Partner Advisory Councils – Build A Partner-Centric Organization

February 25, 2008 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

In our recent PAC, there were sessions weaved into the program where the client was not present in the room and proved to be the most powerful part of the program. Without the clients in the room, the partners can provide honest feedback without feeling a need to grandstand to make a point or fear of potential retribution. These partner-only sessions result in the PAC developing into a unified team and presented a single voice to vendor management. Typically, the meetings result in 10-12 prioritized issues or concerns which are presented directly to the management team. This relatively anonymous feedback helps the vendor understand which issues are the biggest hurdles to the sales, profitability and loyalty.

In this most recent meeting, the vendor kicked off the meeting with some visionary statements, but fell into the trap of over presenting and over selling. This is a common challenge. There is also a tendency to set the agenda about what you want to talk about, not what the customer wants you to hear. Who would not want to talk about new products, new initiatives, or new services with some of your top customers in the room? Do not fall prey to this temptation.

The relationship building with top executives and partners is also a huge outcome of the advisory boards. There is nothing like piercing, direct questions such as — when will you create compensation neutrality with your field sales team? The responses by the executives can do more to build loyalty, understanding and trust than almost any other customer satisfaction program. If they do not listen, however, it can also create more harm to the relationship, so we recommend you are very careful.

We are excited about the opportunity to facilitate change in organizations. Being a part of an initiative that helps clients become truly partner-centric organization — where the issue of partnering is core to product, sales, finance, marketing, support, and legal decisions is extremely rewarding.

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Entry filed under: Partnering Tips.

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