Partnerships, relationships, company. All of a sudden it’s not about what you want, or what your company wants. It’s not even about your end customer. It’s about the person that holds the key to the end customer.

With partners you’ve got somebody else’s priorities to think about it. This is why people that consult on partnerships emphasise the importance of lock-step, being aligned with your partners and making sure their goals are your goals.

You work really hard to get a partner on board, an agent, a distributor, a reseller perhaps, and then the hard work really starts. That’s when you figure out how important to them you really are. If they’re calling you, they’re getting pull from their customers, what you have is easy for them to sell, and profitable too. If they’re not calling you, their priorities are not yours and they’re not going to bat for you. Simple as that.

It’s a bit like the domino theory I proposed in blog post number 1. You’re facing your partner, looking for their attention, but they’re facing their customer, looking for their attention. An entire supply chain can be like that, a line of dominos focused on their customer and ignoring their supplier.

Bottom line? Well, 3 bottom lines, I think. Your product has to be relatively easy for someone not in your company to sell, which you can help with, of course. Second, it has to have sufficient margin for it to be worth it to your partner, who will always seek the path of least resistance toward hitting their own target. Third, the end customer has got to want it, to pull it through the supply chain. How you achieve that pull? Well, that’s all down to you, your marketing, your budget, your staying power and your inventiveness.