Effective Partnering: check relationship life-cycle stage.

  • Something is not quite right … that revenue-promising partnership seems to have taken a wrong turn? … or a whole bunch of partners seemed to have slipped through the net and be … surprise surprise … under-performing? You need to work out why … and quick, before more value is lost and reputations become tarnished!

    Every relationship has a lifecycle. Equally each stage of a relationship can be mapped to a set of activities to make … or break … that relationship. You should take a look at your partnering relationships with this in mind, and design a relationship management life-cycle which suits your business model and partnering strategy.

    What does a Partner Relationship Life-cycle Model look like? The one we use is shown below, but you could use a simpler 4 stage model of <Recruit-> On-board -> Manage -> Review>. 

    How to get the best out of any partnering relationship?

    Doesn’t matter if it’s an old or new partnering relationship, you should proactively manage the lifecycle stages and commit to any actions necessary to make each stage a formal part of your partnering activities.

    New Partners: So, if you are just starting out, you’ll no doubt start at the identify and recruit stage. The model we use then kick-starts the relationship through onboarding, enabling and go-to-market activities before ****** onto winning business, managing and measuring the relationship with the final formal stages of review and renew or exit (depending on the mutual success of the partnership).

    Existing Partners: with existing relationships which don’t seem to be delivering, start at the review or audit stage to decide if it is worth continuing. If you do decide to continue, don’t be tempted to jump straight back in at the “manage” stage. Pretend it’s a brand new relationship and walk thru from the beginning – you’ll be surprised how much more productive the relationship will be with some renewed vows (aka recruitment and onboarding stages).

    TIP:  remember that any good partner relationship management has a series of lifecycle stages and is not just about the “manage” stage.