The Big Five: AWS Teams you NEED to Know to Accelerate Business Growth

One of the key factors for partners’ success with AWS, from my experience, is understanding who should be your point of contact for different matters and build a relationship with the relevant teams.

Even after you become an AWS Partner and hold one or more AWS Competencies, you are still one of many AWS Partners. The Advanced status and the Competency will help you in your AWS Partner journey, but they are just the starting point of your AWS Partner journey. If you choose not to interact with relevant teams connected to your solution, you will find it challenging to stand out.

Navigating within a giant organization such as AWS is not an easy task and usually, it’s very challenging to understand who’s who in the zoo. In this post, I will share the top five teams/personas that I mapped over the last year to be the main point of contact in AWS, for partners. As I recently came back from a vacation in South Africa, I’m still in a safari mood and thought it would be best to present my big five in AWS. :)

The PDMs are part of the AWS Partner Network organization (APN). From my experience, the Partner org that AWS offers to its partners is quite unique. Each partner is assigned by a dedicated person from the APN, that provides assistance across all of the partnership aspects.

Your PDM is essentially your AWS Advocate. He or she will take care of your interests and help you push internally joint AWS initiatives.

If you’re a Select-tier Partner, you will be assigned with an AWS Partner Development Representative (PDR). The PDR will provide you with an overview of the AWS Partner Network Program and will provide guidance as needed on how to grow your AWS practice and move up in the APN tiers.

Once you are an Advanced Partner you may be assigned to an AWS Partner Manager. Whereas AWS Partner Development Representatives usually manages hundreds of AWS Partners, the Partner Development Managers manage tens of partners.

At Epsagon, Our AWS PDM is a crucial resource. Our PDM helps us to navigate within AWS and connect us with relevant teams, as well as provide us guidance. We connect regularly — and she provides valuable feedback and advice on how to leverage the partnership with AWS. As a practice, I copy her on all emails sent to the AWS team, so she would have the entire picture and be able to advise accordingly. The PDM works with a technical counterpart — Partner Solution Architect. This person helps to advocate your solution to the technical teams. Here is a blog post he published about Epsagon on the APN Blog.

In general, your account manager is part of the AWS Sales group. The Sales group is responsible for increasing your consumption of AWS usage. Also, Sales teams are working with APN Partners to achieve customer business objectives. As your Account Manager is part of the Sales teams, he or she is well connected to other account managers and may team internally to get resources to help you drive new opportunities. For instance, a few months ago, our Account Manager helped us to set up a Lunch & Learn in her territory. Once you have a co-sell channel with AWS, you can leverage the success and wins that you had to help you spread your messaging throughout more AWS sales teams.

The goal of the different product teams is to improve and launch new products. For us at Epsagon, it really helped to connect with the relevant product teams. Find the products that are most relevant to your solution and ask your PDM to connect you to the relevant product team. With the product team, you can participate in early stages initiatives and you can better understand their roadmap, as well as work together on new features.

Each AWS team will help you with a different piece in the puzzle

Their goal is to increase consumption in a specific area (such as Serverless & Containers) across all AWS customers in different regions. During 2019, we worked on four joint customer-facing events with the AWS BD teams. Epsagon was on one of the very few AWS Partners that were invited to present in the AWS Serverless Roadshow in Boston and NYC, and AWS Solution Provider Day in London and San Fransisco.

These events were very successful and helped us engaging AWS customers that need support in terms of microservices observability.

Each segment is led by a segment team that defines the strategy for growing the segment Technology Partner Ecosystem. This team also helps accelerate cloud adoption of customers in the segment within the industry worldwide. These teams usually work with strategic partners, but you would want to at least know them at the early stages of executive sponsorship. Such teams can also help with resources as they see fit. Here is an AWS-hosted webinar we did, thanks to such resources.

  1. Maintain relationships with different AWS teams for different purposes.
  2. Understand what are the goals of the different teams and try your best to align with such goals.
  3. Copy your PDM to all interactions, so he or she could provide support as needed.

As you navigate the cloud service provider partnership journey, what is your experience? Leave a comment and share what you have found that works best. Or for information check out the Multi-Cloud Leadership Alliance group. Feel free to contact me for more details.

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Nofar Asselman

Startup Partnerships Lead at Microsoft Cloud (ex-AWS Hero) Focused on Channels, Partners & Alliances. Traveler & tennis lover