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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 141

April 9, 2022

#141: Brian Allison: How Partners Help You Handle Your Biggest Challenges

Brian Allison, Vice President of Global Channels and Alliances at Snow Software, joins Chip in this episode of Ecosystem Aces. In this episode, Brain ...

Brian Allison, Vice President of Global Channels and Alliances at Snow Software, joins Chip in this episode of Ecosystem Aces. In this episode, Brain and Chip engage in a deep discussion about how partners can help you overcome your biggest challenges, regardless of how big your business is.

This podcast details how partners ought to be categorized, how partners can help business leaders productively scale up their organizations, and how partners and customers are at the crux of any company’s success. 

Brian discusses:

  • Categorizing Partners
  • Partners and Tackling the Challenge of Scaling
  • Customers and Partners: The Keys to Success

Categorizing Partners

Snow Software’s robust partner program focuses on answering this key question: what is the purpose of partners? For bigger, well-oiled companies like Cisco, it isn’t much of a challenge to integrate partners into their strategy and overall business model. Outside of that realm, however, it becomes a trickier question to answer. 

There are different versions of what partners can contribute to a business. Being upfront with the leadership team and creating the explicit goal of investing in partners is one step in properly allocating partners where they’re needed. The question of partners and their capacity within a company can only be addressed and then implemented from the top-down. 

Additionally, it’s important to analyze what the role of a partner is in a partner program. Categorizing partners to then ultimately place them where they need to be requires a deeper look into how the partner serves the customer (and not exclusively looking at the partner’s business model). Customer success is the ultimate goal. Seeing how successful the customer is, as well as affirming what the partner ought to do, are just a couple of the necessary steps needed to place partners where they need to be. Doing so will maximize customer satisfaction and reliably secure revenue streams.

The best results from working with partners comes when partners are an integral part (and in the right part) of a business model. Building up a business model based on the principles of coverage, capacity, and capability, all while properly utilizing partners’ skills, guarantees that trust is built within the partner community. Doing so results in companies being better equipped to navigate challenges, no matter the circumstances. 

Partners and Tackling the Challenge of Scaling

While partnering is undoubtedly very important to the success of any organization, it’s not uniform across the board. Partnering at a small level looks very different from partnering at a large level. There are rare instances of companies (“unicorns”) that can scale from zero to a billion dollars with everything dialed in the first time. Most companies, however, don’t follow the same trajectory. 

Most companies have to make a conscious transition that involves a significant alteration in a business model or business strategy. It’s not strictly a “partner decision.” Rather, it’s understanding how to effectively shift a business model to then appropriately involve the right type of partner. The appropriate shift stems from both having a firm grasp on what the customer wants and knowing what steps need to be taken to allow for the customer’s success. 

Beyond working with customers, part of the conscious transition involves some level of company introspection. Knowing whether to continue a business decision by oneself or to invest in a partner all depends on the caliber of scaling and what the end goal is. Furthermore, as an organization grows and as partners become more intertwined, change management is required. Ensuring that leadership members are fully bought into partners and their benefits can significantly improve business performance and make scaling even easier. 

Customers and Partners: The Keys to Success

Whether it’s working in a small startup or a massive corporation, success largely stems from taking the time to sit down and listen to customers. Being a part of a customer-driven company requires some level of face-to-face interaction with the customer. Customers can tell you where the market is going and what the keys to success are in working with them. Recognizing the wants and needs of the target customer segment can allow you to appropriately scale up and dominate the market. 

The same sentiment applies to partners. Partnering is an overarching component of business, covering everything from product to go-to-market. Partners, given their pervading nature, can’t succeed unless they’re meaningfully integrated in every part of the company. Collaboration, maintaining a respect for others, and having everyone on the same page are just a few crucial components of maintaining a “one-team monitor” for partners and the organization as a whole. 


Whether an organization is in its first years or if it’s been around for decades, partners at any level can serve as a valuable resource to help businesses achieve their goals and hit their revenue targets. Partners can only do so, however, if organizations invest the proper amount of time into adjusting their business models to maximize the partners’ utility. Taking this action, along with appropriately communicating with customers and striving to be customer-oriented, will set any business on the right track towards success!

To stay updated about Brian Allison and Snow Software, you can follow him on LinkedIn.

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