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Strategic alignment is key to channel partner success, says DocuSign

Gaining alignment on corporate strategies is key to the most productive business partner and reseller relationships, according to Derek Nowak, senior director of business development and channels at DocuSign.

“When partnerships take longer than expected to launch, it usually means the corporate strategies are not aligned and there are misalignments on priorities and resources,” he explains. “Every organisation is different and constantly changing.”

Nowak wants to understand specific partner advantages, whether in a specific geography, customer segment or product category, and how or why they want to partner to achieve growth. Success will flow from playing to people’s strengths.

Partnerships must be based on an achievable business plan founded on solid experience — so DocuSign favours resellers with measured yet ambitious plans including defined and reasonable near-term goals that gain momentum from early wins.

Partners that “focus on an initiative, successfully execute, and move on to a new goal are fantastic to work with”, Nowak confirms.

This year, the most exciting challenge has been the “flat-out acceleration” of customer adoption for digital agreement processes, he suggests, advancing digital transformation.

Nowak says that DocuSign has been doing a “fantastic job” of providing employees with home office resources that both support wellbeing and ensure a focus on helping customers.

“We receive many new Tier-1 partnership enquiries, but onboarding and building relationships in a remote environment is a significant investment,” he points out.

New portfolio expands professional services opportunities

In return, DocuSign has been working to grow its product portfolio, from eSignatures to the Agreement Cloud platform incorporating brands from Gen and Identify to CLM, Analyzer and Seal. This is set to expand partner opportunities — particularly when it comes to professional services.

“Partners may have to work with specialised systems integrators (SIs) brought into customer engagements in order to successfully implement the DocuSign Agreement Cloud,” Nowak confirms.

“This presents a new challenge, but also a great opportunity for growth.”

“This year has seen business operations leap five years into the future. I recommend partners take an inventory of their current line card as well as their customers’ tech stacks and identify technologies that aren’t leading edge or built for the new environment,” Nowak says.

“DocuSign partner enablement programmes can help partners learn new technologies to effectively engage customers with old tech stacks in need of large refreshes or significant changes.”

Meanwhile, DocuSign will continue to invest in human capital, ensuring development across the partner ecosystem, in years to come. Nowak likes his team to work on different partnerships, regions and teams to gain new skills and a deeper understanding of the business.

“I don’t want people sitting in the same role for multiple years. Shuffling the team not only enables me to help employees build new skills and achieve career goals but also to adjust the team’s capabilities and experiences to align with market dynamics,” he says. In today’s rapidly changing business environment, an approach like this is needed more than ever to sync strategy and execution with customer needs.

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