Alan recently celebrated one year at Quark, leading the company’s partner ecosystem and tech enablement teams. He’s spent countless hours listening to partners and helping them go beyond desktop publishing and uncover new revenue streams that come with access to software tools that address the content lifecycle complexities across the enterprise. His global team supports partners as they harness the value of the company’s enterprise technologies with full access to sales, pre-sales and the necessary technology resources to support their ability to secure large enterprise customer installations.
For over two decades, Alan has led successful partner, sales and technical enablement programs for software companies large and small, including IBM, erwin and Quest. He is a firm believer that close alignment among partners, vendor sales and tech teams is pivotal to building trust, which is foundational for driving revenue. He also believes that establishing trusted partnerships that drive revenue growth requires structured programs and incorporate a self-service delivery model for seamless onboarding and engagement.
We recently sat down with Alan to learn more about what makes a successful partner program, how to measure that success, and what challenges partners need to be aware of as they seek to uncover new revenue streams.
Why is technical enablement such an important part of the partner experience?
For our partners to be successful, they must have the skills and access to resources to effectively promote, sell and deploy Quark solutions so they can deliver more value to their customers. Technical enablement is the part of partner onboarding that follows and is closely aligned with sales enablement. Once our partners are clear on sales messaging and value proposition, we then ensure they have the required technical knowledge to support their success. At Quark, we have a number of resources available to ensure our partners have the necessary knowledge and skills to make them more successful as they help their enterprise customers address their toughest content lifecycle management challenges.
How does a company measure the success of tech enablement efforts?
A successfully enabled partner will generate revenue for both Quark and themselves and this is always the ultimate measure. However, there are a number of milestones along the way, as building a true partnership takes time. In relation to partners, technical enablement can get your partners skilled on your solutions but cannot get you skilled on how to sell your solutions. This is why tech enablement should also be infused into your sales enablement. Your team needs to know what they’re selling, why they’re selling it, the value add and the ROI. So ongoing progress is measured in deal registrations, certifications, collaboration, portal engagement, campaign running and joint activities.
When it comes to Quark’s content lifecycle management solutions, our value proposition is end-to-end, and our sales and partner teams are selling to different people within the organization, depending on industry and geographical location. It’s crucial that both have a solid understanding of where Quark differs and excels above other market players. This fundamental understanding helps us to be smarter with enablement and support our partner sales teams to be successful at enterprise scale deployments.
Quark has a rich, successful history in digital publishing software. Now that the company has solidified its position in the enterprise content market, how do you help partners harness this enterprise opportunity?
It’s a big shift for our exisiting partner network who primarily sells into the design community. Selling to enterprises involves a longer timescale and involves a solution approach to address the end-to-end needs, more than a product approach. As such, enterprise sales is a more complex, industry specific, and involves multiple people in the selection process. To support our partners we offer direct access to our sales and presales teams so they can easily navigate any enterprise complexity. In short, we work together so they are successful.
We are building an expansive partner ecosystem that also includes consulting and technology partners, which are vital as we are a product company, so it’s important that we have the right consulting and integration partners to provide a solution and not just a product implementation to these enterprises. The most important thing for partners to remember is that to be successful they must clearly understand the business challenge from the point of view of the customer and have a comprehensive understanding of the solution to solve those pain points. At Quark we provide this level of support to our partners to accelerate their growth in the enterprise content management market.
What top 3 challenges do you see partners facing as they look to uncover new revenue streams with content lifecycle software?
The first challenge they face is closing the gap in getting their foot in the door. This gap can only be narrowed by having the ability to explain content lifecycle management in customer terms. Why should organizations care about their content strategies? We have to align our solution with their specific pain points when formulating and executing on them. And importantly, what are the consequences if organizations don’t modernize their content operations processes? Some organizations might understand they have content compliance challenges but until you can explain how those challenges can be addressed and the consequences if they don’t, you won’t get in the door. Second challenge is understanding who we sell to and why. Partners must know why companies operating in industries such as pharma, life sciences, and government are in need of a content strategy overhaul. The third challenge is acknowledging that the enterprise sale is a different paradigm. It’s multi-layered and involves several approval cycles.
Can you tell me about your management style? What makes a successful partner team?
I’ve always enjoyed participating in team sports and their dynamics have always fascinated me. I find that my management style replicates the dynamics I see of successful teams, one in which the coaches allow team members to showcase their individual strengths but are better, together when working as a team. For me, it’s important that team members have individual autonomy – a runway to excel with access to leadership to support their ability to be successful – and feel part of a team working together that welcomes any idea, at any time and with no judgement. In the workplace and on the field, errors can occur, but I strive to cultivate a team that welcomes constructive feedback, uses it as a learning opportunity, and feels empowered as valued contributors to our collective success.