How to Partner with Your Partner

As a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central or NAV user, you undoubtedly work with a Microsoft partner, but how effective is that relationship?

No matter who your partner is, the partner-client relationship is a two-way street. It takes both sides learning and growing together. Both companies invest resources into the partnership, so a sense of mutual trust is critical to long-term success.

So, as a client, how can you best help your partner help you? Speaking as a partner who has worked with dozens of clients over the years, I have found four ways you can enhance your partnership with your partner. Let’s take a look at each one.

#1: Before making an upgrade or new purchase, sit down with your partner to go over the details.

Nothing is worse than getting into a project, thinking all is going according to plan, and then being knocked off-schedule and off-budget by something unexpected. When this occurs, it discourages both the partner, who needs to find ways to adjust, and the customer, who may be frustrated.

One of the best ways to proactively prevent this situation is to be clear on your expectations upfront. To do this, you must gather all your stakeholders together and present what they are after to your partner. The more you can share with your partner before they get started on your project, the better.

At Innovia, we structure this step into our process with a planning engagement. We meet with our potential customers’ teams, ask them questions we know will be important to the project, and fully assess where they are and where they want to go. This investment in the planning stage helps us minimize surprises and maximize client results by ensuring everyone has clear expectations.

Even if your partner doesn’t have a formal process, ensure you are meeting with them to plan as carefully as possible before work begins.

#2: If something changes, let your partner know right away!

Change happens. Everyone knows that. The trick is how to respond when it happens.

Your partner fully expects that as a project goes on, you may want to adjust something. Perhaps you didn’t think of something in advance, or when you saw the way your system worked in reality, you decided it needed something else. It happens to everyone!

So as a customer, we recommend you notify your partner as soon as possible any time you know a change is coming. The earlier we know, the better we can help you meet your adjusted goals and reduce unnecessary billing hours.

#3: Ensure your partner knows what add-on solutions you are looking for.

One of the greatest things about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central / NAV is that it has so many options for add-on solutions from ISV partners. No matter what industry you are in, you can find something that can be a big help to you and your operations.

What may not be as obvious to you as a customer is that your partner is invested in understanding the ISV marketplace. Partners spend a considerable amount of effort learning about different ISV solutions and evaluating where they might work best. At Innovia, we even train our internal team on some solutions to streamline implementation and support.

This point here is simple: if you are shopping for an add-on to solve a challenge at your business, ask your partner. There’s a good chance they have a recommendation that fits your needs and budget.

#4: Take the call from your account manager or accept the invitation for an on-site visit.

We all get busy and sometimes it’s easy not to take a check-in call from a vendor.

Why should you take your partner’s call? Simply put, your ERP is a living, evolving system, and staying in contact with your partner is the best way to ensure you take advantage of new opportunities and prevent problems before they happen.

At Innovia, our approach is to ensure your account manager speaks with you at least quarterly. We even fund on-site visits and never bill for account manager time. We hire experienced industry professionals to fill this role, whose advice is a nonbillable resource. In many ways, it’s like having a free business consultant.

Simply speaking with your account manager regularly strengthens your partnership. It may even spark ideas for how you can use your system or provide training resources for your team.

It’s All about Communication!

As I look back over this list, the common factor is clear: open communication.

The best way to keep your relationship with your partner strong is to keep talking:

  • Talk to them before starting to make sure they know what you expect.
  • Talk to them any time your priorities or business realities change.
  • Talk to them when you are looking to add an ISV solution.
  • Talk to them regularly to keep everyone on track.

When I look back over my career, the best partnerships I’ve experienced are the ones where the customer has spoken to me openly, honestly, and frequently. It makes me feel confident I’m making the best recommendations I can, and that makes everyone happier!

So, if you are reading this now and wondering what you should do next, my recommendation would be to give your partner a call! If Innovia is your partner (or you'd like us to be), our number is 800-834-7700.

Learn More About Innovia

While this article is original Innovia content, it first appeared online at: https://blog.dynamiccommunities.com/magazine/how-to-partner-with-your-partner.

Tom Doran

Tom Doran

Tom Doran is Chief Marketing Officer at Innovia Consulting, where he leads the Customer Engagement efforts (which includes sales, account management, and marketing functions). He has over 20 years' experience helping companies get the solutions they need from technology. In addition, he has extensive food industry experience and serves on the board of the YMCA of Michiana.

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