As a sales leader in a tech startup building a new market, it occurs to me how important it is for our customers to choose the right partners. With trends like BYOD and innovations such as cloud resulting in huge changes and new challenges, most customers are overwhelmed with keeping up, addressing new challenges, and yes, vendors hounding them.
And, with so many vendors—large, internationally-recognizable brands to smaller startup players—many outstanding technology companies are struggling to stand out. Unfortunately, that means customers are failing to find great solutions to their problems.
For many customers, the solution has been research. Ignore the noise and figure it out for yourself.
A noble approach for sure, but wouldn’t it be great if someone could do the research for you, at no cost and with the knowledge of what others are doing?
Welcome to the promise of a strong partner in today’s burgeoning technology ecosystem.
Qualities of the Perfect Partner
Recently I stood in front of an audience of 30+ “potential” Druva partners. As a vendor, we were looking for specific things:
From a start-up perspective, we need influencers to help us lead a conversation with prospective customers. Then it occurred to me, customers need influencers too.
As I rattled off the statistics. . .
. . . I realized the value of a great partner, not for Druva, but for our customers.
For you as the customer, the power of a great partner is NOT to tell you what you already know. You know you have risk every time an employee walks out the door with their laptop or logs onto your network with their tablet or smartphone. That is a given.
The real partner promise is information… free, informed information. You need a consultative resource who takes the time to learn about new technologies; sees what other customers are doing; has the vision to incorporate best practices; and knows how to deliver those solutions back to you without a lot of time wasted.
As I stood in front of these partners, I realized these are the guys that are willing to dedicate half of their day to do research on behalf of their customers. These are the guys who are willing to invest in being more knowledgeable. These are the guys who are thought leaders; they are technically savvy; and they want to be valuable to you. Equally as important, they see how customers just like you solve these problems every day.
Let’s face it…you are not alone in handling these challenges. The mobility train has left the station and it is full steam ahead. You can discover the right solution by emulating others. A good partner can bring you the right perspective from others in your industry or simply others dealing with the same issues.
My point is that we as “the vendor” need the same thing as you “the customer.” You don’t want to spend hundreds of hours doing research and listening to every vendor pitch. I don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars searching for new ways to get your attention.
If we both do the right thing and demand the right things from our partners, we can meet in the middle, meet in the “Channel.”
It is a wise investment for both of us, as long as we demand the right contribution from the partners we choose.