Do You Know Everyone on Your Vendor’s Team?

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Gale Strategies

August 6, 2023 • 3 min read

Making all team members directly accountable to you through modern platforms means fewer surprises.

Most marketing, public relations and sales agencies will tell you with pride that you will have a single point of contact who will own their relationship with you. You will barely see the other folks working for you.

It’s also true in other industries from fund administration in private capital to IT implementation.

The problem with this model is that your single point of contact might be the only person at the service provider who knows your business. This situation is why private capital CFOs for instance keep their fund administrators after they’ve invested significant time in a long-running relationship. It’s also why they switch fund administrators when there is too much churn at their service provider’s firm.

The same thing happens in marketing and public relations, but let’s stick with the fund services model for the moment. We’ve seen the future in that particular space.

Who’s in charge here?

Should you really need a designated advocate and single “throat to choke” to get the rest of your partner’s team to understand your needs?

Talking to leaders in the fund services industry has caused us to ask whether a “single contact” is a cover for the fact that everyone else touching your operations is a specialist who is shuffled in and out to perform work without deeply understanding how your business works.

Leading teams are built around a more robust model where you have a more complete and visible team helping you out, that sees and knows what you are trying to achieve. It’s something that’s caused us to reflect on our own business, including in the past two weeks when the two primary leaders of our outfit were off the grid.

Have we done a good job of ensuring we have a deep bench that’s well versed in our clients’ work and how to best support them?

Every person, a point person

Does your partner ensure all team members can serve you directly along with the team lead.

I don’t want to overstate that point. Different members of your partner’s team have different levels of experience and unique specialties. Going back to fund administrators, these firms often err on the side of a single point of contact where knowledge of your needs and style are consolidated.

But more sophisticated firms are now erring on the side of the full team being allowed to focus on your needs on a sustained basis. Every member of your outsourced team becomes immersed in what makes you unique in the private capital ecosystem. They develop well-rounded private equity professionals versus specialized fund administrators.

The result is that every member of the team serving you is known to you, and fluent in your firm’s culture, process, and aims.

That approach often surprises clients. It frankly feels like a truly in-house team (I know, this rhetoric is over played… but when it really happens you know it).

Here’s where tech can come in.

The Amazon approach to fund services (and professional services)

In this system, if it’s supported by the right tech, team members handle client inquiries in near real-time, through chat — coordinating the full team to eliminate fragmented responsibilities and multiple meetings and emails.

That also means being built to allow for small teams that focus on smaller sets of clients. (Amazon has shown how this approach scales with Jeff Bezos’ “Two-Pizza Teams.” We should be able to feed your team with two pizzas. That’s the right size to be cohesive, collaborative, and aligned with your team.)

This is fueled with data securely available to all team members so they have up-to-date knowledge of who has talked to the client, when they spoke, what the client’s latest questions or directions were, and how they or others can help the process. Client teams are well-informed, don’t encounter duplicative questions, and don’t wonder where outstanding work stands. Lastly, you expand the efficiency of each outsourced team member and the intelligence of their work with data operations and automation. When you’ve done this, you’ve reduced friction significantly.

This approach also means you’re able to move from peaks and valleys of activity to streaming work that is more agile than any legacy approach.

We expect others will attempt to copy this strategy, and we encourage them to do so.

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