You're likely to have a formal induction period for new members of your team. Have you thought about running a similar process for new partners?
Why an induction period is important for new high value partners
Just as with a new employee a new partner needs to have an opportunity to get to know you and your business. You also need to get to know them and how they work.
You could opt to jump straight in, and expect results off the bat. If you do, you'll miss some important subtleties.
There are 3 incredibly high value assets that will be developed from a well run induction period.
Insights. Insights into your market, your customers, your competitors and your business. Without these insights the partnership will be one dimensional, without the depth required to provide true long term value.
Even for partners experienced in your industry sector, who have worked with very similar businesses. You business, its culture, the way you work and how you fit into the industry are all likely to be different. To provide ongoing valuable results your partner will need insights to get up to speed with these elements as fast as possible.
Relationships. Every great partnership is built on relationships. Giving a new partner time to establish the relationships they need within your business, will enable them to increase their productivity and will ultimately save you valuable time. Help them establish these relationships as quickly as possible during the induction period. As well as thinking about the partner establishing the relationships within your business, what relationships do you need with them? Work on getting these in place at the same time.
Understanding. A well structured induction period will allow both sides to develop a deeper understanding of the other side. For the partner it is important to develop as deep an understanding of your business as possible, to provide the maximum value for you. Work together to structure the induction period to enable them to develop the understanding of your business, that will allow them to do their best work for you going forward.
Following a structure induction programme will speed up this process, and will ultimately lead to faster results.
Setting realistic expectations for the induction period
The induction period is an important getting to know you stage. A time to understand your business and it's market and for you to understand your partner in more depth, when working together.
That's why it's important to set realistic expectations for this period. As it's a getting to know you period, set expectations around insights and progress, over results in this period.
Common challenge with inductions
- Not assigning time or sufficient value to the process
- Not setting realistic expections for the period
- Not having a process to follow
- Not making the appropriate people available
- No success measurements
How to decide on a sufficient time frame
Hopefully your partner will be able to give you a good idea on the induction period they expect for getting to know you.
As it isn't the most common process for partnerships, they might struggle to advise on this. If they can't advise you, think about the induction period you'd typically give to a new senior member of staff. How long does it take them to really get to know your business? How much more insight does your new partner need to develop, in comparison with a new staff member? Base your plan around this and factor in availability of key members of staff from your side. Think about who will need to be involved in the process and what their availability is like.
We've discussed about setting realistic expectations above. Where possible make these SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timebound) - as these will be much easier for you to assess and measure.
What do SMART goals for a partnership induction look like
Here's a few examples to get you started:
- By x date, hold 1:1 meetings with specified members of staff, agree the most productive working relationship with each for the next 6 months. Write up findings, email to the board.
- By x date, gather specified statistics and present findings to the board.
- By specified date, run competitor analysis on the following competitors and present findings to the board.
These are all specific SMART goals. All are insights focused rather than results focused. By carrying out these activities, the partner will have developed a much deeper understand of your business. It will have also given various people in the business an opportunity to work with them, to help you build a stronger reciprocal relationship.
At LexisClick we design our initial 90 day engagement as an induction period to develop the insights, relationships and understanding we need to manage your marketing and drive your business growth on an long term basis. If your business has a growth goal of £1million + per year, and you're looking for help with your marketing, speak with us about our services and how we can help.
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