Empower Your Partners

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“Selling Through Someone Else” by Robert Wollan, Naveen Jain and Michael Heald, Drives home the point that selling is not the job of the single sales person a soloist, but a “symphony” including the actions that intermediaries and even the customers themselves play in buying the idea, service or product.

To increase sales, it’s critical to analyze the relationship you have with your “partners” (e.g., resellers, retailers, distributors, strategic allies, join venture partners, franchises, licenses, etc.) and make sure you’re doing everything necessary to help them succeed. This includes the need to:

  • Set clear expectations with partners up-front
  • Secure active Commitment of Senior Executives
  • Create formal capability for managing change
  • Insist on regular leadership cadence
  • Use analytics to guide decision-making.

In “Brick by Brick: How LEGO Re-wrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry”, David C. Robertson and Bill Breen note how important this point is. Initially, one of the keys to the success of LEGO was its insistence on first identifying and meeting the needs of their resellers – stores. LEGO kept growing because of this and other core values (see LEGO’s 7 Innovation Practices) until the early 2000s. Then over-expansion and other problems led to major losses and the need for a turnaround. In doing so, the new management team recognized the need to go back to the original winning formula – first focus on the needs of resellers. Heeding their advice, they followed through by listening to other partners, including companies with whom they have strategic alliances. Most important they formed new partnerships with their customers – not just the kids but also loyal adults – by getting their input on product decisions they were considering and empowering them to actually shape some of the LEGO products they wanted from the company.

How much attention are you investing in building better win-win relationships with your partners? Share some of the stories with us. personal trainer hartford ct