In an era where many CMOs are focused on digital transformation, we’re often focused on the tools, processes and technology that can help us succeed in creating the omnichannel strategies that drive revenue (and other jargon). But there’s another important area to focus on: Your partners – the people and companies that you choose to help you on the path to transformation.
The businesses we choose to team up with have a direct impact on the success of our journey, including the vendors we choose for internal tools and those we endorse publicly as valued partners.
As someone with decades of experience in developing productive business partnerships for digital and traditional media, I’ve learned that there are five keys to choosing the right partner:
1. Your cultures are complementary
I get it — opposites attract. But, if you’re teaming up with another company, working with like-minded people is a key to success. Find a partner that shares the same ideals as far as company culture, go-to-market strategy and values. For example, let’s say your new partner doesn’t value privacy compliance as much you do — if you’re not aligned, the fallout may rest on your shoulders.
Another example, what are your marketing priorities? If your team is highly focused on personalization, for instance, but your partner is functioning at half the level you are, the disconnect between the two organizations will cause issues. Closely aligned customer priorities, overall values, and company culture ensures your partnership will not only function smoothly internally, but present a strong, united front to the public and your customers.
2. Your solutions stack up
In addition to being a good culture fit, your new partner should complement your solution, providing each organization something that the other doesn’t. If your counterpart is spread thin in one area of your business, your side of the house should offer skills or technology that pick up the slack.
Diving deeper, what does the future look like for each organization? Will each product continue to evolve in a scalable manner, with the possibility of turning into an integration? Integrations are a huge bonus — especially to customers — which is why you should place heavy importance on the compatibility of solutions when looking for a partner.
3. Customer experience is improved
Customer experience should be at the forefront of your mind when exploring the possibility of joining forces with another company. Why partner with someone else if not to better serve your customers with enhanced features and functionality?
I recommend mapping out your customer journey, highlighting points where the partnership will impact customer experience and evaluating whether each area of impact is positive or not. Reviewing the potential partnership with that level of detail will ensure there are no surprises if you decide to move forward — and give you a true list of pros and cons that can help make the right call.
4. You’re exploring new horizons — and verticals
One big advantage of joining forces is the opportunity to explore new market verticals. Your company might be well-known in one industry, but have far less recognition in another.
Teaming up is a great way to introduce your company into an entirely new audience with the added weight of being a partner to an already trusted source within the industry, gaining traction and new customers.
5. The benefits are mutual
When searching for new, potential partners, evaluate and consider their reputation. You don’t want to judge a book by its cover, but reputations are important. Teaming up has to mean both companies are benefitted by the partnership. If one company is significantly upgraded by the union while the other company loses ground, the imbalance will have an effect in the long run and that kind of partnership might not last.
It’s vital to remember that the partners you choose have a hand in the ultimate success of your business. Ensuring you carefully consider the compatibility of your businesses will help you drill down to the core components of a solid union that helps each party equally. And that’s truly the gold standard of partnerships.