Collaboration Beats Competing for Sales
Collaboration beats competing as a strategy to grow your business has become very fashionable when compared with the traditional business model. There is little doubt collaboration with the right Partner or partners can deliver huge rewards, but they can also provide you with huge problems. Every successful collaboration has spent time, resources and money developing the Partnership. What you may not realize is they have more than likely spent time, resources and money on Partnership that failed on their way to the successful one. Don’t let this put you off, as collaboration with another organization whilst not easy can be well worth it. Here is a checklist for building successful Business 2 Business Partnerships that will hopefully save you time, resources and money.
Before committing in full to your new Partnership, pick a single pilot project that you can work on together to prove the concept. Get feedback from your client and learn from any mistakes before moving forward, or decide to abort and find a more suitable Partner for Collaboration.
2) Common Goals
Working with any partner organization that does not share your goals will be short term as you each will be working in a different direction. It’s not enough to have goals like, I want to sell more to a certain customer group. They need to be SMART goals.
Unless you can agree on a fair contribution of resources, which usually means an equal contribution of resources, there is a strong possibility bad feelings will develop, which is the start of the end of your collaboration.
4) No Planning
Without a written plan it is more than likely one or other of the parties involved will have forgotten or misunderstood part of your conversation. If your Partnership is financially worth pursuing then it is worth spending time to plan your collaboration.
5) Roles & Responsibilities
People need to be given clear roles and responsibilities if we want them to take ownership and make the collaboration work. Having a dedicated Partnership Manager who owns the relationship can have a hugely positive effect on results.
6) Regular Reviews
Organize weekly calls and monthly meetings to review progress and address any issues that arise. Don’t just focus on business during the meetings, build the relationship during the meetings, as this will help your Partnership survive any challenges that arise in the future.
7) Quick Wins
Success breeds success and unless you can establish some quick wins people in both organizations will begin to lose interest. Once you have the quick wins share the results with as many people in the two organizations as possible.
Collaboration beats competing as a way to grow your business whether you run a one person business, or an organization with 1,000’s of staff. The biggest beneficiaries of your collaboration should be your clients. You must be able to articulate and prove any benefits to your target customers such as the skills, expertise and experience both parties bring to the table, and why you have decided to collaborate with each other. Collaboration is not as easy as it sounds and your first attempts may not be successful but don’t give up, learn from what didn’t work and try again.
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