Strategic Collaboration - Are You Really Prepared?

Posted by Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG | Apr 28, 2015 10:00:00 AM


Strategic collaboration is a buzzword in the industry.

Many Retailers and Vendors have it embedded somewhere in their strategic plans for 2015. Do you have a plan on how to get there?

Here are some great resources for you to get started on collaboration:

You may have “collaboration” or “joint business planning” as a pillar in your strategic plans for 2015, but are you really prepared for it?

Before you collaborate, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Who you want to partner with (you shouldn't plan to partner with everyone!);

  2. How you will prepare your multi-functional teams for collaboration; and

  3. What level of collaboration you will strive for with different partners.

Collaboration isn’t equal for everyone.

You shouldn't be trying to achieve the same goals for all of your business “partners”. Below is a diagram from Category Management Knowledge Group that captures the requirements associated with collaboration (including data & tools, research and personnel), and details of each level of collaboration available based on those requirements.  


If you have access to limited data and your organization is relatively inexperienced in category management, then you will be collaborating at a Level 1 tier, with expected outputs of transactional solutions. If you have a robust data set, strong and experienced resources and a dedicated multi-functional team, you have the ability to achieve high levels of collaboration with some of your partners, ultimately resulting in Shopper-focused solutions.

Collaboration isn’t just about getting along.

Strategic collaboration is a different way of doing business that requires changes in internal strategy, processes and approach to the business.

Make sure that you spend the right amount of time internally to prepare for this important step that is necessary to ultimately achieve the most effective collaborative results as possible for your organization.

Topics: Strategic Collaboration

Written by Sue Nicholls, CPSA Founder & President CMKG

Category Management is my passion.

Since beginning with P&G in the late 1980s, I have dedicated my work life to building and sharing this passion with others through active involvement in the industry, including long-term business relationships with large Retailer and Vendor executives, development and influence on Category Management Association certification standards and curriculum, thought leadership publishing and presentations at CSP News’ Convenience University, CMA’s Annual Conference and LinkedIn, and as a member of DePaul University’s Center for Sales Leadership Advisory Board.

Through this blog and other channels, I share this expertise and believe that an open and ongoing conversation can improve any team’s capacity to implement business strategies that achieve their strategic priorities.