In order to round out your collaboration network and in the process provide real growth opportunities you should look into partners to support network marketing and sales opportunities.  After all of the previous discussions related to supporting the need and risk mitigation for the network it is time to put the capabilities together and wrap them with a means to derive market value.  This is exactly what you must do by adding marketing and sales capabilities to your collaborative network.  I’ve already mentioned that the collaborative network can help the partners in the network to compete with the largest management consulting and services firms.  The addition of marketing and sales to the network will allow you and your partners to derive additional value from the collaborative services and capabilities.

Every partner in your network has marketing and sales skills so why would you need to add these skills to the network?  The truth is that you may not need the additional partners but I think its important to that you perform the same SWOT analysis on your marketing and sales objectives and capabilities as they relate to the entire network.  This analysis will confirm the need for, and the type and focus of these capabilities.  Every partner within the network has a marketing and sales team that is focused on their internal capabilities and market, what is needed is a holistic view and approach to marketing and sales for the network.  This is something that may very well require additional support to get the opportunities flowing.

I have seen and spoken with partners that have developed a sales channel based on the needs of a marketplace.  These sales partners have developed a network of partners that specialize in supporting the needs of the marketplace. Generally these specific and specialized partners have the skills for a specific need within the initiative and the sales partner brings the additional skills together from other network service partners in order to support the marketplace initiative.  This sales partner is action as the catalyst to bring together and coordinate the support of specific requirements to meet the marketplace need. 

I am suggesting that your collaborative network engage this type of sales and marketing partner(s) in order to take the next step in developing and engaging your collaborative network.  After all if your network partners support the needs and specialized skills required to mitigate risk and provide value added services for your own network partners just think of the value that can be offered to external customers in need of such services.  The trick is to develop the market sales funnel to develop and land these additional opportunities.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

How do you identify and address new opportunities in your current business market?  Have you ever tried to develop a SWOT focused on new business opportunities or new markets  to evaluate the fit for partnership and as a means to address and meet new opportunities?  Do you regularly develop a SWOT analysis to evaluate your internal capabilities and needs to support new business and market opportunities?