While I keep harping about the advantages of using my philosophy of riding the elephant. You need to be aware that, at the end of the day you need to keep your marketing principles in mind over there also.
I have written on some ofvthese points earlier also, but its important to identify the need of the elephant. The elephant has to see the benefits of giving you a ride.
This is a critical aspect, because if you try to tell the elephant about your capabilities to cut branches of trees, then the elephant may not be interested in you. On the other hand if you show the elephant that you can help him get bananas faster, it may become your friend and give you a ride. However some elephants may not be interested in bananas, so you may end up missing judging and spending time in convincing the wrong elephant.
Year before last, we invested a lot of time in building a solution on one of the biggest cloud service providers. We had a unique solution and we thought that the cloud service provider would take us along where they saw prospects. But inspite of spending more than a year we realized that the technology platform that we were working on was not a priority for them in India. So this elephant was not interested in the fact that we could help it get bananas faster, because it was not interested in eating bananas.
So whether you are going out on your own or you are using my philosophy of riding an elephant you still need to identify that one need in the market which you can address.
Till next time then.
Today’s post is a short one. You all know my philosophy for a small business in the technology space- ride a large OEM (the elephant) and wherever the elephant goes, you get a ride . In case you are interested I had written around 4-5 posts earlier in the year on this whole philosophy.
Today’s post is about how my team has used the same concept. I have trained some of my team members into following this philosophy and while it took them some time to learn the techniques of first learning to give before asking and building long term relationships.
It took about 8-9 months with our technical and marketing working closely with the OEM to keep building solutions on their platforms without any desire for business.
But now that so many of the OEM’s people see the kind of investments we have made and our commitment to their business, they themselves have started taking us forward.
We are still no way near reaching the full potential of what’s possible with the relationship, but if my team does it right then it can have a snowball effect.
Till next time then.
Usually when you make friend with an elephant, you also tend to make friends to the elephants in the herd. Elephants generally move in herds. Which means you can always make more than one friend at a time. Networking is all about making multiple friends and helping them – first.
Its similar when you are able to move with one contact in a large OEM organisation which is starting something new – and this is key – if they are already well established they will not be interested into building a deep relationship. That time the relationships are more transactional.
When they are getting in new – even if they have been established, but they are getting in a new product or service – then if you can make them succeed, then the team involved with you gets into a deeper relationship with you. They are willing to recommend you.
In this the principle of reciprocity plays a big role. Robert Cialdini first articulated this principle in his book Influence. Its worth reading the book if you have anything to do with marketing.
Once you help the team which is targeted for this new offering launch, succeed with you or because of you then if you ask them for a favour to connect you with other members of the team in other regions, other countries, they oblige.
I built a lot of my international network of people because of this. Now I ask my team members to do the same thing. Being a small company we are always limited on resources, but building networks doen’t need resources. It needs humility, it needs you to be paying in advance and things work.
Most people don’t get this right because they go into any relationship with “what’s in it for me” rather than “what can I do for her” . Let me however put a caveat here – you will find some selfish people who will take advantage of this. I had given this same advice to my son and he did this with one of the restaurant owners for their free photo / advertising and she just took the photos and used them herself. But for every such incident, I have also had one person referring me to at least 6-7 new people, so it pays off. And these become long term relationships.
Till next time use the herd of elephants to build your networks and take you places.
I wrote 3 posts on riding the elephant – and how the relationship with an elephant can help you get through any forest (market).
What was not clear from those 3 posts was one fact – which elephant should you choose…..this is as critical as identifying the single target market that I keep talking about.
The elephant that you choose to partner with, should be focussed on the market in which you want to operate. If the elephant has a different area of interest compared to you then taking this elephant is going to take you into the wrong forest.
To be able to choose the right elephant therefore you need to ask the fundamental question – what is it that we want to achieve with this partnership. Once this question is clearly answered then it become easier to identify you partners that you want to work with.
This question gets answered even better when you have identified the single target market that you want to address, because then you will know if the partners that you are looking for has product or services for those customers that you want to work with.
If you want to target B2B customers in the enterprise space as an example then your partner needs to be someone who already has customers in the enterprise space, and who does not have a product or service which directly competes with yours. If the partner already has something that is similar to yours then they will never move your product.
Keeping the above example in mind, you then need to figure out how you will work with the various sales people of your partner and why should they take you to the customer.
While partnering is a very valid concept, there are a lot of human issues which need to be addressed. The bigger the target partner you are trying to work with , the more sales, pre-sales and marketing people involved, the larger is the challenge of engaging them and larger is the stamina you should have to wait for success.
Till next time then.