Today, we welcome Simon Bouchez who’s going to share with us his vision on the future of B2B Partnerships and how his company is contributing to it.
First of all, thank you Simon for your time. Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?
I co-founded Multiposting, an HR technology startup in recruiting after I finished my studies. In 2015, Multiposting was acquired by SAP, after which I stayed on as an executive. In 2018, I found myself at a crossroads. I could stay with one of the largest companies in the world, or I could start from scratch again. I think we can see which road I decided to go down.
So, you have founded a startup -Sharework- to address a challenge faced by many partnership managers. Can you tell us how you got there?
There are a few paths that brought Sharework to be.
The first path came from our own ecosystem. We spoke with the entrepreneurs and CEOs in our network about B2B collaboration. Those conversations led us to the Partnerships Paradox. The paradox is that investments are being made, teams are being built, and simultaneously everyone is frustrated, and there isn’t an ROI. With Sharework, we’re now proving that there is in fact ROI, it was just too difficult to see it or attribute it to partnerships before.
The source of the paradox is a lack of structure. The way partnerships are built, measured, and used traditionally, hasn’t been very efficient. Moreso, we discovered that Partnership Managers are not considered to be huge revenue drivers. And yet, they are the ones that connect their company to the strategic partners that can transform their business entirely. We knew that this paradox could be solved by technology, and we decided to create it.
The second path was passion. We are really driven by connecting companies through technology. All of the businesses we worked with previously were our partners in our ecosystem, and we wanted to take it further. Consider how social media has connected people and expanded their networks. Moving forward, we know this is what will be happening with companies as well.
The final path was personal. The founders of Sharework all worked together at Multiposting, and it was there that we became an extended family. We wanted to create something great together again and build upon that trust and friendship that we had.
How does Sharework actually help Partnership Managers in their daily job?
We know that Partnership Managers have challenges establishing their value within their company and tracking their revenue attribution. Our product gives them all the right information to remove these challenges and impact sales. In addition to account mapping, we provide them with the ability to identify valuable accounts, generate partner-sourced and partner-influenced deals, and attribute revenue to their actions. Not to mention, the platform itself is easy to use and free. Perhaps more importantly, we provide data that convince CEOs that what the Partnership Manager does is essential and one of the most critical revenue resources for their company.
How do you see the partnership manager role evolving over the next 5 to 10 years?
As the B2B world evolves, the Partnership Managers’ role will become a critical aspect of any sales, lead generation, and marketing strategy. I think we’ll see their profession more structured and positioned closer to the sales team.
I like to compare the Partnerships role of today to that of Marketing in the early 2000s. Marketing evolved through automation, which, eventually, created growth teams. I think Partnership Managers will transform similarly.
What is your philosophy on how companies should leverage partnerships?
My philosophy is that companies need to understand that there is more to gain in trying than there is to lose. I talk to CEOs and B2B sales every day, and they say the same thing – they think there is too much of a risk in partnerships. It’s scary, but with the right tools and the right processes, there is no reason why it can’t be controlled. You have to think about your long term interests and high-level value.
The B2B world is changing. I believe that a business’s success in the years to come will be determined by their partnerships and how they collaborate within their ecosystem.
Many companies are now convinced that their partner ecosystem will become one of their competitive advantages. Do you think there is a critical size to reach -as a startup- before implementing a partner strategy?
I think it depends on what you call a partner ecosystem and partner strategy. If it is driven by the product, then you should do it very early. The more you can integrate into ecosystems and the more plug-and-play in existing systems, the more relevant you will be. It almost delivers value immediately.
From a business standpoint, you have to answer the question, “Do we have enough time, will, resources and management support to immerse our sales teams?” You need to make sure your sales team understands the shared values you have with your partner and that there is an open line of communication. Once you are integrated, you are in a great position to deliver meaningful opportunities and revenues.
Any final words you want to share with us?
We are asked a lot about why our product is free. Our primary goal is to remove any friction that occurs when partners are establishing relationships. Removing the pricing barrier on our core features is how we encourage companies to collaborate with a maximum of partners, to ultimately build the biggest network of connected companies.