Local solutions in a global business world: how to build a partnership network
Global penetration, smart technologies and speed are the three engines of a modern enterprise. Do you want them to operate at their full capacity? Then it is time to consider a partnership network. How do you build one? How do you find partners who want to sell your products and who will become true ambassadors of your brand? The answer is simple – offer them something others cannot. At first sight this seems to be a simple idea to implement. But do not be fooled! If you wish to create a truly unique offer, you must think through each single detail … only then can you successfully implement the offer.
Would you like to know how I managed to win the support of the DocLogix partners? How did DocLogix gain 3 new partners in Canada and 5 partners in the UK, and establish its representative offices in these countries? What kind of offer was created, what was promised and how was it implemented with the help of the entire DocLogix team? To find the answers, keep on reading.
Technological progress, automation and the creation of unique solutions
When I began considering building a partnership network in foreign countries, I first of all looked at the market trends, and asked: what approach would be the most relevant in the short term? One of the most prominent forecasts was related to the automation of all business areas. In the rapidly changing market, it will soon be practically impossible to function without digitalisation and automation. Meanwhile, the Gartner Survey from 2016 states that by 2018, only 20% of all business content will be created and managed by the previous document and process management systems. Already, the majority of DocLogix clients choose to automate the everyday processes in their companies: contract management, employment processes, document exchanges, recording work hours, etc.
How would it be possible to bring the products created by the DocLogix team closer to these trends? My approach was to try to contribute to the changes in the consulting companies that were operating using the traditional methods, by granting them a new driving force – a new type of document and process management system. It is obvious that when everything is changing so much faster than before, while the clients are demand even greater quality, the largest part of these processes must be automated.
Therefore, my idea was to find the right partners – those who would agree to transfer their unique knowledge to the DocLogix platform. This would allow us to create a uniform product that corresponded to the market needs, which our partners could then personalise and sell. The companies using this product would then quickly see the positive outcomes: their image as professionals in the field would be raised to the next level; while their services would become more efficient, faster and in line with the market demands.
Obviously, resolving to create a solution like this would be difficult, even for large enterprises. Since I was mainly focused on providing a solution for small- and medium-sized enterprises, the offer needed more advantages. This is why I “packaged” the creation of the unique solution with other features that would be attractive to future partners.
Personal attention and promptly-created top quality products
Google, the search systems giant, recently conducted a survey aimed at establishing how people search for information about smart phones on the Internet. The results were hardly surprising. As many as 90% of the potential buyers did not have a specific brand in mind before they started searching for information about their intended purchase. Instead, the majority looked for information that matched their needs the best. It did not matter to them who would provide this information. How do we then “help” our potential clients, buyers or partners find our brand? The answer is: we need to create an exclusive marketing plan or, if you are looking for partners, a cooperative plan, which includes micro-moments or micro-offers. These must be the features that speak the loudest about your exclusiveness and strength, which will then be transformed into an attractive product. Which micro-offers were included in the DocLogix offer for partners?
Personal attention. True, this is nothing new. But, to put it the way our English-speaking partners would – the old is the new new. Let me explain this further: when we are expanding our partnership network, we do not approach all partners the same way. A personal approach, with in-depth knowledge of their business and taking the time to ascertain their needs will allow us to create a unique product offer. For example, if you have a large partner, we understand that most probably a separate product will not be necessary. However, we might be able to offer them a functional enhancement. For smaller companies, we can create exclusive product offers that are based on the information we find about them and their clients.
Flexible platform. It is obvious that the creation of customised solutions is difficult in the absence of a flexible platform. However, the flexibility of DocLogix flexibility enables us to implement changes without altering the programming, but by using configurations, which allows for a quick realisation of the changes. In this way, we are able to offer our partners not only a “uniform” solution that has been thought through to the last detail, and which can no longer be changed, but also a flexible platform. This platform then allows us to create exactly what is required, according to the needs of the partner’s local market.
Additional streams of revenue. We create a solution from A to Z, according to the partner’s trademark. However, interest in the final product will only appear when the partners finds out that they will gain an additional opportunity to receive revenue from its sales. This means that if other partners sell the solution of the first partner (let us call this partner the “owner”), part of the sales proceeds will go to the “owner”.
Product localisation. Unlike the products of other DMS developers, our solutions match 100% with the functions used in local markets. For example, in the United Kingdom, the employers count the amount of time each employee spends on sick leave and respond to the collected data accordingly. Therefore, the DocLogix Personnel Management Solution has adapted to this market feature by offering an automatic calculator of the employees’ days of absence.
Marketing. We offer our partners another important thing: assistance in marketing matters. In this way, we ensure that our personal attention is not only an empty promise. Specifically, the DoxLogix marketing team creates folders and product websites for our partners, and helps to realise the first sales. Not all partners need this form of assistance; however, knowing that this opportunity is available adds a positive twist to our offer.
Thus, DocLogix really has something substantial to offer its partners. The first group to take notice of our offer were the UK lawyers from Human Results, who work in the field of personnel consultations. The nature of their work (providing professional assistance in all business processes related to personnel matters) matched particularly with the initial development ideas of our unique solution.
A Personnel Management Solution with 100% conformity to the local market
During our discussions with the Human Results representatives regarding the final product, we came to the conclusion that the time was finished when the basis of a document and process management system could be a repetitive and easily predictable solution. Therefore, our task was to create a novel and flexible product that would meet 100% of the clients’ needs. In the final stage of the development of the Personnel Management Solution, we managed to achieve a state of continuous changeability, where the product could be optimised and improved in real time according to the knowledge of the Human Results specialists and the reviews from their user testers.
Who was included in the composition of the solution’s creation team? Both the Human Rights specialists and our programmers with master knowledge of the DocLogix system. Additionally, an important role was played by the technical consultant hired by our partner. He acted as a mediator between the two groups located in different countries and possessing different experiences.
It is noteworthy that this manner of cooperation has both advantages and disadvantages. Considerable investments were required on our part, because the DocLogix programmers had to re-design the DocLogix user interface and develop a number of new processes and forms. However, by involving the programmers with many years of experience working with this system, we saved time. A new partner did not need to learn how to work with the system, master the operating and configuration principles and create the solution from zero.
We have delivered the final result within a record time of 3 months, which pleasantly surprised both us and the Human Results team. Also, thanks to this partnership, we have gained a product which perfectly conforms to the needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises based in the United Kingdom. What is so special about this solution? The things that are particularly important in the modern world of flexible technologies:
- An intuitive and user-centred interface;
- Personalised dashboards;
- Ultimate flexibility and the possibility to use the system in combination with other DocLogix solutions;
- Guarantee of the highest security level;
- Integration with an email inbox.
In addition, all of the processes included into the solution (e.g., staff employment records, work hours reporting in the calendars, holiday leave calculations, etc.) and document templates were created in accordance with the newest legal requirements in force in the UK.
Of course, a high quality product alone will not guarantee success. An interesting and challenging road to the product sales now lies ahead of the Human Results specialists. And what are we going to do next? We will be building new partnership bridges, and creating even better new solutions. For example, we recently started a cooperative venture with Brother, one of the largest distributors of printing equipment in the world. We are creating a search function, not a new solution, for this company, which will be integrated into the document and processes management system they already use. This is only one example of how the DocLogix system can be adapted.
So, what can you learn from my long story? Personally, I would advise you to note 3 things which will come in handy in expanding your partnership network and in your communications with clients:
- Do not underestimate the partner’s or client’s know-how. This knowledge may definitely become the foundation for a successful and unique product.
- One suitable offer is enough to become the basis for a long-term partnership (e.g. a non-complete obligation to new partners). Speaking from personal practice, the more promises or goals there are, the more difficult it becomes to implement them. Do not go overboard.
- Personal attention works. If you do not know where to start, begin with a meeting. If I were to add up the miles I flew in 2016 (in order to meet our future partners or clients face-to-face), it would total a round figure that would make even Christopher Columbus a little jealous.