In the long run, business partnerships designed to be mutually beneficial for all involved will ultimately be more successful than the continuation of such widespread adversarial relationships.
However, despite your best efforts, you may not be sure whether your partnership truly meets these standards. However, by focusing on a few key areas, you can identify when your business has a successful (and mutually beneficial) partnership, or when there is still room for improvement.
1. You are both agreeing on KPIs
At the end of the day, businesses prioritize measurable outcomes to determine whether a relationship is working. Partners often have their own KPIs that are different from those of other companies. For example, Crossbeam’s 2021 State of the Partner Ecosystem report highlights common partner KPIs such as partner-sourced revenue, partner-influenced revenue, or the number of leads a partner generates.
Obviously, the KPIs appropriate for your partnership should be tailored to the type of partnership you are building. Outsourcing the right KPIs for product manufacturing is nothing like outsourcing customer service to a call center.
Your data should measure outcomes that matter, whether it’s raw sales numbers or improved customer engagement and satisfaction. Agreeing on what’s most important at the beginning of a relationship will guide everyone’s efforts and make it easier to hit KPIs along the way.
2. You can trust your partner
One of my favorite quotes about trust comes from a 2020 Washington Post op-ed by former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Schultz: “Trust is the coin of the realm. When trust is in a room, no matter what the room — a family room, a school room, a locker room, an office, a government room, or an army room — good things happen. When there is no trust in the room, good things don’t happen. Everything else is a detail. “
Yes, you need to confirm that your partner is doing what they agreed to do. But just like in personal relationships, successful and mutually beneficial business partnerships are always built on trust.
If you feel like you can’t trust your partner, you’ll always be suspicious of what they say and do — maybe even their data. Before long, you (or your partner) will be looking for someone else to work with.
3. No one is micromanaging
A key aspect of trusting business partnerships is that no one feels the need to micromanage each other. Micromanagement can be a serious problem in offices and partnerships.
The survey found that 68% of those who have worked for micromanagers say it hurts their morale. 55% also claimed it had a negative impact on their productivity, and 36% even switched jobs to avoid working with micromanagers.
Similar results can arise when you try to micromanage business partners – which is why it’s critical to nurture partnerships without micromanaging. This came to the fore in a recent conversation with Truvy co-owner Derrick Raynes.
“Micromanaging damages the quality of the relationship and destroys the sense of autonomy your partner needs to achieve the best possible outcome. If you outsource a task to an “expert,” you need to treat them like an expert and give them the Think the best way to get the job done. It doesn’t matter how big the collaboration is – let them do their work so you can do yours. Trust the partner to take responsibility for themselves and do their best.”
4. You are consistent in flexibility
In the aftermath of the global financial crisis in the late 2000s, a study in the B2B market titled “The Role of Partnerships and Flexibility in Strengthening Customer Relationships” noted how flexibility in B2B partnerships proved to be a key to developing and strengthening The key to relationships – whether it involves organizing special events, adapting to changing customer requirements or changing responsiveness.
While the overall objectives of the partnership may remain the same in the long run, it is undeniable that unexpected market conditions may affect the normal operations of the partnership. After all, who could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting effects on supply chain disruptions, inflation, and more?
This curveball requires partnerships that allow for some flexibility — and alignment in how they’ll respond to these contingencies. Partners working together to develop contingency plans or adjust strategies when needed are better able to continue to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes even in the event of a fundamental shift in the market.
Through clear communication and an ongoing commitment to mutual success, partners can better navigate these changing environments.
How is your partnership?
Every successful business partnership should be built on transparency, trust and helping both parties achieve their goals. However, it is one thing to try to establish these standards at the beginning of a business relationship, and quite another to actually follow them.
By regularly reviewing how things are going and how you and your partner feel about the relationship, you can identify areas for improvement and make any necessary changes to ensure long-term success for everyone.