In a world where business landscapes are marked by economic uncertainties, organizations are reevaluating their strategies almost daily. The dynamic nature of these changes has spurred the need for innovative approaches to growth. One of the most profound shifts in recent times has been the rise of a partner-first growth strategy, a concept that prioritizes partnerships for driving long-term growth for businesses.
Companies are acknowledging the power of indirect sales in these uncertain markets, as exemplified by Dell Technologies' recent announcement, which quadrupled the number of their partner-led accounts while concurrently announcing a layoff of direct sellers. Rola Dagher, Global Channel Chief at Dell Technologies, noted:
“We can win more often – and faster – when we work side-by-side with our global partner ecosystem. With 99 percent of our customers and potential customers deemed as partner first for storage, we’re very clear about our intentions to embrace the channel.”
The data driving decisions like Dells and others are underlined by Jay McBain's assertion that a staggering 73% of the $4.7 trillion technology market is partner-led, and over 90% is partner-assisted. These numbers are undeniable indicators of the impact partners have in multiplying the selling force of vendors.
The logical evolution for businesses is to transition into partner-first sales strategies, where collaborations are not merely an afterthought, but a pivotal cornerstone of growth. But how?
What is a partner-first strategy?
At its core, a partner-first strategy signifies a philosophical shift in how businesses approach partnerships. It's about fostering relationships that transcend transactional benefits, aiming for a strong, strategic alliance that uplifts both parties. Partner-first doesn't imply a mere alignment of interests; it entails a shared vision, common goals, and a commitment to mutual success.
In a practical sense, a partner-first strategy requires organizations to prioritize partnerships across all facets of their operations. From sales and marketing to product development and customer service, the partner's role should be elevated and integrated seamlessly into their operations.
Rather than considering partners only as secondary conduits for sales, they become integral contributors to your entire value proposition.
How to build a partner-first approach
A successful partner-first strategy begins with clear communication and a shared understanding of objectives. Partners should be aligned with your company's mission, vision, and goals. And, they should be briefed on their role in growing your business. This alignment ensures that everyone is moving in the same direction, optimizing efforts for maximum impact.
Direct strategies that can support this transformation include:
- Joint business planning: Collaborative business planning is the foundation of a partner-first strategy. This involves co-creating business plans with your partners, setting mutual objectives, and defining strategies to achieve them. These plans should outline roles, responsibilities, success metrics, and expected outcomes, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment.
- Coordinated go-to-market strategies: This may involve joint marketing campaigns, co-branded collateral, and shared lead generation efforts. The aim is to combine forces to reach a broader audience and maximize market penetration.
- Enablement and training: Empowerment is key in any partnership. Providing partners with the necessary training, resources, and tools ensures they are well-equipped to represent your brand effectively, whenever and wherever they are with on-demand resources. Learn more about partner enablement here.
- Mutual accountability and incentives: Both parties should be held responsible for their commitments and contributions to growth. Design incentive structures that reward joint and ecosystem-wide successes, fostering a sense of partnership-driven achievement.
- A culture of continuous improvement: A partner-first strategy is not static. Regular feedback loops should help partnership leaders identify areas for improvement and growth. This iterative process ensures that your ecosystem evolves and adapts to changing market dynamics and customer needs.
Towards the future of partnerships
As businesses navigate the complexities of the modern landscape, the concept of a partner-first strategy emerges as a beacon of collaboration, communication, and cooperation. The insights shared by Jay McBain and industry leaders at Dell reflect a broader sentiment permeating the business world – the realization that partnerships are a potent force multiplier in today's interconnected market.
A partner-first strategy is not just a trend but a paradigm shift that recognizes the power of strategic alliances in driving long-term success. It's about building bridges, transcending boundaries, and harnessing the collective strengths of partners to achieve unparalleled growth.
As the journey into this new era of partnering unfolds, businesses that prioritize partnerships will stand as pioneers in the evolving landscape of 2023 and beyond.
Ready to put partnerships at the forefront? Get in touch today to see how Impartner's partner relationship management platform can accelerate your ecosystem growth!