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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Working With Partners - Another Perspective

We recently covered about partnering with technology companies where we wrote It is important to know the product companies org structure and know who matters and should keep track of all movements - Stay close in all possible ways with the designated contact -understand how you can make him succeed.
- Every company is different and definitely need to invest in time and effort to understand what their culture is and how do they measure their people.
- Insist and put in place a governance structure with defined charter to review health of the relationship with an objective to improve it constantly.
- Its important to have relationship at all levels in the product companies- CEO, CTO ,PS head, Sales at all levels & Mktg dept etc.
- Develop a partnership maturity index and review how this can be improved and understand how your partner ranks in their internal scheme of things - this should go beyond formalised relaionships and catalogs -an imporant index -understand how many times you get talked about in their internal meets.
- It is essential to attend all partner events – actively participate in their events and at the right moment get the opportunity to work with them on all dimensions- Engineering, Support Services,, Professional Services, Verticalised solutions, add on solutions, demo’s & collaterals .. ad infinitum for opportunities to pursue –Understanding how and where we can add value if the key to success.

Ed Sim writes about Working with partners. Excerpts with edits and comments:
There are 2 kinds of partners - technology partners and real partners. If you and your partner are not generating revenue for each other than it isn't a real partnership. To make partnership work, in theory, it is very simple but requires a ton of hard work. Some rules to use when working with partners:
Rule 1 - Don't rely on corporate; engage at the field level.
If you can bring your potential partner customers and lots of customers, you will get attention and be in a much better position to negotiate a real partnership.
Rule 2 - Focus, narrowly focus your opportunities.Many of your potential partners are huge enterprises, and it is easy for a small company to get lost in the shuffle. Try choosing a group in the large organization .Focus on groups where you can make a real impact.
Rule 3 - Your partner's sales force needs to get comped. If there is no comp for the sales force, your product will not move in a highly leveraged way.
Rule 4 - Dedicate the proper amount of resources to make the partnership successful. Signing a contract is just the beginning.You need to treat your partner like your largest customer and provide the same amount of focus on your partner as you do your customers. You will have to develop a joint business plan together, figure out the proper sales strategy, put together compelling joint collateral and presentations, offer sales and SE training to your partners and their resellers, and finally get your customer support ready.
Rule 5 - Don't get sucked into your partner's black hole. At early stage companies too often bend over backwards without thinking about the real benefits of all of your partner's requests may not be the right approach. Quite interesting.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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