Airtable for Managing the Partnership Development Process

Airtable is a really easy to use tool for your business platform, especially for managing your business development processes. We use it for various processes in our team. If you haven’t read my previous post on Airtable, you should. In this and subsequent posts, I’ll be showing you how you can use Airtable specifically to organize, lead, and manage People. Today’s post focuses on business development: How to manage your partnership development process.

As with any Application that we evaluate using our Modern Enterprise rubric for Business Platform Software, we wanted to see how Airtable facilitates team leaders to help them with their most important asset: their people, whether they work on the same team, work with partnering teams, or are freelancing for their project for a week. In the Modern Enterprise, it is important for the any Application to allow for flexibility and scale.

Danielle, my team mate, started using Airtable to manage our clients and how they are doing in our roadmap for them for our services. I started using Airtable to manage our partnerships with software vendors and service partners, and our roadmap for them. Though we were using a combination of Google Spreadsheets and Trello to manage our Interview Pipeline for Apprentices, Contractors, and Employees, I decided to give it a try.
We have now used Airtable for three distinct purposes.
  1. Business Development Processes. Airtable manages our different types of partners and which stage in the partnership processes they were. Although this not really Sales, its very similar to it. We also use it for managing our sales territory plan, our routes, our plans.
  2. Human Resources Application Tracking. Airtable manages and organizes our different team members across the world. We’ll show you this in a future post.
  3. Client / Projects Master Record Index.  Airtable allows us to manage all the major references to the different systems we use to manage our clients and associated projects in one place. We’ll probably not show this on a blog post, but if you email solutions@anant.us, I’m sure we’ll be open to sharing how we did it over a web conference.

Using Airtable for CRM: Client / Partnership Management

I ask many fellow entrepreneurs, how is your business doing? They say “Oh we’re at 40 people now.” with a grin. That’s great, but that’s not our goal. Even though it is nice to give jobs to 40 people, I’d rather be working with 40 super smart entrepreneurs or freelancers that are hungry, committed, passionate, and growth minded. We do have a core staff of employees and managers but much of our work is delivered through careful coordination of vetted partners for delivery of services, software, and infrastructure. I set out to organize our different partners in one place. Since we work with different types of people at different stages with different types of relationships, initially I thought the table would look ugly.
Sales Territory with Airtable

Sales Territory with Airtable

With Airtable, I was able to manage the Stage, the Type(s), whether they were a Priority, what was our Playbook or things we wanted to achieve. After putting this information in, I could then see the different companies in a Kanban View.
Partnership Management with Airtable

Partnership Management with Airtable

This Kanban View isn’t that special. I was able to do my partnership process in Trello before. The big difference is that each “Card” is structured  exactly the same with all the same fields, which are also editable in a spreadsheet view ( Above )
Airtable Record Editor

Airtable Record Editor

As you can see, by making our “spreadsheet,” we essentially made a completely customized app for managing our partners. We didn’t need to buy a new piece software. The best part is that we can embed it into our existing Intranet portal and people can start using this without having to login to Airtable.
Airtable is a very versatile product for managing information on just about anything. It brings the best of Trello’s abilities and combines them with the best of Google Spreadsheet’s and Google Form’s abilities. Since Airtable also provides APIs for any “Bases” you create, each Base is a full fledged database app that can be integrated into an existing business’s complex workflows if needed. If you need help maximizing Airtable or using it to run your business, send me an email at solutions@anant.us and let me know how our company, Anant, can help.