Phoenix Rising Blog – Collaboration Strategy

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 12:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

How do you engage when your partner is strategic to you – but you are not strategic to them.


 My partner thinks of me as a suppplier, or a channel, or 'fill-in-th-blank.' How do I become a strategic partner?  This is a common refrain from startups and small companies wanting a relationship with a big dog in the industry or even product companies seeking to work with global consultants and systems integrators. So how do you become a strategic partner?

Many times I’ve heard this asymmetrical partnering called “dating a super model”.  I often say to these guys “I know why you want to date a super model, but why would she want to date you?”  Quite frequently, they have not thought through the complete partner value proposition.  

The partner value proposition is a three way win: How do you together create value for customers? How do you create value for your partner? And LAST, how do you create value for your company?   Your benefit in  partnering is probably obvious to you, but unless you can create strategic value for customers and your partner, don’t expect to be treated like a strategic partner.   

So what might this look like?

1. You have a unique product/offer that can create a strategic advantage and will generate new business for your partner.

A company known for big data analytics found that by applying their technology they could save companies in the oil exploration business millions of dollars per drill head through more accurate targeting.  This was a compelling proof point in working their data warehousing partner who needed to sell tangible business outcomes to clients.

2. You can reduce your partner’s costs or risks in the business. 

A power distribution and conditioning company teams with a large technology company in reducing data center setup from 6 months to 9 weeks.  This has clear value to customers and partners in reducing risk and cost in the deployment.

3. You have access to a customer segment that your partner does not.  

A large technology company was seeking to develop the Criminal Justice market, but had very little presence.  Most of the technology companies serving that market were small, less than $5M with limited resources.  Many of the founders of these small niche companies had been in law enforcement in previous lives and had great contacts and reputation within the community.  The large company brought a brand name and marketing and sales resources to the game while the niche companies brought access and expertise.

4. Partnering with you offers your partner a competitive edge.

There is nothing sexy about middleware and it is difficult to sell.  By demonstrating that application middleware could reduce development time by 60%, a software company was able to create partnerships with app developers who typically bid fixed-price, value based projects that enabled them to win against competitors that typically bid based on hourly billing.

In other words in order to be considered a strategic partner, your contribution has to the partnership needs to have a strategic impact on your partner’s business!


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Tags: strategic partner, alliances

Posted Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 06:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Do you Have the Right Channel for your Future?The Buyer's journey has changed in the past few years.  Has your channel strategy kept up?  Have your partners?  How are you transforming your channel to address how buyers buy? How is your channel changing to keep up?Here are some facts about...

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Tags: channel strategy, digital transformation, buyer's journey, transforming the channel, channel of the future

Posted Friday, May 13, 2016 at 03:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

TALKIN' SMAC AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION Author: Hobart Swan | Published by: CCI Global Channel Management, January 2016 Feature Let’s start off with a definition. The Altimeter Group defines digital transformation as “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and...

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Posted Friday, April 22, 2016 at 05:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Is IOT Ready for the Channel?We’ve been hearing IOT is coming; IOT is coming for some time.  The fact of the matter is IOT is here.  GE announced that they saw $6B inrevenue in industrial IOT this past year, 2015. Others Amazon, Google, IBM, even the US government have also announced...

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Posted Monday, May 25, 2015 at 01:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Partnering Strategies to Accelerate Growth in the Internet of ThingsFor some time we’ve been hearing that Internet of Things is coming.   Well it’s here!There are many examples that we probably don’t think much about.  Beyond our personal devices: smart phones, watches...

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Tags: By one estimate IOT will represent $14T of new value creation by 2020 with 50-75 billion devices connected.

Posted Monday, April 27, 2015 at 09:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Well, IMHO yes and no.I’ve been working for some years with the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) in creating standards for collaboration. And I frequently get push back. “No two relationships are same.”  “Each is special in some way.”  ...

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Posted Monday, September 15, 2014 at 09:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Partnering Return on Investment is often quite attractive since the investment in a partnered initiative is shared.  In other words half of the resources or costs are on your partner’s balance sheet.  There are other organizational advantages as well which become apparent when a build...

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Posted Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 09:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Creating Business Value for CustomersCreating a competitive edge is crucial for all businesses and can be achieved through alliances. Alliances can also be a defensive measure in countering a competitive shortfall such as a gap in a company’s product line. In our research we found that creating...

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Posted Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

The definition for an alliance is when two (or more) organizations combine their resources to create new value that could not be (easily) achieved by either party alone. Innovation is often described as the process of combining disparate ideas to create something new and in today’s business climate...

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Posted Monday, August 11, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Market Impact embraces those strategies that are aimed at growing the businesses of the allied partners. It includes strategies such as entering new markets, gaining a market share position, and generally expanding the capability to gain new customers. The top five selections of our best practices...

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Posted Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

The Strategy of AlliancesAlliances in the technology sector are overwhelmingly evaluated based on revenue and for good reason. They deliver incremental revenue over above business as usual. However, revenue is a lagging indicator and does not provide insight into whether the alliance is achieving...

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Posted Saturday, November 30, 2013 at 08:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Every organization has a unique culture as a result of the norms, values and accepted behaviors that are held within the community.  People are often unaware that they do function within a company culture. However, when they begin to work closely with another company culture, they become aware...

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Tags: Collaboration, corporate culture, partner friendly, alliance management

Posted Friday, November 15, 2013 at 08:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Collaborative competencies are a distinct set of skills that effective alliance professionals have in applying the processes and practices described in the previous blog but collaborative competencies also include many ‘soft skills’.  The softskills are ironically the most difficult...

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Tags: Collaboration, competencies, alliance management

Posted Friday, November 12, 2010 at 03:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Alliance Management Practices: Performers and UnderperformersAll business managers, not just those managing alliances, have been challenged with navigating a stormy economy. We had to make decisions on where to cut back, how to to make the best of diminished resources, and still achieve targeted business...

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Posted Monday, August 23, 2010 at 09:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Is your company partner friendly? Or is every attempt at collaboration an uphill battle? I heard one partner manager describe her partnership with one company as “hand-to-hand combat.” Another partner manager described his partner as “infested with partnering antibodies,” --...

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Posted Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 11:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Launching new website turned out to be much more of an involved exercise than I imagined. In this day and age, the website is the face of the company and so a new website caused us to rethink the business, the practice areas, and the positioning of PhoenixCG for the future.  Since the founding...

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Posted Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 11:52 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Innovation takes many forms.  We often focus on innovation as technological breakthroughs and indeed those are important to fuel corporate growth.  But there are other forms of innovation which can be just as powerful and just as disruptive to the status quo in creating strategic competitive...

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Tags: alliance, Collaborative innovation, competitive strategy, innovation, partnering, partnerships, value creation

Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 05:52 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Certification assures Collaborative Capability: Taking Partnering to the Next LevelI was fortunate to be featured in an interview for the Marketing Thought Leadership series with Linda Popky, Marketing Master and recently named one of Silicon Valley's Top 100 Women of Influence.  In this podcast...

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Tags: alliances, collaboration, collaborative capability, partnering

Posted Monday, October 12, 2009 at 02:50 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

One area in which social media is gaining traction is support services.When you combine partners in an interactive forum they become a self-help community.When you add customers to the mix, your partners become very competitive in demonstrating their expertise to the customer base.The result is...

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Tags: Social Media, self service communities

Posted Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 04:38 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Findings from a Survey Conducted by Phoenix Consulting Group, June 2009Well, arguably yes and no. Some technologies that might be labeled early Web 2.0 were in pretty widespread usage. Others such as Twitter are caught up in the tornado. Some, such as MySpace, already seem to be in decline.Blogs...

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Tags: social media, partner marketing, ecosystem management, partner ecosystems

Posted Monday, October 13, 2008 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

Strategic alliances are often viewed as a strategy for growth and perhaps not always a strategy for economically challenging times. But many of the reasons that make strategic alliances a good idea in good times make them an even better strategy for uncertain times. What are these reasons to partner...

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Tags: strategic alliances, importance

Posted Friday, April 25, 2008 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

The April meeting of the Silicon Valley/Norcal Chapter of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals featured a panel discussion on Coopetition. It turns out to be as hard to pronounce as it is to do. The panel often struggled with every verb and noun form of it: Coopetive, co-opeting. It...

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Tags: alliances, cooperation, competition

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