How to make the most out of your strategic partners

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July 25, 2019

Many businesses outsource. As marketing specialists we consider ourselves strategic partners, or even better, an extension of our clients’ businesses. So, as a client, how can you make the most out of your strategic partnerships? Here’s what we’ve learnt through the relationships we’ve built.

Choose strategic partners that fit your company culture

Remember, this should be a two-way consideration. Your potential partner will be evaluating how your culture fits their business, too. Similar company values allow you to support each other and understand ways of working.

Suzi Johnson, Director of Capella Synergy, explains the importance of company culture for business success: “When we started Capella Synergy, it was important for us to ensure we work with clients who understand who we are. We want them to feel they can form trusting and open relationships with us. This helps us work most efficiently and create a shared vision.

“I love spending time with clients and really getting to grips with their challenges and goals. I’ve also shared a gin & tonic or two with many of them – it’s helped form solid relationships, and good friends along the way.”

Clearly define your objectives with your strategic partners

Before engaging with any outsourced team, ensure you understand your objectives and what you need from the relationship. A kick-off meeting will allow your strategic partner to understand your requirements and feed into your overarching business objectives.

Suzi adds: “We recently signed a new client. We spent valuable time at our kick-off strategy meeting, gathering information, opinions and objectives. Within a short time, we had enough insight from our client to create over six months’ worth of content. Now we can set to work building a cohesive marketing plan which will achieve what they need for the brand and management team.”

Be flexible 

Although you should agree a plan at the beginning, it’s likely that your business objectives could take a different direction. If they do, you need to adapt your partnership strategy so it works for both parties. 

You’ve chosen to work with experts because they’re just that – experts. If your objectives change, let your partners guide you and don’t be put of if you occasionally disagree. You need to ‘expect some push and pull’, as highlighted in a strategic partnerships blog from Kate Mckay, guest writer for Entrepreneur Europe.

Flexibility means being part of a team. Suzi says : “We sometimes work out of clients’ offices. It means we can sit with the team on the ground, understand what they’re up to, and generate fresh and exciting ideas for them. There’s nothing better than engaging with different people within a business. We can bring their ideas to the table and help bring them to life to support the brand objectives.”

Agree an effective communication process with your strategic partners

When you outsource, you need to consider and agree a communications process that works well for everyone. Decide whether you need a weekly or monthly call, and agree agendas up front. This will help maximise everyone’s time. In-between calls, decide the most effective and efficient way of communicating with your strategic partner.

Suzi says: “We share WhatsApp groups with many of our clients and love the channel for collaboration. We can have multiple people involved, so it encourages a bit of competition. Importantly, it means we’re not tied to emails and can pick things up out-of-hours if needed. If our clients are out working on live events, or winning awards, we can be on the ball, maximising their exposure while they’re busy.”

Jacqui Kavanagh, Managing Director of EDGE Venues, appointed Capella Synergy in 2018. She needed support with the delivery of EDGE Venues, a new and innovative global venue sourcing solution for meetings and events. Capella Synergy continues to deliver a consultative marketing and social media strategy. Jacqui has this to say about her company’s strategic partnership with us:

“I’d worked with Suzi previously through the HBAA. When she started Capella Synergy, I knew she had the mindset to help me and the team deliver our new and innovative platform. She immediately grasped our own culture and she’s a key member of the team. Suzi regularly presents at our EDGE Venues Marketing Events, demonstrating her knowledge and expertise. She’s helping us to raise the profile of EDGE Venues while increasing its value for our licensees.”

If you’d like to know more on how Capella Synergy could become your next strategic partner – get in touch.