One of the first questions that many organizations ask when approaching a partner is ‘What can you do for me?’, ‘Got any leads?’, ‘What’s your customer base like?’ You’re starting from a taking mindset. And we’re gonna call it out, that’s just wrong!
Because, like in any relationship, you need to give, give, give, before you can receive – notice how we didn’t say take? This is how you should approach any partnership, new and existing.
Enter partnerships from a giving not a taking perspective
Some questions to ask yourself before approaching any partner:
- How can I help you to get new customers?
- Do I have some leads for you?
- Can I help or enable you to actually go to market together so we can create a joint-value proposition?
Give, build a relationship and from there on you’ll earn the trust so you can eventually receive again. It’s crucial. When you enter a partnership it needs to be with the right intention always. Otherwise it’s set up for failure from the get-go.
Partners don’t work FOR you. You work TOGETHER.
Over the past two decades, channel has become much more democratized. With more and more vendors entering the market competition has risen. It means partners have more choice. That means vendors need to make it fun to work with them, easy to work with them, and set their partners up for success.
Never piss off your channel
Say you’ve just invented the hottest new thing in technology. Great, you have an edge. You create a huge amount of demand. Don’t rub it in your competitors’ faces. Because they will catch up. Turn your back on channel and channel will turn its back on you.
Don’t forget that partners speak to their end-users a lot more often than any vendor can. And if you get on a partner’s wrong side, they might not advise your product, system, or add-on anymore. Partners control a lot more dealflow than you may think. End-users trust their partners. If you want to continue your upwards spiral, make sure you keep your partners happy.
How do you show your partners you have good intentions?
If there is one golden tip we can give you it’s this:
Some questions that you want to ask your partners on a regular basis:
- What’s your strategy?
- How do we fit into your go to market strategy?
- What is your 3-year plan? And your 5-year plan?
- Who are your ideal customers?
Now you have that framework, build your plan into theirs. Asking questions is a great way to build a relationship and start working on a mutual plan.
Want to find out more reasons that partnerships fail – and what you can do to stop that happening? Listen to episode 7 of Partnerships Unraveled below or visit the podcast page to listen via your preferred streaming service.