Jean-Marc Vogel is a senior sales executive carrying several years of experiences particularly in the domain of Strategic Alliances. He successfully exerted his expertise over the years at Oracle, BMC Software, Mercury Interactive, HP Software, and CAST. Throughout these roles, he got several awards for Best Alliance Manager and Best Sales Results. He is currently holding the Director of Strategic Partnerships position at eNovance. At the same time, he is the co-founder, treasurer and honorary president of the French Association for Alliances and Channel Directors (Adalec).
This is part two of the interview that we recently had with Jean-Marc. Part one was published on May 3.
Q: In the first part of our discussion, we talked about the main ingredients and success factors for Strategic Alliances. Let’s now talk about the operational aspects and how to put in place partnership solutions, where to start from?
JMV: Operational steps include three major phases. First, you have the classical start period which is followed by a roll-out phase and finally conducting the meaning execution. I like to think of this in terms of a 90-day plan and have often applied this principle in my previous experiences. I split this 90-day phase into three, to accelerate the process with solid steps and to create an efficient operational model: First 30 critical days and then the 60-90 day periods. It’s all about developing your business in the appropriate way.
Q: The first 30 days is the start phase I suppose?
JMV: True. We focus on our understanding of the partnership. It is not only an approach to get the partner but do an in-depth examination of partner business to see their relevance to our business, confirm approach, determine viability, identify weaknesses and strengths. This way we can create a map to see the gaps and how we can fill in those gaps with our solutions. See also part one of our interview with Jean-Marc.
Q: What are the typical activities that you do in this phase?
JMV : In my head, there are always two streams in any of the phases. There is the back-end work that is happening within the partner, internal. And then there is the front-end work that is happening with the client. For the back-end work, we do our internal assessment of the partnership situation. For the front-end work, we work with the client to meet with key decision makers, define shared goals and do a forecasting of the opportunities.
Q: And for the 30-60 day period?
JMV: This is about rolling out what we defined during the 30 day period. We formalize the value proposition, contractualize, we do the alignment with their business needs, work on formal procedures and prepare our go to market. Make also sure to use a relatively simple system like WordPress for your first business website. Don’t make things overcomplicated! In parallel, at the back end, we work on refining partner portfolio, develop metrics and tracking, adjust the training programs and set-up tools to collaboratively use with the client.
Q: Finally the 60-90 day?
JMV: Fine-tuning of what we developed in terms of tools, packages, value messages, and opportunities. And then of course at the front end, we start reaching out to our customers and candidates, planning face to face meetings, participation to events, engaging in high priority actions and putting in place regular follow-ups such as quarterly business reviews. This last phase is more of a cycle that repeats itself where continuous improvement should be imposed. On a regular basis, you do the assessment of your partner success whether you are closing deals or not. If not, identify bottlenecks and implement improvements and add more incentives etc.
Q: That was very comprehensive Jean-Marc. Thanks much for sharing all of these with us. Any last words?
JMV: Thanks. The only thing I want to emphasize is that apart from what we have already talked about is to go step by step. You cannot reach a higher step before going through the early ones. If you do that, you will definitely miss some important points and it will come out at some point in time with some serious damage. Make sure to cover all of these important steps and phases!