen each other in-person for well over a year, we all have the same core values. And, we're all just human.

You can watch all of these videos below:

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Written by Ashleigh Auld

Ashleigh Auld leads Sonatype's channel marketing across EMEA and has worked in software channel marketing for the last 6 years. She enjoys promoting DevSecOps globally and loves everything from networking to helping channel partners create sophisticated software marketing strategies. On the side of work, Ashleigh is currently learning to code Python and speak Spanish in her spare time.