Have you ever built a house? Have you ever tried to find a great architect or a competent plumber? When you’re building a house, you count on your contractor to deliver the house on time and within budget, but also to have assembled top-notch tradesmen to assure the quality is second-to-none. You judge the contractor’s value not just by their technical skill, but by how reliable their trusted connections are and how thoroughly they help you reach your goals.

I’m building a network, not a house. But aren’t they equally important? It is difficult and costly today for clients to find great providers, vet them out and maintain relationships. There are just as many people involved in implementing converged technology solutions in a client’s business as there are installing kitchens and bathrooms. I’d make the case that the solution provider who can bring other specialized integrators to the table are the ones customers tell phenomenal stories about them.

That’s how you sell a neighborhood, not just a house. That’s how you build a client for life, not just for one project. You are strategic to them and become the one call they will make for all their technology needs.

Given the complexity of individual components (environmental controls, video, biometrics, networking storage, access, applications, etc.), creating trusted partnerships with organizations that complement your security solutions or allow you to expand outside of your own core competencies is critical. We all have one thing in common: our client. How much are you willing to invest to help your client find the means to their ends?

Becoming a facilitator of excellence does not just better you as a professional; it can positively impact your bottom line. Let’s examine just the business benefits and ROI potential of a partner-collaborative business model.

Traditionally, most integrators engage with their clients to understand how their solutions can match a client’s initiatives. When offerings and needs align, sometimes there is a sale. If not, integrator and client move on and the process is repeated at a later date. This formula is exemplified as:

(A-D solutions) × (client appointments) × (% of client needs) = $  (revenue generated)

Typically, integrators in this traditional model do not work to build or leverage client relationships in order to understand and penetrate higher and wider within the client organization. In this model, integrators not only leave the door wide open for their more relationship-focused security competition, they also do not provide strong strategic value to the client or their own business, have less client touch points and, in the end, generate less revenue per client interaction than companies that have created a partnership network.

The partner-collaborative business model offers integrators the resources and opportunity to transform themselves into full-scale solution providers. If your company does not offer a solution, you can bet one of your partner-centric companies does.

Now the chance of matching a security solution to a client need is multiplied by the number of partners and the numbers of solutions they deliver, and the opportunity for a sale at each client interaction is dramatically increased. The Partner-Centric Solution Partner formula is exemplified as:

 (A-D solutions) + ( X Partner Solutions) × ( ^ client appointments) ×  (^ % of client needs) = $$$  (revenue generated)

Solution providers in this model leverage the client relationship to penetrate higher and wider in a client organization, shut the door on competitors, provide strategic value to the business by being the one trusted person to call, have many more client touch points and in the end generate greater revenue.

The best way to go to market is to become a facilitator of the market. Partnerships (literally) pay off and enable you to become something more than you could be on your own. You move beyond being a client’s trusted advisor and become their strategic advisor.


Paul Cronin is a facilitator of excellence, as exemplified through his thought leadership and his participation on multiple boards across converging industries and technologies (including security, AV, voice, networking, storage, applications and managed services). Paul is a partner at Atrion Networking Corp. and serves as the senior vice president. Learn more about Paul through LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/paulmcronin) or his organization at www.atrion.net.