If I were to briefly sum up my learnings from years of experience in building channel partnerships, it would be much simpler than you might imagine:
If it takes a long time to explain the value of the partnership to either party, it’s likely not that valuable to them. And if it seems too complicated to understand the concept of the partnership, it will be an exceptionally difficult one to execute.
Ultimately, measurable and scalable success comes not from two executives agreeing to an idea, but the ability to honestly mobilize two different companies with distinct plans to move toward a common goal. And when you can inspire two discrete organizations to have aligned objectives and goals and row in the same direction, look out, because it’s both unusual and virtually unstoppable.
The best business partnerships are formed when each side trusts the other to deliver on their promise, and when there is a very clear value proposition for all parties involved. So it should come as no surprise that great products and great teams are at the core of every company that has built a best-in-class channel program.
Adaptive Insights is no exception to this rule. And I’m very aware that my personal success and our team’s success in attracting the highest-quality partners is directly tied to our exceptional product, and to the high-quality, high-character people whom I have the privilege of working with every day. Integrity, in the end, is the core value upon which all the rest will build.
Simply put, you can’t attract great partners unless you’re a great company in all three phases – product, team, and culture. Such companies value continuous innovation in order to solve customer pain points. These companies have a culture built on customer success, and they are defined by very large groups of loyal and passionate customers. We’ve all experienced what it’s like to interact with a business in which folks are happy to be there and are committed to giving you a great product and a tremendous experience. That combination certainly determines where I get my coffee, shop for clothes, or buy insurance. And in the world of B2B, it also determines the types of business partners you can attract.
Our partners have been invaluable contributors to our global expansion and increasing market reach, particularly over the last two years. They are extensions of our salesforce, implementers of our solutions, and worldwide ambassadors of the Adaptive Insights product and brand. They’re the kind of people and professionals you want standing behind and representing your solution, and they’re the kind of highly-successful partners that only highly-successful companies can attract.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned during my years of building business partnerships is this: To get the very best partners, you need a rock-solid team that is committed to supporting them and a solution that delivers on its promise. I’m fortunate enough to be supported by both.
Carolee Gearhart, is a member of the prestigious list of The Channel Company’s 2015 CRN Channel Chiefs. The influential executives on this annual list represent the most powerful leaders in the IT channel who hold responsibility for driving growth and revenue for their organizations through their indirect channel partners.
Gearhart, a two-time CRN Channel Chief winner, has led the biggest partner ecosystem in the cloud CPM industry with more than 200 partners for Adaptive Insights.