Partner Strategy Framework E-Book
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Web, cloud, and other software companies are in the enviable position of having low marginal cost of goods. Despite this highly leveraged model, most software companies think fairly narrowly about ...

Web, cloud, and other software companies are in the enviable position of having low marginal cost of goods. Despite this highly leveraged model, most software companies think fairly narrowly about their partner strategy, focusing on resellers and strategic alliances. Progressive software companies take a platform approach including a broader view of the partner ecosystem.

The Partner Strategy Framework E-Book walks through a detailed framework for software companies to maximize the value of upstream partners (platform vendors), managed partner alliances, breadth (program-managed) partners, and the developer ecosystem. The purpose is to grow 1) partner loyalty, 2) revenue, and 3) brand goodwill.

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Partner Strategy Framework E-Book Document Transcript

  • 1. Partner Strategy FrameworkWeb, cloud, and other software companies are in the enviable position of having low marginal cost of goods. Despite thishighly leveraged model, most software companies think fairly narrowly about their partner strategy, focusing on resellersand strategic alliances. Progressive software companies take a platform approach including a broader view of the partnerecosystem.Partner channels don’t optimize themselves. It takes thoughtful planning and focused execution to design and manage afull partner ecosystem. This e-book walks through a detailed framework for software companies to maximize the value ofupstream partners (platform vendors), managed partner alliances, breadth (program-managed) partners, and thedeveloper ecosystem. The purpose is to grow 1) partner loyalty, 2) revenue, and 3) brand goodwill.The Partner Strategy Framework model referenced throughout this e-book describes the maturity model for nurturingrelationships and sales across development (software) partners. The verbs at each point of intersection in the modelencapsulate the key action to focus on. In addition, a treatment of services (SI) and reseller (VAR) partners is provided, aswell as summary guidance for partner leadership.This e-book was derived from the ISV Strategy Blog (www.competegy.com/isv-strategy-blog) and has been editedsubstantially based on subsequent feedback and review Competegy helps web, cloud, and software companies maximize their partner channels through improved programs and relationships. This includes developing effective teams and programs for managed partners, breadth partners, upstream vendors, and the developer community.Competegy, LLC www.competegy.com 1
  • 2. Table of ContentsPartner Strategy Framework Model ....................................................................................................................... 3 The 4 Stages of Partner Development ................................................................................................................ 4Strategic Alliances ................................................................................................................................................... 5 Strategic Alliances - Reach ....................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Strategic Alliances - Enable ...................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Strategic Alliances - Activate .................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Strategic Alliances - Sell.........................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.Breadth Programs .....................................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Breadth Programs – Reach ....................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Breadth Programs - Enable ...................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Breadth Programs - Activate .................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Breadth Programs - Sell.........................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.Developer Ecosystem ................................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Developer Ecosystem - Reach ...............................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Developer Ecosystem – Enable .............................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Developer Ecosystem – Activate ...........................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Developer Ecosystem – Sell ..................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.Vendor Management ................................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Vendor Management – Reach ..............................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Vendor Management – Enable .............................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Vendor Management – Activate ...........................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Vendor Management – Sell...................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.Managing Other Types of Partners ...........................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Systems Integrator Strategic Alliances ..................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Systems Integrator Breadth Programs ..................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Optimizing Reseller Channels................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.Leadership .................................................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Business Management ..........................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. Partner Planning....................................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined. People Management .............................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.Conclusion .................................................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.Competegy, LLC www.competegy.com 2
  • 3. Partner Strategy Framework ModelThe following Partner Strategy Framework Model expresses the key actions to take in developing relationships acrossmanaged partners (upstream and downstream) and the broader community of breadth partners and individualdevelopers. Stages Initiatives Partner Strategy Framework Competegy.comThe 4 overall partner initiative areas are:1. Strategic Alliances: managing your closest, most valuable partners. These are the partners that would directly impact your business if they were to switch their go to market strategy away from your product to a direct competitor.2. Breadth Programs: you can’t justify depth resources (technical and business development staff) for the breadth community so you need to devise an efficient, scalable set of programs that communicates and nurtures their engagement.3. Developer Ecosystem: connecting with developers and/or IT professionals helps grow advocates in the breadth and depth partners you’re looking to sustain and recruit.4. Vendor Management: most software companies have platform providers for development tools, databases, operating systems, cloud platforms, and other software dependencies for their products. Knowing how to align with those vendors’ (or open source community) interests to maximize your marketing and go-to-market support will be valuable (particularly if you align with their marketing priorities and rhythm).A comprehensive partner strategy could include all 4 initiative areas, depending on the scope and extensibility of yourproduct. Most software products have web-accessible APIs which opens up the possibility of taking more of a platform(and therefore leveraged) approach to their partner ecosystem.Competegy, LLC www.competegy.com 3
  • 4. The 4 Stages of Partner DevelopmentLet’s consider the 4 Stages of Partner Development: Reach, Enable, Activate, and Sell. The following graphic outlinesactivities that should be pursued and resulting outcomes for each partner development stage. 4 Stages of Partner Development Competegy.comActivities will be executed differently across depth and breadth partner audiences, but the general approach andoutcomes will be the similar. Let’s consider the “Reach” objective in context of the 4 Partner Initiative Areas:Strategic Alliance partners should be assigned technical and business development advisors (e.g., technical advocates andbusiness development managers) who keep them apprised of new product developments and provide business coaching.These trusted advisor relationships are important – alliance partners have greater market impact and are likely to adopttechnology slower than smaller, more nimble partners.Recruiting alliance partners from competing platforms requires different team skills (oriented toward deal making ratherthan account management) as well as joint development or marketing incentives. Recruit partners won’t have propermotivation if there isn’t customer demand. If your sales teams can identify customers who desire to see the partnershiphappen, that will provide context on which to recruit an otherwise reluctant partner. Regional technology or demofacilities can be a powerful tool to facilitate this joint partner + customer context.Breadth partner communications comes in a more automated form (newsletters, blogs, video recordings, etc.). This mightbe triggered from partner program membership or via partner marketing campaigns. The goal is to grow these partnersinto deeper levels of partnership commitment. Your breadth communications systems should also benefit managedpartners, but they’ll also expect personalized support for their particular business. Relevance is the primary objective inbreadth partner communications – think in terms of “talk with”, not “talk to”.Your developer ecosystem (which may be IT professionals if you’re product lends itself more to configuration thantechnology partners) need to be reached in a way that they feel connected to the company. Your message needs to bedelivered in context of their environment such that they see you as a peer in their community. The goal is to growadvocates among this target ecosystem — they represent an indirect way to influence your depth and breadth partners.When managing upstream partners (vendors), keep them informed to the degree they require and continually probe foradditional opportunities and initiatives. In this way you retain your preferred partner status and will have access toadditional marketing incentives and resources.Competegy, LLC www.competegy.com 4
  • 5. Strategic AlliancesDevelop strategic alliances with companies that represent the greatest market growth, will embrace and leverage yourlatest product offerings, and derive enduring value from the partnership. In this chapter, we’ll discuss how you reach(advise), enable (educate), activate, and sell with strategic alliance partners…Download the complete e-book (for free) from http://www.competegy.com/e-bookCompetegy, LLC www.competegy.com 5