Sniffing Out the Pretenders from the Partners: 3 Key Questions

Posted by Leigh Ann Hope on Jul 13, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Leigh Ann Hope“A legitimate teaming partner gets your business model and how you use them as a leverage point.” ~ Leigh Ann Hope


The window of time between deal sold and deal paid can be fraught with frustration if your delivery model is less than solid – and for good reason. In this sector, delivery failure becomes the proverbial nail in the coffin for many a sale made. Avoiding that downward spiral first takes a bit of pride swallowing. Unlike other types of outside sales, servicing the account after the sale is very much a responsibility that’s on your shoulders. It is your job and you have a uniquely vested interest to make sure it’s handled skillfully.


That result comes from aligning your execution team with a teaming partner that can deliver. Not all of them can.


Before you engage a firm, consider these three questions.


What is their sourcing strategy?

How they answer this question is just as important as what they say. If they stumble formulating their response, it’s safe to conclude that their strategy is likely to post and pray! By that we mean to post it on job boards in the open market and pray the right candidates emerge. If the teaming partner you are evaluating defines “strategy” as volleying over unscreened job board resumes, or worse, sending ‘quality’ resumes with skill sets that don’t match your requirements, you’re wasting your time. 


The best people we find and go on to hire aren’t looking on job boards. Period.


How well do they understand the federal contracting sector?

An effective teaming partner must be able to participate in sophisticated, technical conversations. This is a tough business sector with a steep learning curve, and a near zero tolerance for mistakes. You can’t afford on-the-job training for your teaming partners. Consider the expertise of their staff. Is it substantive or surface level?


Our client portfolio is heavily entrenched in auditing and IT circles. As such, our leadership consists of both certified public accountants and technical professionals. For us, it’s simply a cost of doing business. It is mission critical that we understand not only your requirements, but the why behind those requirements. Delivering quality responsively does not happen by a keyword search or simply reading a job description. Effective teaming partners have to understand the methodology behind those keywords and job descriptions.


For us, there is no substitute for having worked in accounting and IT ourselves.


What are their performance ratios?

There is no rubberstamped approach to federal contract team building, but sound fundamentals must exist. Teaming partners must build infrastructure (pun intended) to support the demands on the organization.


When considering teaming partners, ask them about their approach and to detail their strategy. If it is unsubstantiated, proceed with caution.


Rosy scenarios mean nothing. Metrics and delivery on the other hand? They mean everything. Most importantly, you can’t sell over or pretty up the ratios and figures that summarize teaming partner effectiveness.


Don’t skip your due diligence. Choosing your teaming partner carefully is just as important as making the commitment to hire one in the first place. The effort won’t be in vain. On the contrary, it will become a sales game-changer.


Let us help you get there.

Topics: Teaming Partner Partner That Delivers IR, Inc.