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What Type of Partner Are You?

Bob ClintonBy Bob Clinton

Lately I’ve been inundated by a series of Facebook quizzes from sites like Playbuzz.com that supposedly tell people about their personalities or what they should do or become. So, I tried it out for myself.

Based on the results, I’m a natural leader, possess a logical brain, should live in Oregon (must have been those coffee-related responses) and, if I weren’t American, I’d be German. If I had an addiction it would be food and my “real” age is 29. My first thought? “Go figure.” However, the results made me apply the line of thinking to business partnerships. 

Businesses strive to be associated with “good attributes” and deliver on customer expectations. This is called a “brand” and a “brand promise.” But do partners ever really examine their core business strengths, relationships and appetites for risk? Do they ever ask how, when, where and if they want to expand their business? If not, they should.

If you were to define yourself as a partner, what type of would you be? Here are four questions to consider:

  • What’s your value? You can offer bundled software and hardware services or you can provide a mix, such as integration, test and deployment services, onsite maintenance or support.
  • What’s your volume? You compete primarily on price, size, operational efficiencies or logistical capabilities.
  • What’s your vertical? You have deep domain expertise within a particular industry vertical. You’re also knowledgeable about the unique buying or regulatory requirements associated with that vertical.
  • What’s your vision? You continually take a series of calculated risks and make continual investments into new and emerging technologies like in cloud or SaaS platforms and processes to gain a competitive advantage. 

You may fit just one of these descriptions or a blend of them. The important point is to determine who you are, identify your strengths or, better yet, ask your customers to identify areas where you excel and need to improve. Use this insight to really strengthen your business model. A little self-awareness and taking time to ask your customer to provide feedback never hurts. And it’s just as fun as online quizzes.  

As senior vice president of global channel marketing at Unify, Bob Clinton assists the company in expanding its routes to market, growing the geographic footprint and providing Unify distribution partners with the marketing programs and tools to be successful. Clinton has more than 25 years’ experience in global marketing, technology and the channel, the majority being in senior management and executive positions. In his previous role as CMO at Westcon Group, he helped define and drive a customer-centric approach to the market. Prior to that, he drove a number of key strategic business initiatives at CA Technologies and Motorola.


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