Originally posted in IAMCP Global pages: How to Leverage P2P Success Opportunities with IAMCP Members – IAMCP
10 P2P best practices from former IAMCP International President, Per Werngren
In this era of specialisation, single-handedly meeting a client’s needs with an end-to-end technology solution is an ongoing challenge for small-medium businesses. With the lightning-speed of tech evolution that we are witnessing today, specialisation is important, but addressing the scope of a customer’s requirements is equally so.
That’s where Partner-to-Partner (P2P) relationships can help to set you, and the partner(s) you select to work with, above the noise. Because when experts in their respective fields collaborate, the result is a best-in-class solution – and a satisfied customer – because partners can achieve great things when they work together.
We’ve heard time and again from IAMCP members that P2P relationships have been the golden egg that helped them to drive their businesses forward, creating new opportunities, locally, nationally and even globally – and those opportunities are the reason that many join the IAMCP.
The P2P success secret-sauce
All that said, developing a partnership that will withstand the tests of time and deliver business results takes more than simply the desire to make it happen. Here are some time-tested tips from five-time IAMCP President, Per Werngren:
1. Develop a strategic plan
Having a roadmap for your partnership will help you to steer it in the right direction, over time. The P2P Maturity Model is a great framework for creating a structured approach toward successful partnering, together with your partners. A structured, collaborative plan will help to lay a solid foundation for the partnership and achieve greater success than an ad hoc approach. It will also ensure that everyone understands their role and make it easier to revisit and tweak the plan annually.
2. Consider not just the partner relationship you want, but the kind of partner you want to be
Make your partners an integral part of your operation and build trust by being totally transparent under a formal non-disclosure agreement (NDA).
3. Clearly define your area of expertise
Establish your core focus based on what you are truly great at eliminate all efforts to sell and deliver in areas where you cannot compete at a world-class level. Today’s environment is highly competitive, so it’s important to spend your time and money on solutions where you stand out as a leading player and let fellow partners help you with non-core needs.
4. Ensure that you have top-down P2P buy-in
A successful partnership takes commitment at all levels of the organisation. Senior leadership might need help to see the value of a P2P relationship. Understanding the financial benefits might help them to see the bigger picture and will lead to the greater success of the partnership.
5. Align with companies that are experts in areas where you cannot compete
Forge partnerships with companies that can help you in the areas where your customers need help but that are outside your own scope. Invest time in mapping your needs and create a longer list of potential partners that you can then narrow down to a shorter list.
6. Select partners that can help you expand into other geographies
If geographic expansion is your objective, this approach carries much less risk and cost than opening branch offices or subsidiaries in those areas. Consider your needs and identify what you can bring to the table that will help companies in other areas to sell their services.
7. Ensure that the partnership is mutually beneficial
When everyone in the partnership feels that the relationship is financially successful, the partnership will thrive. When selling each other’s billable hours and services, make sure that the margin is be the same for both and nobody is getting a better deal. By establishing equal and strong margins for all parties, everyone will be happier with the arrangement.
8. Value sales through your partners as equal to sales generated directly
When your salespeople receive the same level of compensation for deals through partnerships as for deals done directly, they will feel that they are part of the greater team and won’t be threatened by the relationship. Compensation drives behaviour, which, in turn, drives the bottom line.
9. Assign ownership
Someone in your organisation needs to be responsible for nurturing and developing your partnerships, because the nurtured relationship is a thriving relationship.
10. Approach challenges with resolution in mind
Problems can arise in any partnership and taking a strategic approach to resolution can help everyone to feel involved in the solution. When things go bad, invest in resolving issues in a way that makes the customer and your partners willing to continue working with you. Together with your partners, analyse what you can improve to avoid future problems. Long-term partnerships are the most profitable and, by being willing to learn from problems, you can deepen your relationships with other partners.
If a P2P relationship is in your cross-hairs, what better place to be than the Microsoft ecosystem, which is chock full of top-level partners with which to build mutually beneficial and rewarding partnerships.
“Microsoft has always been a partner-led company, and we’ll always be a partner-led company. What really drives us, what makes it all possible is your passion, your commitment, and your drive to make us better.” – Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft