Home Articles Partnerships, Alliances in the Cloud, And What Makes Them Effective

Partnerships, Alliances in the Cloud, And What Makes Them Effective

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By Marcus Cauchi of Sandler Training

The recent tie up of Oracle and Salesforce.com (see here for article) got me to thinking. On the surface this is about tying up their technologies but underpinning this is something else which hasn’t been factored into the mix, which is that both these companies sales forces are trained in and use the Sandler selling system. Now I am really curious to see how having a shared sales methodology and philosophy behind their sales is going to affect their growth and the rate of customer acquisition, assuming they can make the technologies play nicely together.

I’m curious to learn about other partnerships like Oracle and Salesforce.com‘s in the Cloud space, and how their salespeople, managers and engineers play nicely together. Certainly the history of IT is littered with partnerships and tie ups which failed to deliver on the expected results. And I am curious about the implications for vendors who sell via the channel, and the impact not having a cohesive sales methodology is affecting them and their clients?

..the history of IT is littered with partnerships and tie ups which failed to deliver on the expected results.

From CIOs I’d like to understand how having partners with differing selling methodologies affects your ability to get a good understanding of what the partnering organisations are offering and how well or badly they communicate what they offer to you and your teams? Do they focus on the technology and the IT team or have they spread their influence across your organisation, and especially are they engaging with the right executives, influencers and users in your business?

I am curious whether you see these kind of partnerships becoming more prevalent – and what you consider to be the defining factors that will ensure in the EXECUTION they are successful? On paper and at the strategic thinking stages many ideas regarding tie-ups look good but when it comes to execution they fall far short of expectations.

…teams where the leadership fails to speak with one, clear voice, tend to become very political very quickly.

In my experience, teams where the leadership fails to speak with one, clear voice, tend to become very political very quickly. A crack at the top of an organisation turns into the Grand Canyon by the time it reaches the front line troops and it becomes full blown political warfare. If they aren’t cohesive and they don’t communicate what is expected clearly you can be sure there will be as many versions as those who heard or read the policy or decision. And they will take their perception to their teams and so on. In this tie up as with any, the leadership can be united and be clear, but it is essential to keep reinforcing that clarity (common purpose, common language, shared cultures, aligned compensation schemes, aligned management, shared targets and key must-win accounts, sharing of intelligence and contacts etc) so customers, staff, suppliers and commentators don’t become confused or feel there are mixed messages or intent coming from either or both parties.

And the final element that my experience tells me is essential is that both management teams repeatedly reinforce and practice what they are aiming to achieve with their teams at home and together before they go into meet the prospects. What is interesting here is we teach a rule that “When on a joint sales call, only one person talks”. That means the other doesn’t! 2 on 1 is intimidating, so this needs to be managed very carefully and the battle of egos doesn’t take place in front of the prospect, and to ensure they avoid the embarrassment of feeling like you have to interject because the other salesperson is too weak to do their job right.

2 on 1 is intimidating, so this needs to be managed very carefully and the battle of egos doesn’t take place in front of the prospect,

If you are a CEO, manager or owner and you are considering a tie up or partnership, I’d be very curious to learn what pitfalls you have experienced in the past and what you can do to prevent them so that such alliances work from the outset? How will you avoid making the same mistakes with the next partnership? And what are you doing to prepare your sales force so that they go out and deliver the added value the partnership is able to offer customers, instead of getting in the way of the sale.

I have a couple of clients independent of one another whom I introduced from IBM and Imtech; they work well together precisely because they do the preparation and make sure they speak the same language. They don’t fall over one another or let their egos get in the way and they both smash target routinely wherever they are working. And they have common sales philosophies and systems. In working with a couple of the Salesforce.com and Oracle partners, I have noticed a major shift in their performance. In one case, they were able to go from startup to £3m annual run rate in 12 months and after 18 months they sold for $8-figures by partnering and one major factor in their success and exit for cash was sharing their sales methodology.

Where do you see the best opportunities for tie ups in the market based on compatible and related technologies over the next 12 months [and] why?

Where do you see the best opportunities for tie ups in the market based on compatible and related technologies over the next 12 months? Why? Are their selling methods compatible or effective? And what about marriages made in Hell, the ones that won’t work out? Which ones do you predict will crash and burn or worse, fizzle out and die a slow painful death?
Has this sparked any other thoughts on why and how Cloud vendors can extend their reach and market share by collaborating?

Marcus Cauchi runs Sandler Training in London. He lacks the milk of human kindness you’d associate with nice trainers because no one hires him to be their friend. They hire him to drive up sales and eliminate ineffective and bad selling and sales management habits. Working with him is rarely a pleasant experience, it’s tough and it’s expensive. Call him and you’ll know why. 0203 427 5133 or 07515 937221.