#13: RJ Bibby: Building Trust in Partnerships
RJ Bibby is the SAP Global Alliance Executive at NetApp, and he likes to say he creates partnerships with purpose.
It takes a long time to build, but trust between partners can be lost in an instant.
It’s an emotional process.
RJ Bibby is the SAP Global Alliance Executive at NetApp, and he likes to say he creates partnerships with purpose. RJ knows the value of trust in partnerships, and it has led to the success he sees today.
We caught up with RJ at the SAPPHIRE NOW Conference in Orlando to learn more about connecting with strategic partners and what his team is up to at NetApp.
NetApp at SAPPHIRE NOW.
RJ wanted to make sure that NetApp was clearly differentiating themselves at the SAPPHIRE NOW Conference. He wanted to demonstrate that they are a true data management company that excels in giving customers choice in the cloud.
It’s a common theme in the industry that everyone wants content, so his goal was to show how his team at NetApp makes fun content. They were able to do a series of interviews with industry leaders like Google and Microsoft that gave great perspective on the market. This content showed the impact that NetApp is having on those partners.
But they didn’t stop having fun there. They also threw parties at the conference (including a trip to Topgolf) that allowed them to interact with their customers in a social environment. Connecting on a personal level in a fun environment is crucial in the process of building trust, and it’s a tactical element that RJ works on every day as an Alliance Executive.
RJ believes that his secret sauce in creating strong alliances and partnerships is through building trust.
It’s built through doing the little things and asking the right questions. He often asks: “Are we helping our partners do their business more efficiently?” “How are we aligning our goals and expectations?”
RJ has found that he often can leverage existing relationships and partnerships to find more opportunities. By simply treating existing customers with respect and the right level of care, he’ll find himself in conversations where his company is being referred to new potential customers. It’s just good business to treat people well.
The power of partnerships helps RJ determine where to strategically move next. Sharing information and trust leads to more deals and exponential gains for everyone.
RJ is friends with several competitors, and conversations with them help him get a better view of the market. They are not sharing any privileged information; they are just friends swapping war stories, but he values demonstrating trust and integrity with his competition as well.
RJ knows his role allows him a platform to not only build relationships with customers and partners, but to help his community as well. Philanthropy efforts build trust too, and he is constantly trying to teach others at his company these principles and act upon them himself.
While watching the keynote at this year’s conference, RJ had an emotional moment: he realized the importance of being kind in partnerships. He wants to bring that back to his day to day role, and is excited to see how kindness and selflessness will build more trust with his partners.
RJ is constantly looking at his pipeline and ensuring his salespeople have all that they need to close deals. He looks at all of his regions, from global to local, and asks, “What do the salespeople need from our internal solutions team?” “What other partner systems exist here to make their jobs easier?”
But RJ’s priority is taking SAP workloads and moving them onto the NetApp suite of offerings. This leads to the production and consumption of licenses, and is vital to what the SAP team at NetApp is looking to accomplish.
For a lot of technology partners, SAP licenses are sold first. Then these partners figure out how to put them into production and what type of technology they’re going to put them on. The role of infrastructure comes in after this process, and NetApp is looking to capitalize on that.
RJ is looking to gain as much market share as possible to help customers with what NetApp offers, and there’s a large market to go after. Customers want choice in managing data — it’s critical to their business. SAP and NetApp have moved to where their core is data, and they are well equipped to help customers solve their pain points.
None of these priorities can even begin to be addressed until there is trust between partners, so RJ and his team at NetApp continue to build that trust every single day.
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