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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 155

December 1, 2022

#155 Richard Wrbanek: Start at the Top

Richard Wrbanek, Vice President of Strategic Partners & Alliances, Americas, at OpenText, joins Chip Rodgers on this Ecosystem Aces episode. Chip ...

On this episode of Ecosystem Aces, Chip Rodgers is joined by Richard Wrbanek, Vice President of Strategic Partners & Alliances, Americas, at OpenText.

Chip and Richard discussed the future of sales, explicitly elaborating on topics such as:

  • The "Cloud Age" with Hyperscalers
  • Creating Flexible Partnership Programs
  • Alignment during the Transition Phase
  • "Start at the Top" Co-Selling
  • Co-Selling Progression

The "Cloud Age" with Hyperscalers

With COVID, hybrid and flexible working environments have become commonplace, making cloud technology the priority for customers and partners alike.

Richard explained that he's seeing a major "uptick" in cloud adoption among OpenText's hyperscale partners. Because of this, OpenText has created a strategic alliance with Google to get their core content service on the Google platform and workspace.

"We've always been, “where does the customer want to go?”. Let's make sure we're not a hindrance to that plan," Richard said.

Richard also saw how the transition into the cloud age affected some of their partners.

Historically, distributors, resellers, and co-sell partners used to do everything from selling software to maintenance contracts. But in today's market, the revenues tied to these co-selling tasks are gone and are adopted into different models with different margins.

Creating Flexible Partner Programs

In order to create a successful partnership program in the current market, Richard shared that it’s essential to see things from your partner's perspective. Since the market is expected to bring a dip in revenue, OpenText's approach to this dip is to align the management, partners, and customers in their operations. And most importantly, to ensure that their partners retain their competitive edge by leveraging their identified specialties.

"The first thing we've done is looked at what we can do to ensure that [partners] stay competitive in the market, that they're still able to get the resale in, and win these deals as we move to the clouds," Richard said.

Despite the dip due to the market volatility, these are the best times to be creative on their model and create more flexible partner programs.

Alignment during the Transition Phase

Because of its partner's initiatives, OpenText is continuously working on expanding its models to provide new revenue offerings. OpenText looks at every deal individually, and each has to benefit the company and its partners. OpenText’s main objective remains–to keep their partners' revenue up.

However, with the market more challenging than it was before,  the transition to the cloud has created significant margins of change, creating a domino effect on their partnerships, revenue, and entire business model.

"Start at the Top" Co-Selling

"Co-selling from the top" is a leader-to-leader or CEO-to-CEO collaboration, which is sure to trickle down within the partner organizations.  With the leaders’ buy in, trust is fostered down the organization.

"It takes years to earn [trust], and it takes one deal, and all is questioned. That's one of the things we should manage through," Richard shared.

OpenText's co-sell model relies on the tight connection with their partner's sales teams to create a ‘co-sell push’.  Richard describes this strategy as ‘divide and conquer’ on opportunities and that support fosters a certain level of confidence among their partners. "The partner can walk in feeling confident. OpenText is with us. We're in this together," Richard said.

This high-level involvement enables partners to take over certain matters, while OpenText focuses on other pressing concerns about the deals.

Co-Selling Progression

Word of mouth has a lot of weight in continued growth – successful deals prompt other partners to explore other potential deals. There are rare occasions when it feels like "the stars aligned" for one particular deal, but most of the time, successful deals are repeatable.

"Nothing strikes a partnership like success. One big deal gone well will have a global impact, and we see that time and time again," Richard said about co-selling progression.

Scalability comes down to checking the sales process and the entire business flow of successful deals. From there, you can extrapolate another story and see what it means to customers. Use cases like this which have already been verified to work and entice partners to work on joint solutions.

Wrapping Up

Richard believes that a partnership should make sense for both companies for it to be successful. If a partnership is good for OpenText and poor for the partners or vice versa, then the partnership makes no sense.  

Ultimately, partnership boils down to looking after one another. You should "look after the partner first," and when every partner is aligned–the sky's the limit.

You can follow Richard Wrbanek on LinkedIn to learn more about Richard and stay updated regarding his work at OpenText.

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