Not just a service provider – putting the ‘partner’ in partnerships

Retail Financial Services

Retail Financial Services

   green-flag.jpg                       Affinia
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. 

Partnership behaviors?

  • 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