Go-To-Market: Avoiding Partnership Pitfalls

This previous post discussed how go-to-market partnering can cultivate new customer and revenue growth. Partnerships can prove to be very beneficial to a company. However, when considering go‐to‐market partnerships, there are numerous challenges and pitfalls you should be aware of.

Pitfalls to avoid:

1. Assuming your dominant customer value proposition is directly relevant to potential go‐to‐market partners.

Your potential partners will most likely not have the same interests and/or pain points as your end customers. While you prepare to connect with potential partners, you need to construct a personalized value proposition for each potential partner. Your potential partners will most likely have a heavy focus on how they will benefit from the partnership. You need to be able to communicate the value you will bring to the partnership as well as the value of the partnership for your potential partners.

2. Presenting a partnership idea without thinking through the strategic and operational implications of the relationship. 

Often times, the strategic vision is highlighted without addressing operational details. Although beginning with the strategic vision and potential is critical, a vision without operational details often never gains traction.

3. Inflexible terms in the partner deal structure.

Be careful when it comes to long-term partnerships. As the partnership develops, be clear about milestones, checkpoints, and opportunities in order to redefine rules of engagement. Partnerships have ended badly as a result of early expectations that were not achieved and inflexible deal terms that did not leave room for adjustments to the relationship.

4. Lack of communication.

Often times, a company will spend a lot of time communicating to establish a relationship. Later on, they allow communication to taper off, assuming that the partnership will automatically result in benefits. A communication plan should be constructed upfront. This will help to ensure that proper means of feedback are in place and that each partner is gaining the expected benefits from the partnership.

5. Seeking to benefit from a partnership at the expense of the partner.

Companies should not seek to benefit from a partnership without also providing benefits for their partner. Companies need to maintain a win‐win perspective on the partnership. Each decision and action in the partnership needs to include consideration of the implications on the other partner.

Even though these challenges exist, the benefits of a go‐to‐market partnership can far outweigh the costs. If you are fully aware of these potential pitfalls, you can take the proper steps to avoid them and take full advantage of the benefits that a go-to-market partnership can offer you.
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