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The Five Cardinal Rules of Joint Go-to-Market

By Nathan Wright

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Trends like cloud computing, the mobile device revolution, and the globalization of commerce have shifted existing industries and created new ones. The majority of the world’s most valuable companies share common approaches: they rely heavily on partners to achieve true hyperscale, create competitive advantage, and take their products to market. As partner networks have grown to unprecedented levels of importance, the modern enterprise has encountered new challenges and opportunities.

Direct sales motions are certainly crucial to the success of these businesses, but joint go-to-market initiatives with partners are increasingly necessary to drive revenue in multiple markets, across industries, and at scale. It’s a complex equation for anyone who is responsible for driving revenue through the channel.

Over the last ten years and through more than 300 partner engagements, Bridge Partners has worked with the world’s most innovative technology companies to optimize, enable, and grow healthy partner programs. Along the way, we’ve learned a few things, including what we call The Five Cardinal Rules of Joint GTM.

While each partner initiative is unique, success or failure can often be traced back to The Five Cardinal Rules. When applied in earnest, these rules can create trust and strength among partner teams and elevate the customer experience to a new level.


Rule 1: Seek strategic alignment

Goals, priorities, and plans must come together in a cohesive joint motion.

Three clear actions you can take to put the first rule into practice:

  • Define and understand joint business goals and common priorities (and be willing to admit when goals and priorities diverge).
  • Focus on the activities that will achieve initial success and build momentum.
  • Use executive sponsors (from your company and from partners) to help facilitate the right conversations at the right time.


Rule 2: Commit to developing a joint value proposition

The joint solution needs a specific, relevant, and customer-centric value proposition.

Three clear actions you can take to put the second rule into practice:

  • Commit to developing a customer-centric joint value proposition and mapping the customer experience.
  • Ensure that the value proposition is clearly defined, articulated, and communicated to the customer.
  • Extend the value proposition development to engineering – it’s not just a marketing concept.


Rule 3: Define joint GTM team-engagement guardrails

How the companies work together should be guided by comprehensive governance and measures to support business objectives.

Three clear actions you can take to put the third rule into practice:

  • People work with people – show up, work, communicate, and remember that, even in the digital age, face-to-face communication is still critical.
  • Define simple KPIs that align to the needs of the joint relationship (e.g., monthly service usage, number of leads generated, number of trials activated).
  • Help your partners understand which KPIs will resonate with your sellers and encourage co-selling.


Rule 4: Develop collaborative sales motions and increase sales readiness

Build trust by encouraging connection, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing between joint sales teams.

Three clear actions you can take to put the fourth rule into practice:

  • Align programs with seller scorecards – partners benefit by understanding what your sellers care about (licensing, consumption, etc.).
  • Identify internal champions who will work with partners to pilot programs, prove success, and scale broader rollouts.
  • Be open to modifying your sales motion to drive joint success.


Rule 5: Develop value-based demand-generation activities

Always start conversations with customers by demonstrating how they will get business value out of the joint solution.

Three clear actions you can take to put the fifth rule into practice:

  • Create opportunities for customers, prospects, and partners to come together and discuss the value of the joint solution.
  • Use early adopters to help articulate the value of the joint solution.
  • Evangelize joint wins and use cases.

Which joint GTM elements have you found to be particularly effective and important to driving success?

Bridge Partners has had the unique opportunity of helping to build world-class partner programs for some of the biggest names in tech. Download this e-book to learn more about how we are helping grow and strengthen enterprise partner ecosystems.


About the Author

Nathan  Wright

Nathan Wright

Nathan is the national marketing practice director at Bridge Partners. He focuses on helping our clients drive revenue growth and accelerate adoption of their marketplace solutions and services.


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