A partnership between two companies is only truly great if it’s mutually beneficial.
In order for this to happen, both sides need to be honest and transparent with each other.
In bringing together experts on both sides into the same room, Bastian must always prioritize honesty. He doesn’t want to do a deal that doesn’t make sense for both partners.
His role is to set up the structure for how both partners will operate and to execute the shared vision for success with sales and marketing. Bastian also focuses on strengthening relationships with executives and jointly winning deals to boost morale.
In this episode of Alliance Aces, we spoke with Bastian at the SAPPHIRE NOW Conference about the most challenging part of his role, the synergies and overlap in responsibilities of partners, and the advice he has for those getting started in an alliance or partnership role.
The most challenging part.
While it’s easier said than done, building up real trust between two companies on every level is the biggest obstacle to overcome. This includes both the executive and operative levels.
Bastian has seen the most success in situations where people need to work together to win deals. Bringing in new people to view things from a different point of view and tackling new topics in relation to partnerships really gets Bastian excited.
Getting experts together from both sides of a partnership is difficult, but it’s also the most crucial and motivating part of Bastian’s job. It’s crucial because of the synergies and overlap of knowledge he sees when experts come together, and motivating because this is where he’s seen the most progress and best results.
He loves to share success stories where he’s seen people work better together than they do apart.
Next on the horizon for Bastian and his team is a focus on Blockchain and Machine Learning. While Deutsche Telekom is a German-based company — where the majority of their market is for now — they’re pushing into the Asian and US markets as interesting opportunities and solutions present themselves.
Honesty, synergies, and overlap.
It might sound old fashioned, but putting experts together in the same room has been transformational for Bastian’s business:
- Honesty and integrity are required to look into someone’s eyes to ask and answer difficult questions.
- Honesty allows partners to be efficient with their time and resources; they aren’t chasing down a deal that doesn’t make sense for one of the partners.
- Honesty allows partners to ask, “Is this something we can jointly work on?” and expect a truthful answer in return. It’s very possible that both sides could say “No, this deal doesn’t make sense.”
- Honesty helps partners gain access to the full amount of information available to make a realistic market estimation and a proper data-driven decision.
Putting experts into one room and taking off the gloves can be tough. It can get intense, but it’s fruitful. The most critical part to achieving this honesty is conducting the meetings face to face in order to develop trust.
Bastian thinks it might just be the German way of doing things, but getting people shoulder to shoulder, engaging in handshakes, and making eye contact creates an emotional aspect to partnerships. A deal has to make sense business-wise, but getting together in the same room to hash out the plan moving forward raises the stakes and pulls the human aspect of relationships to the forefront.
Bastian’s advice to anyone new to the alliance and partnerships realm is to, “Take your time and think about what your partner actually wants.” What are their emotional drivers? How can you build up trust?
Just like in a marriage, you have to understand your partner in every single detail. This doesn’t happen overnight — it takes time and sacrifices, but is worth the investment.
After you understand what your partner is looking for, the relationship really takes off when you show some joint wins together. Trust and honesty builds the relationship, but wins tighten it.
Closing deals together is an accelerator to building a long-lasting partnership that’s beneficial to both parties.
This post is based on a live video podcast with Bastian Schuetz. To hear this episode, and many more like it, don’t forget to listen and subscribe to the Alliance Aces Podcast, or visit our dedicated Alliance Aces page.
To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about alliances, he can be reached by: