In the agency world, we hear quite a bit about the importance of partnerships and growth. The satisfaction of clients, the happiness of the team, and the innovative work that inspires both your client and your team helps to contribute to a company’s success as well as the team’s growth. When all of these objectives are met, a true partnership can develop, and successful businesses encourage strong partnerships.
Here are 10 ways to help your client partners and agency team to foster positive partnerships.
Align your values of success
Work together to establish your collective vision and goals. By deciding together what a win looks like, you can set your partnership up for long-term success. By establishing shared metrics for growth, you can manage your performance, and no one will be left in the dark on what success looks like.
Promote positive chemistry and happiness
Like any successful relationship, a partnership must have chemistry. It is also important that a partnership promotes happiness within the team -- you want to ensure that both sides are focused on building the best product or service together possible, and enjoy the journey while doing so.
Be open and honest
This may seem a little obvious, but it is imperative for a partnership to work, particularly when you are faced with a challenge or are struggling to push business forward together. Cut out the business talk and keep it real -- ask each other what roadblocks are preventing your success. What do you need? What are the real problems to solve? Be curious and ask questions. For a partnership to succeed, both parties must be willing and able to ask and answer even the uncomfortable questions.
Focus on a “team of we” - and mean it
A “master servant” arrangement does not set up your client partner or agency up for success. If you fail to foster collaboration, your team will soon become unmotivated and lose their passion for the work.
Tackle the big decisions together
As an innovation agency, you should strive to push your client partner’s business forward. But sometimes they may not be ready to jump blindly into the future with you. Many reasons, from old systems to different mindsets, can hinder the development process. Educate and train your client partners on how and why it is necessary to do so, so they will feel more comfortable with the big but necessary changes that need to be made.
Say what you are going to do - and do it
Both the agency and the client partner should make commitments and stick with them. Of course, markets, business challenges and climates change -- but ultimately your collective goals should remain aligned. If you decide to pursue another avenue, make sure you both change to the same roadmap to get there.
Stay a step ahead in a fast-moving world
A good agency knows its client partners' industry inside out. They are dynamic and can offer an alternative perspective. Great partners are on the pulse of what’s next, not what’s now. They help their client partners by making informed recommendations on how they can respond to industry trends and together reach business goals for growth.
Continuous improvement and knowledge share
Be proactive in providing your client partners with counsel and tools for success. If they have come to you for your expertise, share them. Educating your client partners on the "what" and the "why" of your work will help them to understand where you are coming from.
Sometimes life happens - and we deal with it
It is important to remember that your partners have birthdays and families -- and while pushing the business forward is everyone’s end goal, sometimes other things take priority. Great partners understand that sometimes deadlines run over and mistakes can happen. We are all human.
Talk about your partnership together
The best partnerships recognize each other’s successes and promote the innovative work they are building together. Dual speaking opportunities and media coverage, as well as co-leading industry discussions provide opportunities where you can prosper and ultimately celebrate your victories together.