How Can You Build Stronger Partnerships in 2021?

Successful partnerships require team chemistrySuccessful partnerships require team chemistry

How has the pandemic changed your partnership strategy? My initial meetings with clients have been about critical partnerships for 2021. I’ve been involved in many strategic partnerships in my career. Developing successful partnerships is about building great teams!

Earlier in my career, I served as a Regional President for an organization representing over 250 Microsoft Partners here in the Midwest for two years. These organizations ranged from early stage startups to partners with over $900 million in annual revenue.

Can you count on your partnerships for growth?

I’ve been lucky enough to lead many organizations that count on their partners for a large portion of their revenue and growth. See if this might help you get better financial returns and results from your key partnerships.

How do you evaluate your strategic partnerships? What makes most successful partnerships exceed your expectations? Successful organizations today understand that successful partnerships are successful teams. With so many moving parts it helps to be great at understanding what people want from their partnerships.

I been involved in many successful strategic partnerships in my career both in B2C and B2B. I’ve worked on both large and small strategic partnerships. The largest generated several hundred million dollars in annual revenue for our firm.

How do partnerships help you grow?

I have an excellent record of exceeding my clients’ and partners’ expectations. Well over 90%. That’s a good number for most executive leaders. Recent studies show that almost 60% of executives feel they don’t receive the expected results from their strategic partnerships.

When helping my organizations and clients build breakthrough strategic partnerships, I ask several questions. I’ll share several questions that help you decide if strategic partnerships are a great growth strategy for your business.

These questions help you clarify your partnership strategy?

The first question to consider as you begin is what is the purpose of the strategic partnership(s)? I believe most strategic partnerships fail because there is no single purpose behind the relationship. A well-known tech CEO believes that purpose is the foundational element of successful strategic partnerships. If you can’t sum up the purpose for the strategic partnership simply, you might not want to engage in it.

The second question to consider is who are the key people on the strategic partnership team? To build successful strategic partnerships, you need to have great members on both teams.  Successful strategic alliances have strong teams working towards their shared goals.

If the strategic alliance team is not lead by a strong, respected leader, this strategic partnership will fail. You can have the best leaders, but if they can’t attract great talent to their team, your project will fail!

Who are the executive stakeholders for your team?

The third question to consider is who is the executive stakeholder for your strategic partnerships? Are they willing to invest not only their time and resources, but also their political capital to help this strategic partnership succeed?  I’ve seen many great partnerships fail because the executive in charge failed to champion the project both inside and outside the organization.

If you want to know if a project is important to your organization, see if it’s shared in stockholder and investor communications. We live in a marketing driven world, there are few new ideas. Marketing and execution are the key to your strategic partnerships success.

Partnerships change the way you do business 

With many larger organizations, successful strategic partnerships change part of how the organization does business.  If your partnership leader doesn’t help champion your project across the organization, there is a high likelihood of failure. Successful partnerships are team sports at the beginning.  

Being a great cheerleader, follower, and coach is a critical role in leading successful strategic partnerships. To succeed your executive stakeholder must be willing to help you promote their program to both insiders and outsiders when required.

Is partnership success a top priority?

The fourth question to consider is if your project a priority for both organizations? If you are the smaller strategic partner you may have significant risk involved in proceeding with your partnership. To succeed, you must be able to become a priority to your partners. There are many ways to do this and I’ll share more details in future blogs.

Generally, there are several ways to do this, but the ones I’ve found that work best are competition, potential gaps in the market, and the agenda of the larger organization. Many large organizations’ growth has leveled off and they need to jumpstart their growth in new or emerging markets.

What strengths does each partner have?

Strategic partners must be able to acknowledge what each partner brings to the table. Good strategic alliance partners are capable of sharing the value proposition in either direction. This skill helps them keep them moving when these programs run into challenges.

The fifth question to consider is what are the measures of success for both partners? In the past, just having a partnership with a global successful strategic partner was all that was needed to keep investors happy in the early stages of a business.

Are You Ready to Build Great Global Partnerships? Use this article to find out more about what takes to be successful in global business.

Today, because of many infamous failures of strategic partnerships, investors want to know the result they get from the partnership. You must be able to tell them how to measure performance and what it means to the revenue of both organizations before they engage in this strategic partnership.

Are partners committed to successful partnership?

Let’s add one more element to the mix. That is how publicly this strategic partnership is being shared in the markets they work in. This includes whether this project appears when the CEO writes to investors and external stakeholders. Are you promoting the progress on a regular basis?

I had a manufacturing client who used to joke that if you wanted to ensure your strategic partnership’s success have the CEO or Governor at the kickoff event. We laughed, but it’s true. Peer pressure can help accelerate a partnership’s success.

Ensure success of your partnership

Successful strategic partnerships are promoted aggressively to help build momentum early on with new potential clients. 

Many times, picking the right early adopters can spell the difference between incredible success and failure.

Do you need more information on growing your business through partnerships? Review this SCORE resource to help you Grow Your Business with a Strategic Partnership

See you in two weeks!

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