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The Bonds of Business: B2B Relationships

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In the modern business landscape, companies must seek out every possible advantage to stay competitive. One of the clearest paths to advantage is the establishment and cultivation of strong business relationships. Partnering with other companies is an excellent way to further your reach in the marketplace. As with any relationship there will be ups and downs, growth will take time, and trust will be the key to success.

 

When thinking of business relationships and partnering with other firms, there are three questions that have to be answered:

  1. The Who – Who represents a partnership that could help our bottom line? The first of these questions is often the easiest to answer. You more than likely have already identified the companies that you envision being a good fit (Web Design Firms, Traditional Marketing Agencies). The expertise or contacts they bring to the table could be just the competitive advantage your agency needs, or the perfect way to open up potential new markets for your products and services.

  2. The What – What is it we could do with them that we cannot do alone? The second question, ‘the what’, is simply recognizing that through trust, transparency, and shared risk with a partner it is possible to reach goals that you once believed unattainable. What can you do together to gain a competitive advantage? What type of partnership offers the greatest return on investment? These questions are specific to your company, and your experience in the field, along with some research, will have introduced you to the companies that fit this particular profile.

  3. They Why – Why is this worth our time and effort? The why can be the most difficult of the three questions to answer. There are going to be risks and there will be a significant investment of time and effort to forge a lasting relationship. So why should you take the plunge? Well, this is the time to remind yourself that leverage is everything in business, and leveraging the unique skills of a second organization to meet the needs of your customers is a risk well worth taking.
     

The elements found in all successful partnerships center around trust and transparency. In order for this to function as smoothly as possible, the trust must be present at the very top, and management must be willing to take the long view when setting goals. Openness in every phase of the relationship will help build a stronger working partnership, and facilitate the free exchange of information and ideas. It is imperative that both parties be ready and willing to take chances to achieve success, and always put down the objectives and expectations of your relationship in writing (SOW). This will help you stay focused on your objectives without any confusion regarding your goals.

 

True partnerships in business are difficult to form. They take a tremendous amount of planning and effort to develop, and the work is always ongoing; the risk never ends. But, the possibilities for cost-cutting and growth are far greater than going it alone. After all, they say, “two heads are better than one”, and that is especially true in business. 

What are your thoughts on this? Have you formed any B2B relationships that have helped your agency grow? Have you taken on any B2B’s that you wish you hadn’t? I am curious on what others are doing to grow their business network? Any success stories you want to share or even horror stories would help others avoid the unknown.

Tips for working with other businesses: Finish what you start, stay consistent & be punctual. 

about Spencer Wade

I'm Spencer Wade - strategist, designer, manager of people and ideas. Platinum Top Contributor for Google Search, G+ & AdWords - TC Mentor too. I’m the founder of Lift Conversions, a Google Partner agency, located in Chicago. I’ve completed Google’s tests - Search, Display, Video, Analytics, & Mobile, and enjoy being a part of the forums. My agency is also an Official City Partner in the Get Your Business Online effort with Instant Verifier access to help immediately verify business listings.

Comments
Seb H
July 2016

Hi Spencer, nice article & highlights a very important part of most succesfull businesses.

I have a rule, that "if you don't have the time or resources to be an expert in something you need, work with one".

As a Partner Manager at Corcra, it's my role to identify & work beneficial partnerships for both my business and our partners.
We work with other product & service providers in our marketplace to offer our customers a more wholesome service, creating an easier buying process for our customers. We also partner with other businesses to resell our products, helping with market growth & letting them supplement their businesses income.

Thanks for sharing.
- Seb Huber

Spencer_Wade Top Contributor
July 2016

Thanks for taking the time to read and reply Seb. 

Love the rule, "if you don't have the time or resources to be an expert in something you need, work with one" I will use that one if that's OK.

You sound like the ideal Partner, no afraid to step out to get the job done. I too am learning to release the work, its hard at times and but very gratifying once you have made the transition.

Thanks again for dropping by and sharing your process sounds like one to follow! 

Have a great day/week! 

 

Trevor_Stewart Top Contributor
July 2016

 Great post @Spencer_Wade I strongly agree with you that Business relationships will stand the test of time as long as the results follow.

 

Thanks for this piece! 

Spencer_Wade Top Contributor
July 2016

Thanks Trevor for dropping by and jumping in! Agreed "as long as the results follow"

 

Cynthia K
August 2016

Thank you for taking the time to respond and appreciate the advice. 

Spencer_Wade Top Contributor
October 2016
I think your reply was stuck in the Que, sorry I missed you but thanks for stopping by. @Cynthia K
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