The Final Imperative of Partnership Success: Results

The fifth and final imperative of partnership success is results! When it is all said and done, we choose to enter strategic partnerships so that we are better positioned to achieve results that will help our organization prosper. Without meaningful results, no business, no partnership, and no relationship will sustain. 

Achieving strong results does not happen by accident. It is never automatic, and it is rarely effortless—especially in partnership initiatives. Achieving significant results will take time, discipline, planning, nurturing, management, leadership, and a couple of bouts of good luck along the way. Your knowledge and actions will ultimately determine your results. 

According to a recent CMO Council study of C-Level Officers, 85% of respondents viewed business partnerships as either “essential” or “important” for their company’s future. However, only 33% of these respondents indicated that they had a formal strategy for partnerships. Many times, we get into the daily grind of operating our businesses only to find that our business is operating us. Strategic partnerships can be an incredibly effective way to significantly grow a business, but it must be intentional; there must be a disciplined strategy in place. 

The CMO Council’s report offers the following recommendations to business leaders: 

  1. Companies must have a leader who develops the structure, processes, and measurement systems for how the company will approach, form, develop, manage, and assess partnerships. 
  1. A failure to think through the objectives, align on win-win outcomes, agree on resourcing and responsibilities across the parties, and decide on key milestones and checkpoints can lead to a relationship that languishes over time. 

The CMO Council’s research and recommendations are spot-on. Countless studies have been published in recent years validating the growing need for effective strategic partnerships and a growing concern that strategic partnerships are not effectively structured or managed, causing high-failure rates. 

A recent Accenture study found executives believe partnerships allow businesses to innovate (63%), increase revenue growth (58%), access new markets (55%), and access new customers (55%). Yet companies struggle with their strategic intent and goals for partnering initiatives. Many executives (84%) say partnership networks (ecosystems) are important to their strategy of disruption, but 37% are unable to balance the current business while exploring new partnering initiatives.  

How to Get Results 

Leaders create business plans and business cases to help manage the resources of their organization. Partnering professionals must approach their partnering initiatives with the same level of discipline, structure, and rigor. I contend partnering strategies require more rigor and planning as compared to an internal (organic) growth initiative because partnering requires the dependence on outside organizations, for which you do not have direct control.  

You have direct influence and control over the fate of your resources, but you have no meaningful control over your partners. They choose their resourcing and their level of commitment. Therefore, you must be diligent in the way you select, structure, manage, and optimize your strategic partnerships. 

Given the incredibly high failure rates of third-party partnerships, it is apparent that companies face major challenges when working with strategic partners. All experts on the subject recommend following a model or framework to add structure, process, and transparency to help govern partnerships. Although there is consensus that more structure is needed, there does not seem to be agreement on the optimal framework for accomplishing this task of coordination. Enjoy the article? You can head to our PARTNERNOMICS Blog and subscribe today! If you’re looking to learn more about our courses, coaching programs, and the industry’s only University accredited certification (Strategic Partner Leadership Professional®), head to Any questions you may have for the team, feel free to send an email to

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