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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 166

January 20, 2023

#166 Adnan Khaleel: New Markets, New Ecosystems

Joining Chip Rodgers on this episode of Ecosystem Aces is Adnan Khaleel, Senior Director, Head of Business Acceleration & Ecosystem at Intel ...

Joining Chip Rodgers on this episode of Ecosystem Aces is Adnan Khaleel, Senior Director, Head of Business Acceleration & Ecosystem at Intel Corporation.

Chip and Adnan discussed the best practices for partnering with large tech companies and exploring new markets, specifically elaborating on the following topics:

  • Challenges for Tech Companies
  • Investing in New Markets
  • Balanced Perspective in Partnerships
  • Go-To-Market Process
  • Aligning Goals and Processes in Co-selling

Challenges for Tech Companies

While other companies partner with specific ISVs, tech solution providers, or go-to-market partners, Intel is entrenched in many industries, giving them a large group of potential partners. 

Having a broad range of partners brings its own set of challenges. In order to manage the broad range of opportunities, Adnan believes that it's important to create not just operational processes, but synergies in working with partners. 

The key to handling many partners is ensuring that everyone is aware of the company's roadmap. This way, their partners can create services on top of their existing solutions. 

Currently, Intel is working on its Integrated Device Manufacturing 2.0, allowing them to build incredibly rich ecosystems with IFS and FAB companies. 

Investing in New Markets

While exploring new ideas and markets, Intel still refers to basic business metrics– TAM, SAM, and SOM. The company also prioritizes the largest market potential where they already have an advantage,  such as AI, quantum computing, and tech industries.

Despite all of these metrics, new ecosystems can still boil down to a unique partner idea that can't be defined in terms of TAM and SAM. No one will ever know for sure if the idea will fail or if it will build a hundred billion-dollar market, just like what Intel did 40 years ago when they jump-started the microprocessor industry.

According to Adnan, in cases like this, companies must immediately lay the groundwork for something that's not immediately profitable with the belief in the idea and the success it could ultimately bring to the company. 

Balanced Perspective in Partnerships

In the tech business, partner solutions should always be based on studies on demand and macroeconomic analyses, and most importantly, investments should be made with due diligence.

Leaders must have a balanced perspective and explore other market strategies, such as partnering with companies already in new markets or through acquiring them.

However, it is not all about our own company when working in partnerships.  Companies must consider what they bring to the table and how they help their partners as they build their partner programs.

Go-to-market Process

Adnan shared his experience with Dell in discussing the best go-to-market strategies. According to him, most companies want to partner with large companies to scale their business. It's difficult to determine the right partner or set of partners for the solutions.

Companies don’t want to create partnerships with companies that eventually end up as competitors. This is especially true for companies like Dell, with many overlapping partners.  However, it's essential never to unseat an existing partner to accommodate another. The best way is to bring in both partners in, and let the customer choose between the two.

It's also best to partner with companies with some “skin in the game” as they will be motivated to create marketing materials, implement sales enablement processes, and execute selling strategies to ensure a successful go-to-market.

Aligning Goals and Processes in Co-selling

Co-selling can be challenging, so it's crucial to align company goals with your partner's product vision to avoid disagreements, especially when interacting with customers. 

Intel's approach to co-selling includes integrating solutions experts into their sales team. A salesperson can only articulate so much about the technologies, especially for companies like Intel, with three dozen constantly changing products. Solution experts empower sales teams by knowing the details of the services and solutions and, most importantly, the customer pain points it addresses. 

It's also imperative that companies create a partner marketing campaign to generate qualified leads. It could be as simple as a three-question survey that makes it easier for the sales team to transfer the leads to the solution experts but there should always be a demand generation tactic included.  

Wrapping Up


Some of Intel's most successful and longest-running partnerships are from those companies who were persistent and continuously came back for potential co-selling opportunities.  

In his experience with Intel's broad range of partners, Adnan said that it all comes down to knowing the thought processes of partners and working together towards a common goal.

Follow Adnan Khaleel on Linkedin to stay updated on his work at Intel Corporation.

Links & Resources

To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about modern partnering, he can be reached on TwitterLinkedIn, or send Chip an email at: chip@workspan.