The easy question: How important is trust? The simple answer: trust is everything.

Who will you buy your next car from? The dealer and brand you trust. Who will you buy your next pair of shoes from? Same answer, the shop and the brand you trust. There’s a reason why. You trust them both institutionally and interpersonally.

This formula applies universally, with channel partnerships as no exception. Recent research AchieveUnite conducted with CompTia® on Partner Experience further underscores the criticality of trust in partnerships through exploration of the finer points intrinsic to channel partnerships. Examining this research, we can distil trust into three elements: consistency, alignment, and relationships.

Consistency: When thinking of any given partner, do we know what to expect of the people, the process, the products, and the program? Allowing anyone of these elements to become an unpredictable wildcard is a disastrous scenario. Are the people changing all the time? Are the processes or programs upended on a whim? What about the product roadmap, is there some major directional shift crammed into the channel with seemingly no warning? These worst-case scenarios for partners exclusively produce the antonym of trust. All decisions must be held accountable to the cause of instilling trust in business relationships. Without it, that proverbial next new car purchase is headed elsewhere.

Alignment:  Are we striving for the same outcome? What big hairy ugly goal are we shooting for, together? When misalignment exists, and partners are running in different directions, the consequence is an automatic zero trust scenario… without the ability to truly believe that the other party has your best interest in mind, red flags arise, eroding trust. There’s no complexity in the solution, Candid dialogue, sharing individual and institutional goals, metrics and intentions ensures the alignment exists, and the trust is built. Sharing this level of dialogue, however, requires trusting relationships.

Relationships: With relationships, complexity sets in, as trust in people introduces the emotional element and draws on EQ skills. We’ve all seen business relationships flourish, with easy and transparent dialogue driving real business outcomes at a rapid pace. We’ve likely seen the opposite—someone who you feel you just can’t trust—no matter the approach. Chances of driving a successful partnership here? Aside from accidents, nearly impossible. Solving for this requires the right people, in the right role at the right time.

Through research with academic partners such as the current CompTia Partner Experience Research trends work, AchieveUnite is solving for the intricate qualities within individuals that create trusting relationships. A quantitative perspective on trust in individuals and their ability to foster relationships can be formed.

Stay tuned here, PQITM, a way to quantify successful partnerships, is coming from AchieveUnite.