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What’s New with the APN Customer Engagements (ACE) Program?

By Aaron Barton, Head of APN Customer Engagements

APN-Customer-Engagements-2019We announced the APN Customer Engagements (ACE) program in 2018 to help AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners support customers and drive successful engagements on AWS.

Through the ACE program, qualifying APN Partners are eligible to receive AWS Lead and Opportunity Referrals through the ACE Pipeline Manager in APN Partner Central.

The ACE Pipeline Manager provides you with resources, tools, and the sales and technical support to ensure you are supported in driving meaningful engagements with AWS customers.

We also have a new submission experience for APN Partners who are utilizing the ACE program to work collaboratively with AWS on their customer opportunities.

The new experience offers a streamlined and efficient way to submit customer opportunities to AWS, while also removing the requirement to include customer contact data within your submission.

What is the ACE Pipeline Manager?

The ACE Pipeline Manager is an exclusive benefit for participating APN Partners in the APN Customer Engagements (ACE) program. It provides organizations with full-service management of their pipeline of AWS customers, allowing for joint collaboration with AWS on those engagements.

Dependent on eligibility, APN Partners have the ability to submit, receive, access, and manage information related to engagements with customers or potential customers on AWS.

NEW! ACE CRM Integration

On July 31, 2020, we launched the ACE CRM Integration as a new benefit to all ACE-eligible APN Partners current on ACE Terms and Conditions.

We listened to feedback and created a solution that greatly reduces the manual effort APN Partners spend in managing their AWS Pipeline in two different systems. The solution works with any CRM platform and utilizes Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) as the integration component that allows for data sharing between your CRM and the ACE Pipeline Manager.

What functionality is available with the new integration?

APN Partners will be able to perform the following actions from directly within their CRM:

  • Create and submit AWS Opportunities to ACE.
  • Accept or reject AWS Lead Referrals.
  • Accept or reject AWS Opportunity Referrals.
  • Send and receive updates on AWS Leads and validated AWS Opportunities.

Benefits of the ACE CRM integration

Near real-time updates between the AWS internal CRM and the APN Partner existing CRM:

  • Easier to collaborate with AWS sellers.
  • Easier to create, submit, and receive opportunities to and from AWS.
  • Gain valuable time back to invest back into building your business.

APN Partners can strengthen their co-sell efforts and goals with better ways to account plan:

  • Increases visibility into the AWS seller landscape.
  • Decentralizes lead and opportunity management.
  • Increases reporting capabilities.

For further details on how to take advantage of the ACE CRM Integration, please refer to the 1-Pager on APN Partner Central. Reach out to your APN representative to learn more about this new ACE benefit.

Delivery Model Field

On Jan. 17, 2020, we introduced the Delivery Model field on the opportunity submission form in the ACE Pipeline Manager.

This field serves indicates the consumption or deployment model of the opportunity submitted. It ensures APN Partners are credited with opportunity-related requirements in APN programs they participate in, such as the AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) Partner Program.

What’s changing?

  • APN Partners are required to indicate delivery model opportunity submissions.
  • The Delivery Model field has the following options and is a multi-select field:
    • SaaS or PaaS
    • BYOL or AMI
    • Managed Services
    • Professional Services
    • Resell
    • Other

This feature will deprecate two existing fields – “Is this for Resell?” and “Is this for Managed Services?”

Custom Views and Bulk Transfer

On Nov. 27, 2019, we launched new features in the ACE Pipeline Manager that allow users to create custom views on both the lead and opportunity modules, and bulk assign opportunity ownership for users within the APN Partner’s organization.

These features simplify the experience APN Partners have when working with AWS, and ensure the right users within your organization have access to the leads or opportunities they manage.

Highlights include:

  • Create custom views, filter leads and opportunities, and manage different workflows for yourself.
  • Transfer opportunities in bulk to other users within your organization. This enables the right person user to have control over their own opportunities and provide updates.

For step-by-step instructions on utilizing the new functionality, see the ACE Pipeline Manager User Guide available in the Contents tab on APN Partner Central.

Bulk Import Experience

On Nov. 5, 2019, we launched a new bulk import experience for partner-referred opportunity submissions in the ACE Pipeline Manager. This new capability focuses on user experience and includes major enhancements, such as:

  • Partners will be able to import 250 opportunities at a time instead of the current 50.
  • The UX will be a guided experience with the ability to preview the first three rows of the import, with simpler import instructions, and a success and error screen that clearly articulates the errors in an import file.
  • Partners will be able to import partially accurate files. If, for example, 240 of the 250 records did not have any issues, they will be imported and generate an error file for the 10 records, allowing users to correct and resubmit the error file. Prior to this launch, an error on even one record would make the complete file error out.
  • Users can go back to their import history to audit earlier import files.
  • The bulk import experience will be available in English, Japanese, and Chinese (Simplified) languages.

For step-by-step instructions on utilizing the bulk import feature, see the ACE Pipeline Manager User Guide available in the Contents tab on APN Partner Central.

ACE Opportunity Referrals

ACE Opportunity Referrals provide eligible APN Partners visibility into Opportunities sourced by AWS, as well as a mechanism to manage and track those engagements throughout the Opportunity lifecycle.

The ACE Opportunity Referral is the third motion of the ACE Program, along with ACE platform itself and AWS Lead Referrals. This motion provides qualified APN Partners the ability to support their full funnel of AWS Opportunities that are being worked jointly with AWS. With this mechanism, APN Partners can manage customer engagements on AWS that were sourced by your team, as well as engagements sourced by AWS.

ACE Opportunity Referrals will:

  • Enable APN Partners to receive Opportunities from AWS.
  • Make and receive updates on Opportunities sourced by AWS.
  • Receive automatic notifications from AWS when updates have been made by AWS on the Opportunity level.

Improved User Experience

We have also launched an improved user experience within APN Partner Central to help APN Partners get the most out of the ACE platform.

The old “Opportunities” tab is now labeled “My Customers” and allows for customization in areas of the platform that were originally non-editable, such as display columns in the dashboard. You can also take advantage of enhancements that help you align with the AWS Sales team while managing your pipeline of customer engagements on AWS.

These improvements make it easier to perform bulk actions (e.g. update and download). Additionally, when you select an Opportunity for review, you’ll have access to additional information like Customer Details, Contact Information, and Next Steps history. This change provides you a single mechanism to identify key contact information (such as your Partner Development Manager or AWS Sales Manager) on the Opportunity level.

In addition to simplifying existing functionality, a new feature gives you visibility to your entire AWS sales funnel being tracked through the ACE Program. This includes new history tracking of next steps between APN Partners and the AWS Sales team, as well as a mechanism to flag Opportunities with key actions.