Finding a partner can be a wonderful experience. From the first date to true love, marriage, and beyond. It can also be a complicated and messy affair. *Sigh* While most businesses rely on resellers, the great ones invest in building great partnerships. And in a partnership, every day should feel like Valentine’s; spending quality time together, enjoying great content, cooking a meal together…we digress. So how do you find great partnerships? That’s what we’re here to explore.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be going through the five stages of relationships and helping you on your way to strong and long-lasting partner relationships. We’ll offer insights straight from our customers, our predictions, and practical tips you can implement right away. Leaving you with partners that are not just engaged, but truly excited to be part of your ecosystem.
Winning the hearts and minds of partners
We see many vendors trying to talk to other businesses as businesses. But behind the screen is a human making the decisions. It’s important to speak to those people. To understand what makes them tick. How they are interacting with their end-users and how your brand can help them reach those end-users.
That’s how you’ll win their hearts and minds.
What’s in it for them?
Before you start sowing your oats out there, it’s crucial to have a solid partner program in place. Consider what you are offering potential partners. Outside of the obvious revenue and rates questions, here are some to consider:
- What does your onboarding and training process look like?
- Will you provide partner enablement to ensure an easy adoption process?
- How will you be helping partners reach their end-users via marketing and co-selling?
- Will your partners stay in control over-user data?
- Which processes have been automated to make your partners’ lives easier?
Then, you’ll need to determine what kind of partners you want to recruit. It’s important to understand what you expect from them. Do you simply want to increase your partner base to fulfill demand, branch out into new territories, new markets? Ask yourself:
- Do you want to grow your partner base?
- Do you want partners to help launch a new product or service?
- Do you want to introduce your products or services in a new region?
- Do you want to branch out into new markets?
- Do you want to grow brand awareness?
The similarities between partnerships and relationships
How would you go about finding the love of your life? Would you download a list of potential bachelors that live in the neighborhood? Send each of them a cold email introducing yourself and what you are looking for in a relationship? Maybe target them with some ads? And if you didn’t get a response, would you give them a call and ask them why?
Seems a little cold doesn’t it? Yet this is the path many take in the search for great partnerships. Why this doesn’t work is quite obvious.
- There’s no pre-selection process
- There’s no introduction
- There’s no common ground to base a relationship on
So, what would it look like if we made this a more human way of interacting?
- Use tools such as LinkedIn and Channext to gather background information about the company and the people you will be targeting. Find out their company size, active regions, look for company updates, anything you can use to get a better understanding of them
- Try to find a mutual contact for an introduction, failing that, try to find some common ground that you can talk about
- Use the background information you collected to start a conversation
Now doesn’t that seem like a much stronger foundation to start building strong partnerships?
The five stages of (partner) relationships
As we continue this series we will be looking at the different stages of relationships and how they compare to partnerships.
Making yourself available: In this post, we discussed what you need to have in place before approaching potential partners and how human interactions are the foundation for great partnerships.
First date: Also known as partner recruitment. What are the different kinds of partners and which ones are suitable for your business? Once you’ve sourced your ideal partners. How will you make them fall in love with you? It’s important to stand out from your competitors. But how?
The engagement: You’ve found your perfect matches and are deeply in love. Now it’s time to get hitched and get them onboarded and trained.
Marriage: How are you handling your long-term relationships? Are you enabling your partners to be the best in the business? How are you keeping them engaged? Are you doing co-selling and co-marketing?
Expanding the family: Marriages are hard work, and now you have 50-100 new additions to the family! That’s a whole community. How do you divide your attention amongst all of them? How are you keeping your entire partner base happy at scale? How are you bridging the partner engagement gap?