For the past five years, I’ve been visiting the US much more often. During these visits, I’ve noticed how most tech startups tend to be obsessed with growth hacking and increasing customer traction and do not consider other options that could help them leverage fast business development. One of these options is the setup and management of alliances and partnerships. Generally speaking, Americans have built their competitive advantage on increased specialisation of positions and processes across all business functions. Startups may need to reach a certain level of maturity for that first, but they should definitely set an alliance and partnership management strategy as soon as they start generating revenue.
In every prominent American company, there is a position that is taken very seriously, but that is almost non-existent in younger digital startups: the Alliance or Partnership Manager. This rare job is shared a little bit by sales, a little by the CEO, and a little by marketing. With no specialised alliance and partnership management, young software businesses are for sure missing the benefits of a strategic business channel.
A good alliance takes time to succeed
Let’s first look at what’s at stake. An alliance is when two companies take a chance on building a future as mature partners, aiming for economies of scale in their go-to-market strategies and their ROI.
However, things are obviously not that simple for startups because an alliance is a project that only gets going, on average, after 12 to 18 months between the first meeting and the first concrete results.
Because of the cashburn pressure startups are under, keeping their minds focused on short-term results, this timeline, working almost like diplomacy, is not very attractive… even though, in reality, it’s one of the surest ways to get a start-up on a trajectory towards success. This is crucial in the software world. For a platform starting to gain traction, there is no faster way to generate significant operating revenue.
Looking beyond borders
Another important thing to consider is that California is not the only software hub in the world. The rest of the country, as well as Europe, also have sucessful software counterparts. Alliance specialists have to spend a lot of time travelling around to meet face-to-face, just like ambassadors work.
Such an approach may also help the business anticipate international expansion, which is one more crucial question startups have to raise as early as possible.
Several initiatives to help you find and organise appropriately-sized business alliances
We would like to offer you four services to help you identify, sign, and manage good partnerships:
- a Pentalog senior partner with 25 years of alliance management experience who will help you identify the best strategic partners, as well as organise and carry out negotiations
- a legal and sales management service for your alliances to help you manage agendas, document exchanges, and schedules
- a network of French, American, British, and German specialists to represent your interests in alliances anywhere in the world
- a Revsquare alliance marketing service
Would you like to know more and start a conversation with an Alliance Partner?