The technology industry is no stranger to partnering as a go-to-market strategy and for good reason. Partnering strategies done correctly can rapidly grow revenue and extend a vendor’s reach into a market sector or region – check out the AchieveUnite Partner Lifetime e-book to learn more.

However, most vendors only focus on implementing the partner program or training their partner managers on processes and put little focus on developing the skills required to create valuable partner relationships. True partnerships require a high level of emotional intelligence (EQ), otherwise known as soft skills.

Recently, I’ve attended some excellent meetings on behalf of AchieveUnite and even though they were all quite different I was struck by how much EQ is needed for every aspect of partnering.

Below are three different scenarios that demonstrate this.

  1. I attended a client ‘kick off meeting’ where multiple organizations were coming together for the first time to define and implement a new partner program. Very quickly everyone in the room had to assess each other and used soft skills to trust one another to progress the project. Without realizing it individuals were demonstrating their authenticity by responding honestly to important questions. Open communication and a team attitude helped influence everyone in the room. The energy was high, creative ideas were being shared and a solution was being realized.
  2. The next meeting was to share ideas about industry partner program best practice. Again, it was very apparent the importance of soft skills. We shared industry best practice insights. Despite this, the combined team could put themselves in the shoes of the client and their program needs to realize best practice probably wasn’t going to be appropriate for them. This ability to empathize was important to gain continued trust for further collaboration.
  3. We ran a webinar with one of our alliance partners. This focused on the value of IQ and EQ. It addressed how the two work in tandem. We wanted to work with this partner because in the very design of their PRM system they had used their soft skills to sub conscientiously develop trust. It struck me when people talk about delivering a great ‘user experience’ – what they’re really talking about is developing trust! Trust from the partner that the solution will do what they need it to do and deliver value. To develop trust you need emotional intelligence. Even if, it manifests itself as a piece of technology.

Whether your organization has an existing Partner Program or you are in the process of considering how to implement or enhance a program it is important to recognize that for a successful collaboration it needs trust. Partner managers need to know how to be authentic, open and understanding.

AchieveUnite offers an excellent program to help develop the soft skills required by partner managers and leaders. Our uniquely designed ACE: Leadership by Influence program delivers high-quality professional development, leadership training, and expertise typically reserved for the organizational elite in a high-impact virtual environment. Expand your knowledge, enhance your leadership, and accelerate your career success.

To contact us and for more information, please visit our Ace Leadership Training Page.

-Fiona Coughlan, Vice President, Europe