Cast a Wider Solutions Net Through Strategic Partnerships

Boost your bottom line by expanding your formula for success to include others who share client opportunities and fill in the gaps.

Paul Cronin

There’s a blending that’s been building for a while now.

How many of you really handle A/V, automation, IT and security, not to mention all of the sub-systems and products each of those big categories entails?

No one solutions provider can do it all anymore. However, most integrators have shallow partnerships with other providers: “I use John down the street; I met Susan at a conference — and that’s good enough.” And that does get a lot of commercial integrators by, barely.

But the convergence is here. Given the complexities of what we do, creating trusted partner- ships with organizations that complement our solutions and allow us to expand outside of our own core competencies is critical. We all have one thing in common: our client. It’s not about you installing a network anymore; you need partnerships to pull it together.

More than a mere integration firm, a so-called “facilitator of excellence” builds trusted partnerships and embraces a partner-collaborative business model to expand revenue and become more strategic to their clients. You’re the main point of contact, the one phone call that the client makes no matter what time or what problems need to be resolved.

Becoming a facilitator of excellence doesn’t just better you as a professional; it can positively impact your bottom line. Let’s examine the business benefits and ROI potential of a partner collaborative business model.

In the traditional IT sales methodology, most integrators engage with their clients to understand how their solutions can match a client’s initiatives. When offerings and needs align, sometimes there’s a sale.

This formula is exemplified as:

(A-D solutions) x
(client appointments) x
(% of client needs) =
$ (revenue generated)

Typically, commercial integrators in this traditional model do not work to build or leverage client relationships in order to understand and penetrate higher and wider within the client organization. In this model, integrators not only leave the door wide open for their more relationship-focused competition, they also do not provide strong strategic value to the client or their own business, have fewer client touch points and, in the end, generate less revenue per client interaction than companies that have created a partnership network.

The partner collaborative business model offers “facilitators of excellence” (we’ll also call them partner centric solution partners) the resources and opportunity to transform themselves into full-scale solution providers. The solution set available to the customer of a partner centric solution provider is expanded from what they can do themselves to also include what their partner network companies can do collectively with them. The business solution shifts in focus from what the integrator is capable of doing to what the client actually needs across a broad range of technologies, products and services. If your company does not offer a solution, you can bet one of your partner centric companies does.

Now the chance of matching a solution to a client need is multiplied by the number of partners and the numbers of solutions they deliver, and the opportunity for a sale at each client interaction is dramatically increased.

The partner centric solution partner formula is exemplified as:

(A-D solutions) +
(X Partner Solutions) x
(^ client appointments) x
(^ % of client needs) =
$$$ (revenue generated)

Solution providers in this model leverage the client relationship to penetrate higher and wider in a client organization, shut out the competition, provide strategic value to the business by being the one trusted person to call, have much more client touch points and in the end generate greater revenue.

The value of partnerships can also include working collaboratively on joint marketing materials, sharing clients and putting together joint events with shared costs. I know several partners that have also shared best practices and leveraged engineering resources.

The best way to go to market is to become a facilitator of the market. Are you ready to unfreeze your mind and make an executive shift? Partnerships (literally) pay off and enable you to become something more than you could be on your own. You move beyond being a client’s tech advisor and become their strategic advisor.

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