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Top 10 Things COVID-19 Taught Me on Partnerships at Times of Crisis

By Roni Lahat
Monday, May 25, 2020

1. Get personal

I can’t begin to tell you how many bedrooms, living rooms, spouses and kids I’ve gotten to know during this pandemic.
Not only is this a great conversation starter, but it’s also a genuine opportunity to connect with the other side – use it.
Use the hardcore reality as a way to bond and form partnerships.

2. Be proactive

The recommendation to be proactive goes without saying, right?
And yet, this is the perfect example of something that’s easier said than done. If you can initiate during times of crisis, you’ll be able to provide a sense of control and calm that is amiss in turbulent times.
Initiating a call about long-term planning or analyzing your joint activity with a partner and sharing these insights as a way to better utilize their budget will set you apart from the competition , while  fostering your business’ stability.
If a new budget is made available – you’ll be the one to get it, since your partner trusts you to spend it wisely. 

3. Keep it real

It may seem wise to hold a facade of business as usual, but people appreciate honesty and authenticity.
If your business is facing challenges – be honest about it.
If the company you work for has endured financial hardships, don’t try to hide them under a fake smile and a cheerful attitude.
I’m not suggesting you share the entire financial status of the firm, but be truthful. Do share what steps you’re taking to keep things stable for your clients, and some details of your exit strategy.
Did you suffer a setback in a specific business vertical? Share what actions you’ve taken to respond – from tactical maneuvers to more strategic endeavors, such as resorting to new industries that should replace your flailing category, if not now, then in 3 months.

4. Push notifications

No one likes them on their phone, but when it comes to partnerships – it’s a great tool for keeping your teammates updated, your customers relaxed, and your managers in the loop.
Don’t wait for people to ask you where things stand or what’s the status. Don’t update only once things are completed.
Share the process, share your progress as you go along.
I find this to be one of the best ways to get people on board with my plan – the more I get others involved, the more they want to help promote these efforts. The sooner my team gets my feedback on things, the easier it is for them to move forward.

5. Stay updated

Even at times of chaos, you need to make sure you’re updated.
If you manage a global portfolio,make sure to keep your finger on the pulse of the status in your active locations .
For us this means  we should be in the know of social distancing directives in the UK, France, Australia and other countries.
Keep up with the ever changing economic trends to stay a reliable source of knowledge for the partners you work with.
How is your industry affected? Are there any online conferences you can attend?

6. Adapt to the changing situation

Even in more “normal” times, changes are rapid, but  the Corona pandemic has doubled and sometimes tripled the pace of change. 
From creating a new report to match the current need to launching a whole new line of business, adapting to change is proof of your resilience.

7. Let your partner know they’re not alone

We’re all faced with the repercussion of this global pandemic.
Regardless of role or organization, we share similar frustrations, are scared of the same things, and watch the same Netflix shows.
Letting your colleague or partner know that you’re here for them can go a long way.
Ask for support or offer it whenever possible to allow others to feel a little less alone – it could be something minor like offering to send the meeting’s minutes or scheduling a joint coffee break via Zoom to discuss Rick and Morty’s last season.

8. Loyalty program

In the B2C world, loyalty programs are a very common way to keep you audience coming back for more. The B2B world can be no exception. The CMO or the account manager on the other side of the screen want to feel like valued customers – feeling valued and welcome is key in encouraging them to do business with my company over other alternatives.  

It could be a discount exercisable when things return to normal, pushing payments in some degrees, or even sending a small gift to help them go through another day.

9. Happy hour

Whenever my team travels to conferences, we make sure to go out for a drink (or several) with our top partners. It allows things to be less formal and for people to connect beyond their day to day work.
With real-life global conferences gone for the time being, consider scheduling a Happy Hour session with the clients you want to keep close to heart. You could send a bottle of wine or a local craft beer for them to drink or even make cocktails together.

Don’t be afraid to get creative 🙂

10. Conflict resolution

No matter how hard you try to keep things calm, at times like these with people working from home, dealing with stressful situations on a regular basis – conflicts are going to arise.
It could be around a financial issue with a client, a worn-out colleague that neglects his duties or even your manager who fails to see the efforts you’re putting in.

The basis for resolving all of these issues is always  – the sooner the better.  Neither ot the easiest nor most fun conversations, addressing the conflicts as soon as they arise, is the best way to keep them from exploding.
Start your day with the difficult conversations, otherwise you’ll keep pushing them and spend your day psyching yourself… Be as open and honest as you can – the separation offered by a screen in the comfort of a video meeting could be an advantage here.
Prepare yourself for the conversation, choose the most relaxing environment you can and make sure the other side has a chance to prepare as well.

Top 10 Things COVID-19 Taught Me on Partnerships at Times of Crisis
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