Articles About Better Partnering

Balancing Trust and Control in Alliance Governance

December 4, 2018|

Governance isn’t exactly the most exciting topic. Yet, it is essential in any partnership. At its heart, governance is a system for managing performance. Most of the partner managers I’ve known that positioned themselves as relationship managers are long gone from the profession, laid off in the one of the last economic downturns. Those who managed – and delivered [...]

What Metrics Matter?

September 15, 2018|

When you ask an alliance manager "What metrics matter?", more times than not you will hear revenue, revenue, and revenue. Revenue is the most common yardstick for measuring business value. Yet, a single metric cannot give you the insight necessary to manage all the ingredients required to manage a sustainable business. Many businesses have moved to a more holistic [...]

Value Creating Negotiations – Getting to Win/Win

July 2, 2018|

Partnerships are about creating new value that could not be easily achieved alone. So the focus of negotiations should pivot on partner math 1 + 1 > 3. Your first discovery conversation with a potential partner is usually about how you create more value together. Then, how do you each realize value in the partnership. Sustainable alliances are built [...]

Collaborative Innovation and the Role of Alliances

May 15, 2018|

Diversity is an Opportunity to Create Value Innovation takes many forms. We often focus on innovation as technological breakthroughs and indeed those are important to fuel new revenue streams and corporate growth. But there are other forms of innovation which can be just as powerful and just as disruptive to the status quo in creating strategic competitive advantage. Innovation [...]

Collaboration Bliss

March 19, 2018|

Finding the Right Partner Qualifying the right partner can have an immense impact on the eventual success of a partnership. Too often I’ve seen companies rush into a partner relationship, because “we like those guys!” While chemistry is important in a successful partnership, there has to be the right fit in other dimensions as well. Best practice recommends you [...]

Are you Ready to Collaborate?

March 13, 2018|

Imagine you have just joined a new high-flying company, leading the partnering organization.  You are full of aspirations and optimism.  This is going to be great!  A nascent partner organization that you can shape and grow to meet the astounding growth potential of this booming market. Then you quickly come to realize that this organization is NOT partner friendly.  The [...]

Why Channels Matter – to Alliance Managers

December 17, 2017|

ASAP Netcast Webinar I was honored to moderate a panel of experts in discussing the growing interdependencies of channels and alliances in the industry. Here is the feature write up from the ASAP newsletter, Quick Takes. Moderator: Norma Watenpaugh, CSAP, Founding Principal, Phoenix Consulting Group Panelists  Erna Arnesen, CSAP, Global Channel and Alliances Officer, ZL Technologies Steven McGarr, Global Strategic Partners [...]

The Next Generation Partner Ecosystem

September 28, 2017|

Business models have fundamentally changed from selling and buying gear to responding to how customers consume technology and how it changes their businesses. We are experiencing seismic changes in the tech industry driven by the convergence of SMAC (social media, mobile computing, analytics and cloud technology), the change in technology consumption, the rise of Digital Transformation (DX) and the [...]

Take Time to Dance – Don’t Rush to Contract

August 28, 2017|

When should you write an alliance contract? Best practice puts alliance design ahead of structuring a contract. Many teams jump into contract way too early. It is important to have a pretty good picture of the business case for the alliance, the operating model, buy-in from stakeholders and value propositions, etc before you start formalizing the contract. There is [...]

Partners ARE the Customer Experience

July 31, 2017|

When 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 [...]

Collaborating at the Speed of Digital Transformation

July 24, 2017|

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 from a firehose. The workshop on “Managing the Digital Experience” was [...]

IoT Go-to-Market: Why Use Cases are Important

April 20, 2017|

A View from the Trenches IoT (Internet of Things) has been and continues to be predicted as one of the most compelling factors for driving digital transformation spanning business to business, business to consumer, and government (federal, state, and local).  Gartner Inc., the technology research firm says "8.4 Billion "Things" will be in use in 2017, up 31 percent [...]

Moneyball for Alliances

February 16, 2017|

The key to a winning baseball season is not the amount of money spent on star talent.  If that were the case then Billy Beane, the central figure of Michael Lewis’ best selling book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game”, would never have led the Oakland Athletics to the playoffs in spite of the fact that his player [...]

Strategic Partnerships – Strategic to Who?

January 18, 2017|

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 with a big dog in the industry [...]

Scorecarding Ecosystem Health

October 30, 2016|

Measuring Channel Ecosystem Health?  And Why do I Care? I recall the first time I spoke about a “partner ecosystem” in 1999 to my boss, a long time direct sales manager.  He looked at me like I was a tree hugger. Today, we frequently talk about our partners collectively as an ecosystem; yet there are many ways to interpret [...]

Do You Have the Right Number of Partners?

September 29, 2016|

Understanding if you have the right number of channel partners can be a tricky question and one related to having the right partners.  You may have thousands of partners but they may not be productive for you or they may not have the right skills.  But assuming they are the right partners with the rights skills,there is still a possibility of too much of [...]

Partner Onboarding – Make it Fun – Not Work

September 5, 2016|

You’ve recruited partners and now you need to get them ready to sell your products and solutions. Systematic and deliberate onboarding can have long term impact on partner loyalty and productivity. By one company's experience, 50% greater first year revenue was realized by those partners onboarded through a carefully planned partner experience vs those left to own initiative. Make it [...]

What’s the Value Prop for a Transforming Channel?

August 12, 2016|

“Well, they get a good margin” was the response to the question “What is the partner value proposition?” at one large manufacturer. Margin as defined between the difference between buy price and sell price is probably not the right answer. “Do I offer my partner a profitable business proposition?” is a better question. The right answer takes into account the [...]