Here’s something that’s ironic. We are a technology consulting company that partners with businesses that need to outsource their custom application development. We are always looking for new opportunities to do new work because we’re consultants and that’s what we do. It’s no surprise if you hear from us wondering if there is a way we can help, but isn’t it ironic that we get solicitations all the time from technology companies who think we’re an enterprise corporation needing to offshore our development!
To that end, here are five key considerations for finding the right technology partner for you and tips for avoiding the wrong ones:
Are They Lazy, Or Do They Do Their Homework?
If the organizations contacting us had done their homework, they would know we’re competitors and not prospects. The key to a client-relationship is the ability to listen and understand first before providing answers. A good partner will never send out solicitations saying things like “I hope you are the right person…” and will definitely not take the lazy route of then asking “if you’re not the right person, will you tell me who is?”. A good partner that claims to understand digital will have taken the right steps to research your company as thoroughly as possible to arrive at any call or meeting having consumed your public website, social media, video and content assets. A good partner will immediately show their value by not asking you to provide the elevator pitch and explain your business.
Do They Fully Understand the Pain Points and Can They Diagnose the Origin of Pain?
Another telltale sign of a good partner is one that takes in as many data points as possible in assessing your current pain points and is able to identify the root cause of the pain. The opposite of this skill is the potential partner that is waiting for you to stop talking so that they can insert their canned response and bring the conversation back to their limited solution. Beware of the partner that is a product pusher and will take your square peg pain and shove it into a round hole because that is what they sell.
Do They Have Sales or Business Development?
A good long-term technology partner does not employ sales people who push, push, push. A good firm understands that the key to mutual success is to develop deep relationships founded on mutual trust and respect. This is inconvenient for software technology consulting firms because good business development people are expensive and hard to find. If you see that your potential partner has a business development person on staff, you should take it as a sure sign that they value reputation over quick revenue and value experience. There will always be ups and downs in any partnership, but a technology firm that invests in its people has the grit to weather any storm.
Are they Givers or Takers?
A good partnership puts the other partner first. If both sides are committed to giving, amazing results can abound. However, if the giving is one-way, contentious projects, missed deadlines and more will abound. Evidence of a partner that is a giver can be seen in both how the company invests their time and monetary resources. Does the potential partner belong to industry associations? Does the potential partner invest in having their employees get certified and/or attend conferences? Does the potential partner understand both their own technology industry as well as your industry? All of these answers can reveal the level of give vs take that you will receive and provide insight into whether your partnership will be strategic or transactional in nature.
Would You Spend Time with Them?
At the end of the day, a good partnership between corporate entities is still based on interpersonal relationships. Do you like the people you are about to do business with, or are you entering into the relationship merely based on price? If it is just price, don’t be surprised when you are both frustrated and dissatisfied because you entered into a relationship where trust is not the cornerstone.
These five considerations should be taken in concert with the obvious ones such as do they have the right skills in house, experience levels, testimonials and financial stability. We focus on ensuring that we go beyond the basics and develop the nuanced aspects of relationships that create exceptional outcomes.