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Successful Corporate Partnering: Types and Responsibilities



I have written, spoken and delivered many times on how sales-side corporate partnering can assist a company broaden its market reach, grow its user base, boost its sales revenues and increase its shareholder value.

donagh kiernan

A partnering strategy can work side-by-side with your direct strategy. You can define how partnerships can work to feed your direct sales team, partners who will take full business responsibility in their market to sell and implement your product or partners who will OEM or licence your product or technology to improve their product set.

When entering into new markets through partners, do you know what type of partners you will seek and do you know what to expect from them? What capabilities should they have and how will you share responsibilities along the business flow?

You are seeking out partners to bring new capability to your company, such as:

  • They may be successfully serving a region you want to gain access to either as a sales and/or support partner
  • They may be strong in a sector you want to break-into and seeking their domain knowledge in selling your product
  • You may have a product or technology that fits well into their product portfolio
  • They may simply have a larger sales force and credibility in the market to sell more of your product than you can in the near term future.

In breaking down the responsibilities in the business flow, it needs to be clear how theses responsibilities are broken up between you and your partnering company. The following table shows some example partner types and how the responsibilities may be broken down:

Y = You; P = Partner

Partner Types / Partner:

OEM / Designed-In

System Integrators

Alliance Partners

Referral/Affiliate

Partners

Product Integration

Y/P

Marketing Materials

Y

Y

Y

Y

Identify Opportunities

P

P

P

P

Sales

P

P

P/Y

Y

Sales Support

P/Y

P/Y

Y

Y

Implementation

P/Y

P/Y

Y

Y

1st line Support

P

P

Y

Y

2nd line Support

Y

Y

Y

Y

Customer Feedback

P/Y

P/Y

Y

Y

OEM / Designed-In Partners

These are technology companies where the combined offering creates a compelling offering for both companies to jointly deliver on a new market opportunity. This typically involves technical integration at a product level, enabling a seamless sales, implementation and support to joint customers.

System Integrators

System Integrators can be very fast to secure, if your product fits their market and skills. You will likely need to provide significant support in building up any new capabilities across the business flow. System Integrators typically seek short time-to-revenue opportunities and don’t like investing in far-off opportunities.

Referral/Affiliate Partners

A Referral Partner could be a consulting house providing domain expertise in your product area who simply recommends your product. In a similar manner a web-based Affiliate Partner recommends your product on their website.

These are some examples of partner types; there are many other types of partnerships depending on your business objectives and the capabilities you require and those of your partner.

Don’t assume that your partner has the capabilities across the full business flow. Seek to understand their real capabilities and why they are winning in the market and then understand their capabilities in the other areas and how your business may assist.

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The Author:

Donagh formed Tenego Partnering on May 2nd 2003 to focus on driving sales growth within technology companies. This focus draws on Donagh's expertise in defining, selling and delivering technology solutions, and builds on over 22 years of technology development, sales and business ownership, investment and management. Starting as a software technology professional, over the last 22 years Donagh has developed, sold and delivered high-calibre software solutions to many well-known national and international organisations in various industry sectors and international markets. In Donagh's early career he worked with PS Squared and CompuSense developing Engineering and Desktop Publishing products and working with customers worldwide. http://www.tenegopartnering.com

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