Building Partnerships That Last: 5 Tips & Tricks

In 2007 I spent several months traveling throughout Northern India, Nepal and Tibet. In my last month, I was based in Dharamsala, India volunteering for Cross Cultural Solutions. CCS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that addresses critical global issues by investing in local communities through sustainable volunteer programs. Traveling and volunteering showed me how far a dollar could stretch to make a difference, and the importance of multi-tiered collaboration.
Like Social Media Week, CCS is supported by a global network of volunteers, donors and partners that are engaged in learning & supporting efforts implemented in each community they support. Both organizations understand that it is essential to leverage the knowledge, skills and expertise of local communities to create relevant programming with a long lasting impact. It taught me you can’t build something great alone.

“When people of different cultures have an opportunity to connect, there comes an understanding of our shared humanity.”

– Cross Cultural Solutions

Whether its B2B, B2NP or NP2NP, strategic partnerships are a great way to create opportunities for your organization that can expand your business and strategically grow your circles of influence. Here are 5 quick tips for the engagement process:

1. Have a plan. It’s much easier to reach a goal if you set one at the start. Identify what you want/need internally before you begin building an action plan for prospects. Remember, your action plan should evolve over time. This will help you stay on track to achieve your goals.

+ Bonus Tip: Create an action plan in a Google dock or use the tags in your CRM system to create a sales pipeline for your team.

2. Be authentic. Every organization is made up of individuals who make decisions. Focus on building a relationship with the person you are working with versus just focusing on your “sales pitch.”

3. Listen. If you understand what the prospect wants, you will be pitch perfect every time. Ask questions and get to know the person and the brand.

4. Be flexible. If you are really looking at building a foundation to grow a partnership on, you may have to be prepared to think out of the box and adapt your ask.

5. Be prepared. If you are asking for something, money, products, space, talent etc., it’s only fair you get asked some tough questions in return. It’s a way to assess who you are and your commitment.

+ Bonus Tip: Most companies are setting their budgets in January. Get on the radar early and be sure to check-in periodically, but especially in October/November for the following year.