Phoenix Rising Blog – Strategic Alliances

Posted Monday, July 31, 2017 at 05:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

customer experienceWhen we talk about digital transformation, so much about it is about the customer experience. At a recent ASAP Tech Partner Forum, Tiffani Bova from Salesforce cited an example of how as a consumer, you might order a Starbucks, from your Tesla, through Alexa. When you drive up to pick up your coffee, it has already been made and purchased. All seamless, all automagic. What does that example say about how partnering is changing in creating these digital experiences? Obviously, it takes a fair amount of technology integration behind the scenes between the brands, but also an understanding of the customer experience in ordering a cup of Joe. The example also highlights the importance of choosing good partners who are meticulous about the digital experience. A bad experience will reflect poorly on everyone.

How are we Collaborating with Partners to Create a Compelling Customer Experience?

We also heard at the Forum that with such a fluid marketplace, relationships are perhaps more opportunistic.  Setting up strategic partnerships and waiting for the opportunities to come is a holdover of the traditional business model. You end up with the partners looking at each other, waiting for the other to bring on the customers.  Going back to the opening comments on how partnering is changing in the digital experience, partnerships need to be more agile, faster, and customer centric.  

Building the ecosystem around the customer, requires the whole company to evolve. It requires listening to the customer, more data on the customer, add in social media to understand the sentiment of the buyer. While customer centric companies have always put the customer in the center of universe, they still typically put themselves in the center when building partner ecosystems. The big technology brands may be in the cloud and not very visible to customers at all.  Building the partner ecosystem may start with asking the questions:

“Who has influence with the customer?” 

“Who is the trusted advisor?”

“Who owns the customer experience?”

It requires looking at the world from the perspective of the customer. With that comes the recognition that “partners are the customer experience” as asserted by Brook Cunningham from Splunk speaking on the Voice of the Partner.

How do you know if you got it right? One sure sign is Customer Advocacy. This goes beyond customer satisfaction with the initial deployment but a deep and lasting relationship with the customer.  This is a fundamental change in the customer relationship.  One company I worked for was once accused by a customer of ‘abandoning’ our products.   Drop ship was like drop and run.  In the ‘as a service’, business model this is not sustainable.  Recurring revenue means you need to earn the business every day because the business only becomes profitable over the long haul. 

Creating the best customer experience possible via an ecosystem of digital savvy partners is key to survival and success in the age of Digital Transformation. 

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Posted Monday, July 24, 2017 at 02:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Recently I was invited to facilitate a roundtable/workshop at the June 7, 2017 ASAP Tech Partner Forum in Santa Clara, Calif., centered on digital transformation. We heard from many experts and pioneers in the technology space about the challenges and changes they were navigating. It was like drinking...

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Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 12:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

How do you engage when your partner is strategic to you – but you are not strategic to them.My partner thinks of me as a supplier, or a channel, or 'fill-in-the-blank.' How do I become a strategic partner?  This is a common refrain from startups and small companies wanting a relationship...

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Tags: strategic partner, alliances


Posted Monday, October 19, 2015 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Investment in Talent to Grow and InnovateTo many organizations, alliances and strategic partnerships are “the new way businesses grow and innovate,” particularly as they experience a rising profile within the C-suite.  As partnership alliances become an increasingly important source...

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Tags: Partner manager, partnering talent, partnering, channel management, alliance management


Posted Monday, August 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Market Impact embraces those strategies that are aimed at growing the businesses of the allied partners. It includes strategies such as entering new markets, gaining a market share position, and generally expanding the capability to gain new customers. The top five selections of our best practices...

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Posted Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

The Strategy of AlliancesAlliances in the technology sector are overwhelmingly evaluated based on revenue and for good reason. They deliver incremental revenue over above business as usual. However, revenue is a lagging indicator and does not provide insight into whether the alliance is achieving...

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Posted Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 08:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Alliance management is in many ways a young profession, yet there is a set of defined processes and practices that have been shown to be effective in creating and operating successful collaborations.   Research has shown that companies that approach collaboration through...

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Posted Monday, October 21, 2013 at 05:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Success Begins at the TopIt is hard to overstate the importance of a champion at the senior levels of the organization.  Many alliances fail or falter when they lose the executive champion and the role is not backfilled with a strong leader.The role of the champion is many fold. They represent...

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Tags: champion, executive sponsor, alliance, strategic partner


Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 07:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Do you have champions in your alliance? or do you have snipers and hostages? When I teach alliance skills mastery workshops, I often ask how much time managers spend on internal alignment.  That is winning the hearts and minds of the internal alliance stakeholders to gain their buy-in and...

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Posted Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 02:28 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

I did a study three years ago of partner health across 14 strategic alliances and about ~400 respondents and found something very interesting about the nature of trust in alliances. We did a correlation of heath attributes against overall partner health. We found that when 'trust' was present it did...

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Tags: Alliance Management Best Practices, Alliance Strategy


Posted Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Social media hype is everywhere. We are deluged with it on-line. We see it on TV. Our kids are absorbed by Facebook. The State department even requests that Twitter delays maintenance to ensure continuity in the information flow from civil unrest in Iran. Even as we are coming to grips with Social...

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Tags: social media, partnering


Posted Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 02:32 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Attended an ASAP Green breakfast this morning and it was certainly eye opening even if the coffee arrived late.Hal LaFlash, Dir Emerging Clean Technology Policyfrom PG&E -that's Pacific Gas and Electric for the non-Californians - spoke on the many alliances that PG&E has been cultivating...

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Tags: power, green, alliances


Posted Monday, May 11, 2009 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Part I discussed how demographic segmentation allowedtargeting programs, benefits, and attention to engender greater loyalty and business through their developers. Part II addresseshow segmentation by 'Loyalty' itself helps to identify andto address specific concerns of developers. While...

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Tags: roi, loyalty


Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

I was approached by a client some weeks ago to present at conference some work we did on Developer Loyalty. Now there are a lot satisfaction type surveys out there, but my client presented a very specific challenge. She was new in the role as the Director of the Developer Community and needed...

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Tags: roi, loyalty


Posted Monday, January 5, 2009 at 03:09 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Have you read a book in the past year that made an impact on you and how you manage alliances and partnerships? Could even be one you've written!! Here are some that I read this past year which I found had relevance to the field of alliance management. NOT listed in any order other than how they...

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Tags: alliances, reading, list


Posted Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 08:32 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Plans for Strategic Alliances on the RiseNearly one-third of consumer products companies plan to forge new strategic alliances in the upcoming 12 months (30 percent), up 8 points from the second quarter of 2008 according to Pricewaterhouse CoopersNEW YORK, Dec 4, 2008GlobeNewswireChrysler...

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Posted Monday, October 13, 2008 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Strategic alliances are often viewed as a strategy for growth and perhaps not always a strategy for economically challenging times. But many of the reasons that make strategic alliances a good idea in good times make them an even better strategy for uncertain times. What are these reasons to partner...

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Tags: strategic alliances, importance


Posted Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

What do you think of, when you think win-win? Most business people will interpret that as "I win and my partner wins". Unfortunately quite a number will behave differently: "win-win means I win twice!" This, as you can imagine, does not produce sustainable partnerships. Smart business people will...

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Tags: partnering, growth


Posted Friday, April 25, 2008 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

The April meeting of the Silicon Valley/Norcal Chapter of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals featured a panel discussion on Coopetition. It turns out to be as hard to pronounce as it is to do. The panel often struggled with every verb and noun form of it: Coopetive, co-opeting. It...

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Tags: alliances, cooperation, competition


Posted Friday, March 28, 2008 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

"Collaborative Innovation: Leveraging Strategic Partnerships for the Global Playing Field" Sunday, March 30, 2008BlogTalkRadio: www.BlogTalkRadio.com/CoachforInnovation6:00 p.m. Pacific/9:00 p.m.Collaborative innovation is rapidly becoming a key differentiator for organizations. But as enterprises...

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Tags: partnering, innovation


Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

A successful alliance program begins at the top with the support of the CEO. Like many other things, the CEO influences company culture, models the behavior, and sets the priorities in collaborative relationships. CEO support and that of the CXO staff fosters the environment where alliances can thrive...

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Tags: partnering, success, alliances, secrets

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