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Why A Signed Agreement is the Starting Point (Not the Finish Line) In a Partnership
“Just getting to a signed agreement is a baby step.”
The real work begins after an alliance is formed and the partners go market together.
Bob Schwartz is the Senior Director of Global Alliances at Veeam Software, and he is focused on execution and getting results across the finish line. Bob understands the importance of getting deals signed, but he knows that a partnership is ultimately only worth what can be measured in terms of executing results.
Bob has seen Veeam reinvent themselves several times over the years he’s been at the company. They are almost like a case study themselves; they’re constantly evolving in order to keep command of the marketplace.
At their core, Veeam aims to solve problems of data management. They currently have around 300,000 customers and add approximately 4,000 per month. The benefits that Veeam provides goes beyond just the tech industry as well; they have enabled huge power consumption reductions that have an environmental impact.
We caught up with Bob to talk about his team at Veeam, the importance of execution, and integrating sales teams in alliances.
“In terms of alliances, it’s critically important to our business to be integrated into the workflows of our partners.” - Bob Schwartz
The value that Veeam delivers (regardless of the size of client they’re serving) is a data availability option that’s unmatched within the marketplace. Bob and his team at Veeam want to extend their value beyond just core software; they want to provide solutions for their clients.
Veeam works with resellers like HP and Cisco, and they also have around 20,000 tech providers in the field. Unreliable technology can be incredibly frustrating, so the company was founded on a simple concept: provide technology that just plain works. To this day, the team at Veeam spends a lot of time spent QA’ing their products and ensuring their solution is up to their high standards.
“We don’t do it by ourselves. In terms of our go-to-market model, it’s 100% through resellers.” - Bob Schwartz
They’ve worked hard to earn the trust of their partners. They’ve learned that just because a company has industry leading technology doesn’t mean everyone wants to partner with them; they have to provide an enjoyable and fruitful partnership. Whenever joining with another partner, Bob and his team spend ample time drawing up joint solutions for success.
Bob is almost exclusively focused on execution. Many people believe that if they get to the handshake of the deal, the work is over. In reality, the relationship and partnership has only just begun. Bob doesn’t let the “photo-op moment” where the announcement happens trick him into thinking the battle is won.
Plenty of time can be spent planning, but it needs to lead to execution. Execution is easier to talk about than to pull off though. In the past, Bob has seen teams not dig quite deep enough in forming of partnerships and relationships, or neglecting proper alignment to get things done.
He takes the time to understand the joint value to customers that his partnerships provide; he knows how to leverage partnerships to bring the best out of both sides.
As Bob says, alliances and partnerships need to work through the good times and bad. There are times when both sides are going to argue, but hopefully most of the time they’re celebrating about the deals they’ve just closed.
“Just getting to a signed agreement is a baby step. The real proof is: ‘Can you be in front of a customer together?’” - Bob Schwartz
Bob knows that it’s key to have alignment across organizations and teams. He makes sure that both sides have the same metrics and that individuals are compensated in the same manner. Alliance management professionals have to be aggressive and work consultatively with clients, but the messaging has to be consistent across all teams.
Bob also knows that this industry is tough today because there is so much transformation and it is such a competitive space. For example, several years ago nobody really understood what the word “cloud” meant, but now there is a clearer picture of the term along with many different competitors in this space. He believes that alliances evolve to paint clearer picture for customers and industry leaders alike.
Finally, Bob has seen the power in getting people all together in one zip code at the conferences he’s attended. But the real value in conferences is after you leave. As an alliance professional if you can you talk about something of substance and drive into specific action, conferences can be a great use of your time.