Riding the elephant – using the power of relationships – 2

Marketing, Marketing Stamina, Product Management, Symbiotic relationship, Trust

While I wrote yesterday on one of my favourite ways for a small unknown company to grow big, by working with an international giant, trying to make inroads into the country, this process is not without its pitfalls.

First – Its a long process where you have to first find the right company, then the right product for you in this company and then right people who are willing to interact with you and take you forward. You have to make investments without any commitment from the principal company that they will help you get business. Even if they make any commitments, it has no value if they themselves are not able to get business. I have invested some times, almost a year and a half before we actually started getting cases where the sales people started taking us and putting us in front of the customer. But once the deal flow started it was a huge amount of business. You need to have stamina to last that long period.

Next you have to build trust with the sales folks, the technical folks etc. Not everyone will be happy to assist you. Not everyone will want to help you. In a lot of cases they may also see you as competition. In addition sometimes the sales people may want to get the deal at you expense, because they have their target to meet.

So as a rule of thumb look when you are looking at these companies, you need to consider what is their partner program. Are they focussed on building a partner ecosystem. If they are a partner focused company then they will have global policies on handling partner related issues and the chances of you getting short changed are reduced.

Third – the product or service of this company should actually sell in your market. To add to it the customer should be willing to take your add-on product or service with the main product. I have had many instances where the company we thought had a great product did not move in the Indian market at all.

Last but not the least you have to remember that they ( the elephant that you are wanting to align with ) are in it for their interests, not yours. So they will take decisions keeping that in mind. Sometimes those decisions will go against your interests. Nothing personal. You will just need to hop off this elephant onto another one.

Irrespective, the relationships you build with people based on the philosophy of giving first then expecting will help you a long way. Like if you feed the elephant before climbing its back, the elephant also takes care to ensure you have a safe ride.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

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