By David Berman | April 18, 2023
Consumers experience corporate strategic partnerships often in their day-to-day life, from Starbucks inside Barnes & Noble bookstores to Uber and Spotify teaming up to offer tunes during rideshares.
Jonas Tanenbaum kicked off the educational sessions at BITAC Operations at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego on Monday morning with a keynote speech on this very topic. His talk was the first of seven sessions at the event, which runs from April 16-18.
Tanenbaum is the founder of Axcess Consulting, which specializes in assisting clients with sales training, strategy and business performance improvement. During his 35-minute presentation, he walked attendees through the importance of strategic partnerships and how best to develop them.
“Strategic partnerships can be an engine to fuel rapid growth,” Tanenbaum said. “It can give you a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace.”
Strategic partnerships can be a part of exponential or logarithmic growth trajectories, Tanenbaum said, as they can help launch periods of growth or help sustain and prolong growth.
He pointed to some of the strongest strategic partnerships that consumers encounter as examples of the benefits of the practice.
“The commerce world is littered with examples of companies coming together to try to help each other, but then use each other’s strengths for their own gain,” he said.
He pointed out, however, that not all of the examples given were exactly strategic partnerships, instead being closer to a corporate alliance. The difference between the two is that the latter is more marketing-driven, enhancing product positioning and consumer awareness, while the former is a relationship that is more selective and tactical on both sides.
Tanenbaum said companies should segment their customers to help figure out which strategic partnerships may be beneficials. No one size or shape of a partnership will fit every situation, so adaptability is key. Either the supplier or the hotel could initiate the relationship, as well.
No matter the type of partnership, Tanenbaum said they must be beneficial to both parties — a “win-win.” Both sides must be transparent about their needs, goals and methods to ensure mutual gain.
“Creativity is key; be inclusive with as many people in both organizations as you possibly can,” Tanenbaum said. “Make sure that if this is really a strategic partnership, that accounting knows about it, that operations knows about it, that legal knows about it, that product development knows about it, that field service knows about it.”
As the partnership is in process, both sides must communicate consistently and stay aligned on the goals of the combined teams. Tanenbaum said the benefits of strategic partnerships include distinguishing from competition, increasing customer loyalty, and engaging staff members.
To further illustrate his argument, Tanenbaum displayed a hypothetical scenario between a sauna and spa company and an upscale hotel developer. He walked the audience through the different ways this partnership could go, whether it’s a multi-year rollout or a proof-of-concept model.
To end his speech, Tanenbaum recapped some key takeaways for the audience.
“You want your customer to feel special,” he said. “The strategic partnership helps you achieve that type of business interaction. Perform customer segmentation; it’s not right for every single customer. You’ve got to really select, which are the ones that you feel are the ones that are good for you, and where you really feel you’re doing your customer service to help them with their objectives as well.”