Effective MSP partnering practices are not created overnight. They’re established over time and molded based on experience. But the profiling process is constantly changing and it requires continuous reevaluation to determine what’s working and what’s not.

Strategic vendor partnering is second nature to Edge Solutions CEO Julie Haley. She’s crafted a tactical approach to vendor partnering that’s helped her build a multimillion-dollar business from the ground up. And, she started without a single client and only two vendor partners. Since then, Edge has grown considerably, closing out 2017 with $33 million in gross revenue and 30 partners and counting.

Haley recommends asking these five questions to ensure that your strategic vendor alliances materialize.

Is there a demand from my customers?

The allure of a shiny new supplier relationship can be hard to resist. Avoid agreeing to an arrangement with a vendor that’s not a strategic fit with your business. “The most important thing is how is their technology going to solve our customers’ problems.”

What’s the data saying?

The sheer volume of potential vendors to choose from can be overwhelming. But kissing a few frogs along the way is worth it! Solution providers shouldn’t fear the ‘trial and error’ approach to partnering because you’ll always learn something in the end.

“We’ve made mistakes, but if you’re not successful, you need to say, ‘Hey, we gave it our best. We invested in this many technical certifications, this many hours of training and this many employees to this solution.’ And when you look at the numbers, you have to weigh the numbers and move fast or else you’re not going to make it in business.”

Who can give me advice?

You hired them. Now, listen to them! Engineers are cross-functional resources that can provide you with business insight. “We hired engineers in the industry, and leaders out of the industry. So, we know what their problems are, and we have tight relationships with their current CIO and CEOs. We’re always talking to them about what are their pain points? What are their goals this year? Then we listen to our engineers,” Haley says. 

Will it expand my practice?

Your supplier can open doors for your business to reach end-users that you may never have been able to otherwise. “When we walk them into our clients, are they going to also help keep their ears open for us? Are they going to think of Edge and our expertise? After seeing the investment that we’re making in them, are they going to walk us into some prospective clients and opportunities?”

Should we call it quits?

It’s important to evaluate if a vendor partnership is actually proving valuable. And if it isn’t you simply have to throw in the towel. “We don’t keep investing where it’s not panning out. We’re just going to keep vetting and seeing how they work with our clients.”

Next time you’re looking to launch a partnership, consider these checkpoints before dollar amounts are exchanged and contracts are signed. Your business will thank you!