Is it really impossible to get our partner plans executed?
In all likelihood, experienced partner managers have seen a lot of partner plans during their careers. However, the struggle lies in the execution of these plans which is often a big challenge.
I’m sure you’re very familiar with the feeling of excitement that comes with penning down your goals and objectives at the beginning of the year. After which, we define our goals and objectives and then start the execution of the plan.
In recent years, I’ve seen 50-plan pages, one-page templates, and all types of plans combined in one virtual drawer/different spreadsheets, templates, and documents,...
Sadly, not all of these plans become reality by the time the year ends.
How do you ensure that partner plans are executed? Here are some tips and tricks that will help you get this done.
1. Create accountability
The first step is to take accountability for the execution of your partner's plans.
Divide the goals and objectives between your team and your partners’ team. Take it a step further by assigning some parts of the plan among members of the team and writing down their specific responsibilities. That way, people within your organization and your partners are liable for the success or failure of the portion of the plan.
Without accountability, partners and account managers will only shift the blame to one another. Because you can’t identify who's responsible for a task, you won’t be able to learn from your mistakes and likely repeat the same pitfalls in the foreseeable future.
2. Follow up on the plans
Much like every long-term endeavour, you need to conduct follow ups on the plans and the execution of these plans.
A good tip is to commit to follow-up moments at the beginning of the year. Take into account the level of commitment, the scope of the plan, and the profile of your partners. Are both parties comfortable with a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly quarterly, or even annual meeting?
In general, you can have less frequent meetings if the scope of the plan is short and the level of commitment expected is small. But if the joint partnership involves several projects and collaborations throughout the year, it’s best to meet and follow up more often.
Remember: Miscommunication can easily lead to conflicts and the failure of the project.
3. Talk about mutually beneficial activities
“What’s in it for me?”
This is a common question among partners and we often ask this ourselves too. From a philosophical point of view, we tend to put ourselves first because we want to experience the benefits and results.
There’s nothing wrong with this—but don’t just talk about your pipeline or the stuff that your partners can do for your business. Instead, brainstorm activities that will help your partners achieve your common goals.
Take a look at your joint vision and mission statements for the partnership. Also, consider the tasks related to partner plan execution. Maybe you can help your partner achieve the tasks they’re accountable for, and you can do the same for them. A combined effort may even help you surpass your initial expectations.
Regardless of what you want to do, what’s important is that you have a proactive way of working together between touchpoints.
4. Make sure partner plans are accessible to all stakeholders
It doesn’t matter if your partner's plan is long or short. Instead, what’s important is to ensure these partner plans are accessible to all stakeholders involved.
We highly recommend uploading them into a business relationship management (BRM) tool such as Qollabi. Otherwise, some objectives and goals may be left forgotten by members of your team or your partners’ organization.
5. Make it a two-way exercise and not a monologue
As we’ve mentioned previously, don’t just talk about yourself.
Instead, take time to listen to your partners’ thoughts and concerns. Before beginning the meeting, ensure that both parties have ample time to discuss their concerns and agendas.
Though it seems simple, listening to your partner will help deepen your relationship. As a consequence, you’ll be able to work better together in achieving your quarterly or annual goals.
6. Assign specific activities to your partner
Most partner plans have specific activities so you can reach the desired outcomes.
Divide these activities between yourself and your partners. Make them responsible for a concrete part of the plan and compel them to make a commitment as early as possible.
As the year progresses, you can assign more responsibilities to cross out more ambitious goals in your partner plan. Along the way, you can also look back at your mission vision statement, and results.
If you or your partner fall short of achieving expectations for a specific activity, don’t focus on the mistakes. Instead, talk about what you can do better next time and listen to potential reasons why your partner failed to perform a specific responsibility or results.
7. Have clear communication
Keep communication lines open during the course of the partnership. Channel account managers should keep reaching out so partners will be motivated to do the same.
Good communication eventually leads to trust and transparency. Partners may be encouraged to communicate when encountering problems with partner plan execution. On top of this, you’ll be able to pre-empt issues beforehand—instead of resolving them after it fails.
What are your best practices for partner plan execution?
There are numerous tips and tricks to ensure the fulfilment of your partner's plans.
But in the end, it all comes down to two things—accountability and communication.
You and your partners must be accountable for a specific section of the partner plan. That way, the parties involved are committed to performing mutually beneficial tasks and activities. In case of failure, you’ll be able to know which party fell short and brainstorm solutions so it doesn’t happen again.
In addition, you should also communicate and follow up with partners on a regular basis. Remind them of their specific activities or ask if they’re encountering any difficulties on their end.
Done right, you’ll be able to get the best results for your partner's plans.