Seems to be a number of partnering or joint venture opportunities these days, and there are right and wrong ways to deal with these possible growth strategies.
The one thing I hear from some of the sales executives involved in forming partnerships or joint ventures that is a sign of failure is the thought process these are just easy ways to gain a foothold in customer accounts.
Let me tell you – as a consultant and business adviser for over 29 years – there is no such thing as an easy partnership or joint venture. It takes effort on the part of everyone involved.
Let me share with you the three essentials necessary for a partnership or joint venture to operate smoothly. The people and companies who understand these essential elements or truths, no have more success in the long run due to the comfort level of customers knowing they are working with multiple suppliers.
So, here are the three essential elements or truths of partnering…
Every one must be prepared to fully participate in all phrases of building and executing a partnership for selling. This includes the top executives down to the sales group and supply chain teams. In fact, here is where cross functional teams earn their place of honor – working with everyone in their company, their partner’s company and the customer’s company.
Here I’m talking about 100% commitment from everyone involved. There is no such thing as a 60-40 or 50-50 partnership – it’s all or nothing. I’m assuming here that you want the partnership to work and be a success. A good analogy to this partnership thing are couples. If there is limited commitment from either party, the partnership is doomed from the beginning. Trading off commitment and responsibility is just some logical excuse for not being 100% committed to success.
This the key for true partnering is knowing up front what data needs to be measured and what results are expected from the data. Welcome to Performance Management in sales. The data to be measured should be agreed to before beginning the process. This includes what to be measured, where the data is coming from, who is to supply the data, when will it be shared and who will interpret the data. The most important part of this process is to fully understand what the customer is looking for relative to results and outcomes. What measurements they want to see to verify the partnership is working.
There you have the three essential elements or truths for a partnership to work. When I began writing this I was focused upon the JV type of partnerships whereby multiple suppliers get together and partner on a project. Yet, I need to clarify these three elements are equally if not more important when your company partners with a customer on major sales opportunities.
So, use these three essential elements with all types of partnerships – other suppliers or with customers only – to improve the quality of sales and create longer term business relationships.