By Walt Rossi, Vice President Business Development
I have led many business development teams over the years and what I have learned is that there are three main reasons to partner with a company, and three questions to ask, every single time.
Companies create strong ecosystems to address a challenge that they could not solve on their own. The majority of those challenges fall into one of three categories:
1.) Need to offer the customer a "whole product" solution that you cannot deliver on your own
2.) Need for a more efficient sales process to help the customer buy your solution more easily from a trusted advisor and via a process they are familiar with
3.) Need to differentiate your brand strategy and enhance your reputation with the target customerThere are many moving parts within a successful business and each of those parts plays a crucial role in that success. They don't need to just work well; they need to work well as a part of the whole. Those parts, or functions, also need to work well with other organizations that have like interests, to create an ecosystem. I really like this definition of an ecosystem: a group of interconnected elements.
The three things to ask when considering partnering with another company are:
- Do they have a complimentary solution that your target customer will derive benefit from when used with your solution?
- Do they have the same target buyer and how will the partner company influence the end customer's decision process in the sales cycle?
- Do you and the partner have clearly defined goals that both parties understand and agree to support?
For example, Five9 is partnered with CRM providers such as Oracle, Salesforce, Zendesk allowing our customers to easily integrate Five9 with the solution used by their contact center agents.
The goal after all, is to enhance each other's business and by doing so, provide the best possible offering to your customers. The best partnerships are built on solid relationships, respect for each other as a company and a desire for mutual success and growth.