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How to Communicate Partner Competencies to Potential Vendors

As a partner, communicating your specialty can be difficult when first speaking with a vendor. How can you effectively sell what you do as an organization without getting lost in the minutiae and alienating who you’re trying to work with? What’s the best way to sell them on your skillset without overselling?

In this episode of P2PNow, we’ll offer some advice on how to notice if there’s an issue and if so, how to better communicate what your team excels at in an engaging way. Watch the session below or read on for a full transcript!

Transcription

Christian: Today’s session will be around how to share your core competencies with a vendor. Sam, could you give the folks listening a bit more details on what we mean by “core competencies?”

Sam: Absolutely! Core Competencies simply refers to what you’re good at as a solution provider.

As a Software Vendor we look at two broad categories from our partners. Your technical competencies – i.e. Azure, Microsoft365, Google Cloud, etc. 

Then your industry competencies – Health Care, Oil & Gas, State & Local Gov, etc. 

Christian: Makes sense. So what are the common challenges with communicating these specialties?

Sam: This is a really common mistake I saw a lot when managing partners, especially during the first few calls. Partners would tend to fixate on the specific solution they wanted to resell, then we’d sort of breeze over what they do as an organization. Or they’d go through a lengthy explanation of what they do. But it wouldn’t be in a format that was easily reference later.

Christian: I’ve seen that myself. In an effort to make the conversation as productive as possible we tend to skip straight to business.

We’ve discussed this on the show before. The best partnerships come when a clear “Better Together” story is defined. So how, as a partner, should you communicate what you’re good at?

Sam: I’d recommend the following steps:

  1. See if the vendor has a partner services list or bench. Then determine what the steps are to join the list. If the partner has a defined format, that’s great! Just follow their lead. 
  2. Write down your core competencies on a one to two-page brochure. This will be slightly different then what you may give a customer. I like to use a restaurant analogy here. You’d give a customer a menu of offerings to purchase, pre-packaged and simple. What you’d give a vendor is more of a brief history of the restaurant itself along with a summarized resume of the chiefs.

Christian: Ah, that makes sense. Keeping it more focused on the capabilities of your team as opposed to simply listing the few summarized services you offer. 

Sam: Exactly. The goal isn’t for the vendor to resell your solutions, it’s to have them identify potential opportunities for you then allow you to go in an sell the customer the meal. 

Lastly, as a third point, be picky about that first project. Like it or not, internal teams at vendors have very long memories. One bag project, especially at the beginning, might shut down a lot of opportunities. 

I encourage folks to always say “no, but…” Explain why you’d prefer not to take the opportunity brought to you, but give an explanation as to what a good deal looks like. 

Christian: I think that’s some pretty solid advice. Provide a document with your team’s skills and expertise, then make sure you knock the first project out of the park!

Sam: That’s really it. AvePoint has been adding partners around the world for years. We’re leaning more and more on partners to deliver services. As always, to find out more about AvePoint’s Partner Program, visit www.avepoint.com/partners.


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Sam Valme
Sam Valme
Sam Valme is a Partner Enablement Program Manager for AvePoint Public Sector, Inc working out of our Arlington, Virginia office.
Christian Buckley
Christian Buckleyhttp://buckleyplanet.com
An Office Apps & Services MVP, Microsoft Regional Director, and the Brand Alliance Director at AvePoint, Christian Buckley is an internationally recognized author and speaker and runs the community-focused CollabTalk blog, podcast, and tweetjam series.

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