It was Dalia Lama XIV that said: “We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities.”
Business is no different when it comes to the benefits of developing effective technology partnerships. At the end of the day, the core aspect of business is people. We do business with people we trust and create long-term relationships that are mutually beneficial in ensuring success for all parties involved. However, it is not just about having a partner, it all depends on the right partnership. Having the right type of partnerships helps grow your company, open opportunities and are a great way to venture into new channels. Today, approximately 90% of sales in business technology are generated through a channel partner. Those channel partnerships could mean as much as building new or joint products/partnerships together or simply as a channel to cross promote a company that shares similar values. What it comes down to is the bond that forms, that long-term relationship that can be nurtured and leveraged to increase everyone’s chances of succeeding.
Whether we like it or not, rather than treating others as competitors, building a strong partnership is what can make the biggest difference when it comes to the success of your business. So, here’s what you should keep in mind when looking for a partner and what to do after you have one.
Seek out the Right Companies
Once you understand that your next step in achieving greater success is a strong partnership with another company, you need decide what type of partnerships you want and find the best fit company.
Types of Partnerships
- Business – Customer Partnership: The relationship with customers can go beyond the product or service. It is important to keep in mind that an effective partnership with your customer can go a long way in helping you and helping them.
- Business – Business Partnership: This is an alliance between businesses. Whether it be of similar or different sizes or industries, it is important to understand where the gap is in your business and find the right partner that can help you deliver that end-to-end solution.
Size doesn't matter! You may partner with a company of similar size to yours or one that is a lot bigger or smaller. This decision needs to be informed by what you need in a partner. If you are looking for someone that can open up more marketing channels for you, consider searching for companies with a bigger network that could benefit from a partnership with you. On the other hand, you may notice a gap in your own business, in which case you may want to seek out same-sized or even smaller companies that can not only fill that gap but would be open to a partnership with you.
Case in point:
The RedBit – Microsoft partnership is a prime example of a relationship between two different sized companies. Microsoft is a giant that offers us exposure and a multitude of resources and opportunities. On the other hand, we use their products to build our solutions to help customers succeed. Our recent win, of Microsoft’s Partner of the Year Community Response Inspire awards for our work with Second Harvest, highlights the great work smaller companies like RedBit can do to support the larger ones.
Industries: Although you can always help similar businesses in good faith, it is much more common to partner with those in different industries. This goes back to any gaps that may be present in your business. Partnering with a company that may offer that product or service could be a faster, more cost-effective way of adding value to your business without investing directly in creating your own.
Maintaining the Relationship
After you find the perfect fit company and establish that relationship, you need to remember that it’s not just a one-way street. For these partnerships to remain successful in the long-term they must be mutually beneficial with both parties supporting each other and providing consistent value.
- Be a cross-pollinator: build bridges and connect other people together
- Be a team player: work as a team to deliver exceptional customer needs
- Be in it for the long haul: extend that partnership beyond loose collaborations
- Be open handed: allow partners easy access to you
- Be symbiotic: give partners a seat at the table and invite them to be integral to your process
- Be laser-focused: leverage your partnership to help you improve your business
- Be communicative: it's important to maintain open and honest communication
- Be architecturally cohesive: any partnership should involve a mutual exchange of values
- Be developer-centric: integrate with developers to diversify into today's tech world
Remember that there’s no set formula for finding and maintaining strong partnerships. The key is to nurture your partnership, even if it means helping your partner sometimes with nothing in return. These relationships are not perfect and with business and technology changing rapidly values and goals can misalign. Keep that channel of communication open so both you and your partner can adjust strategies as you grow and continue to help each other succeed.