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Formalizing alliance with product partners

We are formalizing our alliance program with our product partners and are looking for advice on how to quantify goals and objectives of the program. Do you think revenue objectives with product partners are attainable?

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Partnerships are generally easy to form and hard to make successful. A critical determinant in the success of partnerships is a common understanding of what each party hopes to achieve through the alliance. If revenue is a key component of a partnership that you are forming, which it typically is, then setting goals for revenue makes complete sense.

As to whether the revenue targets are attainable, that is a very different issue that will be determined by how seriously you take the partnership and what level of joint sales engagement you foster. At Onyx we have found that revenue goals can absolutely be attained but that attainment requires a lot more than just a partnership agreement. Key factors that affect ones ability to jointly deliver revenue with product partners include:

1. Is there a well articulated value proposition associated with the partnership that sales people can understand and communicate effectively?

2. Are there dedicated partner managers on each side of the relationship and do they have incentives that are directly tied to the revenue attainment?

3. Has direct contact between the two sales forces been established and are they supporting one another?

4. Does the sales force have clear incentives associated with generating revenue via the partnership?

5. Are there existing joint customers that can be showcased with new prospects?

6. How many other conflicting partnerships does each company have?

Many other factors can accelerate and increase the delivery of revenue from a partnership. The crux of delivering revenue, though, is dedication of time and concerted effort to the partnership across the sales and marketing organizations.

This was first published in September 2001

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