How We Look for a Good Fit: Part 2 in a 6 Part Partner Series

Read Part 1 in the series: Why Partnerships Work for Pro.
Partnerships can bring new and exciting ways to connect and create value for end customers.  Like any endeavor, discipline is key and partnerships are no exception.  You can’t simply partner with everyone who wants to partner with you.  You have to pick your spots.  Here’s how we find the right firms to partner with at Ekata: an objective, analytical approach.
We start with our PQI.  PQI stands for ‘Partner Quality Index’ and it is the first exercise we complete when evaluating whether a partnership makes sense for us or for the other firm.  We have five categories of analysis that we perform to build our PQI.
First off, organizational basics. We ask a few, simple questions.  If we answer ‘no’ to any of these, we know the partnership isn’t the best fit at the time.  We determine:

  • Do we have executive sponsorship (or a path to?)
  • Is the prospective partner financially sound?
  • Is there a joint path to profitability in the partnership?
  • Do we have a product to problem/opportunity fit?

Second, we evaluate the prospective partner’s operating environment. Here we look to see if there are either internal or external pressures that are persuading the prospective partner to implement our solutions:

  • Is there a new compliance requirement?
  • Does our data improve their market competitiveness?

Third, we look at the status quo. It’s important to know what is currently going on and how we are going to make a step change improvement by working together.  We look at:

  • Is there discontent with current solution providers?
  • Are the partner’s current customers unhappy with existing workarounds?

Fourth, we need to believe there is receptivity to new/disruptive ideas. What is the receptiveness of the partner’s customer/prospect base to the new value we believe we create?  To evaluate, we ensure that we understand:

  • What the channels are within the partner’s ecosystem for successful Go-To-Market.
  • Is there a strategy to execute where we can tell the story, create awareness, and begin deal-flow?

Finally, we make sure we understand the potential of the relationship.  1 + 1 = 5. To effectively determine the potential, we look to check the following boxes:

  • Have we identified a KNOWN business problem for which our data is an ideal solution (in conjunction with the strengths the partner brings to the table)?
  • Has the prospective partner demonstrated success with another partnership?
  • Will there be associated ‘lift’ (i.e. more consumption) of the partner’s own product?
  • Is the potential partner willing to engage in a significant portion of the integration work?
  • Does the partnership with this company create the effective ‘last mile’ to reach a desired customer base? Effectively, this partnership enables easier adoption of our solution.

Each of the aforementioned areas are scored relative to their importance.  We then look at the aggregates to determine one of the following paths forward:

  • If low, consider not pursuing the partnership opportunity. The investments are better placed elsewhere.
  • If medium, consider pursuing the partnership with limited resources.
  • If high, consider pursuing the partnership with full resources.

At the end of the day, this pragmatic framework lets us emotionally detach from what perceptually looks like a good partnership, but may not have the data to support it.  As we’ll discuss throughout this series, partnership math is 1+1 = 5.  Two firms, coming together, each with unique strengths… to create something of remarkable value for customers… at scale.
Read Part 3 in the series: Getting Down to Business
Want to learn more? Check out our partners or contact us.

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