Partner Programs Eventually Lead to Explosive Growth

Round and flat, a thing on the ceiling that looks a bit like a fire alarm, with a small blue light. It’s Quuppa, an indoor location solution based on Bluetooth technology that has been developed in Finland, and has been conquering the world over the last few years.

Quuppa’s technology can be used at all sorts of sites.

At hospitals, it can monitor the routes taken by healthcare workers on their rounds and check whether hands have been disinfected before moving onto the next patient. This is significant, as the equivalent of one airplane full of patients die every day from poor hand hygiene.

Quuppa technology can also help locate medical equipment – the system tells exactly where Quuppa-tagged objects can be found in the building.

In Finland, they can be found in many of Liiga’s (Finnish Hockey League) hockey rinks, where they produce real-time data about the location of the puck and how the players move around the ice.

At a Chinese police station, Quuppa’s location technology monitors the movements of both suspects and staff. This helps to ensure that procedures are adhered to, for example at least two staff members must be present at suspect interrogations.

The list of potential use cases is breathtakingly long. One location system, but perhaps even thousands of different solutions, and the number is growing explosively. Healthcare, security, retail, logistics, sports, smart buildings… and this is all just the beginning.

So, how has a Finnish 34-person company called Quuppa, which rose from the ashes of Nokia, achieved this? The answer – with the help of an international partner program.

Moving towards new market areas through our partners

Leading Finnish partner marketing expert Sari Arjamo-Tuominen receives us at Quuppa’s headquarters in Espoo’s Keilaniemi.

“We are growing fast, someone new starts almost every day,” she states.

Arjamo-Tuominen is also one of the new ones. Originally earning her stripes at the channel business pioneer, Hewlett-Packard, she has since built a noteworthy career, working on partner programs for big IT clients at Expandi Group. She came to Quuppa to build a partner program.

At Quuppa, sales happen through the partners. The Finnish company offers location technology to its partners, and they in-turn build innovative systems on top of it – which are then sold to the end customers.

The breadth of the partners is extremely diverse. There are over 130 companies worldwide, ranging from giant system integrators to small software companies, each of which has its own solution for how and where Quuppa can be deployed.

This is exactly what Quuppa’s success is built on. The company does not need to have all of the knowledge of individual industries, but rather it is the partners who take care of application creation and sales. The solution brings immeasurable intellectual capital for the development process.

Last year, the company’s sales jumped 166%, generating over one million euros in profit. The growth was boosted by the Chinese market in particular, where the location business is currently in high demand.

“In China, when something is decided, things progress very fast – especially if it has to do with government,” Thomas Hasselman, Chief Marketing Officer.

All of Quuppa’s target markets, such as manufacturing, logistics, security and sports are growing fast in China. Quuppa technology will, most likely, be used to analyse sports performance at the next Winter Olympics in 2020.

Make a decision and stick with it, this builds trust

Achieving growth through partner programs can be slower than through direct sales. Recruiting and training the right kinds of partners takes time, and of course developing and maintaining a partner program comes with a price tag.

The foundation needs to be in place before creating an end customer pull. In order to succeed with a partnership model, the product needs to be ready, well-documented and easy to use. Things need to be made easy and profitable for the partners through the program. This also ensures future growth for the entire ecosystem.

“The aim is to get the partners so engaged that they focus on creating sales for Quuppa. The truth is, that they also have other vendors targeting them,” Arjamo-Tuominen says.

One way to incentivise partners to be a part of the program is through different partnership levels. Ultimately, the most engaged partners are offered the best benefits.

“Partners need to be trained and kept up-to-date. Through the partner marketing programme we want to enable, educate and engage the partners for joint future growth. There needs to be a common interest.”

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, trust is an essential element in building relationships. The partner Go-To-Market model is a choice, meaning that partners need to be able to trust that the vendors stick to their decision not to sell directly.

“The partner needs to be able to trust that we won’t step on their toes. This is why they open up to us and tell us the challenges that they are facing. They know that we are not taking their experiences and building competing solutions, but on the contrary, we are building a better location platform based on their feedback,” Hasselman concludes.

If she were to give one piece of advice to companies thinking about their Go-To-Market model, Arjamo-Tuominen would encourage them to first make a clear decision about whether to sell directly or through their partners.

“If the partner program is built right, the business is much more scalable than by opening offices in every country”.

Translated Article – Original article from

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