|Partnering Maturity Model|
The IAMCP Partnering Maturity Model
Roadmap to Higher Profits and Increased Customer Satisfaction
After having spent a decade as an evangelist for partnering I have collected a few insights in how successful partnering looks like. I have realized that partnering takes hard work and that people who are not willing, or able, to meet in person will have little success. The same goes for the ones that confuse ‘resellership' to true partnering.
A key question is what happens when partners work alone instead of embrace partnering. I have stated a few bullets below that summarize the cons:
Another more pragmatic and easy way to look at the problem of working alone is that your customers have budgeted more than what they actually spend. Last year we had 175 Billion USD left in budgets that was never spent! [reference Radar Group]. And we all know that last year was a bad year for the world economy.
Other reasons for partnering is that you might want to go International, grow with less risk or simply overtake the competition and grow faster than the rest. Good news for you is that with partnering this can happen!
I invented the Partnering Maturity Model because I wanted to capture my insights and provide a roadmap for how to increase maturity in partnering. I was of course inspired by the Core IO Maturity Model from Microsoft which I love very much as a simple and very useful tool in selling.
So let our customers meet a team with experts in every area, with presence in every corner of the globe. Let our customers meet you and our team of partners and you can rest assure that it will wipe out the competition because your customer will get it all from you and they will see you as their most trusted advisor.
In the Partnering Maturity Model there are four stages and I have named them Basic, Reactive, Proactive and Dynamic.
Getting to' Dynamic' in all areas is extremely hard but everyone should be able to move the dial and reach ‘Proactive' in most areas. You can also measure the maturity of your fellow partners and see if they are enough ‘partner friendly' for you to consider working with them.
There are 10 different areas in where to track and increase maturity and they are:
1. Joint business planning
5. Sales Compensation
6. Market messaging
8. Resource Utilization
9. Customer Relationship
10. Readiness and Certifications [applies to formal vendor programs]
Joint Business Planning
The first area is ‘Joint Business Planning' and my advice is that you:
The next area is ‘Pipeline'. Of course it starts with you running some kind of pipeline management inside your own organization but then my suggestions to you are:
Remember that ‘Leads' are generated by a process and do not just happen.
I personally hate what I call the ‘Reversed Lead' and my definition is that it is when someone is trying to sell something and they call it a lead instead of simply say that they are looking for resellers!
It is important that you have a compensation model for revenue driven towards partnering that encourages your sales people. Your margin is of course less in partnering compared to ‘producing' yourself but the sales compensation model should not discriminate that.
It is important that you embrace partnering in your message to the market. It will also give your more ‘bang for your bucks' doing things together with your fellow partners. And if you name your partnership something clever you will have a great differentiating factor!
Because partnering is a great way to reach new geographical markets you should really consider using partners if you want to scale your business. The perhaps biggest mistake is when people try to sell to the whole world at once and are unwilling to go out and meet people in person because they think they can handle it electronically and not in person!
It is good to set the stage for how to share resources and how to price them accordingly. The first and most important thing is to remember it goes two-ways.
It is important to meet customers and to discuss pros/cons of the partnering experience that you deliver.
Readiness and Certifications [applies to formal vendor programs]
Some run formal vendor programs. This is often ISVs and hardware vendors. If you are running a formal vendor program there are many things to pay attention to and the ones below apply to partnering [please note the ‘ing' at the end of the word].
You have now become a fully fledged expert in partnering! Your company will grow faster, your customers will be happier and your profit margins will be better than the rest that do not see the light of partnering!
My final piece of advice is that it takes practice and it is a journey where you will not reach your destination at an instant so be patient and the rewards will come over time!
Stockholm 16th Aug 2010, Per Werngren