Teaming and Partnering may be two of the most overused words in the Information Technology market these days. Those terms are right up there with “Best-of-Breed”, “User Friendly”, “Cutting Edge”, “Streamlined”, and others that have lost a lot of their meaning with overuse and misuse. I’m sure most markets and industries have similar issues.
But even though the terms may be less impactful, Teaming and Partnering are still critical components of many organization plans – and can have tremendous impact on a company’s overall success – both good and bad. Some of the big impacts beyond revenue contributions are:
Organizational Reputation – It can take many years to cultivate the image you want in the marketplace. But it can also take just a few bad experiences and that image can be severally damaged. If you want someone to “Hang-your-Shingle” on their business, they better respect and value your name – as well as theirs.
Cost in Resources – Weak partners will require additional investments from the other partner. These investments may be in assistance, materials and more to supplement their own efforts in multiple areas, both pre- and post-sale. This isn’t an issue if the weaker partner wishes to supplement the other partner in reduced margins and/or payments – but that is the last thing you really want to use as the foundation for a mutual relationship.
Lost Revenues – A partner that doesn’t provide the level of coverage and/or successes planned can set you back months, possibly years, if they fail to provide their expected value. This is not only the loss of revenues over time, but the recovery effort to restart the process again.
Some of the actions you should leverage in making your partnerships work are:
Provide a Strategic Value – Partnering in the market is a planned and committed approach that compliments all of your business goals. When something is strategic, it will have the required research, execution and review necessary to create the maximum, long-term success that you both desire.
Use a Rifle, Not a Shotgun – Every partnership / teaming arrangement needs to be able to stand on its own business case. While all parties may be bringing some level of generic capabilities, the partnership itself needs to be packaged in a manner that identifies a good value proposition to the selected prospects. Plans with each partner best succeed when a level of unique components is brought to the table that identifies and builds this value proposition.
Product is Not the Only Key – While we all want the latest/greatest/slickest/cheapest product to our line of options for prospects – this generally isn’t lasting or the greatest value in profits. And if the product sells itself, then we’re generally just looking for distribution, not partnering. Partnering is about strategic, long-term investment and planning, not the “hot solution”.
The Company is Critical – Since everything we’ve identified is a relationship, you need to make sure who you team with matches your values and goals for success. While we want diversity in the markets we address, we need an assurance that how that activity is being accomplished remains consistent with both organization’s philosophies on values and how they do business. Open and honest communications is the foundation for this goal!
A recent example within HL Group would be our current solicitation of teaming and partnering opportunities with our mobilePLUS solution line. Throughout our nearly 20 years, partnering has always garnered us our biggest successes. So that was the natural approach for us with mobilePLUS.
After we started looking at potential partners and types of partner organizations, we then began framing a program to best support different types of relationships. We had a number of trials and efforts, but found that our best approach was leveraging our large network of acquaintances from our years of providing supply chain solutions. This tactic has proven very valuable in rapidly targeting and qualifying our activities and with excellent results so far.
The positive attitude and level of assistance these past relationships have brought to the table has been a little overwhelming. When we have inquired to why they have been so helpful, the common theme has been our positive reputation and the personal relationships cultivated in past projects. This response goes to the heart of what we, as a company, strive for at HL Group. It is also why our company Mission Statement is: “Be a company of quality and integrity that you would want to do business with or work for!”
A big part of the excitement that I’m personally experiencing is the creation of a number of new relationships, and the expansion of some of our others like this one, this one and this one. While not all discussions lead to a contractual relationship, they are creating some other creative teaming activities.
If your organization is looking to expand your business relationships, let’s talk.
Wes Haubein is the President of HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile asset inventory management and warehouse solutions. He writes regularly about management, solution integration and technology.