The Power of Strategic Partnerships and How to Nurture Them

Strategic partnerships are beneficial when it comes to growing your organization, expanding your offerings, and tapping new customer markets.
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This story is a guest contribution from Sability, a trusted UKG partner for HCM and workforce management strategy and advisory consulting.

Strategic partnerships are becoming increasingly important for businesses looking to differentiate themselves and deliver superior service to their customers. These types of business-to-business (B2B) partnerships enable organizations to leverage a combined expertise – in both products and service delivery – to enhance the customer experience, and they are often a testament to how collaboration leads to a stronger market presence, more comprehensive service offerings, and faster organizational growth. 

However, business partnerships are about more than just pooling resources; they’re about elevating the customer’s experience and sharing a vision of their success. Strong collaborations lead to trust, adoption, and interaction within the organizations and customer communities. 

Six benefits of strategic partnerships

While the opportunities created through strategic B2B partnerships are seemingly endless, there are several key ways a powerful partnership can benefit each organization and their customers. Some of the more obvious benefits for customers include expanded services, greater access to experts, and a larger peer community for networking. For partners, joining forces helps to grow their organizations faster, build a community for employees, expand services or product offerings, and gain access to new customer insight that they would not necessarily have access to or be able to offer individually. Beyond that, there are several additional benefits enabled by strategic partnerships, including:

1. Increased accuracy
A collaborative partnership where organizations own their area of expertise within any given process can result in increased accuracy for their mutual customers. From having a supported sales cycle and correctly scoping and planning the customer engagement, to precisely executing the project work, customers can have confidence they are receiving correct and accurate guidance. Whether it is improving existing technology or processes, or establishing new, a successful partnership sets customers and employees up for success.

2. Increased customer service and support
By having more experts available through a partnership, the individual organizations save time and costs by dividing responsibilities and increasing productivity. Simultaneously, this more efficient division of labor allows each partner to focus on their areas of expertise and provide faster response times, increasing the level of customer service and support they can provide. The additional impacts of this increased expertise can also help to tackle difficult issues and decision-making, while also instilling confidence that an established partner is there if needed as a safeguard in the event of a disaster.

3. Combined expertise
An organization can only grow to the extent of its knowledge and skillset. By combining individual skillsets, a wider range of knowledge, background, and perspectives exist, along with the introduction of new skills that the team did not have before. Combined expertise in a strategic partnership offers a wealth of knowledge that can create opportunities for new or improved processes, products, services, or solution offerings that can benefit the common market and both partner organizations.

4. Advantages for Technology
Depending on geographical area, budget restraints, regulatory guidelines and more, organizations have access to different technology and online platforms, communication tunnels, and physical equipment. In a business partnership, one partner may have access to an entirely different set of technological resources than the other organization. Pooling together resources can result in greater efficiencies and innovative ideas. In addition, sharing the investment of a new resource, such as an expensive piece of equipment, decreases the financial burden for each company individually and allows for an increase in higher quality delivery to customers.

5. Diversified and expanded market reach
Collaboration between two successful businesses fosters innovation and creativity, leading to improved products and services that can fill a gap in the market and cater to a broader audience. With access to an expanded audience, there is the ability to have a direct line of feedback and insights that can refine business offerings and customer service. This type of direct engagement facilitates brand exposure and strengthens brand reputation across diverse markets, allowing expansion or the creation of sales within new customer industries, segments, or geographies. 

6. Mitigated risks
Strategic partnerships enable organizations to penetrate new markets, sharing the potential rewards, but also reducing the load associated with capital investment, marketing efforts, and operational expansions. The power of pooling resources and knowledge allows for more robust market analysis and strategy creation, mitigating the risks associated with market entry and competition. Shared partnership responsibilities provide customers peace of mind that they will be supported with a wider knowledge base at their disposal and be shielded from setbacks that can occur with new business ventures.

Four key factors for sustainable strategic partnerships 

While the benefits of strategic partnerships are numerous, a partnership will only thrive under the right conditions. To create a partnership that’s truly sustainable and successful, organizations should keep the following details in mind:

1. Make sure your partner is complementary
A crucial element in achieving a prosperous business partnership is to find an organization that complements the company’s product, service, technology, and overall level of skill and areas of expertise of its employees. It can also be fundamental to have a partner with similar goals, cultures and values, organizational structures, and communication styles. By seeking out a partner who possesses those complementary qualities, it creates a dynamic and well-rounded team that is better equipped to tackle challenges and opportunities that arise.

2. Ensure you trust each other
The foundation of a successful business partnership rests on trust. As the glue that holds the partner organizations together, trust should be prioritized so partners can effectively share ideas, strategies, and resources without fearing betrayal. Both entities of the partnership must be confident that their counterpart is reliable and will deliver to effectively achieve their key needs and goals while meeting the expectations of their employees and customers. 

3. Practice open communication
The ability to communicate with a business partner openly and effectively is essential to the success of any joint venture. By maintaining open lines of communication, both parties can freely express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns, fostering a collaborative environment where decisions can be made collectively. Together, the organizations should develop a standard path for communication and feedback, clearly define expectations and deadlines, and maintain business transparency to discuss the effectiveness of the partnership in the market. 

4. Demonstrate commitment and pride
For a strategic partnership to thrive, each organization needs to be invested in the partnership’s shared vision and goals and be committed to achieving the desired outcomes. This commitment can create an internal pride and generate excitement in both organizations. By highlighting individual and joint achievements, employees of both partner organizations can see the shared vision and partners can then see how their efforts impact their goals, increasing productivity, motivation, and a collaborative environment where successes are celebrated together.

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