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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 140

February 23, 2022

#140 Amy Guarino: How to Choose Right-Fit Partners & Overcome Conflicts

In this episode, Chip is joined by Amy Guarino, Vice President of Customer/Partner Success and Global Alliances at Ironclad

Tech companies are investing in and building rapidly growing Partner Ecosystems. In today’s fast-paced industry, doing things alone and coming up with the ideal solutions for customers is really hard. Teamwork makes the dream work, and partner ecosystems are a must now.

However, not all partnerships sail smoothly, and conflicts are common. Partners may have different strategies, aims, and objectives from each other. In this episode, Chip is joined by Amy Guarino, Vice President of Customer/Partner Success and Global Alliances at Ironclad. She stresses on how to find the right alignment with partners and overcome both minor and major conflicts.

In this episode Amy discusses:

  • Choosing the right partners for Ironclad
  • Developing the perfect co-selling strategy
  • Overcoming conflicts and achieving success with partners

Choosing the Right-Fit partners for Ironclad

Before Ironclad, Amy was at IBM and Marketo and was often a vocal proponent in team meetings for focusing on partner ecosystems and automated workflow and operations. The experience allowed her to engage better with executives, focus on the marketing side of things, and use RPA or automated processes for specific use cases. This has helped tremendously in Ironclad’s Contract Lifecycle Management Business and exceeding its objectives.

Having in-depth knowledge about partner ecosystems, Amy focuses on the customers’ perspectives, their problems, and issues to develop Ironclad’s partner strategy. Most customer  implementations at Ironclad were being done in-house, and the company needed implementation partners who understood the data flow, the business operations and had experience in the legal domain. Elevate Systems, Mainspring, Psych, and Deloitte Legal were some companies Ironclad started partnering with that could bring that level of expertise.

The main focus for Ironclad when choosing partners is that they can help define an efficient contract process, get more data insights from contracts, and understand contract obligations clearly. Complimentary ISVs that offer additional capabilities to customer needs are also searched for, and Ironclad even helped Google understand contract texts better, extract information into metadata, and unlock a contract value.

Just like marketing ops, legal ops are rapidly rising, and the vertical has overseen an explosion of technologies, career opportunities, partners, etc. There are corporate attorneys out there who want to make organizations more productive and offer maximum value.

Developing the Perfect Co-Selling Strategy

During her time at Marketo, Amy watched a Geoffrey Moore video and took inspiration from it. The approach was something like this: a system of record, system of engagement, and the system of intelligence. It gives an idea of what is going on, use the available data correctly, and use automated workflows and intelligence to build ideal solutions for customers.

The starting point is talking with various customers, understanding their data, their processes, their future aims, their issues and problems, etc., to curate the co-selling strategy. Ironclad collaborates with partners to:

  • Look at customers’ business processes from a legal standpoint, check out their work templates, and think of ways to simplify them.
  • Look at contract clauses and identify ways to make things simpler for sellers.
  • Understanding customer needs helps identify the right partners but offering sellers proper visibility of the sales process is vital to co-selling. This helps in:
  • Identify the important deals.
  • Check what is needed to close a particular deal.
  • Check how close you are to achieving your monthly goals.

This type of connection between a partner and Ironclad offers added visibility and automation, making co-selling better for Ironclad, partners, and customers. To balance partnerships and focus on requirements, Ironclad has APIs in place so that companies can build connectors and integrate with Ironclad’s APIs.

This helps put together the right solutions quickly through the right people, processes, and technology. Amy’s approach is ‘Think Big, Smart Small, but Just Get Going.’ A vision must be there, but with evolving technology, getting the right personnel, correct data flows and processes, and combining all of this is needed to fulfill your vision.

Overcoming Conflicts and Achieving Success with Partners

Even though technology has made it easy for businesses to connect, it gets difficult to collaborate and get to work together for some partners. Taking things step-by-step is vital. Companies can load all customer opportunities and leads in a place where all partners can see them and understand the whole business process.

It helps businesses understand and enable partners’ strategy and operations. Starting with just 1 or 2 partners and starting small makes sure things don’t get overwhelming and success can be achieved by partners. Partnership is a rare skill, and to develop a good partnership, it is vital to understand that conflict and synergy are closely related.

Things are never 100% smooth sailing, and conflicts always arise. There are differences in aims, objectives, and strategies for partners, and sitting down together and figuring out common opportunities is important. Finding the right intersection between what a partner does best and what you can do best to solve customer issues makes partnerships work successfully.


In the podcast, Amy shared some valuable information about how to choose the right partners and develop effective co-sell strategies with them. Being a partner is not easy, and not everyone is made for it. Conflicts are always there, but only those partnerships become successful, which overcome issues and collaborate diligently to solve customer needs.

To know more about Amy Guarino and what she’s up to at Ironclad, you can follow her on LinkedIn.

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