When was the last time you built a partner relationship that generated “profits” far beyond money? Truly great partnerships extend beyond the project and foster invaluable personal and professional growth. The relationship between David Gersten of Bond Consulting Services and RyanTech’s Kevin McMillen is a true partnership, in the best sense of the word. From their first meeting at an IAMCP gathering, Kevin and David sensed a shared desire to not just take value from the partner community, but to give back to it, and the friendship they built on that premise has generated enormous returns.
Yes, there is business value
Certainly, both businesses have benefitted from shared recommendations and referrals. But there are many ways partners can provide value to each other. For example, Bond is a relatively small presence in the Dynamics space, but introductions and other support from Kevin and RyanTech have given Bond the reach and visibility of a much larger organization. A partner for a longer time, Kevin was able to provide David with coaching on how to operate within the Microsoft ecosystem. “Kevin opened that door for me to walk through and helped me when I needed to be helped,” David says.
For his part, David is quick to suggest RyanTech for Azure or highly complicated cloud-related projects – just in the last year, Bond passed on to RyanTech several leads for companies that needed to be upgraded in preparation for migration to the cloud. Networking becomes easier too, when you have someone willing and able to make introductions and ease the awkwardness of starting a new relationship. Kevin’s enthusiasm for WPC helped David make the argument for his boss to attend in 2014 – and he’s already registered for Orlando.
But there’s so much more to gain
Perhaps most valuable of all is the level of trust that has evolved over the years. “Many other partners are worried that if another partner learns their ‘secret sauce’ or understands how they do something, that they’re going to try and catch a piece of their business,” says Kevin. “RyanTech and Bond are not concerned about that. We know that we’re going to grow together.”
And it’s not just the companies that benefit – their customers see the value of their partnership, though they may not know its source. A long-standing customer of David’s had issues with files on an old 2003 server and needed upgrading. David, knowing the solution was not in Bond’s scope, led the customer to RyanTech to keep the company from “going dark.” “Being able to refer one another means knowing the job will get done right. We have to be a trusted advisor to our clients,” David says. “I know what he does and how well he does it, and that meant I was able to fill that client’s needs immediately.”
Relationship “building blocks”
They talk often, send postcards and gifts, chat with each other’s families and share far beyond the usual partner-to-partner relationships. Not every partnership can extend so far into the personal, but there are takeaways from their friendship that hold true for every partner-to-partner interaction:
  • Make the effort to make the other person’s day a little better. Even small gestures can have enormous impacts.
  • Be bold about initiating contact. Most folks don’t bite. Attending WPC and participating in groups and conversations in Connect are great ways to start.
  • Maintain the relationship. The project may be over, but you never know what other value this person and relationship can provide or how you might be of help to someone else.
  • Trust and be trustworthy.
  • Communicate with others as they want to be communicated with. Take time to understand each other’s personality and preferences and respect them.
Like every relationship, what you get out of a partnership depends on what you put into it. But Kevin and David and their respective businesses would tell you that their cooperation is worth the effort, on many levels and for many reasons. Thank you to David and Kevin for sharing your inspirational story.
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