“Double our size.” That was the mission I was given when I joined Factora last year.
I’m a big believer in a clear mandate, a great candidate, and a smart strategy. Lucky me, I had two out of three before I even started.
The foundation of my smart strategy is partnerships.
To be successful in growing through partners, you need to focus on just a few, and be all in: together, we win or lose. Following, a few of my career findings, and why I’ve chosen the partners we have.
The secret to finding the right partners revolves around three key areas:
Have you ever played the card game “Wizard?” Wizard resembles other trump-based games – euchre, hearts, bridge, etc. –the difference is that there are special ‘wizard’ cards in the deck that are all-powerful. Wizard cards trump all.
Culture is the wizard card in partnerships. If there is no cultural alignment, the partnership fails.
Factora has a vested interest and a strong track record in sniffing out and building on cultural alignment. As a consultant and system integrator, we’ve learned the value and power of long-term relationships with both customers and sales partners. We seek out candidates – customers and partners – that view the relationship with the customer as a journey, not an event.
Each partner must know where their place is on the field, and be able to hand over to others as and when needed. Sometimes you will hear this referred to a swim lane – each person in the sales cycle owns their respective lane and does not cross into the lanes of others. Success in this directly aligns with the value each partner brings individually and as a whole.
Selling is a team sport. In our business, the sales channel gets commission on the license; the system integrator gets revenue from the services; the technology partner gets revenue from the license, plus a reference. Most importantly, the customer gets to benefit from the solution sooner.
Trust builds from culture alignment and the value-add agreement.
Once the partnership is in place and the rules of engagement have been agreed, trust evolves as execution commences. You need to build a circle of trust between technology partner, sales channel, systems integrator and the customer. We need to know we have each other’s back to accelerate the sales cycle, and for when things do go wrong, as of course they will.
Last year I chose to double down on two partners that exemplified my three key criteria.
PTC aligns with Factora’s long-term customer view, and the ThingWorx platform, with its continued investment and enhancements, provides a future-proof platform for our customers. ThingWorx’ partner eco-system makes it easy to engage with both commercial and technology resources.
PTC have asked me to speak at their Partner Summit during the upcoming LiveWorx event in June, to share my thoughts and experiences on partnering. And more importantly, how the partnership brings increased value to the customer.
I’ve known AutomaTech for fifteen years. Most notable cultural characteristic? AutomaTech uses customer satisfaction as their measure of success, by offering first-class technical support, training and pre-sales Solution Architects. Tom Schiller, President at AutomaTech, has been working with me to build out our relationship and drive forward with solutions and partners that make our customers successful. AutomaTech will have a booth at LiveWorx so feel free to swing by and meet their team.
Partnership takes work and commitment. Plus a little humility! Only individuals or businesses that have learned from their mistakes will discover how to evolve relationships in a productive way, day by day, and thereby develop great partnerships.