Channel News

Here’s What 20 Channel Chiefs Have To Say About ‘Metals-Based’ Partner Programs

Rick Whiting

Channel executives on the CRN 2023 Channel Chiefs list were asked for their opinion on traditional tiered ‘metal-based’ partner programs. Are they effective in today’s channel ecosystem? Here’s what 20 channel chiefs had to say.

Forging An Effective Partner Program

Since the early days of the IT industry and the channel, vendors have traditionally structured their partner programs in tiers, often designated bronze, silver, gold, platinum or some other valuable metal.

But are these “metals-based” partner programs—originally designed for resellers and based on sales volumes—still suitable for today’s fast-evolving channel with its wide variety of partner types and go-to-market models? Or is it time to develop more of a channel ecosystem approach toward channel management ?

As part of the CRN Channel Chiefs 2023 project, we asked the nearly 600 channel executives that made the list to tell us their opinion of/position on metals-based partner programs. Here’s what 20 had to say.



Lisa Wight

VP, Global Partner Programs, Worldwide Distribution

Metals-based partner programs provide simplicity and ease for new and up-and-coming vendor programs. As business for business continues, and as partners sell to customers the way the customer wants to consume, partner program inclusivity and flexibility around rewarding robust and loyal partners will be critical. Point-based systems, should a vendor move in that direction, will need to be simple to understand and manage while rewarding loyal partners, allowing for partners to differentiate around GTM and capabilities.



Lori Cornmesser

SVP, Global Channel, Alliance Sales

The traditional program still works depending where you are in your evolution of partnering. For more advanced models, especially in cloud and SaaS, a different approach is required to drive behaviors outside of the standard method.


Rick Whiting

Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at

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