This not only increased the value of our solution to the customer, it also increased the perceived value of our solution in the eyes of the partner since we could help them solve a difficult customer problem. Identify and assign responsibility to product team leaders on both sides.These individuals will be the key stakeholders in building out this section of the plan. Make sure you document, at a high level, any work that needs to be done prior to going to market. Ensure executive sponsorship for ongoing product team meetings, on a periodic basis, to ensure ongoing alignment on the respective product roadmaps.Will both parties sell direct, via channels, or both?
Product teams need to share their roadmaps at the beginning, and in quarterly or semiannual meetings, to improve their respective products, ensure continued alignment, and foster innovation.
As an example, I worked with a large cloud infrastructure company to define potential product synergies.
It maps joint opportunities and joint accounts, identifying the relevant regional/named account and other sales teams that will work together at the local level.
(The pre-sales organizations will play a key role here; they are probably the most knowledgeable and can become the greatest evangelists in recommending the solution.) Change can be threatening, and the sales teams on both sides may look at this potential partnership with suspicion.
Increase the probability of success by actively working with team leaders early on, and documenting how the teams will work together.
Tip: · I find it’s better to work with the team leaders, in conference calls and video conferences, rather than sending them the draft business plan and asking them to fill in their parts.
This is where you will document your company’s imperatives, explain why they are important, and describe the activities that support achievement of those goals.
Then, do the same thing for your partner, with a focus on showing how their goals align with your company’s goals.
For example, let’s say your company has identified the gaming industry as a key market.
If you have a strong international sales organization, and want to be a dominant player in that market within three years, you can leverage your partner’s strength in gaming with yours in international sales: your goals are aligned and synergies can easily be seen. Keep it simple: you and your counterpart from the partner organization can simply identify the top 2-3 goals of your organization, and discuss areas of potential synergy. Work with your counterpart in the other organization to refine the value proposition. Spend time on the business case, which will form the basis for the value proposition; make sure this section fully explains how this partnership will benefit you, your partner, and (especially) your joint customers.