There are many types of partnerships in forming a business relationship with another company. Why do it in the first place? The answer is to go after a particular opportunity that neither company would win on their own.
Start with defining that win. If the relationship doesn’t produce a “win-win” result, work on defining the relationship to ensure that it does. Look at each partner’s strengths and position each to lead into their strength. As part of this definition, examine the scope of work that the two companies will collectively perform. Define into detail the operational role, the customer service role, the back office role, the financial role, and who will be the leader.
Understand the “win” factor of the opportunity as seen through the customer’s eyes. This will help you identity potential partners. Ask open ended questions regarding the delivery of the services/products and the back end functions of the opportunity. Try to discuss price as a budgetary issue, rather than getting yourself into a price war with your competition.
The number one complaint I hear from prospective clients is that new vendors don’t do their homework. Make sure to understand your customer’s needs, their clients, and their markets and determine if you are a match to work with them and support them. Also, understand your market and competition in order to determine the “win” factors and who to partner with and “if” you can present a compelling solution for the client.
In summary, choose a partner that provides you both the opportunity to leverage your strengths and offers a client the “BEST” solution for their needs.