Today businesses are challenged to grow revenues while using fewer resources. Many successful executives faced with limited resources are making strategic investments in people with the know-how to identify, assess, engage, scale, and manage emerging partnerships. By leveraging its scarce resources via different types of relationships, they effectively increase revenues and grow the bottom line.

These relationships are commonly in the form of channels and strategic alliances (i.e. marketing referrals, agents, resellers, original equipment manufacturers and others). Which relationships best suit a firm depends on where on the technology adoption lifecycle and the products/services lifecycle the company’s products fall (see Chart below). To make these relationships work there must be an investment in time, as well as in people. Expectations must be set correctly at all levels of the company, and all executives must remember this is not a short-term fix, but rather a strategic investment in the future of their firm. Several recurring themes throughout any relationship relating to problems or successes are: communication or lack there of; trust or mistrust between partners; and compensation arrangements.

It's a competitive world out there and the best way to compete and grow the business is to partner. Even if the business does not have channels and alliances, your competition does. To make these relationships work remember to invest time, energy and executive commitment, in line with the objectives of the firm. Above all else, communication, trust and planning are the hallmarks of great partnerships. This is not a short-term fix, but a strategic investment in the future of the business. If the business sticks with a channel model long enough, their patience will be rewarded with increased profitability and market share.

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Where is your firm on the product/technology adoption lifecycle?

What does this mean for your Channels & Alliances?

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