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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor—Effectively Employing the Breadth of People in Your Alliance

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson, Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2016

To maximize the value of an alliance, it’s important to effectively employ and appreciate the full mix of participantsfrom your sidekick partner to the trainer and sponsor in the background.  That was the focus of the session “People, Process, Culture: Building a Winning Alliance Program” at the 2016 ASAP Global Alliance Summit, “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Eco­system,” at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland. The discussion was led by three individuals who built highly successful collaborative programs from scratch: Joe Havrilla, senior vice president and global head of business development & licensing, Bayer Pharmaceuticals; Gerry Dehkes, CSAP, global cyber ecosystem lead at Booz Allen Hamilton; David Erienborn, CSAP, director of strategic alliances at KPMG. During the session, they spent a considerable amount of time plying the question of how to create a thriving dynamic between your alliance team, partners, and even ex-partners. 

Joe: At the end of the day, the strategy is about people. Microsoft and KPMG are not going to do anything, since they do not exist other than in our heads they are not going to do anything. You only have the beginning of a strategy until you have taken your strategy from the company down to the people. People come into work not to execute a strategy; they come in with their own strategy. So how do I align their strategy to our best interests? In some cases, you also may need to work with the ex-partner.  If you understand ahead of time where you are in conflict with the other company, you can design a way of working together. 

Gerald: Here’s the approach we took, which is the secret sauce of this particular alliance program. Typically an alliance director will talk with partners and service leaders, and then bring in sales people. We realized the benefit of 10-20 alliance managerswith each trying to get to that sales forceand decided to take that part of the organization and organize it around the industry groups. Really position the alliance enablement person, and they would have only one person to go to. We found that to be very effective, those folks became part of the team. They decided strategies, winning alliance-based offers, they would always be there for that industry. That model helped us become successful. It’s that last piece that’s criticalgetting those alliances out to sales-facing people. 

David: It’s important that training people understand what they are trying to accomplish. If you can translate alliances at a company level down into the mind of the educators, and that this whole alliance is to get them to do something, they become aware of the importance of training to do something. It’s important for them to know this is the strategy. How do you set this up so they get visibility and appreciation? You need to make the training people a winner. 

Joe: You need to know the difference between sales and revenue, understand what margin is, and understand that finance people will be called on for estimates. If I include them from the beginning, I am a lot more likely to get their support when I need it. Another group that is important to your alliance are the sponsors. I’m an advocate and agent, but not the sponsor. They can bring resources to bear and spend time on building relationships. The alliance should be one of their top four priorities for their year. They have to be someone who can really step up. There aren’t any sponsor schools, they’ve never been trained to do it. We need to help sponsors understand what their job is, invest time in it, determine who can be a sponsor, and make sure they have the training to do it. 

Gerald: You need to define the elements of value that all the partners are looking for. It’s not a specific part of the agreement or financial transaction, yet it’s a strongly held expectation of the partner. If you don’t clarify that up front, you wind up being surprised. If there was an expectation that was discussed earlier, but you never codified the agreement or the people responsible for executing the agreement, then you have disconnect and conflict. It’s important that somebody is capturing the expectations. The other tool that is helpful upfront is to do a partner fit as part of due diligence. When you start with a rigorous checklist approach on partner resources, decision process, internal policies and procedures, you can mitigate conflicts down the road. 

David: Trust is predictability. I don’t trust my 15 year old to drive a car because I can’t predict. So we do a lot of trust building. As you get more of your people out there dealing with partners, you have to educate them and give them the boundary conditions, not to restrain them, but you want a consistent approach. You want enough leeway to solve problems. You don’t want to inhibit them from creativity, but you want predictability. 

Tags:  agreement  alignment  alliance team  Bayer Pharmaceuticals  CSAP  David Erienborn  Gerry Dehkes  Joe Havrilla  KPMG  sales  sponsors  strategies  strategy  Trust 

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Engaging Peer-to-Peer Roundtable Sessions Become Popular New Central Feature at ASAP Global Alliance Summit

Posted By Cynthia B. Hanson & Ana Brown, Monday, March 14, 2016

Fostering opportunities and tools for peer-to-peer learning is one of ASAP’s goals, and that concept was well-integrated into this year’s ASAP Global Alliance Summit with several popular roundtable sessions. The feedback has been positive so far on the two roundtables, which quickly became an active format for sharing at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. 

Following the “ASAP Quick Takes” talks, the first roundtable session provided participants with the choice of 17 valuable, timely topics connected to the broader “ASAP Quick Takes” theme of “Partnering Everywhere: Expert Leadership for the Ecosystem.” Participants chose between 26 different discussion groups facilitated by thought leaders from ASAP’s membership. Topics ranged from “Strategic Alliance Management across the Enterprise” to “Knowing with Whom to Partner Now” to “Quick Take ‘Hot Takes:’ Seeing Around Corners.” Look for an upcoming blog item on the second engaging roundtable session that took place the following day: “Alliances around the World: Cultural Roundtables,” facilitated by Philip Sack, CSAP, ASAP Asia Collaborative Business Community, and co-presented by Guarino Gentil Jr., CA-AM, Merck-Serono; Subhojit Roye, CSAP, Tradeshift; Andrew Yeomans, CSAP, Merck-Serono. 

I randomly selected a group at the ASAP Quick Take Roundtables led by Donna Peek, CSAP, director, partner enablement & operations, global alliances & channels, SAS on “The First 100 Days of an Alliance” and watched a lively, relevant conversation unfold. Peek, who also is ASAP’s vice-chairman of the executive management board, dynamically led the group, drawing out ideas and fostering engaging conversation as the participants ramped up their communications into active sharing. “The train is already barreling down the track and you are trying to adjust and redefine,” she said, while jotting down a checklist of what an alliance manager should be focused on in the first 100 days that looked something like this: 

  • Identify critical stakeholders
  • Identify executive governance
  • Define frameworks
  • Find good fits for the collaborative team
  • Make sure everything is included that needs to be in the contract
  • Clarify strategy and scope
  • Make alignment part of the term sheet process 

This last point, offered by Ana Brown, project manager, strategic alliances, Citrix, so captured participant attention that we thought her idea worth sharing as an example of how helpful and practical these exchanges can be. Brown offered to write up the idea for a larger audience. 

#Termsheetlove: Bringing Back the Term Sheet
By Ana Brown

The use of a term sheet has been a longstanding precursor to any agreement. With busy times, and changing alliance leaders and teams, sometimes such processes are left behind.

If you find yourself having multiple conversations with your internal stakeholders, all at different times, redlining your partner agreement—sometimes for months. Finding yourself thinking, “Oh my gosh, that call was so long ago I can’t remember what the issues with the agreement were in the first place,” then this recommendation is for you.

Bringing back the term sheet with some easy steps will help you: 

  1. Gain alignment with all your internal stakeholders before going into the agreement process.
  2. Cut the lead-time to fully executed agreement more than half (months for some of us)! 

First, work with your legal team to come up with the best term sheet template (and get buy in from your internal stakeholders that the term sheet will answer most, if not all, of the questions they may have on any potential partner agreement).

Next, complete the term sheet after completing your business plan and receiving buy in from your business unit and partner. Alliance leaders fill out the term sheet (deal exec summary and details) and simultaneously circulate it to the internal stakeholders so that they all know.... (Example of stakeholders include: channel operations, revenue recognition, legal, GEO VPs, etc.—anyone who needs to know the deal is coming.)


Alliance leaders then schedule a kickoff call with stakeholders to review the term sheet, receive stakeholders’ approval to the term sheet (email approval is okay), and are then ready to move the deal to agreement and work with legal to execute.

Ta-da! You just made a bunch of friends by creating internal alignment and cutting the lead time to fully executed agreement in half.

#Termsheetlove - spread it forward :)

Tags:  agreement  alignment  Ana Brown  Andrew Yeomans  ASAP Global Alliance Summit  ASAP Quick Takes  collaborative  Donna Peek  frameworks  governance  Guarino Gentil  leadership  Merck-Serono  partnering  peer-to-peer learning  Philip Sack  scope  stakeholders  strategy  Subhojit Roye  term sheet  Tradeshift 

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