Sponsor introducing: Gary Elliott, GreenFlag
Facilitated and written by: Tim Waterlow, Affinia Partnerships Limited
Perfect partners don't exist. Perfect conditions exist for a limited time in which partnerships express themselves best.
How do you find the perfect partner?
- You have to kiss a lot of frogs first!
- You need to have a deep understanding of what makes the partner tick
- Understand their problems and issues
- What are their core values
- Don’t think the partnership is one person’s responsibility it’s the responsibility of all parties
- Know who you are and what you have to offer before speaking to third parties
- What are the synergies of the business?
- What are both parties passionate about?
What’s the process?
- The right answer comes from an iterative process and not the RFP
- Where possible, start small and grow from there
- The governance dictates the detail; it has to be adequate from a compliance, legal and internal governance perspective
- Procurement teams don’t like grey - they naturally want to easily define things against scoring matrixes. In reality most of the key factors are more subjective
- Analogy alert! : rather than getting married after a few initial meetings go on some romantic dates, maybe even live together for a while, but be certain before having the kids or getting married.
- People in tenders tell you what they think you want to hear rather than the truth!
- Do you put a number in an RFP that is true or designed to win the tender? – The consensus (happily) was that you should be realistic and argue against anyone else’s extravagant claims rather than play their game and sort it out afterwards.
- Linked to the point above, we should respect honesty and truth and give marks for it during the process.
- Say no and reject partnerships that don’t fit. Management need to create an environment where this is possible.
- Decide whether the partnership is tactical 6 months or strategic for the long term and cut the cloth accordingly.
- Have the courage to step into the unknown - who knows where it may lead!
- Resist the temptation to do too many tactical partnerships.
- Partnerships are changing and many organisations have taken away targets from the front line in their partnership area to ensure focus on the customer is paramount.
- Synergies and chemistry between organisations is more important longer term than short term commercial factors.
- It’s okay to have different objectives if they are clear and non-conflicting.
Some other thoughts?
See partnerships as much wider than purely transactional
- Partnerships can change the way the customer sees your brand
- Partnerships can open up new markets
- Partnerships can radically change the strength of your core proposition
- In extreme cases companies have even hired ex-employees from the partner to improve the understanding of that partner
- Is your organisation truly customer centric? You have to be honest with yourselves during the partnership process