Be it current clients or companies I have recently interviewed with, I am amazed at the lack of understanding companies still have about Go-to-Market when it involves partners and ecosystems. Here are 5 key takeaways since January.
The Partners digital experience is archaic. Investing all your money with the end user experience in mind is just bad business. Partners want to work with vendors that are easy to work with, digitally. They want to find stuff fast and easy, preferably in one place. If your spending anything less than 30% of the budget on partner audience tools, content, mobile ready digital capabilities the partner thinks you’re not really committed.
Content and messages are not presented in the Partner Voice– there is a big difference between describing why a customer should buy your offering verse convincing an executive in the partner business, why they should sell your offering. With the explosion of technology options and the speed in which they are coming to market, Partners are making the vendor selection for the customer more often than ever. Get the right messages, to the right Partner persona at the right time.
Take business direct with no transparent rules of engagement. Nothing will turn off the channel (resellers, distributors and DMR’s) faster than when they see vendors’ cherry pick deals direct. Be transparent or better yet funnel the deals through the channel – they will bring 10-fold business your way in the long run.
No dedicated Partner Management resources. Deal Management is very different than Partner Management. So many vendors think they can save money by asking their sales people to call on partners AND end customers. These are different skills. There are different calls to action. There are different value propositions. The relationship is just different.
Expect the partner to sell, integrate or refer your portfolio at less margin, because you have better technology. Partners care about two things. Growth and Profits. Sure, they worry about talent, keeping up with technology, productivity, don’t get me wrong. But they are running a small or midsized business that was probably started with their own capital. They need to make money and many engineering led companies just don’t get it.