Are you suffocating your partners?

By Kelvin McWilliams May 2, 2016

My mind wanders to an iconic scene from the Hollywood Western classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a 1960’s movie based on the lives of Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Longabaugh. The legendary outlaws flee to Bolivia, and audition for body guard jobs for a mining company owned by Mr. Percy Garris.

Mr. Garris decides to test their marksmanship as part of the interview. Sundance Kid, an expert gun slinger, who never misses his target, takes aim at a small pebble lying afar.

Just as Kid is about to start his routine, Mr. Garris interrupts, “what are you doing? I just want you to stand and shoot.” Kid misses his target and Butch is surprised.

Kid then asks Mr. Garris, “can I move when I shoot?” and jumps into his routine, pulling his pistol out of its holster in one swift action and decimates the small target. Just as he puts his smoking pistol back into the holster, he says, “I shoot better when I move.”

There is a lesson in this scene for all of us who are striving to build a world-class partner ecosystem.  How many times have we seen vendors pigeonholing their partners into programs and roles that do not truly reflect or enable the strengths of the partner, nor the realities of the bold new world we live in?  Like you, I’ve seen programs fall apart, even when great talent is asking for the opportunity to grow the business.

The “Partner of the Future” (Courtesy: IDC ) will likely operate on 3rd Platform interdependent services (cloud, mobile, social, big data, IoT), will be more relationship vs. transaction oriented, will be digital marketing savvy, will target business people vs. process, and focuses on long-term vs. short-term opportunity. Business models are being disrupted, partners work across digital platforms, and cultural landscapes.

When you’re building your partner program, it’s so critical to consider how people operate. True partnerships (and sustainable success) occur when the interests of two parties are synonymous. Partners, in today’s world, will come from both traditional and non-traditional channels. Here are four suggestions to keep in mind when building your program:

1.       Embrace the DNA of the partner and arrive at a go-to-market framework that adds exponential value to your customers.

2.       Break down the anatomy of your customer acquisition into granular parts namely demand generation, sales (both influence and technical sales), configuration, ongoing support and upsell.

3.       Customize and design a partner go-to-market business plan through a joint workshop that amplifies joint strengths and establishes discipline.

4.       Recruit your partners wisely and invest in their success.

Partner programs that succeed are offered by vendors that understand their partners. When done correctly, relationships will build, drive extra-ordinary trust and loyalty. The revenue growth will follow. Here’s a seven key questions to consider when partnering with a vendor:

1.       Does the vendors ensure that partner investments are both protected and predictably profitable?

2.       Are there established, clear rules of engagement that remove conflict with direct sales?

3.       Is there a possibility of double-compensation with direct sales executives (where applicable)?

4.       Does the vendor demonstrate support and compassion for your dedicated investments?

5.       Is the partner program driven by great economic incentives that a) help partners achieve a quick break-even status; b) and are predictably profitable with every customer acquisition?

6.       Does the vendor over-invest in partner training, on-boarding, and continuous education?

7.       Does the vendor build a platform for community by sharing best-practices and accelerating communication?

We have strived to put every bit of the above advice to practice here at Kyriba, the world’s No. 1 cloud provider for cash, payments and connectivity for customers of all sizes. Learn more about our world-class Partner Program – Kyriba PartnerSURGE. Happy selling!

 

Photo credit:hark.com 

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