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The “Art” of the Partnership

Strategically Speaking
Feb 26, 2014

Danny Payne Author: Danny Payne,

I thought I would keep this post simple and stick to something closely related to my world.  Webster’s dictionary defines a partnership as “a legal relationship existing between two or more persons contractually associated as joint principals in a business.”  That’s surely a clear cut way to define a partnership, but it might not define the kind of partner your business is looking for.  A true partnership finds a balance in all the ups and downs that each day bringsPartnership us and works for the betterment for both sides.  Like a personal partnership, a corporate partnership also seeks out the right partner to create a mutually beneficial arrangement that addresses the needs of both parties while avoiding setbacks or obstacles to the other.

So, how do you define a “good partner”?  What makes a good partnership work between two companies with two products?  Here are some principles to follow:

  • Role Definition – What does the company bring to the partnership, and how does your company benefit from partnering?  How involved do you want this partner to be with your customers/prospects?  Does this fit the mold of the type of organization you want involved with your customers/prospects?  Who is the face of your organization engaging with those people buying?
  • Goals - The goals of both companies need to align and the results must be beneficial for both groups.  Without a cooperative plan, one side will always be looking for something more from the partnership.  Collaboration, communication, compromise are all critical to establish the best objectives.
  • Synergy - The product, sales, and operational teams must work in cooperation to create as much synergy as possible between both companies to create a solution that shows the partnership to the prospect/customer.  Ineffective sales and delivery partnerships are doomed for failure
  •  Flexibility - A true partnership is flexible and the services delivery channel partner in the same way is serves the partner’s product being sold.  If there is a unique opportunity to service a current VIP customer of the channel partner, the product partner may have to commit to specific pricing or delivery dates to better serve the overall relationship.
  • Longevity - The toughest part of any good partnership is the relationship that happens after the execution of the sales plan.  Being the same strong, loyal, and dedicated partner is the true test of time.  Especially when there aren’t as many sales, but now there is ongoing revenue.  This, in my opinion, is the partnerships you are looking for.

The list could go on and on, but there are a few core values when opening up your company, your bank, your credit union, and even your team to a solutions partner that has their own list of ideas and agendas coming into the partnership.  Every partner is unique and provides another exciting opportunity to another set of customers or another set of products, but it’s complicated and you need to know with whom you are sharing and exposing your customers.

There are partners “born” every day, and press releases to follow.  The very best partnerships do not involve a lot of pomp and circumstance, they involve results.  The partners worth the time, energy and resources involved to make it successful are those that follow some or all of the guidelines above, and at the heart of it have as much invested in your success as their own.  While some partnerships just “happen”, the truly powerful partnership is researched, analyzed, assembled, cultivated and nurtured.

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