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Panel Shows Off Updated Research on Go-to-Market Alliances

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 20, 2014
Originally posted on 3/5/2013

This afternoon at the 2013 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, a panel led by Norma Watenpaugh and including Jay Chitnis and Nimma Bakshi showcased the most recent iteration of a survey of go-to-market alliances. In “Making It to Market: The Latest Research on How to Optimize Go-to-Market Alliances,” Watenpaugh, founding principal of Phoenix Consulting Group, and her two panelists presented the 2013 Research on Best Practices in Go-to-Market Alliances, updating a 2010 study on the same subject. Chitnis, director of business development and alliances at Isilon, an EMC company, and Bakshi, senior director with PwC Corporate Advisory Services, were part of a steering group along with Watenpaugh and others that designed and implemented the survey.

Alliance professionals from 95 companies in 23 different countries responded to the survey, many of them via social media.

For Bakshi, the results of the new survey show an “affirmation that innovation is valued at the executive level, along with evidence that many companies are taking a longer-term approach to alliances and showing “resistance to the dollar-tomorrow view.” To Chitnis, the study shows just what a high-performing alliance partner looks like, as well as how patient senior management is toward alliances.

In the new survey, the top 22 percent of companies reported that their alliances exceeded or “greatly exceeded” expectations. The study also showed something about what differentiates the outstanding performers from the others. Overperforming alliances tend to recognize the full value of alliances, not just revenue. Outperformers also measure more metrics, at least a few more in each category, such as strategic outcomes and sales closure—new customer wins, market share increase, increased sales closure, and vertical market penetration.

“Alliance managers need to know and be able to show that they have a legitimate reason to be part of the strategy conversation,” said Bakshi, reflecting on the survey’s significance. “You really have to be able to speak to someone at the strategy level,” Chitnis agreed. And while alliance managers may not be as numbers oriented as financial folks, they still need to articulate a “crisp, clean strategy” for executives, partners, and customers, he said.

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