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How to Grow an Ever-Expanding Network of Partners
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: No technology company goes to market alone.
Taylor VanderZanden is the Global Partner Sales Manager at Intel Corporation and part of the strategic partners & solutions team. She manages an ever-expanding network of Intel’s partners.
In terms of her day to day role, Taylor works closely with Intel’s independent software vendors and global system integrators. She is constantly analyzing Intel’s position from a global logistic standpoint as well as from a partner relationship standpoint.
Taylor is helping partners identify key growth areas in AI and analytics so they are constantly on the cutting edge of current technology. Part of the fun of Taylor’s job is seeing older partners adapting to new technology and newer players leading the way in innovation.
We spoke with Taylor in this episode of Alliance Aces about Intel’s goals, challenges in the alliance space, partner stages, and how Intel grows their partner network.
Taylor knows that Intel flourishes together with partners and that they literally cannot go to market alone. One of Intel’s goals is to put their best foot forward in terms of aligning key metrics whenever they are meeting with a new potential partner. They’ve seen first the importance of goal-setting in getting all partners to where they need to go.
This often involves a combination of aligning hardware, software, and services. They all need to go to market together in a unified manner in order for Intel and their partners to be successful. You don’t buy something Intel off the shelf, so this company is completely focused on their alliances and partnerships; Taylor is an integral part of this mission.
“We’re really looking at how we can better manage these alliances. How do we get the most out of these partnerships between us? How do our partners get the most out of it?” - Taylor VanderZanden
Taylor is constantly getting exposed to new ways of working with partners because she deals with companies that are in very different stages of maturity. One challenge she’s had to overcome is figuring out how to cater to partners who have been working with Intel for an extended period of time versus new partners who have just joined the team.
This includes rethinking the onboarding process for new technology, accounting for a company’s growth rate, and many other areas that can be difficult to measure.
Some partners are companies that have been around for decades, and some are brand new startups who are still crafting their messaging. Taylor also sees some partners who are in between these phases; they are beyond their messaging and they are now working on their go to market strategy.
For each partner, she uses different account management styles. Taylor likes to step back and ask for each client, “Where are they at now and where do they need to go?” This can involve helping a company along in the incubation stage and guiding a team with account planning, but it always involves looking at a partner’s long and short term goals together as a team.
Taylor loves the problem solving aspect of her job. There is not a one size fits all approach for each of her partners because every company and industry is different. She likes to say that you can try to put generalized model in place, but in reality you need to be able to pivot and adapt quite quickly.
Taylor’s planning for 2019 is already in full swing. One of the biggest items on the calendar is Intel’s partner conferences which are running from March through May next year. Each month the conference will be held in a different region: North America, Europe, and Asia.
These conferences are an amazing opportunity for Intel’s partners to work with Intel, but often more importantly for partners to meet and work with each other. Intel is constantly seeking further expand their enormous network of partners. This is one of the biggest tools they use to ensure that network continues to grow year after year.
Intel believes in this system because they know that different partners have different pieces of the go to market puzzle. The more partners available to them, the better opportunities they have to share their expertise with others and to learn from partners who are best in class in their own field.