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Global alliance management invites complexity. Multiple sales teams, cross-cultural concerns, value propositions, differing visions …. The list of challenges alliance and ecosystem managers face is nearly endless. But Aslam Jamal pointed out 5 issues every alliance manager should avoid.
Aslam Jamal is the Sr. Director for Strategic Alliances in the EMEA at ForgeRock, where they are securely managing over 1.5 billion identities. His experiences and education have led him to numerous countries, where he’s managed strategic alliances for Cisco, McAfee, ForgeRock, & Sinfic. This blog post is taken from his #AllianceAces podcast interview.
Here are the 5 pitfalls every global alliance manager should avoid:
#1: Not Serving Multiple Customer Needs
Different clients and customers will require different levels of service. ForgeRock does no implementation, so they only work within partnerships, where an SI deploys ForgeRock’s access management system.
Some clients want to deploy the infrastructure on the cloud, others need SIs to manage the system, and other clients have the capabilities to manage it in-house.
Regardless of which route customers take, Aslam keeps a robust ecosystem of partnerships who can handle the varying degrees of service.
#2: Weak Joint Value Proposition
If you are going to market with a joint solution, nothing will kill your alliance faster than a weak joint value proposition. At the beginning of a go-to-market strategy, everyone must be clear on the joint value proposition. And, this joint value prop must absolutely rely on all parties for a competitive advantage to exist.
If any party can sell to the client with or without the other alliance member, no competitive advantage really exists. In this case, sales teams end up competing, and conflicts of interest arise.
You can create less chaos by creating a uniform joint solution. This is where the competitive advantage and sales team synergy lies: In this model, you can leverage the power of multiple sales teams to reinforce one value proposition and a true competitive advantage.
A joint value proposition:
Creates a true competitive advantage
Creates simplicity for the client
Maximizes sales opportunities
Creates stickiness with your client
Creates stickiness with your alliance members
#3: Missing Opportunities Within Your Ecosystem
Always be aware of complementary systems available within your ecosystem. In some cases, from partnering with SIs, ForgeRock has discovered that their alliance member has a complementary, marketable technology. This discovery has led to joint solutions that have gone on to become product offerings.
#4: Lacking Cultural Intelligence
Aslam has traveled … a lot. He’s worked in different countries around the globe in Switzerland, the UK, the US, India … you name it, it’s on his resume.
Here’s what he knows: The success of a partnership is dependent on revenue, and revenue is dependent on people working together. So, cultural intelligence is very important for global alliance managers, and it can be easily underestimated.
Some cultures are more sensitive, some are more relational, some do deals over dinners, some are more straightforward, etc. The point is to have cultural intelligence to maximize your relationships.
#5: Forgetting the Client
As with any business, you first need an offering, which is a partnership is the combination of the capabilities of all partners within the alliance.
Next, you need a few clients to test the offering.
Once clients test it and want to buy it, then you have an alliance
Alliances are tough.
We get it.
That’s why we’re on a mission to create a community for alliance professionals.
Check us out at AllianceAces.com, where we’ve invited thousands of alliance professionals across the globe to share their best-practices, ask questions, and collaborate on alliances, ecosystems, and partnerships.