How to Approach a Partnership with an ATS Vendor

Every so often I get asked by companies or individuals what I feel is the best way to approach a partnership with an applicant tracking system (ATS) vendor. This typically revolves around the introduction of a new technical integration the company has to offer. While it is important to note every potential partnership is different, I believe there are some factors that can maximize the partnership potential. Again, these factors might differ from ATS vendor to ATS vender depending on the type of value or technology, however, I believe that following can increase the chance for a successful first impression:

(I will be referring to the company seeking a partnership as “company”)

Value
The company should have clear vision to share with the ATS vendor in regards to the value (including value to ATS vendor’s clients) that will be delivered by the partnership. This is important for many reasons, but usually the most important is the fact that ATS vendors’ roadmaps are already in place and active development will stretch anywhere from 1-12 months out. If there is high enough value to the ATS vendor, the partnership will then be placed in the queue and be matched up against other opportunities. Most valuable opportunities will almost always win. This is where the company might have to be patient because the sense of urgency between them and the ATS vendor are most likely are not aligned.

Integration
This next point is more directly tied to the technical aspects: What is involved with the integration? It is important to understand how easy or difficult it will be to get the two solutions working together. While integrations have become increasingly easier over the years, the company will most likely need to be much more flexible than the ATS vendor. I’m sure there is a chart out there that can better depict this, but here are my thoughts as it relates to value and technical integration:
  • The more value for the ATS vendor, the more likely they will be flexible, faster, and easier to work with.
  • The less value (yet the ATS vendor still wants to more forward) the more the company’s solution better be “plug-n-play.”
  • No value no integration.
It is always best to find where the believed “sweet spot” is between value and integration. This reinforces the importance of the first point by
ensuring the value proposition is optimized.

Deliverables
The following points cover what is needed by the company if the technology or service is “new” to the ATS vendor/industry:
  • Have documentation ready that highlights the partnership.
  • Have a demonstration prepared. Either beta, live or model based works as long as it’s conceptual and ties the integration to value.
  • Have market numbers ready and how the partnership could potentially help the ATS vendor capture X% market share, grow revenue by Y, etc.
  • If the partnership is based on a shared revenue model, the company needs to have some sort of revenue expectation outlined. If there are no set expectations, the ATS vendor might assume there is little to no value.
Approach
The company should have a plan for approaching each ATS vendor. The company needs to find the markets each ATS vendor serves and their market share. Many of the features that are found in ATSs have become a commodity. If the company has something truly unique, they should be prepared for the “Would you do an exclusive deal?” question. If they don’t plan on exclusive deals, they might want to create a lineup of ATS vendors listed from least-to-most potential based on revenue or market penetration expectations. (NOTE: Use the suggestion with caution)The company could then start contacting the least potential ATS vendors to practice and refine their partnership approach, and then work their way up the list.

These are only a few of my thoughts, and each one certainly doesn’t apply to all situations. Some of the best partnerships can start with a simple phone call or on the back of a napkin at a networking event.

Best of luck!!!
Jake Stupak
www.TheATSGuy.com
www.JobDigTracker.com
www.TheATSGuide.com

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