Situation: A company has a business relationship with another firm. The relationship involves co-development of technology as well as marketing and other support. Portions of the relationship have worked, however, the other firm has not kept its part of the bargain in terms of marketing and support promised. What is the best way to approach the other firm to resolve this situation? Is it time to change horses?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Have you have clearly communicated to the firm both what you are pleased with about the relationship as well as your level of dissatisfaction regarding lack of marketing and other support promise? To whom has this been communicated? Are you sure that your message has gone all of the way to the top?
- Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on the current arrangement and alternatives available to you to support your trade-off analysis before taking action.
- Present a marketing option that will address the situation and ask whether the firm will support it as previously agreed.
- If they say yes, have a contract ready for them to sign.
- Negotiate other key items at same time.
- Be sure to involve all parties on your side in the preparation, including the individual(s) who made the introductions that led to the relationship. Additional heads can bring more insight into the options that the firm and relationship offers. Bring the key parties involved to the negotiation, and be sure to prep them in advance.
- Business relationships should be based on clearly stated deliverables and timelines. If deliverables are missed then it is time to make a business decision – either repair the situation or part ways.