Last time around, we looked at trust in partnerships and how we can grow interpersonal trust on the back of procedural trust. It’s obvious though that these partnerships come with obligations…
What are our obligations?
Obligations are the duties and commitments that bind us, whether morally or legally. These obligations can be ‘debts of gratitude’ for a service or a favour and can range from agreeing on processes, hosting meetings, co-delivering workshops, sharing activity costs and agreeing to joint investment, to the exchange of information.
I want to discuss obligations in the form of information sharing, but also from the perspective of making partnerships work…
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So, why do I rank ‘information sharing’ at the top-end of this list? Put simply, it’s because sharing information is the riskiest obligation.
You never have a guarantee on how the information will be used or whether it’s useful at all. You won’t know ahead of time if it’s old, new or the right information and, often, you won’t know what to do with it. For me though, information sharing it is the purest form of obligation sharing.
I observe this time and again in commercial conversations: Whilst we think in a linear way about spending money on sales activity with partners and understand the obligations on both sides, more often than not, we struggle to do the same with information: X number of pounds spent on marketing will yield X pounds on pipe. Easy. Measurable. With information, it’s just not that straightforward. Information is our currency or – if you want to add a sprinkle of drama – our lifeblood (particularly as we are one of the last niche consultancies proudly left in the market).
How being ‘niche’ affects our obligations
Being niche affects our obligations in terms of making partnerships work. As a smaller partner, we need to make dedicated decisions on focus, to become not just a ‘gold’ or ‘advanced’ partner on paper, but to drive real impact that generates revenues.
I strongly believe in focusing on solutions and offerings that create value for customers, increase spend for partners, and influence our revenues as a professional services company; I would even put solution build and reliably generating outcomes before specialisations; anyone can have hundreds of specialisations on paper, but if they can’t deliver to outcomes, then nothing is gained.
We are also obliged to participate, on our clients’ behalf, in funding activities and acceleration programmes. A demonstrable interest and investment in our partners’ technologies offer us more opportunities to grow both the clients and us.
It’s a fine line…
My tip is that as long as you keep the channels of communication to partners open, all obligations to becoming a trusted partner, with the right offerings, qualifications and information sharing will be met – and this will help everyone succeed. There will always be a middle ground where larger partners can help smaller partners succeed – and vice versa.
Partnerships are fun! Value them!
Ramona Fuchs is Head of Strategic Partnerships and a vital part of the leadership team at eSynergy Solutions. Before arriving at eSynergy in 2020, Ramona worked in partnership and relationship building roles at Cloudreach, Hitachi Consulting, and McDonald Butler Associates.
Head of Partnerships