Marketers versus Partners
You’re in a room with 60 technology vendor and partner representatives, with a no-holds-barred remit to make the deal of the century. What would you do?
It’s exactly what happened at the latest Channel Meet Up event, held in Google UK’s prestigious Town Hall.
Instead of the usual conference approach of presentations, they brought in Jim Wallman from Past Perspectives, a strategic gaming company, to create a scenario where attendees could work together and explore possibilities that they don’t get the chance to in the real world.
The fun part? To make deals with competing teams in an environment where anything was possible.
The real deal? To create a platform for networking and conversation in a world where digital, mobile, and other technology advances – instead of connecting us – have in fact created a disconnect. Today it’s all too easy to hide behind social media, email and IM, but a lot of insight can get lost when we don’t get together in a room with our peers – and competitors – once in a while.
The purpose of the game
Gamesmaster Jim Wallman put the attendees into teams with the task of creating a fictional company and strategy. With this done, the teams had to go about setting up meetings and making deals with the other teams.
For the marketers in the room, it was about creating tempting offers to bring partners on board with. For the partners, the objective was to get as much value as possible from the vendors.
So, what’s possible in a room where anything is possible?
Amidst the laughter, joking and out-of-this world deals, some fundamental learnings became clear.
Remember the basics, reap the rewards
- • Trust | The importance of building an open and honest relationship between vendors and partners was clear. The scenarios where either party changed what they were asking for when the deal was near final, were those relationships that broke down.
- • Reliability | In close relation to the point above, reliability beyond the deal was also key. Staying fair and maintaining good levels of communications after the contract is signed is vital.
- • Strategic fit | In choosing the right partner, it was agreed that sharing strategic goals is key – with the same corporate vision and similar direction for growth.
- • Desired outcome | Deciding your goal before going into big deals is another critical step that can be overlooked. Do you want to go big with one company, or spread yourself wider and build lots of smaller relationships? This is where you can learn from your peers.
Strategies used on the day
- • Widen your view | Don’t just focus on the big fish in the partner world, or those established names. You could cut a more beneficial deal with the start-ups and smaller partner organisations which could reap dividends later as they grow. And because you helped them in the beginning, they’ll remember you later on (linking back to that important point of trust and reliability).
- • The right manpower | Make sure you have enough manpower to manage your relationships. Partners valued dedicated account managers, and the ability to keep face-to-face appointments – remember, communication is key.
- • Tiered benefits | It’s ok to offer bigger benefits and rewards to bring in new partners, and then reduce these in the second and third year of a relationship (as long as it’s not reduced to such an extent that the partner no longer gets anything from the relationship!). For example, a tiered MDF programme to kick-start new relationships (£50,000 in the first year for a key partner, £20,000 in the second year, and so forth).
So, how did it go?
Ok, so ultimately the game was a bit of fun. But it served its purpose in bringing people together to talk and share problems and solutions. As Olivier Choron of purechannelapps said, “we wanted to create a platform for networking, where you could talk and set up meetings, but without the formalities of a traditional conference. This was a great icebreaker.”
One attendee commented, “The issue is, we all think our challenges are unique. It’s only when you come to a day like this and talk that you realise we all have the same challenges. We’re too isolated today, we need to meet more as an industry to work together on our challenges, share best practice, and move forward.”
At twogether, we support vendors and their partners with better digital marketing. If you want to discuss your channel needs, give Alex Norbury, Commercial Director, a call on (+44) 1628 894 620.