There are four common roadblocks that partnerships hit within the first year that are often fatal. If you want to have a successful partnership (one that drives revenue for both firms), you must avoid these four pitfalls…
1. Lack of a Clear Partner Strategy
There are various reasons companies form Partnerships, so the strategies also vary. You may partner with ISVs that consume your cloud or maybe your microchips are embedded in the computers your partner sells. Whatever the Partnership entails, the strategy should be clearly defined from the outset.
Aligning your Partner strategy makes it easy for each Partner to track goals and measure against key KPI’s. Each Partner should be able to keep a pulse on the partnership and be agile enough to make changes should something get off track.
A critical aspect of Partner strategy is setting your Partner up for success. For example, if you give your Partner a price advantage on microchips, they can sell more units at a lower cost. This is beneficial to both of you. When the channel makes money, you make money.
2. Poor Communication
Alliance managers on both sides need to communicate often. This seems obvious, but lack of communication kills many partnerships. It is the partner manager’s job to make sure all operations are running smoothly. This includes making sure both sides are meeting expectations and goals. If channel conflict arises, Alliance Managers should act swiftly to resolve it.
Partnerships can become convoluted, so clear communication and transparency mitigates these issues. Many companies are partners in one area of the business and competitors in another. This can make for conflicting interests. However, if both managers understand this and communicate their expectations, the partnership is much more likely to be successful.
It is also important to have communication between field teams. This is especially important in co-sell partnerships. Field teams need to work together and help each other in sales motions. Email is too slow of a process. Having a direct chat tool, for example, is much more efficient and practical.
3. Lack of Trust
This is one of the least talked about issues within Partnerships, but one of the most critical. Some of the best partnerships are between senior leaders who have a previously established bond or have previously worked together, as the trust between them is already established.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. When the Partnership is truly starting from scratch, Partners have to work extra hard at building a foundation of trust.
In most deals, a company is usually apprehensive of sharing too much data. It’s hard to know if your Partner is going to do the right thing and not steal customers or revenue. Everyone wants to know that their Partner will behave in a fair and equitable way, but this takes time. Through consistent communication and transparency, you can begin to build trust.
4. Fear of Over-Sharing Data
This fear is directly related to a lack of trust. In a new partnership where nobody knows anyone, partners are usually slow to share data. Even in established partnerships, this can be an issue. Insight into overlapping customers and prospects and the ownership of accounts is key to any partnership.
Data sharing can get complicated because of the different types of partnerships. Some partners are frenemies and don’t want to give away too much information. Another common issue is the culture at your company may not promote data sharing. We know of employees who want to share account information but are afraid of being reprimanded by their manager. So, some alliance managers find themselves in a catch 22. You know you need to share data, but there’s too much fear over what happens if you do. The way to mitigate this conundrum is trust.
All four roadblocks mentioned above can prove catastrophic to the success of a Partnership. Trust building, clear communication, and transparency are needed to overcome these roadblocks and assure a successful and fruitful Partnership.
To learn more about how we help Partners overcome these roadblocks, book a demo here.