Partnerships: What am I doing here?

Ramona Fuchs is Head of Strategic Partnerships and a vital part of the leadership team at eSynergy Solutions. Before arriving at eSynergy in 2020, Ramona worked in partnership and relationship building roles at Cloudreach, Hitachi Consulting, and McDonald Butler Associates. Ramona has written about her nine years in the technology partnerships space, her exciting career journey, and the lessons she has learned along the way.

Creating a mutually beneficial relationship to make a real difference

For over nine years now, I have been working in the technology partnership space. It’s been an exciting career journey and I want to share what I’ve learnt with you.

The CCC

A few years ago, I faced a career choice crisis or the dreaded CCC! This raised many questions:

‘What am I doing in Partnerships?’

‘How can I know what ‘mutually beneficial’ really means?’

‘Partnership feels as an overlay to sales − and I create success for others.’

‘I’m touching pretty much every part of mine and the partners’ business; I feel like the chief cat herder!’

After some soul-searching, talking to peers and more seasoned partner manager friends – over the obligatory ‘strategic glass of wine or cup of tea’− I turned 360 and am super excited about my career in strategic partnerships…

It’s all about people

Why? Because I like working with people and I love the ever-present entrepreneurial opportunities in technology partnerships. There are endless solutions in an ever-changing sector and, whilst that can be daunting for some, for me, the opportunity to drive customer benefit and add to ours and our partners’ bottom line is thrilling. Driving impact for both the partner and for clients is a critical factor in achieving success. It’s important to be clear on the mutual benefits as they create perspective and relevance for both sides of the relationship.

Partners as an enabler

One thing I have learnt during my career journey is that the partnership team is not an overlay for sales. Partnerships are an enabler for business development. Sales should focus on proving and providing value to customers. The partner channels should focus on enabling sales to provide better and faster value at scale. When thinking about the optimal partner model, you will need a blend of strategic and tactical partnerships to create measurable success for both business partners and clients: Partnerships should enable deeper engagement in existing accounts and drive revenue through new business.

Being cross-functional

And ‘yes’, sometimes partner management is much like ‘herding cats’! Partner managers need to be able to work comfortably across different business functions; it’s a lot like conducting an orchestra −bringing together the different teams, at the right time, to deliver harmoniously. We help find consensus in sales, agree on go-to-market offerings, solution development and, often, architect, and instigate joint ventures and investment. Sometimes we reach across all functions, from Sales, Operations, Legal, Finance, People Development, Marketing, and all things in between.

We also reach across all levels, from senior executives, to employees on the ground. Tell me: How exciting is that?! You get to truly work with all parts of the business, create understanding, co-ordinate outcomes and, ultimately, always with a focus on  driving value to clients.

So, back to the initial question…

‘What am I doing in partnerships?’ Well, I deliver client value by providing common ground and enabling all functions to work together. This means looking beyond what’s on my own plate with an open mind to understanding relevant outcomes. I’m also working with people − and I like people. Yet, this is not enough. You need to build trust. Start building trust based on integrity; do what you say you will and stick to your commitments.

More on this next time…

Partnerships are fun and you can make them as good as you want them to be! I’m really keen to hear your thoughts…