What’s New with the APN Customer Engagements (ACE) Program?
By Amy Donley, Head of Partner Referrals, ACE Program
We announced the APN Customer Engagements (ACE) program in 2018 to help AWS Partners support customers and drive successful engagements on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Through the ACE program—part of the AWS Partner Network (APN)—qualifying AWS 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 AWS 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.
The ACE Pipeline Manager is an exclusive benefit for participating AWS Partners in the 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, AWS Partners have the ability to submit, receive, access, and manage information related to engagements with customers or potential customers on AWS.
The APN Customer Engagements (ACE) program is announcing the launch of two enhancements that are available to AWS Partners as of December 10, 2020.
NEW! AWS Referred Opportunities Will No Longer Auto-Close
In an effort to provide AWS Partners with additional time to update AWS-referred opportunities, we have turned off the function that auto-closes AWS-referred opportunities if no updates had been made within a 60-day period. AWS-referred opportunities shared after October 21, 2020, will not auto-close.
Please continue to update all AWS opportunities in order to collaborate and co-sell with AWS Sales.
NEW! Submission Form Industry List Updated
The industry list provided on the ACE Pipeline Manager opportunity submission form has been simplified to consolidate industry verticals.
For additional details about these enhancements and how to begin utilizing them, please refer to the updated APN Customer Engagements Pipeline Manager User Guide available in the ‘Contents’ tab on Partner Central.
Other Program Enhancements Announced Previously
Advanced and Premier Tier Partners Are Now ACE Eligible
Along with the other benefits of being an AWS Advanced and Premier Tier Partner, we are now extending ACE eligibility to all AWS Advanced and Premier Tier compliant partners. This will allow all Advanced and Premier Tier Partners the opportunity to support and strengthen the AWS and partner co-selling relationship on each customer opportunity, irrespective of origination.
Partners who are Advanced or Premier Tier compliant and have signed ACE terms and conditions will be ACE eligible as of August 19, 2020.
AWS Pricing Calculator and ACE Opportunity Submission Quick Guides
In an effort to support AWS Partner opportunity submissions and updates, the AWS Pricing Calculator and ACE Opportunity Submission Quick Guides are now available as resources on submission and update forms in ACE Pipeline Manager. You’ll be able to quickly access these resources when you need them in order to support your opportunity submissions.
Updates to Lead and Opportunity Views in ACE Pipeline Manager
The ACE team is providing new and updated views in the ACE Pipeline Manager for easier visibility to items requiring acceptance or action.
For further details on updated views and AWS Lead Referrals, please review the APN Customer Engagements Pipeline Manager User Guide available in the “Contents” tab on Partner Central.
ACE CRM Integration
On July 31, 2020, we launched the ACE CRM Integration as a new benefit to all ACE-eligible AWS Partners current on ACE Terms and Conditions.
We listened to feedback and created a solution that greatly reduces the manual effort AWS 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?
AWS 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 AWS 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.
AWS 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 AWS Partners are credited with opportunity-related requirements in APN programs they participate in, such as the AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) Partner Program.
- AWS 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
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 AWS Partner’s organization.
These features simplify the experience AWS Partners have when working with AWS, and ensure the right users within your organization have access to the leads or opportunities they manage.
- 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 AWS 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 AWS Partners the ability to support their full funnel of AWS Opportunities that are being worked jointly with AWS. With this mechanism, AWS 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 AWS 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 AWS 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 AWS Partners and the AWS Sales team, as well as a mechanism to flag Opportunities with key actions.