Over the past 21 years, LMO has worked with a variety of partners. Some have focused on technology and experiential, others on call centers and lead fulfillment.
Given the fragmentation of media and the surplus of new skills required by the ever- changing marketplace, substantial partnerships are essential to winning and maintaining business. Because the truth is, while we’re a full-service agency, we don’t have every capability imaginable. No agencies do! So when we discover a needed area where we can’t claim expertise – whether for a quick project or a longer-term client relationship – we sometimes look to partners who specialize in that area. Great partners introduce skills that we don’t yet have on our team. They can also help when talking with clients.
We’ve found that partners help us push past surface-level conversations with clients, letting us discuss the gritty, technical details of a specific area. In turn, this helps our agency become more successful.
If you’re looking to be more successful, and are searching for a new partner, perhaps it might help to know our top considerations when we look for a great partner. In short, here’s our best advice:
Compatible Cultures. Get to know each other – specifically, get to know each other’s cultures. The No. 1 reason why mergers and acquisitions fail is because of competing cultures and values. If you have a partner, who is buttoned-up in business suits while you’re laid back working in casual clothes, you may run into some challenges related to the difference of cultures in your workplaces. In our case, we are client-centric and sometimes will forego margin if it is the right thing to do.
Flag-free Resume. When considering a new partner, look at their past partnerships. Analyze the length of those partnerships, the work they were able to accomplish together, the quality of the work and ‒ most important of all ‒ the language (and body language!) they use when speaking about the work and their experience. This process should draw attention to any red flags, but hopefully it leaves you with a gut feeling of excitement because their experience and attitude matches what you’re looking for.
Subject Matter Experts. Ask yourself two key questions. One, does this organization know their stuff, and can they carry a meeting on that subject? Two, can the people in the room build strong, concrete programs with your clients – especially with long-term goals in mind?
Trust. Consider whether this organization can earn your and your clients’ trust. The idea of immediately building trust within your agency is key, and then once you have established the trust within, you can build trust with the client, collectively. Remember, clients can easily identify an awkward partnership during a meeting or presentation, and can do so more quickly than you might think.
A Worthwhile Challenge. The best partnerships don’t just add skills and services to your offerings, they inspire you to up your own game, even it’s already great. A partner should push you to do great work or think differently about a problem. This way your core services get better and better, as well.
Partners can add great value to your business internally and externally. They can bring skills, build clients’ confidence in you, and even add some enjoyment to your working environment. Here at LMO, we’ve had multiple successful experiences with partners – some that have been so important and successful that they’ve changed who we are as an agency! Want to learn more? Ask us for details.
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