This week, Walker hosted a group of channel partner leaders from 10 prominent high tech companies at a Customer-Focused Channels forum designed to dig in to the complexities of managing partner relationships. While we know that there are many relationships that deserve attention in the customer-partner-company "triangle," this event focused on the partner–company relationship.
One of the many topics that were discussed was how to build strategic commitment to a partner-driven business model – commitment both internally and from the partner organizations themselves. It was generally agreed that core to achieving this level of commitment is approaching the relationships with an attitude of "we" instead of "us vs them." True, partner relationships can be competitive at times, but that makes it all the more critical to establish clear ground rules for the part of the relationship that will be based on achieving mutually compatible business objectives.
Further discussion concluded that the best relationships are enabled by elements such as coming to partners with a business proposition that is focused on their objectives, having executive-level conversations that elevate the partnership beyond "today’s deal,"and making the administrative side of the relationship as easy and "resource light" as possible.