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Partner Owl Partner2Partner Episode 1 Recap

How Do You Differentiate with Salesforce?

It’s always fun to record videos with your friends!

Watch the first episode of the Partner2Partner conversation series where bloomly agency founder & CEO Kailey Whipple speaks to Joe Cleaver, founder & CEO of Partner Owl.

Joe asked Kailey thought provoking questions about how partners stand out in the ecosystem, the trends she’s seen with bloomly’s clients so far, and what tips she has for SIs who want to expand in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Why Alliances is an Important Role in Your Company

Alliances is a function of both Marketing and Sales. It helps bridge the gap between those two teams in the business while focusing on partnership and customer success.

Internally, an Alliances manager works closely with both marketing and sales to make sure your business is aligning with your partner, executing on your partnership requirements, and marketing yourself as the partner of choice.

On the other hand, the role of Alliances helps businesses navigate the complexities of the Salesforce Partner Program. A good Alliances Manager can help expand the number of quality relationships your team can maintain.

What Salesforce AEs and Partner Sales Care About

People who haven’t worked as closely with the partner organization think of partners in the Salesforce ecosystem solely around the capabilities for implementation. The two main questions they’ll have are:

  1. “How can this partner deliver what I’m selling?” and,

  2. “How are this partner’s capabilities going to help me close the deal?”

These are important questions because it’s not just about whether the partner has the capability to deliver. Account Executives and others close to the deals want to hit their quotas, and for good reason, their focus is going to be on making that happen.

The partner sales organization, which is where Joe’s experience was gained at Salesforce, cares about different things.

What this group wants to see is how partners can:

  1. Source new deals

  2. Influence deals to close

  3. Bring value to the customer

They care greatly about customer success and what your customers say about you, and that you bring value to the customer through industry expertise and insight on industry trends.

Everyone will say they’re the best, but these two groups want to know how you can prove it. You’ll have the most success with an Alliances role in the Salesforce ecosystem when you come to your partner with a point of view.

Don’t say, “Well, we can do anything.” Your partner firm needs to come with a clear message and show where you have true expertise.

Trends in the Salesforce Partner Ecosystem

Every partner has talent, and every partner has certified consultants with multiple certifications and years of experience on complicated projects.

And every partner says they’re a trusted partner. Unfortunately, none of those will help your partner firm stand out anymore. Those are just expected qualities. With that said, announcing trust, certification, and talent as differentiators is still a trend we’re seeing with smaller SIs.

We’re also noticing that SIs are looking for support with navigating the ecosystem. SI partners are asking us these questions on every discovery call:

  • How do we stand out above other partners?

  • How do we talk to Salesforce?

  • What should we say to make the most impact?

  • Who do we need to talk to?

  • What should we focus on or specialize in?

Finally, we’re seeing that SI partners are realizing the importance of bringing someone in to navigate the partner program and manage the partnership. In a large, complex ecosystem, SIs realize they need a specialist to make sure they’re fulfilling their requirements and making the most of their partnership.

Advice for Emerging Salesforce Partners

The first step is to get really clear with your message. Decide what you really want to focus on, and be very clear about that in all of your communication - to Salesforce and to your customers.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed from a marketing standpoint - you don’t want to leave any business on the table. But as the old saying goes, “specialize in everything and you specialize in nothing.”

The reality is, when you do “everything” your resources are too scattered. So narrow down, make it easier on everyone, and then make sure your message conveys that every time.

This isn’t easy. The hard thing to do is narrow down your focus. The easy thing to do is to say “we can do any project.” And you probably can, but that’s not why your customers will choose you, and that’s not going to get an AE excited to call you.

Perhaps the most important thing to do is build genuine relationships. Most people will connect with you online because it’s not nearly as invasive as walking up to someone at an event.

And of course, as it is important in building any relationship, it’s important to be genuine.

In the online world, it’s perfectly okay to be upfront in saying “I think we could do business together.” It’s actually easier to have quality conversations with people because you know a lot more about them before saying hello. But you’ll get better results if you can show what value you can potentially bring to the relationship in your first conversation.

Partner2Partner: A Conversation Series to Help Partners Succeed

We want to extend a big Thank You to Joe for inviting Kailey to the join the Partner2Partner conversation series. To watch the full video of the first episode, click here.

To schedule an introductory call with bloomly agency, click here.

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