Guest Column | November 29, 2018

Excite, Enable And Execute: The Critical Role Of Partner Engagement

By Mark McNerney, Quantexa

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Choosing the right partners is one secret to business growth.

What stands out in your mind when you think of successful business growth? A great product? A dedicated team? Revenue?

Success comes in many forms, but a significant area of importance for business growth is the building and maintenance of collaborative partnerships. If a small business is built on a model that cannot sustain more than a handful of clients at any one time, how do you scale?

Studies show nearly 80 percent of partnerships fail, so what does it take for one to flourish? Many enter these relationships with the hope their counterpart will not only provide support and foster accountability, but also help grow the business. Successful partnerships are built on a mutually beneficial foundation. It is important to ask and answer this question, “What is the impact of this partnership on our company and does it make it better?” The end goal may be different for each party but working together is essential in the quest to climb to success.

Attracting The Partners You Want

Partnerships for scale-up companies are integral for growth. They enable companies to scale horizontally, as part of a land and expand strategy, as well as vertically, with new use cases and innovation opportunities. But it’s no secret it can be difficult for new technology firms to garner interest in partnerships from marquee name companies such as PwC, Deloitte, Accenture, or EY. Through research and trial and error, companies are able to become aware of their strengths and weaknesses, which will ultimately benefit them when they go for the big players.

As a first step, companies must have the ability to determine synergies between the parties and why the partnership will be beneficial to both sides. Without these key points clearly laid out, it is difficult to convince multibillion-dollar companies why your company would be the perfect partner fit for them.

However, it’s essential your company doesn’t waste too much time exploring options. Once your company has caught the interest of a partner company, it’s vital to show them the value you’re going to bring. There are advantages to being a hot commodity in the technology world, but the disadvantage is everyone wants to partner with you. Quickly identify where the synergies are and if the partnership would be beneficial so you don’t waste time pontificating about a potential partnership that may not be a good match. More often than not, the test is whether you have a live client, prompting a reason to engage.

There is no better way to show your value as a partner than getting your prospective partner involved from the get-go. Client engagement is a huge part of how successful partnerships are measured, so including your prospective partner in a project immediately will show the weight the partnership proposition carries.

Maintaining Collaborative Partnerships

Building a partnership is only one half of the battle. According to a study conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity and Rob Cross, Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Business at Babson College, companies that promoted collaborative working were five times more likely to be high performing. Once your partner engagement has been solidified, it’s critical you maintain open communication and strong pipeline management and support so both parties and clients are reaping the benefits of what the partnership has to offer. The ability for both you and your partner to offer the same professional capabilities to clients will only make others continue to seek you out for partnerships in the future.

There are many ways for partnerships to fail, but just as many to ensure their success. Excite, enable, and execute: remembering these three words will be the key to a successful partnership. Excite your partners about the proposition, enable them with collateral, weaving your proposition into theirs and supporting them to build their go-to-market strategy, and execute with your partners through continued communication, pipeline management, and ongoing support.

About The Author

Mark McNerney is the Global Alliances Director at Quantexa, establishing and maintaining strategic relationships to drive business opportunity in international markets.