Business can be cold and dispassionate. The rules of engagement tend to focus on bottom line and the removal of emotion. But that can’t be the only focus when you deliver professional services. Like it or not, quality professional services need to be delivered with emotional awareness also. And when you work in dispersed ecosystem, like ecommerce, it helps to identify like-minded partners, who support—or even complement—your service model.
I used to play poker with my high school buddies, and one of them would start every game by saying, “I’m not here to make friends,” which meant I don’t need to be doing friend stuff when I’m trying to make money. In my early twenties, I thought this perspective was correct for doing business. But I learned that in a services business this philosophy leads to failure.
We’ve shaped SD to build lasting, valuable relationships with our clients that transcend the daily grind and focus on long-term. And in ecommerce, your partners often become extensions of your offering. Therefore, we need our partners to ascribe to the same focus.
On occasion, you develop a partnership that transcends financial transactions, go-to-market strategies, and the typical rules of business engagement. At SD, we have several of these, and it’s interesting to call out what characterizes them:
1. Quality of product or service
2. Flexibility of engagement structures
3. Trust between the organizations
4. Availability and quality of the client-service team
5. Access to leadership for escalation
6. Understanding that good services businesses serve their clients,
not their vendor partners
The common idea here is that a high-quality partner is someone who aligns with your approach to each client. The effective handoff of an account between partners incorporates an implied trust between those partners. We’re confident that each party can stay on point and put the client interest first. Neither side takes advantage and—in the end—all parties are better served. To make this work, you must be willing to take the long view: it’s not about a single engagement for a single client. These partnerships are long-term, spanning multiple engagements for multiple shared clients.
This series focuses on companies and people we hold in high regard. We’ve likely had multiple successes with them, and they fulfill the six characteristics above. Additionally, like us, they ARE here to make friends.