6 Tips for Building Meaningful Partnerships

Posted by Liz Stuart, Vice President of Sales Operations
July 20, 2017

Leveraging partnerships has always been critical to business success. Finding new or unique ways to partner is crucial—but the obvious choice isn’t always the one that leads to greater success.  Today, I’m seeing more opportunity to connect with non-traditional or unconventional partners and to reach customers in new ways.

But how do you build the trust and loyalty that’s required for partnerships to thrive and grow? Here’s how I build meaningful partnerships:

  1. Keep working towards collaboration and discovery. Understanding why you need a partner is the first step to analyzing who to partner with and how best to partner.  Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing right, so take the time to discover and actively engage.  
  2. Be authentic. Partnerships work best when they’re built on mutual trust. That’s why it’s important to know your core values and what drives you. With your partners, be transparent about your goals and expectations. Come to an agreement with your partners about what you need from them and what they expect from you.
  3. Find the stakeholders and work congruently with all of them. Focusing exclusively on one person or one goal won’t yield the results you need for success. Instead, engage with multiple people. Also, try to set up a regular cadence of meetings—you can often increase the effectiveness of your partnerships by making your partners more visible to internal teams and stakeholders.
  4. Be agile. If you find that something can be better, faster, more efficient then work quickly to correct it. If you’re struggling with your partners, don’t be afraid to ask them, “What have you seen work? What do your best partnerships look like?” Having something that's repeatable and consistent is key.
  5. Reciprocate. Partnerships should be mutually beneficial. Give more than you receive. I’m always looking for ways to add value. I ask myself questions like, “How can I help my partners improve their business? Can I help them with other relationships?” The quickest way to building that trust is through reciprocation. If the partnership is one-sided it will eventually fall apart. 
  6. Focus on the longevity of your partnerships. Trust and longevity are two key factors to a successful partnership that can span your entire career. Build your partnerships with short term and long term goals in mind.

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Allbound Partner Sales Acceleration for its Allbound Podcast. (Allbound offers a next generation partner portal platform that simplifies and accelerates a business’s ability to recruit, onboard, train, measure, and grow indirect sales partners.)

In this week’s podcast, Jen Spencer, the Allbound Vice President of Marketing and Alliances, and I discuss the partner’s perspective. You can read the transcript, download the podcast, or stream it below.

Feel free to reach out with any questions or find me on Twitter— @lizmstuart21.

About Liz Stuart Liz Stuart first joined ASG in 2000 as a member of the inside sales team. Quickly recognizing her value, the management team promoted her to the Manager of Vendor Services. Today, Liz serves as the Vice President of Sales Operations, where she plays a critical role developing new processes and procedures and managing the company’s strategic vendor relationships.

Filed Under: Culture

1 Response to '6 Tips for Building Meaningful Partnerships'

  • John Murphy, 07/24/2017 10:19 a.m. Excellent points Liz and I enjoyed your interview with Allbound. One thing I would add to your "Partnership Pointers" and not to sound too trite, is to understand fully the financial incentives and compensation of partners well in advance as it is human nature to be guided by rewards. I think we have all been affected when we didn't completely understand the partners programs or comp plans and the impact they have on teaming and deal structure.

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