Phoenix Rising Blog – Partner Lifecycle

Posted Monday, July 31, 2017 at 05:00 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

customer experienceWhen we talk about digital transformation, so much about it is about the customer experience. At a recent ASAP Tech Partner Forum, Tiffani Bova from Salesforce cited an example of how as a consumer, you might order a Starbucks, from your Tesla, through Alexa. When you drive up to pick up your coffee, it has already been made and purchased. All seamless, all automagic. What does that example say about how partnering is changing in creating these digital experiences? Obviously, it takes a fair amount of technology integration behind the scenes between the brands, but also an understanding of the customer experience in ordering a cup of Joe. The example also highlights the importance of choosing good partners who are meticulous about the digital experience. A bad experience will reflect poorly on everyone.

How are we Collaborating with Partners to Create a Compelling Customer Experience?

We also heard at the Forum that with such a fluid marketplace, relationships are perhaps more opportunistic.  Setting up strategic partnerships and waiting for the opportunities to come is a holdover of the traditional business model. You end up with the partners looking at each other, waiting for the other to bring on the customers.  Going back to the opening comments on how partnering is changing in the digital experience, partnerships need to be more agile, faster, and customer centric.  

Building the ecosystem around the customer, requires the whole company to evolve. It requires listening to the customer, more data on the customer, add in social media to understand the sentiment of the buyer. While customer centric companies have always put the customer in the center of universe, they still typically put themselves in the center when building partner ecosystems. The big technology brands may be in the cloud and not very visible to customers at all.  Building the partner ecosystem may start with asking the questions:

“Who has influence with the customer?” 

“Who is the trusted advisor?”

“Who owns the customer experience?”

It requires looking at the world from the perspective of the customer. With that comes the recognition that “partners are the customer experience” as asserted by Brook Cunningham from Splunk speaking on the Voice of the Partner.

How do you know if you got it right? One sure sign is Customer Advocacy. This goes beyond customer satisfaction with the initial deployment but a deep and lasting relationship with the customer.  This is a fundamental change in the customer relationship.  One company I worked for was once accused by a customer of ‘abandoning’ our products.   Drop ship was like drop and run.  In the ‘as a service’, business model this is not sustainable.  Recurring revenue means you need to earn the business every day because the business only becomes profitable over the long haul. 

Creating the best customer experience possible via an ecosystem of digital savvy partners is key to survival and success in the age of Digital Transformation. 

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Posted Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 06:00 AM by Deborah Henken

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 Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 08:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Alliance management is in many ways a young profession, yet there is a set of defined processes and practices that have been shown to be effective in creating and operating successful collaborations.   Research has shown that companies that approach collaboration through...

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Posted Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 07:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Do you have champions in your alliance? or do you have snipers and hostages? When I teach alliance skills mastery workshops, I often ask how much time managers spend on internal alignment.  That is winning the hearts and minds of the internal alliance stakeholders to gain their buy-in and...

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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 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 12:00 AM by Norma Watenpaugh

Aligning team members and stakeholders to support the work of an alliance or any business relationship can be surprisingly treacherous.  One would think that if the strategic intent and return on investment on an alliance is clear the rest falls into place.  Well, guess again. At PhoenixCG...

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Posted Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 02:28 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

I did a study three years ago of partner health across 14 strategic alliances and about ~400 respondents and found something very interesting about the nature of trust in alliances. We did a correlation of heath attributes against overall partner health. We found that when 'trust' was present it did...

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Tags: Alliance Management Best Practices, Alliance Strategy


Posted Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 11:17 PM by Norma Watenpaugh

What do you think of, when you think win-win? Most business people will interpret that as "I win and my partner wins". Unfortunately quite a number will behave differently: "win-win means I win twice!" This, as you can imagine, does not produce sustainable partnerships. Smart business people will...

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Tags: partnering, growth

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