Enablement: Selecting and Positioning Partners

October 24, 2022

Video Transcript

Chandler Packard: Hello everyone. Welcome to the enablement session today. Today's topic is on selecting and positioning partners. My name is Chandler Packard. I'm a sales executive here in Agency73. We were founded in 2017 in Carlsbad, California. That is a small town in North County San Diego. Here our mission is to empower brilliant people like you to drive transformational change at our customer's organizations. For today's session, I want to talk through how selecting and positioning partners, like Agency73, drives velocity through your deal cycle, maximizes a ACV potential, and ultimately drives delight throughout the customer's experience.

Topic 1: Selecting a Partner

Topic 1: : The first topic today is on selecting a partner. This is really important when you're trying to engage in the co-selling motion; because the right partner or the wrong partner can really change the way that you engage with that customer. The first thing to think about is, find a partner that is a good cultural fit both for you at Salesforce and for that customer. Keep in mind that the partner is going to be an advisor and partner for that customer well beyond the life of this particular deal. You want to find somebody that you really vibe with. Next, think about finding a partner that is really trustworthy and responsive. You want a partner that is going to be aligned with you on your goals for the deal, and responsive to your early questions so that they can really help you shape the direction and the conversation of value to that customer. By bringing partners in early, we find that we are able to spend time digging into our technical resources and providing credibility and relevant experience that can really ground the ROI and value proposition for that customer in real experience that we have that we can bring to that customer. Engaging in that conversation and allowing us to speak from our experience with that customer really goes a long way in driving home the deal and ultimately uncovering new ACV potential. Next, it is important to bring a partner in early and often because we are able to provide realistic and honest proposals. Find a customer that you can engage with in co-selling, so that when you get to the actual proposal phase, you can trust that it's an honest proposal and that it is keying on the key objectives that that customer has.

Chandler Packard: All partners should also be obsessed and passionate about customer success. Customer success is not just found within the life of your deal. We all know that it goes well beyond through the enablement cycle. Even for new opportunities into the future. So as a partner, it is really important to focus on customer success and be passionate about it, understanding that there is friction points along the way and yet there are places where we can add value. We do this by focusing on experiences over features, designing solutions that are human centric and that drive towards the feeling and the adoption and the experience that the user has with the tool. It is important to find a partner who is focused on delivering project management excellence. Partners should have controls in place to mitigate risk and take action on those. Track key metrics like budget timeline etc., and be able to communicate those both to the customer and to you as the AE. It is important that a partner has the right mechanisms in place to ensure quality and consistency of that quality over time. Overall, I would encourage you, in the selection process for your partner, to find somebody you enjoy working with, somebody who's trustworthy and responsive, and bring them in early to that deal so that they can provide you their credible experience and and relevant use cases so that ultimately the proposal that they provide you is honest and realistic. Make sure that you are working with somebody who understands the value of customer success, and has the rigor within their organization to control for quality and consistency over time.

Topic 2: Positioning a Partner

Topic 2:: Now let's talk about when to position partners throughout your deal cycle. I would encourage you to lean into the value of co-selling and bring your partner in early and often to that deal. In our experience, we found that by doing this, you maximize the ability to grow long term ACV and CSAT for that customer. By bringing us in early to the deal cycle, you are able to position us as a trusted advisor to that customer versus a cost and a line item on the total cost of ownership for this investment. Bringing us in, ideally right before discovery, gives us an opportunity to pull out from our technical resources, our success and our experience to help shape the conversations throughout discovery, partner with both you, the account executive, the sales engineer, and that customer to ultimately land on the solution that makes the most sense. During these conversations, we are able to discuss implementation and the value of the support they get through the partner program. It becomes a value add and the customer believes that this is necessary to achieve the objectives that they have.

Chandler Packard: This also allows your partner to hear directly from the customer on what really drives them and what their business opportunities or problems are that they're trying to solve for. By identifying those throughout the deal cycle, once we kick the project off and are in the process of customer enablement, we can keep those key objectives that that customer has and the real voice that customer had throughout the deal cycle on through the enablement process. Once that enablement process happens and you have handed the deal off and we have signed the contracts, it is then the job of the partner to build compliance, enable adoption, and drive for addiction. We do that by engaging with the customer often and frequently throughout the project to ensure that things like adoption, testing, and outcomes are aligned with their expectations. We all know that this is not a linear process and that it folds back on itself. The value of positioning us as a trusted advisor from the get go in the deal, enables us to be ingrained with that customer so that we can listen for changes at their organization, that may dictate opportunity for new products or new direction with the way that they are handling their systems on Salesforce. Ultimately, I would encourage all of you to position your partners early and often during the deal cycle, ideally right there before discovery.

Topic 3: Accelerators vs. Custom Scope

Topic 3:: The last topic today is that of accelerators or quick starts. Towards the end of every year, the pressure is on to get deals across the line and the topic of accelerators or quick starts comes up. An accelerator, also known as a Quick Start, are just packaged solutions that each partner creates on their own, and they have defined scope, timeline, and cost. I would encourage you to think about an accelerator, not as a silver bullet to provide value to the customer through the implementation process, but instead view it as a lever for your sales opportunity. In order to take advantage of it as a lever, I would encourage you to bring your partner in early and often to that deal; so that we can help you identify when an accelerator makes sense for that customer. Although accelerators do drive short term ACV, they do leave you exposed to long term CSAT risk. In our experience, we do a lot of rescue projects, and, 9 times out of 10, those rescue projects are a result of a bad implementation. Often you may be encouraged to use a partner or a proposal that is really low cost upfront. Keep in mind that so often they are saving money up front, but they are going to pay for that 10 fold down the line when they have to fix their systems, and re-engage with a partner, like us, to fix the mess that was made in the first place.

One thing to really consider is to listen to signals that dictate whether or not an accelerator is right, or if a custom scope is appropriate. Things like heavy integrations, do they need to move a lot of system integration onto the platform and they are currently in a different tool or platform? Listen for heavy data migration requirements. Are they comfortable with talking about their data and where it is? Are they able to get it out of their systems? Do they have workflow automations that are complex, gritty, and lastly, do they have multiple business units that they are trying to bring into one solution? Are we working with multiple sales teams? Are we working with multiple teams that have their own unique and defined processes? Again, I would encourage you to think about accelerators as a lever for sales. Bring your partner in early to help you identify when that is appropriate, and ultimately know that an accelerator is a strong tool for driving ACV, but we must set expectations with that customer that it is a starting point for growth and not a silver bullet.

Conclusion and Takeaways

Chandler Packard: As I wrap up today, I want to leave you with three key takeaways. First, find a partner and select one that you trust, that you like working with, and who's obsessed with the customer's experience. Second, position that partner early and often in the deal cycle; so that you can establish them as a trusted advisor, which we've found to drive the most value to ACV and CSAT over time for that customer. Third, consider an accelerator as a lever for your sales process and bring in a partner to help you identify and establish those expectations with that customer so that we can drive ultimate value and establish the growth in that customer's organization. Thank you for joining us today in this enablement session. If you have any other questions or would like to discuss more of this topic, please feel free to reach out to us here at Agency73. We look forward to talking to you soon. Take care.

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