Partners, Alliances, and Influencers: This section captures important information about the companies and individuals you rely on to run your business and deliver on your promises to your customers. These may be your suppliers, or other service providers who have an impact on your business. The intent here is to assess these relationships and build more productive ones in the future.
Start by looking at the criteria for a productive partner or business alliance. What do you need from a business partner to ensure successful results?
- Are their business needs aligned and complementary with yours?
- Are they open to sharing information about clients?
- Do they have the same or similar corporate Values?
- What other criteria can you use to identify a solid business partner/alliance ensuring your company’s success?
In this workbook, the distinction between partner and alliance is a matter of degree – a partner is a much stronger connection and usually will have a contractual arrangement. An alliance is a less intimate connection, and may be seen as a potential future partner.
Influencers are people or organizations that can “influence” potential or existing customers – both in a positive or negative way. It’s helpful to recognize these sources, and from time to time, invest some energy in building these relationships. A good example of an influencer is your industry association groups and key players within these associations. They also might be opinion leaders in the media, either the traditional media , or social media.
In today’s world of exploding social media, the affect influencers have on your business will surely grow. Getting clear on who your influencers are, will help you formulate strategies and action plans in the Marketing section later in this workbook.