Back to resources

Compromising in the Face of Conflict

Product
Internal Communication
Collaboration

31 December, 2018

Joy Ghanekar
Joy Ghanekar

SVP, Head of Product at talech

Joy Ghanekar, head of product at Talech, warns of the challenges you may face when entering into a channel based model of distribution, and how to come to terms with compromise as the solution.

Problem

As a startup, the product is incredibly important, but the other half heavily relies on distribution. Many companies with great products fail due to distribution. This is where working with channeled partners has become prudent for our company, allowing us to leverage those large partners to sell through our product. However, in working with this indirect, channel-based sales model, conflict may arise between your strategic priorities and those of your partners. How do you sell through your product if the customers' needs or wants are in conflict with the channel?

Actions taken

COMPROMISE! Resolving this issue is always challenging. The harsh reality is that you have to live with the conflict and not sell your product as originally intended. If you aren't ready to take on that truth, then that is where the real conflict can arise. Simply put, the "cost" of doing business is having to rely on others, and not being able to sell through your own product. You do have the choice, however, to make this reality less daunting.

  • Make yourself aware of the pros and cons that come with choosing a channel based model.
  • Use the customer as the tip of the spear so to speak, to go and push your partners to do better and to do more.

Lessons learned

Pros

  • Gain immense leverage because you are able to keep costs down.
  • Hiring hundreds of salespeople to sell your product becomes obsolete, which makes supporting a sales team easier.
  • Selling through a large distributor will offer your startup a brand to push through your product. Cons
  • Lose control over the distribution channel.
  • Conflict between you, your product, and your partner.
  • In our experience, we are typically obliged to having to use the payment device of our partner which tends to not be as great for the user experience perspective. The customer ends up have a problem with either speed or functionality. It can be frustrating because you do not have a lot of choice in the decision.
  • It is easier to push the company or partner forward through a customer based approach. If it is coming from your agenda, under the pretense of getting things done, it won't go as far as shared customer concerns will.
  • Pick the battles you want to fight, because if you try to fight them all, you will lose sight of the goal, which is of the distribution and partner relationship. Even though you can be in agreeance that the plan you have in place is better, it is in your strategic interest to look ahead on where you want to be with this partner in five years and aim for that.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Building and Maintaining Company Culture: How to Scale Teams Accordingly

26 May

Elwin Lau, Director of Software at Jana, advocates the importance of maintaining culture within a company when scaling teams.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Scaling Team
Building A Team
Company Culture
Collaboration
Onboarding
Sharing The Vision
Elwin Lau

Elwin Lau

Director of Software at JANA Corporation

Building and Maintaining Company Culture: How to Scale Teams Accordingly

26 May

Elwin Lau, Director of Software at Jana, advocates the importance of maintaining culture within a company when scaling teams.

Mission / Vision / Charter
Scaling Team
Building A Team
Company Culture
Collaboration
Onboarding
Sharing The Vision
Elwin Lau

Elwin Lau

Director of Software at JANA Corporation

The Art of Asking Why: Narrowing the Gap Between Customers and Users

24 May

Jord Sips, Senior Product Manager at Mews, shares his expertise on a common challenge for product managers – finding root causes and solutions.

Customers
Innovation / Experiment
Product
Personal Growth
Leadership
Stakeholders
Users
Jord Sips

Jord Sips

Senior Product Manager at Mews

Managing Different Time Zones: Inclusive Collaboration Methods

19 May

Jonathan Belcher, Engineering Manager at Curative, shares an unknown side of synchronous communication tools and advises managers on how to handle a team that’s spread across the globe.

Remote
Internal Communication
Collaboration
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Jonathan Belcher

Jonathan Belcher

Engineering Manager - Patient Experience at Curative

Managing Remotely: Balancing Team Cohesion and Focus Time

26 May

Jonathan Belcher, Engineering Manager at Curative, explains how to balance team cohesion and individual focus time, tapping into his experiences of working remotely for seven years.

Remote
Micromanagement
Meetings
Internal Communication
Productivity
Psychological Safety
Performance
Jonathan Belcher

Jonathan Belcher

Engineering Manager - Patient Experience at Curative

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.