SD-Logic way to Partnerships

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When I first started in consulting, I spent a lot of time going to network meetings in town. It was the thing to do at the time. What I came to realize is that everyone had a product/service for my customer. Few of my services fit their companies. So, what happened is that I had two choices. One, spend a lot of time selling someone else’s product/service with little return for myself. Two, stop going to network meetings and go find a customer. 

This is not meant as a slam on the other networkers. It is even common in the business world. We always see opportunities in how we can partner with others. Mostly on how they need our product/service. They are weak in the area we excel in. The reason most of the time it is not that they are weak or lack expertise; it is more about the energy they are willing to spend on that portion of their business. First, they have not found it profitable or second, they have not found enough demand for developing it.

We view other product/services as not competitive products, but complementary products. I always think that is BS – We are competing for not only the same wallet, but more importantly the time or resources to implement the process. Whoever has the greatest burning platform,and the easiest to implement is usually the winner. If you are depending on your new partners, to sell it for you, you may be mistaken. The time and energy will be spent on their product/service. In this case, few of your products/services are sold and market is a t best minimal or about the same amount you could have created yourself.

If we cannot lead our new partners into acquiring more customers (not retention and up-selling) with fewer headaches; we may not be a good match. I believe the power has to come from acquiring new market-share based on the new synergies. If it only about add-on sells, the efforts are typically very minimal. And with that said, I have not even discussed pricing strategies and how they have to fit in.

Many will say that I may have too many negative thoughts about this. However, I think on a larger scale it is why so many acquisitions struggle for success. Matches are difficult for small companies and large companies. I have found that the correct fit evolves more so than is created. We need the market to drive the synergy not try to create it. Look for partners that you find yourself having a coffee together at a customers. Find them in places where your product/service is being used. In this manner, the customer or market has created the synergy. I liken this to using Service Dominant Logic thinking. Your thoughts? 

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.

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