I’ve always been interested in making human connections, gravitating towards the type of roles that require me to reach out to others and build relationships. I’m a true believer in a personal relationship as the main tool manage and successfully complete a sales process and build cooperations between both people and companies. And in business, just like in any relationship, finding the right partner isn’t as simple as swiping left or right.
As the Director of Partnerships and Alliances at GigaSpaces, I’ve learned that finding the right technology allies is key to a company’s long-term success and survival. You can have the best product on the market, but when it comes to go-to-market – no company is an island. In order to grow and expand, better control costs, innovate and conquer new international markets, companies must overcome common constraints by demonstrating creativity and agility and working together in strategic partnerships to achieve common business goals.
From my 15 plus years of sales experience, I’ve managed to find the right mix of things I look for when choosing technology partners.
5 guiding principles to consider when choosing a technology partner:
1. Avoid rushing into a partnership
Trusting your gut or believing a strategic customer you’ve been after for a while will make a good partner are simply not enough when it comes to choosing the right partner for you. Establishing and growing a partnership is complex and it requires a significant investment on your part time-wise. You must also take into account the entire lifecycle of the business – the conception of the partnership, its management, development, and also the anticipation of the conditions of exit. Remember, choosing the best partner is a result of a careful, thoughtful process, not quick decisions.
2. Recognize opportunities for smart resource allocation
When you yourself are unable to allocate resources to all leads or opportunities at all times, the right partner needs to represent a smart way by which to save resources and also invest your resources in the best way. Understanding who has the ability to do this is key when choosing a partner. For example, selecting a partner based on their advantageous ‘grip’ of a certain geographically unattainable market, or a specific customer opportunity is ideal. Leveraging them in such a way allows for smart resource allocation, hence making them a good choice for a partner.
3. Building trust goes a long way
Contractual engagements are simply not enough when it comes to protecting both companies’ interest against the risks a strategic partnership entails. Partners need to develop trust and mutual respect between them, and specifically between identified personnel from both sides who manage the activity on a daily basis. Escalations, however, limited as they can be, need to be managed and filtered properly and with care. The bottom line is that a well-written contract does not ensure the success of a partnership – people and their relationships do.
4. Balance investment-gap expectations
Just like in any relationship, expectations should be managed well before making the partnership official as it’s rarely a consistent 50-50 balance. The key lies in managing the stability of the actual ‘investment-gap’; While the load often shifts from one party to another, the total investment must remain the same, and that’s tricky. Both partners’ contributions are different and they vary, including a provision of material, human or technical resources, technological know-how, and innovation, on the ground presence or a financial contribution. There’s no strict sense of hierarchy between these contributions, but the key is to have an ongoing sense of reciprocity in the different stages of the partnership so that situations, when one of the partners feels overwhelmed or taking on more than their fair share, become scarce.
5. Size matters
Often neglected as criteria to choose (the better suited) partner, a disproportionate partnership in terms of size often leads to missing out on immense potential. A big tier 1 or 2 company versus a small company can quickly lead to an ill-matched and uneven partnership. Critical misunderstandings may occur when facing customers, or when working on customer deployments. Headcounts don’t need to (and cannot) be perfectly matched, but some kind of proportion is needed in order to give a sense of mutual growth in a market or industry. Partners need to flourish together, and unproportionate sizes lead to misconceptions about market developments and their importance to each side, leading to bad business decisions. I’ve also learned that companies of similar size are also usually linked to similar business values, which help to close any possible business and cultural gaps.
If you follow these tips, I believe you’ll be able to establish successful partnerships.
GigaSpaces and SO4IT Partnership
One example of a successful partnerships GigaSpaces has established over the years is with SO4IT. SO4IT is a medium-sized IT company located in Sweden with a dedicated interest in new technology and new media. As one of few full-service companies, it has earned a reputation as one of Sweden’s leading authorities on large-scale enterprise solutions and has become the preferred partner for multinational customers such as Sun Microsystems, Vodafone, Cisco, The Linde Group, Michelin and several others. SO4IT provide sales, support and professional services for GigaSpaces in Scandinavia and Finland.
To learn more about our partnership with SO4IT watch the following testimonial:
Choosing the rights technological allies is literally a make or break for a company’s success, let alone survival. A company’s success is measured not only by its ground-breaking products but also by how it works with others to address the challenges of growth and access new industries and markets. Such achievements can be reached with the right strategic partners, transforming constraints into mutual success.
GigaSpaces works closely with many industry-leading partners to ensure our customers’ continued success. We have created a partner ecosystem that includes solution partners, technology partners, cloud partners and OEM partners, with a view to always providing the best-of-breed technologies, broadening our offerings, and leveraging the expertise and experience of technology leaders.
To learn more about GigaSpaces partners or to become a partner yourself, visit our website.