Alliances and their role in managing your relationships
Today’s world moves at a fast and ever changing pace. Developing the right offer in time to meet a shrinking window of opportunity brings companies together as partners — creating “joint go to market” products and services that bring value to both.
At least that is the theory.
In reality most partnerships fail.
They fail for a variety of reasons, but the primary one is a lack of vision and planning. Two big companies want to be linked — but don’t set quantifiable goals. Or perhaps the goals are set, but the money and people are not put into place to make the vision a reality.
In the world of managing customer expectations and exceeding customer’s wants this can be a serious blow to both the joint offer and each individual company.
So step one is to determine WHY you want to partner. This step needs to come prior to even consider WHO a potential partner might be. In other words: why do you need a partner?
Do you need products or services that your company cannot provide (or cannot provide in a timely manner?).
Do you need an additional sales channel in a market niche (ERP, healthcare, etc.)?
Do you need a marquee name to give your company credibility in a particular market segment?
Is this a tactical parter (I need a widget and the partner sells widgets) or a strategic partner (to make that quantum leap Microsoft needed IBM to endorse MS-DOS)?
Once you understand the “why” you want or need a partner the next step is to determine a short list of who can best fulfill the “who” in the equation. Who can best supply the need?
In a very real sense a good partner is as much a customer as your end users. You must nurture your partnerships and manage them (monitoring to revenue goals for example). You must also determine when the partnership is over — and have an exit plan in place so that both of you can move on without damaging either’s reputation.