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  • Sam Decker

The #1 Key to Successful Partnerships

Through startups and Dell, I’ve worked hundreds of partnerships with suppliers and vendors. Many of them succeeded, and many failed.

I’ve realized there is a primary reason when partnerships failed…Both sides had to change their processes / model

The #1 Key to successful (read: profitable) partnerships is AT LEAST one side does not have to change their processes, business model, or sales model.

If a vendor has a product they want to sell through your business, to your customers, do you have to change your business model or value proposition to accommodate that partner? If you do, then there is a high likelihood of failure. If both have to change their processes, then what’s the point!?

A business is a system of processes and people surrounded by culture. At its best, it’s an efficient machine that communicates and outputs something value to customers which they’re willing to pay for. When you add something to this machine which adds more value for customers, the machine is more productive (profitable).

But if you’re trying to initiate a substantial change to the machine to add 1% more value – especially one that requires change management, acceptance, technology, sales engagement, finance involvement, measurement adaptation, etc — then….well you get the idea. You need a push of a pinky to roll a boulder downhill. You need an army of men to push the same boulder uphill.


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