“Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning” – Bill Gates
It doesn’t require a merger or acquisition to create a 1+1=3 partnership. It requires two companies, through open communication, identifying alignment of supply and demand services rendered and required. Seems simple enough, right? Absolutely not.
Whether we admit to this or not, every business fulfills their agenda first. We have to. We have to turn our own lights on before we worry about who else has turned on theirs. But, how far does this culture trickle down? What messages are being sent to sales and marketing teams? After all, the message sent to the sales team is the market-facing message with which our brands enter the arena. Sure, marketing campaigns paint a picture, but what is the dynamic when you sit down with a representative and share dialogue? Next time you’re on a sales meeting call, listen and compare how many times WE or US is used compared to THEM or THEY. This alone will be a very indicative sign of company culture and how it pertains to our view of our own partnerships.
Mattew Dixon, author of The Challenger Sale, profoundly suggests “what sets the best suppliers apart is not the quality of their products, but the value of their insight—new ideas to help customers either make money or save money in ways they didn’t even know were possible.” We are all suppliers. In some way or another, we supply our products to service an industry need. How valuable is your insight?
Invite yourself to your client’s next sales meeting to understand THEIR needs. Report back to your sales manager only what THEY are trying to achieve. What is the best-selling line for your distributor? How can you compliment THEIR efforts selling to THOSE customers? What are THEIR sales goals in 2018? How can you help THEM achieve that goal? What is the most profitable service your contractor performs? How can you supplement THAT service? How can you improve THEIR sales and marketing targets for this service?
I’ve always believed that money is a by-product of being good at something, and if you think making money is the industry you’re in, you have a far less chance of ever being industry-leading. And the industry-leader there, Jeff Bezos, still did it by offering partners and customers industry-changing service. Firstly, be the best at servicing your partners needs, and your company’s bottom line will fall into place.