Alliance Partner Business Strategies

I was going through the Alliance Resource Center the other day and saw a section that I composed a couple of years ago. But, I think it is still pretty applicable, so I thought it would make a good addition to this blog.

 What type of Alliance Partner are you?

As the National Instruments Alliance Partner Program Manager, companies often ask me for sales and marketing advice as well as best methods for working with NI. To which, my reply is always, “Well, what kind of Alliance Partner are you?” Based on your company type and the way you sell and market, much less the way you work with NI, answers to this question can be dramatically different. In this article, I discuss the most common company types and offer suggestions on how to best market, sell, and work with NI.

Alliance Business Type

As shown in the above image, you can segment typical Alliance Partner businesses into four different categories. On the left side, product businesses sell a tangible component(s) (which we often refer to as a tool) or a complete solution (which we often refer to as a system). On the right side, services businesses sell a consulting or integration service in a geographic region (which we often refer to as a generalist) or in a vertical industry (which we refer to as specialist). For instance, National Instruments is a tools-level product business while most Alliance Partners are service-oriented businesses.

The business models of a product business and a services business are quite different. A product business has something tangible to develop, market, and sell in a transactional manner. To the contrary, services are intangible and require custom development and a relationship-oriented sales and marketing effort. There also are more subtle differences, from top to bottom of the figure. That is, the way you sell and market a tools-level product is different from the way you sell and market a system-level product. Similarly, the business approach for a generalist is slightly different than that of a specialist.

In my next few blogs, we talk about each of these business ‘types’ and how it can affect working with National Instruments.

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