📖 Read: How to understand the context of your organizations
1️⃣ Company Structure & Company Stage
2️⃣ Business Model and Core Activities
3️⃣ Internal Stakeholders
4️⃣ External Stakeholders
5️⃣ Market Environment
6️⃣ Operations & Product Fit
Depending on your company stage different goals and strategies will influence your partnerships.
- Do you want to push your own brand or focus technology and allow white label?
- Do you require direct customer feedback to keep developing your product or have you reached a stage where you can work with reseller or OEM partner that own the customer relationship?
- Does your market require still market education or is your product or category already well known?
- Do your investors ask for direct control on scaling marketing and sales activities?
(Source: Hans Peter Bech, Building Successful Partner Channels)
Questions to answer
In which stage is your company?
What is your funding stage?
How would you specify your market?
How do you market your product?
📖 Read: Why the business model strategy influences your partnerships?
It also will help you to decide which partner categories can best help you to grow you business.
- Do you prefer building your core technology yourself?
- Is its feasible to work with integration partners to add features?
- Would you like to focus on your product and partner in sales and marketing?
- Do you want keep directly selling to your clients, while increasing your sales reach through partners?
- Does is make sense to partner in some functions like operations and marketing?
📖 Read: Importance of internal stakeholders buy-in
📖 Read: What/who are external stakeholder?
You can differentiate the relationships with this participant into transactional and collaborative relationships. Participants with you have a collaborative relationship to are part of your Partner Ecosystem. Go through the list of all participants you have relationships with and evaluate how your partnership strategy would influence those relationships.
- Partners (existing)
📖 Read: How does the market environment influence your choice of partnerships?
- Market Demand: Before entering into a partnership, you need to assess the market demand for the product or service you will be offering. It is essential to partner with companies that cater to the same market demand and have similar target customers. Doing so will ensure the partnership is complementary and helps you tap into new markets.
- Competitors: The market environment is highly competitive, and partnering with competitors can be a smart move or a big mistake. It is crucial to evaluate the competition and the strengths and weaknesses of your potential partners. Partnering with a competitor can help you gain a competitive advantage, but it can also lead to conflicts of interest.
- Technology and Innovation: Technology and innovation are critical factors that influence the market environment. Partnering with companies that are technologically advanced or have innovative products can help you stay ahead of the competition and provide better products or services to your customers.
- New markets: Entering new markets is a common reason for businesses to seek out partnerships. Partnering with companies with an established presence in a new market can provide several advantages, including access to local expertise, networks, and resources.
📖 Read: Why it is necessary to check if your operations and product is partnerships compatible
It is essential to identify which processes and parts of your product are your core activity intellectual property to focus on. Partners can then be identified that excel (significantly better than you) in providing supporting processes or can deliver product features that you do not consider as your core product or would no be able to recreate on your own in a timeframe that meets the market demand.
- If you are a technology-focused company working with channel partners can help you market your products.
- If you are a sales-driven product or have a particular product focus you may look for product partner that co-innovate with you.
- No-/low-touch products: Self-service, affiliate, or referral partners
- Medium-touch products: Value-added resellers, system integrators, or consultants
- High-touch products: Managed service providers, strategic alliances, or joint ventures
Questions to answer
Can you outsource the sales process to your partners?
Can you provide sales training and marketing materials for partners?
Can you outsource fulfillment or service for customers to your partners?
Which service levels can be outsourced to a partner?
Do you need to make product adjustments to make your product “partner ready” (e.g. dashboard, user rights. customer management tools, api, documentation, …)
Do you require a knowledge base?
Are their processes/routines/services you do not consider your core business?
Are there parts of your product that you do not consider your core business but would improve your value proposition?