Zuri Group is regularly asked about partnerships. I get a call or email on this daily. We have a way of thinking about this: Zuri is always a big “P” partner for clients but little “p” partner for vendors. Here’s why:
Since the inception of Zuri Group, relationships have been our top priority. Throughout my personal and professional life, having a trusting relationship makes for a great partnership. Trust is essential. Sometimes, the formality of relationships grows, but generally, the goal is for everyone to benefit no matter the formality.
My experience with software companies comes from nearly 30 years of making products work. From credit card processing apps using Oracle jobs to the now-defunct Sphere tool to modern CRMs, I have seen every flavor of software vendor. Too often, vendors can start to believe that they are the only ones that can implement their software, plus they need the services revenue in addition to the software revenue to help them grow.
But what if a successful software company can’t implement all of their clients in a timely manner or deliver all the requested functionality? They typically look to partners to fill these gaps. Some organizations use partners only when there are peaks in services needs so partnering isn’t approached in a sustainable way for the partner. Some software companies take a partner-centric approach where they see the benefit in fostering a knowledgeable successful partner network. These are beneficial for all organizations involved with the software company, the partner and the client. It can lead to faster implementations, custom functionality and on-going support. These are the outcomes we always seek.
At Zuri Group, “partnership” is a word that isn’t used lightly. Because vendor partnerships are sometimes a mixed bag, we always start the client Partnership with a big “P.”
We Partner with our clients working as an extension of their team, their successes are our successes, and their failures are our failures.
We partner with vendors, of course, but Partnering with a company in its entirety can have some disadvantages for our clients. For instance, vendors often ask Partners to sell products or services that may not be the best fit for a client. Some vendors discourage competition with other vendors, disrupting the free market.
We believe that doing what is right for our clients means being objective, platform agnostic and unbiased. We don’t want our recommendations to be influenced by a vendor partnership.
What’s more, big “P” partnership with vendors usually requires a contract, NDA and an annual fee. The larger vendor company incentivizes the (often smaller) organization to be a partner with the promise of new clients, product trainings, and access to experts, but again, the results can be a mixed bag. And, that big “P” can mean we may be perceived as compromising our objectivity, which is one of Zuri’s key strengths.
On the other hand, with vendors, little “p” partnerships work great for our clients. Vendors can work with us, get our support on products or programs that we feel well qualified to implement or support, and help our shared client succeed. We can partner with vendors but be blunt and unencumbered in our guidance to our clients. We will also partner on behalf of a client to manage a product or relationship.
Zuri Group helps organizations raise more money and build better relationships through effective fundraising operations and technology. Software vendors and the potential for partnerships is part of the territory. We know that we can help our clients better than ever by partnering with everyone but always putting our clients’ needs first. So, while we partner with everyone, our clients remain our primary Partners.
I’d love to hear your stories around this “Big P and Little p” approach. Drop a comment or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John is an innovative leader and strategic thinker with over 30 years of experience and more than a decade in the nonprofit technology arena. John founded Zuri Group in 2007 with the knowledge that nonprofit organizations are most successful when they have trusted partners in technology on the team.