Building an Effective Partner Strategy

Partners that add value to your company. Partners that work with your company on providing services TO your company. What’s the real value of these partners? You need to think beyond just the services or products they provide to you.


Companies engage with partners for one underlying reason: leverage. Vendors need partners in order to:

  • Scale marketing efforts. That is, get more leads with a lower cost of acquisition of said leads.
  • Scale sales efforts. That is, create an additional “sales force” without the inherent overhead in hiring salespeople directly.
  • Scale services efforts. That is, create a 3rd party ecosystem of providers who can implement your products.

And, these partners come in the following shapes and forms:

  • VARS, Distributors, SI’s, Dealers, Agents, and the like. Those reselling or providing services.
  • Those providing advice, implementation services, or similar offerings to clients of your products.
    And, they come in all different sizes and shapes, depending upon your product or solution and the niche you reside in.

I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, but I have been primarily talking about external influencing partners.

What about partners that are internal to your organization though?

Partners that add value to your company.

Partners that work with your company on providing services TO your company. What’s the real value of these partners?

You need to think beyond just the services or products they provide to you. And, frankly, it dawned on us the other day when a client, unbeknownst to them, said it directly to us.

The REAL value of an “internal” partner exists in the following:

  • They live in a unique microcosm that exists between you and the reality of the marketplace. They can tell you “how it is” and “how it should be done” in a plain and honest way. This value is unbelievably important because vendors often live in their own little world and can’t see beyond their borders. Partners you work with can!
  • These same internal partners are independent. They see and they bring experiences across a much wider swath of engagements, clients, and situations than a vendor could ever realize. Our client told us that they appreciate that we are independent because we bring to them best practices, best approaches, and best advice – all of which were tested via other clients. This speeds their routes to market. Don’t get me wrong, not all the advice is perfect for every client but it shortens the routes to success in every case. A great example is that a client was wondering what the best approach to creating a training program was and, because we are in this world we were able to articulate, in a fast manner, the right approach plus some other unique nuances that ultimately created a training program that resonated and connected to all parties – fast.
  • Lastly, honesty. The real value resides in the partner’s ability to be brutally honest at times – about approaches, about people, about what they think needs to be done. You just can’t get this 100% of the time from your people. You CAN get this 100% of the time from a good partner.

In today’s fast-paced marketplace, you can’t do it all yourself. You can try, but it will be more costly and probably won’t provide the ultimate value you are looking for.

So, establish your own internal network of partners for your company in certain areas. Just like you create leverage externally, you need to create leverage internally – to ultimately accomplish the same corporate goals!