“It’s all about adding value for our members”

The GCMA’s Business Partner Network has expanded significantly over the past two years. Business partnerships manager Craig Cotterill explains how members are benefiting and what’s to come... It's felt like a conveyor belt of big announcements coming out of GCMA HQ in recent months. The likes of BRS Golf, Sky Connect, and Under Armour have been high-profile additions to a rapidly expanding network of companies wanting to align themselves with the association and, you, the members. It’s been two years since Craig Cotterill took on the role of business partnerships manager. We asked him to look back over a tumultuous pandemic period, what’s been achieved, and how partnerships will look in a post-Covid world... You’ve been with the association for two years and have had to operate in a Covid environment, which will have presented very different challenges and opportunities... It’s been the most challenging two years of my career in commercial roles. The main challenge has been inheriting partnerships but not being able to go out and meet them face-to-face and build relationships.  Equally, it’s been a real challenge bringing new partners on board in the online world and activating those with the existing assets they’ve got, without really being able to build a relationship and understand their business. When you’ve done similar roles in the past, how much of your job would have been face to face?  At least 50% of the time I would be out on the road, managing my diary, going to see two or three partners a day in a certain area of the country. I’d perhaps be away one night a week, making the most of my time and building relationships. I’d go into the partners’ places of work, walk around, and understand their processes, what goes into their day-to-day work, so I could be more informed. Not being able to achieve that true level of understanding has been difficult. Even in that environment, new partners have come on board. Tell us how you’ve expanded the network? Firstly, the GCMA has changed its direction slightly and I think its relevance in the industry as an association has increased. Our profile has improved and that’s naturally attracted interest from businesses.  A good commercial manager also comes with a lot of connections and I’ve been able to go back to many of my long-standing business relationships and speak to them about the work I’m doing here at the GCMA, the value that can bring to them as a business owner, and what our members can offer.  When I arrived in February 2020, we had 14 commercial partners. Now we’ve got 25. It’s been well documented we’re working with the likes of Under Armour and Sky Connect. We’ve had several other great partners come on board, companies like RGM, Howden, Rubric Law, and so I’m trying to cover all bases for our members to ensure they’re surrounded by experts in services they’re going to need. The way we work with partners has changed dramatically since I arrived. I...
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