Originally published via LinkedIn Aug 19, 2015
Remember the show Big Brother? The key to winning that game was establishing key alliances from the start. Forming a pack of trusted people to keep you safe…..until they turned on you for their opportunity to win $50,000. In the channel, having the right Alliance Partners can make all the difference. Of course the goal is to maintain those alliances, especially since we all have much bigger fish to fry than $37,500 in after-taxes prize money.
Why are your relationships with Alliances Partners so important?
- Because the channel is driven by customers looking for a solution, not a product. Companies that can provide everything a customer needs are as rare as a snow leopard in June, so it only behooves us to join forces with the vendors our customers also patronize. The message then becomes, “Look at the solution we can provide you.” not “Look at the product that I can sell you and then you can figure out how it works with the other products you just bought.”
- Because Alliance Partners can legitimize your products. For smaller or newer-to-the-market vendors getting the ‘star of approval’ from a company like Cisco, for example, can mean instant acceptance from a lot of customers who trust who Cisco trusts.
- Because customers like shiny things. A great way to boost awareness of your product in the channel is to attach it to a shiny object, like a hot new product on the market, a visionary company, or an emerging industry leader whose grasp on IT trends can benefit your business.
- Because competition is fierce and there is safety in numbers. It’s easy for a strong competitor to take down a smaller vendor, swatting them out of the arena like a gnat on their cupcake, but it takes a tremendous effort to defend against a machine. And that is what you can create with your Alliance Partners: a machine of tightly-aligned, solution-focused vendors united in their cause to outshine the big boys and dominate in their market segment.
- Because your friends can tell your story better than you can. Every smart company in the channel has an Evangelist. And every smart Evangelist knows that having a counterpart at another vendor share their story, can often carry more weight. Why? Remember that person that asked you out on a date but you had little interest? And then one day someone you knew spoke about that person; how great they were, how smart they were, how cute they were and suddenly that person was a lot more interesting. When others tell our story, it is more believable, reliable, and gives the impression we are indeed something to talk about.