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Top Tips for Partnering with GSIs

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

In 2021 the European Chapter of WIA held a networking session where we discussed partnering with GSIs. I've partnered with GSIs across Europe for 10 years, but even better WIA's #TinaValand had some great input from working at #PwC for 5 years and recently at #Accenture. Nothing beats the direct experience of partnering at a GSI where you see the challenges that the GSIs have in managing all the partner requests that come in each day!

The top tips that came out of the networking session:

  1. Keep expanding your network. Contact those below and above your champion; reach into other silos/departments of the GSI.

  2. Get your Value Prop to the Market, and to the Partner right!

  3. Have a Partner Programme that meets the partner's needs and encourages its participation in closing leads.

  4. Have a tactical approach initially that generates revenue for both parties.

  5. When communicating make it short, to the point and relevant to the addressees' needs.

  6. Create a 'Partner Guide' (not the agreement) that is short and to the point that helps the partner to understand how to partner together efficiently

  7. Identify the difficulties in the partnership and discuss them openly to agree on how to fix them (using Mike's VST methodology is brilliant for this).

  8. Identity next steps and who owns them at each meeting; follow up on them.

  9. Identify timeframes for goals

In addition, Tina confirmed that generally there are a few typical GSI points of pain when partnering with vendors. It is a burden for the team when vendors communicate in a non-relevant manner. It is necessary to perfect a communication style where you highlight the GSI benefits of partnering with the vendor. Express the Partner Value Proposition. Other things that can create a partnering 'snag' are NDAs that are too long. They consume time and create a negative energy that you don't need at the beginning of a partnership.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, many vendors do not invest properly in the resources necessary to meet the demand of building/maintaining these large and important GSI partnerships. This can result in dwindling partnerships that fad into the sunset quickly, or very exhausted Partner Managers on the vendor side!

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