In the absence of good data, we look to trusted systems of record to see if we can’t put together a story regarding partnership success. CRM or PRM (Partner Relationship Management) systems, deal registration, or marketing automation tools – we built these systems to keep track of our sales and marketing activities, right? While they do work on one or the other side of the partnership, we use spreadsheets because we have to connect two different companies’ systems together to find a single source of the truth, or what we call a single pane of glass for managing the partnership.

But partnerships that are strategic are not single threaded; going to market with partners in 3D means that we’re focusing on joint solutions, joint selling, and joint marketing – a bunch of tabs on the spreadsheet. Add to this the extra complexity of trying to keep track of partnerships that are global. Big reveal: nothing happens globally except that global teams building programs, content, campaigns, etc. with hopes that they’ll stick when they hit the regions. We’ll need even more tabs in the spreadsheet to keep track of what’s going on regionally. I think you get where this is going. We have to automate alliance partner management if we have any hope of achieving visibility, accountability, and scale.

Partnership by Spreadsheet

Fortunately, Alliance Go-to-Market Technology – or AGT – tools and processes can rescue alliance management from this nightmare and can bring strategic alliances back to their rightful place in C-suite and boardroom conversations.  However, it all starts with the understanding that partnerships need a single source of truth or system of record to guide the key activities – joint solution development, co-selling, joint marketing – that form the basis of all strategic alliances.

When combined with alliance specific workflow, permission-based access, and other shared services across the partnerships, the system of record becomes the driver of an entirely new approach to managing strategic alliances. And no surprise, we don’t need to use spreadsheets anymore, we can automate the end-to-end alliance management process to orchestrate, operationalize, measure, account, and scale strategic partnerships.

What kind of results might we expect to see? When SAP & Intel decided to use Workspan, a leading provider of Alliance Go-to-Market Technology, to drive one leg of their strategic alliance (joint marketing), they experienced some pretty phenomenal results:

  • From 85 To 168 campaigns per year
  • From 60% To 95% funds utilization
  • From 8x To 24x ROMI (+$100M revenue impact).

And that’s just the beginning.

Recognizing the critical importance of strategic alliances and the associated backwards spreadsheet management model that’s in place almost across the board, organizations are waking up to the necessity of automating strategic alliance management or leaving a bunch of money and competitive advantage on the table.