5 Characteristics to Look for in a Great Strategic Partner

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We all work to understand our core competencies – the abilities, knowledge, skills and resources that make up our defining strengths. Companies also have core competencies, but all too often end up focusing on areas outside of their strengths in an effort to increase revenue and maintain a competitive edge. Unfortunately, in most cases, focusing outside of one’s core competencies only distracts from developing a true competitive moat. “Jack of all trades, master of none,” as the saying goes.

Focusing on non-core competencies also drains financial and human resources, creates friction between teams and can even hurt customer satisfaction. To ensure this doesn’t happen in your brand, you need to define your core competencies and work to develop a blueprint for strategic partnerships.

Benefits of hiring outside expertise to manage non-core competencies

While outsourcing some activities may feel like giving up control, brands of all categories can realize tremendous benefits when they do so. Not only can the right partner take steps to take the dirty work out of your primary areas of expertise, they can also help you drive growth, maintain a competitive advantage, and keep operating costs down. a June 2019 Forester Survey More than 450 companies found that partners contributed an average of 23% to the company’s total revenue.

When it comes to getting the physical product in the hands of your customers – currently a major pain point for many brands given transportation delays, material shortages and rising prices – the right partner is by offering to leverage industry experts. Whose core competency is ecommerce fulfillment and has built end-to-end offerings keeping in mind the specific needs of digital-first brands. These firms can offer their bleeding-edge technology, scale and flexibility in the form of a logistics network to adapt to changes in your business needs and both economic and market factors.

Some of the characteristics below may apply to partners in any area of ​​specialized servicing businesses in any field. When focusing specifically on fulfillment and delivery partners, you want them to tick all of these boxes.

1. Reduces Friction

The boom in ecommerce and consumers’ desire for same-day and next-day shipping means that order management, inventory planning, and product fulfillment must all work in tandem and in real time. Outsourcing these areas of your business to a technology-first partner with flexible physical networks, technical integration and dynamic order routing capabilities can streamline, scale, and speed up your operations. The end result is the ability to drive more growth for your brand, reduce operating expenses, and future proof your order fulfillment as your company grows.

RELATED: Here’s How to Know When You Should Outsource

2. Takes advantage of advanced technologies

To meet today’s connected digital consumer, you need the best connected digital tools. Customers want you to anticipate their needs and be prepared to have a product, solution or service that satisfies them across any channel.

Using the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, partners can give you access to real-time inventory and data visibility as well as predictive insights that will show you shipping distance and time in transit, with real-time inventory and data visibility enables customization. You can also deduct the cost – 2019 McKinsey Report showed that most companies saved on supply chain planning after implementing AI.

3. Committed to Continuous Improvement and Modernization

Brands cannot rest on their honor when it comes to the latest capabilities to serve the consumers. Unexpected disruptions – whether it’s a global pandemic, weather-related shutdowns or something new – are sure to happen, and how well-prepared your brand is will depend in part on how prepared your strategic partners are.

To future-proof your business and its competitive position, you need a partner who is always improving their technology and services, and they shouldn’t do it in a vacuum. The right partner will maintain a continuous feedback loop with customers to inform their product roadmap keeping in mind the greatest needs of the customers.

RELATED: How to Use Strategic Partnerships to Drive More Explosive Growth

4. Powerful Analytics

Tapping into rich customer insight is how you master the post-purchase process and optimize your entire supply chain. Using data to improve customer experience not only helps with customer acquisition, but it can also maintain customer retention.

Look for partners who provide valuable data on product trends, customer churn rate and lifetime value to give you an overall picture of the customer journey and what marketing and business decisions to make based on customer behavior. Data-driven insights can also help you increase customer engagement by cross-selling at optimum times. It is absolutely essential that your partner allows you to retain your customer data so that you can continuously extract your own insights for better customer understanding.

5. Provides one platform and one point of integration

As the B2B sector has shown, there is a general movement away from disparate technical point solutions and towards single platforms. Forty-nine percent of Martec leaders are abandoning the “best of breed” approach mutually exclusive sellerAccording to research by Gartner. For e-commerce brands looking to optimize their supply chain technology stack, the many benefits of a single-platform approach include:

  • Cut down on technical complexity and the potential for systems and processes to break down

  • Centralizing the management of all supply chain related operations and relationships

  • Breaking down data silos to show customer information in one place

RELATED: How Investing in Strategic Partnerships Can Help Grow Your Business

By transferring non-core, supply chain-related competencies to a trusted partner, your brand can focus its time and energy on its strengths: innovating on products, growing the customer base, and building brand loyalty.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This is what is needed for your brand to improve, grow and ultimately be successful.