Leadership

Simple Strategies to Improve Partner Performance

June 9, 2017
The best partnerships are a matter of chemistry and culture, but also hard work. Indeed, you have to put time, energy, and effort in up front, or you’ll never get to leverage the intangibles. The earlier you establish good working habits, the more likely you’ll discover the kind of synergy that helps you accomplish amazing things.
 
There is a lot of risk in partnerships, but also tremendous potential? How do you minimize the former and maximize the latter? You begin by employing proven strategies that keep joint projects on track, lines of communication open, and progress to shared goals measured.
 
What can you do to ensure better rapport and more efficient cooperation with your partner? Learn these proven strategies from Guidance.
 
Develop a Strong Methodology
Here, you need to institute a strategic partnership plan, which will define the role of partners, outline strategic goals, and establish benchmarks for success. Typically, this process will encompass weekly meetings, status reports, and delineating milestones to measure progress. 
 
As part of this program, it will be essential to develop outcome-based metrics that will help you evaluate your partnership plan over time. It helps a great deal if leaders invest themselves in the plan, it has high visibility, and all stakeholders are committed to implementing it.
 
Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of how likely your customers are to recommend your products and services. Studies have shown that companies with a very high NPS have better growth and higher performance than low-scoring firms. 
 
The right partner will seek out your feedback after every project and gauge changing levels of success with regularly scheduled surveys. This not only gives clients the opportunity to express their thanks, but it also acts as an early indicator of problems that can be fixed and improved. This ongoing self-evaluation is crucial to the success of the client, the partner, and their relationship. 
Account Management
 
Communication and transparency are paramount to any healthy, long-term relationship. A solid account management structure will give every client a clear person to turn to with their questions. And, the client should feel completely clear to ask those questions without financial penalty. 
 
We’ve found that the most effective structure keeps account management out of the traditional billing cycle. It’s best left as a dedicated support role that’s main goal is ensuring clear understanding and success on both sides. That includes a full grasp of responsibilities, deliverables, and progress towards objectives. Poor account management invariably leads to subpar business outcomes. 
 
Facetime
Good relationships depend on facetime. In fact, there’s no substitute for interacting in person. Traveling to your partner’s home office provides a sense of their individual character and the company’s culture. After that, regular check-ins via video conference are a good way to maintain rapport.
 
In today’s technology driven era, there’s a tendency to rely heavily on e-mail, texting, and phone conversations. These can help you establish a consistent cadence of communication. However, relying on them exclusively can provide a false sense of security. In particular, facetime meetings--especially those conducted in person--are best for gleaning nuances that will help you establish, build, and maintain trust.
 
Takeaway
Partnerships succeed or flounder depending on the processes worked out in advance. Partners need to know what to expect of one another, have procedures for exchanging regular feedback, and established benchmarks for measuring progress to goals.
 
Clarity is a key ally in making your partnerships succeed. The less you plan ahead, the vaguer your responsibilities and goals will be. In contrast, the more time and effort you invest in hammering out methodologies in advance, the smoother your relationship will be, particularly when you hit a couple of rough patches. 
 
Synergy is an amazing thing--and it can help take your business up a notch--but it’s not an accident. Rather, it’s the byproduct of forethought, planning, and procedures that promote a seamless coordination between two cultures.