Outlook is approaching its 25th anniversary in business – marked by July of next year. Over the years we have enjoyed serving many business-to-business (B2B) clients in technology, industrial, healthcare, supply chain, and emerging markets with innovative and differentiated awareness, engagement and sales enablement solutions that help them achieve their business goals. From the company’s inception, maintaining strong partnerships has been part of our business model. We have and continue to develop partnerships with organizations that have specialized skills that help us meet the needs of our clients.
I want to share with you what criteria we look for after years of developing and managing partnerships with the unwavering goal of not only adding value to our clients, but also delivering on programs that generate bottom line results to their business.
Partnership Accountability Criteria
Competency – When selecting a partner, it’ helpful to know what core competencies compliment your core business offerings or services. In our case, we have partnered with design firms, web and mobile application development, photography, videographers and others that possess excellence in their fields. Based on your business model, can you identify the categories of skills and resources needed that will compliment, instead of conflict, with your offerings?
Culture of Transparency – We possess a culture of transparency in our communication with clients and we expect the same from our partners. Clients and customers appreciate when their vendor partners do what they do best and ensure when resources are brought in that have their top interests in mind. Communicate to your customers and clients that you are including the partner as part of your offerings or services. If you aren’t transparent with your clients and customers, you are at risk of breaking client trust.
Processes & Execution – It is extremely critical when working with multiple partners to deliver on a solution for a client or customer that all parties are on the same page. Timelines, role definitions, budget allocation and open communication are critical to have success in serving clients and customers. True collaboration and delivery excellence only occurs when projects are well-orchestrated and program innovation, creative execution and program management processes are well-defined.
People Matter – Many of our partnerships have started with relationships at the highest levels in our organization. When that happens, it’s important that the partnership and its value to clients gets communicated to the people who have to make the partnership work. Ideally, you want to pursue partnerships (and the people you’ll be working with) that mirror the character traits you possess in your organization.
I’ll leave you with a final note. Trust, openness, integrity and caring about each other are strong foundational traits for any company. Within your own organization, these traits are much easier to maintain, as well as nurture. But with a partnership, you have to really work to ensure these traits are reiterated and embraced by the greater team. When this happens, the clients win, your people are happier and the partnership truly becomes a success.
Author: Jeff Rappaport, CEO & Founder, Outlook Marketing Services