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When is a Commerce Partnership a Good Fit?

April 5, 2017
Good partnerships are like puzzle pieces--the companies need to fit snugly or the big picture goals will never materialize. Determining if potential partners have the right stuff requires a little homework. With that in mind, what factors should you be thinking about and weighing in advance?
 
First, you need to look at the most fundamental considerations: 
 
  • Do your potential solution partners have the experience you need?
  • What is their track record of success? In particular, you need to be looking at brand reputation, referrals, and case studies that demonstrate their competencies and successes.
 
Once you’ve covered the basics you need to dig a little deeper. Here you will be getting into areas having to do with both individual character and company culture:
 
  • Have you met the people at the company? Also, have you established the requisite trust to work closely with one another? These are high stakes, get to know your partner and build a relationship.
  • Do your corporate cultures complement one another or do they clash? For example, perhaps your company has made product quality a top priority. If so, you may find yourself in very stressed and tense relationship if your potential partner thinks you should be focusing elsewhere.
  • Are you partnering with a culture of excellence or a mediocrity? Discerning warning signs of a failing culture ahead of time can save you a lot of pain (much higher costs and more time before anything is actually launched) down the road.
 
Size Matters?
 
Beyond these considerations, you also have to look at the size of potential solution partners. For instance, is one company too small to take advantage of the expertise of a larger suitor? Conversely, is a potential partner too big to really care. Size may not necessarily matter, but you have to at least be aware of a potential mismatch.
 
Critical Success Factors
 
Engagement
 
Are both partners deeply committed? Across the organization, leadership, project managers, and technical teams need to be thoroughly engaged, in sync, and on the same page.
 
Objections are Welcome
 
Honesty and candor are essential in any business relationships. A solution partner or commerce service provider (CSP) should have no reservations about informing a client when a given strategy of course of action appears dubious. You don’t need a yes partner. You need the right partner.
 
Ditch the Blame Game--Focus on Solutions
 
Constructive partnerships avoid pointing fingers. When challenges and problems arise, and they will, do not point fingers and simply focus on solutions.  Use constructive communication in order to find the best way to solve problems together.
 
Takeaway
 
At Guidance, we believe that candor, cultural affinity, and mutual respect are the foundations of successful partnerships. If a potential client has certain needs which we cannot fulfill, then we would prefer to refer them to someone who is a better fit.
 
High-performing partnerships depend on many factors. Asking the right questions, cultural chemistry, and a commitment to constructive communication at all levels is essential. Ultimately, it means doing your homework so that you can be confident that the partner you choose has the expertise, integrity, and cultural skill-set to match-up well with yours.
 
To learn more about partnering with Guidance or need help determining what a partnership would look like for you, contact us today.