But what does working with a strategic partner mean for your business? How do you stop working with vendors and seek out a strategic partnership? What’s the difference? These are the kinds of questions we will answer during this three part series. Over the course of my career, I’ve worked with many vendors. Occasionally, I am pleasantly surprised to find a vendor that thinks outside of their own box. You know the box I’m talking about - where the problem solving is limited by the boundaries placed around them by their industry, their manager, a quota line item or a list of “packages” that they can sell. I began my career in media in 1998 as an Account Executive in the radio industry, working for CBS Radio. I never fit in the vendor box of selling just radio schedules. That is, I couldn’t help myself but see outside of the limitations of radio and seek out new ways to meet my client’s needs. Because of this, I became one of the top producers of what is called “non traditional revenue” or NTR in industry-speak. When you close business that is in the Non Traditional Revenue category, it means you’ve found new ways - non traditional ways - to meet your client’s needs. You’ve invented. You’ve created. It was because of this experience in the radio industry that I realized, with the sound advice of people close to me, that I could be a part of what is now Edge Multimedia. Not having the limits of selling inside the box - being a vendor - was exciting for me. Being able to truly solve problems, utilizing any resource available, or creating my own resource, was the world I stepped into - and I’ve never looked back! In Part One of this series we will cover three of the seven main characteristics of a strategic partnership and look at how they differ from a plain old vendor-style relationship. Then, in Part Two & Three, we'll continue our theme as we dive deeper into how your business can set it sights on developing more meaningful, strategic relationships.
SIGNS THAT YOU’RE WORKING WITH A STRATEGIC PARTNER
1. A Strategic Partner Cares Most About Your SuccessA strategic partner cares about the success of your organization - not just a campaign’s success. Their goal is to make you look as good as possible and help you grow. A vendor cares most about the campaign success. They’re facing mounting pressure from people that don’t know you to get the deal done no matter what, whether it works or not. There is a quota to meet and a bonus waiting to be had!
To a strategic partner, your success is their success.You’ll know you’re working with a strategic partner when they are willing to tell you when something isn’t working - even if it’s something that they initially recommended. And, rather than try and save face and defend it, they’ll provide solutions and fix whatever the problem might be. To a strategic partner, your success is their success.