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13 December 2017 | Phil Brown

No vendor is an island

“No man is an island” wrote English poet, John Donne, in the 17th century. Well if he’d been writing in the 21st century he could also have written that “no vendor is an island”, because it’s increasingly true that the success of any vendor depends on the quality of their eco-system, as much as the merits of their product portfolio.

Delivering complete technology-based solutions to customer challenges typically relies on the combination of multiple discrete products and services, and the interaction of numerous players within the value chain – infrastructure providers, service providers, ISVs, distributors, integrators, MSPs etc.

That’s why it’s important that vendors can not only communicate their own value propositions; they also need to be able to explain how their products and services combine with the offerings of their partners to deliver a more comprehensive solution to customers’ problems.

For this reason, increasing numbers of vendors are investing in structured programmes to help them build joint value propositions and go-to-market plans with their key partners. They are recognising that it’s by working more collaboratively that they can generate real value from their channel and alliance relationships. In highly competitive markets, where true product differentiation can be hard to achieve, it’s often the partner relationships that are the source of real distinctiveness.

At OneGTM we’ve done a lot of work in the last few years helping vendors develop joint propositions and go-to-market plans with their partners. Examples include the partner engagement programme we developed for Symantec, the three-way vertical propositions we built for HPE and Scality, and the joint proposition development and go-to-market planning we’ve done for the Equinix channel.

From our experiences we know that joint proposition development and planning can be a valuable process that enhances both partners’ go-to-market activities. However, this only happens if both parties are prepared to invest the necessary time in exchanging insights and ideas, and exploring different options to work out how they can really create additional value for customers by combining their respective offerings.

If a joint proposition consists of nothing but two company’s logos on a page with a tenuous link to some claimed top-level benefits, then it’s probably not going to have much impact – either internally or with customers. But done right, it can be a powerful exercise which builds mutual understanding, engages and motivates stakeholders, reveals new areas of opportunity, generates new initiatives, and drives greater sales success.

If you’d like to discuss with us how we can help you build more effective joint propositions with your partners, please contact us.