In the age of Uber, AirBnB and other technologies enabling customers & vendors to find each other, doing business has become a micro-transaction. This is great for the B2C business (I hire Uber every day and I simply love it). But when it comes to B2B, it’s a whole new story. I would like to share few of my thoughts with you.
B2B is extremely comprehensive, highly demanding and with higher stakes involved and hence needs to be more predictable! Predictable for both, the buyer and the seller.
It is important that the seller has goods that are strategic and important for the buyer and understands the buyer’s business. It is equally important that these goods are in-line with the seller’s core offerings.
So the 1st reason why buyers-seller has to come out of the customer-vendor relation to the partnership mode is to get the best value for working together. Unless both realise it fully, understand they are in the same ship and are transparent enough they will not be getting the true value for the effort and money spent.
Two thing most important for Partnerships:
2. Partner leaders
Predictability is the key on both sides to get into the mindset of partnership and where each side is played by the strength of the other side to get the best in achieving the goal set out Predictability, the word is a mixture of trust & belief which can come out of actions showing commitment and transparency. Without these, the partnership is always a whisper away from failure. In addition, if either party is not predictable then eventually, the partnership is doomed for failure.
Predictability is different sides of the same coin to the buyer and different to seller. For seller side it is all about what is required, in what quantity, for how long and by when. On the buyer side it is about what is the value, what are the suggestions, advice for doing things better, what is the commitment, the cost and ownership. These, once clear will be the foundation stones of the partnership. With clarity on these, planning & meticulous execution brings success. With any of these missing, one should be very lucky to get the engagement right.
Partner Leader, the only other thing because of which a partnership can be forged or a strong partnership can go really bad is because of the leaders. The partner leaders, who by definition are the people holding the flag high and leading the way to keep the partnership intact. Are these people looking at the activity purely as transactional and trying to extract all the benefits for themselves (and not in a way beneficial for the partnership) or are they nurturing the relation by identifying the mutual risk items and working on solving them? This thought process will have detrimental impact on the partnership.
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It takes time and money to build partner Eco system. It is both a very slow process and an expensive one. Thus, both sides should be very careful and clear on what is the relationship objective, commitment and the resulting resources allocation .
A wrong partnership can ruin both the customer and the vendor growth prospects significantly.
In essence Predictability and Partner leaders are the two things that make or break the partnership. Once a partnership is forged: there is the highest possibility of winning on both sides.
We have experienced this while working with various customers across the world, wherever we have the right partner leader and there is predictability in the relation, we have achieved words and good benefits. Be it better & innovative solutions for solving customer problems, optimising investments and of course more value for the money spent. For us we got better and deeper understanding of various domains and sometimes entry into new technology helping increase our portfolio of services. We appreciate the faith shown by our customers where seeing our commitment they have asked us to build COE on new technologies.
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