He has a long list of alliance experience credentials, including HP, as the director of their Microsoft enterprise alliances, and at Thomson Reuters as VP of Strategic Alliances.
On this episode, he gave 3 questions every alliance professional must ask themselves before going to market with a joint product or solution.
1: Are We Truly Synergistic?
Ultimately, the joint product or solution you are representing must satisfy the customer above and beyond what either party could accomplish on their own.
2: Do We Both Understand How We’re Going to Move the Needle?
Are you both on the same page of how the joint solution or product is going to impact the market? Further, both parties must also have a game plan in place to measure the actual outcomes against the desired outcomes.
3: Are We Aligned Internally?
This is especially true at the executive level. When you are aligned internally, even if you misjudge the market with a particular product, you will have the fortitude to double down on other initiatives.
Conversely, even if you are aligned externally with your solution, but your internal teams aren't aligned, your product may never get off the ground. Something as simple as commission issues with SDRs can easily derail a joint product.
How to Balance Conflict Inside Alliances
Conflict can arise inside of every alliance, even the well-aligned ones.
Here are a few tactics on conflict resolution within alliances:
Remember that in a good alliance, there is some competition.
As the alliance professional, remember to advocate for both sides.
Consider your team: Just because someone is a product expert or an expert salesperson, they may lack the diplomacy skills necessary to sell or market a joint product or solution
How the Cloud Is Affecting the Future of Alliances
The cloud is attracting a lot of attention these days. From his view, here’s what Stuart sees happening:
Hybrid is here to stay: Many businesses who have gone full-cloud, have come back to a hybrid setup with their data, often for security reasons.
The cloud increases the need for alliances: More and more as technology progresses, businesses want to be approached at the same time with all the functionality and integration available.
1-Piece of Advice to Anyone Considering Alliances as a Profession:
Flexibility, and credibility.
You can overcome a lot of issues with these 2.
First, understand that the ground shifts beneath you, … and often. One day the partnership is floating along perfectly, and the next, your leadership announces a new product that your partner doesn’t feel benefits the alliance. Secondly, continually build your own credibility. Problems will come — that’s a given. But if partners trust you, your alliance won’t crack under the weight.