How to make a Product Partnership successful: 7 things you can’t afford to ignore

Following on from my article on the importance of Product Partners and how they help software organisations increase revenue, I was asked what to do once you’ve identified a potential software partner. How do you make that partnership work?

There are no hard and fast rules and every Product Partnership will be different. However, here’s my checklist for getting a successful Partnership off the ground:

1. Business Alignment

You need to define a strategic mutual vision of success for the parties involved outlining how each can leverage the strengths of the other. You have to be brutal here though and include looking at how any partnership might adversely affect your business in the future.

2. Business Planning & Governance

A business plan that clearly states missions, objectives and revenue goals is essential, and must be reviewed at set time intervals to make sure this strategy remains relevant and in line with your company’s priorities.

3. Contracts

Contracts should be put in place to agree the type of relationship, responsibilities, mutual risks, rewards, payments, service level agreements, branding guidelines and rules of engagement.

4. Technical Interoperability

Customers need to feel confident about the commitment of both companies behind their joint solution, so you’ll need to work with your Partners to ensure and communicate that both products and/or services work seamlessly together.

5. Executive Engagement

Senior Executives within partner companies are key influencers so it is imperative they are on board with the partnership vision and regularly communicate the overall alliance goals.

6. Marketing

Strategic consistent communications, internally and externally, will need to be conveyed throughout the alliances. Your partnership should create a joint Value Proposition unique to customers which will be promoted through marketing content.

7. Sales & Compensation

When working with Partners, each party involved will need to determine who in the sales teams gets rewarded and how they get compensated. Your sales teams need to be well-versed on the collaboration with a consistent message; they need to be equipped with the necessary tools to effectively verbalise and demonstrate the partnership.