Now that you’ve made the decision to partner with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) company, it’s crucial that your teams determine how closely you’ll be working together. You should set clear partnering parameters, such as how many people will be assigned to each partner’s team, how often you’ll meet and which key performance indicators you’ll use to measure success.
As we’ve written previously, we strongly recommend dedicating a team to AI partnerships. This allows your company to pay strict attention to how the partnerships are functioning, and apply immediate fixes to any problems that may arise. These partnership experts will know exactly how to work on joint initiatives, including how to attract new partners and what to do should the partnership stumble or falter. A dedicated team also relieves your sales people and account managers from having to monitor this activity. Instead of retraining on how to manage and administer partnerships, sales people can focus on what they do best: closing deals and generating revenue.
Here are a few ideas to keep your partner communications clear and regular.
Closer is Better
As with any partnership, strong and frequent communication is superior to a more autonomous approach. The more each team invests in the initiative, the more successful it is likely to be. Just as a dedicated team allows you to pivot and make adjustments if issues arise, so too will constant communication between partnering companies. These conversations can happen as frequently as you would like, but two weeks between meetings or catch-ups should be the absolute limit. Meeting every day is probably a bit too ambitious, while only once a month is too infrequent.
Lean on Partner Account Managers
Clear and transparent communication underpins an effective partner strategy. Determining a Partner Account Manager (PAM) from both teams will help ensure this communication doesn’t lapse. By empowering the PAMs to schedule and organize meetings and regular touchpoints, you ensure that communication management is an official task.
A PAM on both teams also provides a bit of insurance should one of the PAMs leave their company or become overwhelmed with other duties and commitments. If one PAM is busy (or simply forgets to communicate certain updates), the other PAM can ensure the lines of communication are open.
A More Casual Approach
Partnerships require high levels of commitment on both sides, but not every meeting needs to be an intense discussion. Even casual meetings — dinners, lunches, an occasional adult beverage, etc. — will help build the relationship. These casual meetups give teams a chance to develop trust, brainstorm ideas and build a more natural working relationship.
The most important thing to remember is that you should maintain a constant flow of communication between both parties. The more you interact and converse with one another, the easier it will be to maintain a healthy relationship and build out the best products for your end users. Where, how and why you choose to meet will ultimately be determined by your teams, but the cadence should be frequent.