“A strategic partner helps a company ‘see the future faster, and in a new and different way.’” – Kevin Davis, Sales Management and Training Expert
You’re an entrepreneur for a reason. You’ve successfully developed a product or service that poses a real benefit to the greater population or other businesses. Now to get to the marketing, the finances, the technology… the truth is, you can’t do it all yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s critical for you and your organization to build strategic partnerships.
In fact, 56% of senior marketing executives labeled strategic partnerships as vital to their businesses. Like any relationship however, strategic partnerships require work and dedication. The maintenance to keep them thriving can be a pain point for organizational leadership worldwide. Sustaining a mutually beneficial strategic partnership is a challenge for 45% of management executives and although these professional relationships aren’t easy, they’re certainly worth it.
The bottom line is strategic partnerships fuel your business growth. Unfortunately, only 7% of Grow From the Right Intro respondents say they stimulate these relationships very well. Although 51% say they leverage these alliances quite well, there are still 34% of executives in the professional world that don’t cultivate them well enough. Without proper guidance, it’s easy to let these partnerships fall by the wayside.
These three tips will help your executive team maintain and cultivate mutually beneficial strategic relationships for your business and your partners.
Align with strategic partners with the same care and precision as you would during the hiring process.
Studies indicate that between 50-70% of strategic partnerships fail due to underperformance by one or both parties. There are striking similarities between the failures of a strategic alliance and a new hire. All too often, those forming the partnerships focus too heavily on the number of zeros behind an organization’s worth. The truth is, they won’t be worth anything to your organization if size, culture, and collaboration habits aren’t assessed first. The quest for this purposeful collaboration shouldn’t begin until after you’ve made a cultural and organizational match.
Know the partners’ organizations as well as you know your own.
There should be little fear for misalignment in a strategic partnership as long as both parties have done their research. It’s easy to gather a list of top choice companies to work with towards a common goal. The tricky part is truly understanding how your organizations will intertwine once that partnership is established. In order for both companies to be successful in the partnership, it is essential to research the other business so you know it as well as your own. Matt Ehrlichman (@mattehrlichman), CEO of Porch.com and strategic partner with Lowe’s, said:
“The key is looking for a partner with a matched vision and wants more than just a transactional relationship. Chances are you are going to be working closely with these companies for extended periods of time, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure the spirit, vision and culture are all aligned.”
Maintain open lines of communication.
The key to any successful relationship is the maintenance of efficient communication. The same could be said for strategic partnerships; they are, after all, professional relationships. Your team wouldn’t be able to work effectively together if they never interface with each other. Likewise, that business relationship will only fester if it’s not nurtured accordingly. Sahl Communications (@Sahlcomm), an international organization specializing in creating interpersonal relationships within businesses, said:
“Communication is extremely important in any kind of partnership. Partners, by talking openly and honestly with each other, can manage the relationship in [the] most profitable ways. Expectations should be spelt out so that issues could be ironed out in advance, before they disrupt the business operations.”
Strategic partnerships are more than the net value of the organization you want to join forces with. When they are simply based on worth, goals, culture, and collaboration habits lose attention, only leading to the demise of the professional relationship. These partnerships are delicate and must be assessed with the same scrutiny as your new hires. Likewise, if new hires are to be successful within the organization there has to be an open line of communication. Your strategic partnership can only go so far without consistent level of specific interfacing. Small and large businesses alike can benefit from strategic partnerships as long as they have the right tools to create them from the beginning.
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