Communication is the backbone of any great partnership. In fact you can substitute the last word of that sentence with a whole heap of others and the statement would still ring true:
Communication is the backbone of any great ... marriage
… sports team
Yet, in our busy digital world of tweets, blogs, podcasts, emails, texts, social posts, we may forget that simply having put a message out there doesn’t mean it has truly been received.
"The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through."
(Sydney J. Harris)
A common mistake in partnerships
If you’re partnering with an independent software vendor (ISV), differing priorities, sudden pulls of focus and sometimes simple information overload may cause you to question whether you are deriving enough value from the relationship. How do you get the most out of it and make it truly successful?
You benefit most from a Partner who keeps you up to date with what’s happening, provides you with industry or company insights, celebrates wins or successes, and shares hints and tips. Their goal is to help you succeed in delivering winning solutions to your clients and prospects.
Like a great personal relationship, you would love to have a partner who understands and supports you in every way and does what they can to help you succeed. You may perhaps reason, “If my partner truly knows me, they will know exactly what I need without me asking.”
However, this perspective may limit the true power and potential for a partnership to be the best it can possibly be, whether we are talking about personal relationships or work-related alliances.
What turns information into communication
As much as your ISV can attempt to guess or predict what you as their partner needs (and what’s going to actually get through), the only way for the information you receive to become effective as true communication is to keep sending feedback as to what is and isn’t working.
- Are they sending out too much or too little information?
- Is there always a heavy focus on the product, with minimal communication around product messaging and successful selling techniques?
- Were you hoping for a monthly call with your Account Manager but have been relegated to a quarterly catch up?
- If those Account Management calls are all about your KPIs, why not ask to bring marketing materials or training plans back onto the agenda?
Your Partner won't know what you really need unless you tell them! The onus isn’t always on you of course—they should be actively asking how you are doing and getting your feedback regularly too.
Untapped communication goldmines
In addition, there is another avenue for maximising the value of your partnership with your ISV that holds a lot of untapped potential to elevate your success: your ISV’s Partner Network.
When you seize every opportunity to connect with others in the same Partner Network, you can create new opportunities for growth. Many Partner Programs offer online groups or forums where you can connect, share ideas or simply chew the fat with other Partners who are working with the solution provider.
Hello, it’s me
The medium we choose to communicate in is often a very personal choice. For me, nothing beats picking up the phone. I love receiving calls from my Partners and really digging down to the roots of what they need. I’ll also pick up the phone when I really want to ensure my message is being heard, to ensure that I’m communicating rather than just informing.
You might be one to take straight to social forums, or you may prefer to watch recorded sessions or training in your own time. You might be keen to get involved with live webinars so you can ask questions on the spot about what’s being communicated, or you might be happy receiving regular email updates.
Whatever suits you, the important thing is not to get lost in information overload, but to keep the lines of communication open. That’s where the magic happens.
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