One of the first pieces I ever wrote – here’s a few reasons why partnerships could be key for your business.
I’m on a mission to get people leveraging partnerships as a key part of the business strategy.
There’s so much to be gained from them, with the sum of the individual parts coming to so much more than the individual components.
But there’s more to partnerships then then just the lead generation that most think of. I thought I’d highlight a few of the direct business benefits (and ok, I start with leads) but that’s not to underestimate the benefits of increased support, creativity and fun that working in partnership can bring – especially in the small business space.
Take a look, hopefully there’s something here that sparks something for you.
For many organisations the most obvious reason to enter into a partnership is lead generation. If you can find organisations to partner with who share your target market and have a platform to communicate your offer to them with then it can add huge value to your business. Of course, they may expect the same in return where appropriate and this can have its rewards as well. From an enhanced reputation with your audience, to commission revenues dependant on how you set up the partnership.
This can be a formal arrangement, or often more relaxed.
Think about a plumber and electrician who cross refer each other where possible. The accountant who knows that a client is having staff issues, so they refer them to someone to help out with their HR requirements. Or the Hotel that recommends a wedding planner when couples book their venue.
In the current climate think of the amount of cross promotion of other people’s content you’re seeing across LinkedIn.
There’s then Channel Sales. If you’ve not come across the term ‘channel sales’ before then put simply it’s when you sell your product or service through a specific indirect route.
Typically, the partner involved in promoting the service in a channel sales relationship is selling the product directly to the end user, not just making a referral. They may have a portfolio of similar products and so are used to selling a suite of products to a chosen demographic.
Route to market
Taking the lead example from above and taking it one step further is a route to market for a new product or service. It’s tough out there to be stand out. If you’ve got a new product and not a huge budget, then it’s increasingly difficult to get seen. We’re bombarded by marketing messages every day and many of us have learned to filter them out and become almost immune.
We now live in an expert economy. More and more we see businesses being ultra- specific in the product or service they deliver or the type of business they deliver it for.
This means that where in the past if there was a complimentary service to the one you were already delivering you may look to develop that offering inhouse – people may now be more reassured by the fact that you’re working in partnership with a dedicated expert in that field.
You can see this with how many excellent webinars are being held by collaborative businesses. As well as making the content more valuable they’re also increasing the reach by being able to promote through each other’s networks.
Finding partners and affiliates
If partnerships and affiliates are a channel for you then it’s worth looking at partners who could provide you with leads for those. if you take the time to think about it, a partner who can introduce you to further partners could be much more valuable than one who’s providing you with direct leads.
If you’re an active networker, then it’s also a great tactic to use in that situation (online or offline!). Think about it. You’re not asking for someone to give you business. You’re not even asking them to introduce you to people who might give you business. You’re asking them to introduce you to people who would be your ideal people to partner with, delivering value all round.
If you’re building a business to sell, then partnerships can be a great way to maximise the exit value you receive. Outside of the benefits already mentioned which all have a positive impact on the businesses bottom line, a healthy partnership program shows that your business has multiple streams of revenue sources and shows a maturity in how you deal with the wider business community, and even your competitors. All thing s that can give a potential investor more confidence in the set-up of your business. Increasing its value and sell ability.
Credibility by association
Sometimes the purpose of a partnership is purely to raise the profile of one side, by them being seen to get the endorsement of someone who is held in high regard by their target market.
In the consumer space think of the amount of money that changes hand for football sponsorships. More recently you also have the rise of influencer marketing, whereby someone who typically has a large social following promotes a product, service or destination to their following. Whatever your thoughts on the individuals concerned its now big business.
PR & Profile
A partnership can be a great way to raise your profile and gain some PR for your brand. Outside of whether the person you partner with is high profile in their own right, businesses collaborating together to add value for a common purpose can be a great news feature and way for you all to gain some extra exposure – with the follow on benefits that brings.
There can be significant cost savings to be had from a successful partnership as well, typically in resource but across other channels as well.
Sometimes it can be a simple as the exchange of each other’s time or spare capacity within a partnership saves each other spending money on procuring that service.
Right, that’s my list for starters, there’s many more and I’ll look to explore each in more detail in the future.