The success of many companies often depends on the success of their relationships. At Partner2GROW we strongly believe that WE DO BETTER TOGETHER. Effective relationships and partnerships allow businesses to benefit from working together in many ways such as:
- Sharing assets to go further faster
- Accessing new markets and technologies for growth
- Enhancing brand reputation and exposure
- Adding value to your products and services
- Often with NO monetary investment or increase in your workload.
Strategic Partnerships are the fastest most cost effective way to shorten your sales cycle and catapult conversions to grow your business.
To reap all the rewards that come with strategic partnerships, it’s important to build a strong reputation for creating win-win outcomes. Without this, you’ll have a harder time finding the right partners, getting your foot in the door and you’re more likely to end up with more work, not enough sales, low growth and giving away the farm for nothing (while your competitors snap up the best partners!).
So, let’s look at how you can attract good strategic partners and avoid the bad ones to get real results.
1. Open For Partnership – Sing It From The Rooftops!
When it’s obvious your organisation is partner friendly, you’ll have a better chance of attracting good quality partners. Think of it like making friends — those with a happier, sunnier disposition tend to attract more people than those who are all negative and gloomy, or those who have a reputation for being a bad influence.
Positive reputations attract positive outcomes — this is especially true when searching for strategic partners. The more potential partners are attracted to your business, the greater your chance of finding “the one” and forming a special partnership which will elevate both businesses to the next level.
With more businesses taking an interest in partnering with you, the more opportunities there will be for you to choose from, so you can select the ones that will really make a difference.
TIP: How can you make it obvious your organisation is partner friendly and make it easy for potential partners to reach out to you? Some of the ways you can do this include having a great partner page on your website, showcasing partnership case studies and success stories through your social media channels, and promoting partnership opportunities to your networks.
2. Cultivate A Partner Friendly Culture From The Top Down
This is where its important to invest in ensuring your organisation has internal partnership capability and a solid partnership strategy. This is not a hard thing to do when you know how and having a great partnership set up also tends to bring a host of added internal benefits to a business. A Partner-friendly culture can:
- Reduce workload through increased leverage of existing resources
- Grow resources reducing the need for extra staff
- Minimise your reliance on expensive and often ineffective pay and pray marketing
- Increase conversion rates and shorten your sales cycle
- Improve loyalty, and tenure with staff, customers and suppliers
Tip: When your company is focused on win-win outcomes for all parties, your reputation will also help you leverage value out of all your relationships and gain more loyalty in the process.
3. Leave The Competition Behind
Through your previous and current partnerships, you’re basically telling others, even unintentionally, that you’re the one they should partner with if they want a partner who wants the best for all parties involved. Satisfied past and current partners can also spread the word. The consistent message that your business is a great strategic partner becomes more authentic and sincere. If you’re proactively building successful strategic partnerships, you will effectively lock out your competitors as you snap up the best partnership opportunities first leaving them wondering why opportunity doesn’t knock on their door. Often it does, it’s just the difference between arriving at a home with a warm welcoming open door policy, versus a nervous and paranoid voice on the other side of a heavily locked door saying ‘who is it? Go away, we don’t want any!’
Tip: By showcasing your partner successes, and being proactive in seeking out partners, you will be “top-of-mind” when other businesses are seeking potential partners. You will be the partner of choice, affording you more partnership opportunities compared to the competition. This is a legitimate competitive advantage for your business.
4. Don’t Fall Into The Trap
While there are many great benefits and advantages in having partnerships, there are some bad examples out there. Failure in partnerships can be caused by several reasons, including lack of communication or the inability to be flexible enough to accommodate your partner’s needs, as we explored in a previous blog, etc.
If you’ve got a reputation for messy partnerships then it’s going to be known and it WILL harm your business. And it’s not just your business relationships with your partners or vendors; internal company issues, like high turnover, can sink your reputation and your company as well.
Take this example: Business A had an existing relationship with a major financial institution (Business B). About to open a new venue targeting top executives, Business B had a large database of this ideal customer and was very open to sharing it with Business A. We invited the key stakeholders to the venue at lunch time to experience Business A’s hospitality. Instead, Business B was interrogated about their fees and was not even offered a drink. Relationship over before it even began. The arrogance, short sightedness and complacency of Business A destroyed an incredible opportunity in its pursuit of saving a few bucks. Business A failed to invest in creating a partner friendly culture and while they may have had some market advantage to begin with, their reputation is spreading like wildfire and locking them out of key opportunities. Coupled with high turnover, questionable ethics, and failure to pay suppliers, is this the kind of company you’d want to be associated with?
Another one of our clients had an outsourced HR solution and wanted to partner with their supplier for a program to reach thousands of small businesses. The incumbent supplier had a presence throughout Australia but offered inflexible solutions which did not cater to the needs of the other party. They have high turnover and sent their most junior staff to the meeting before properly understanding the client’s needs. Even though they had a national presence, they were making it hard for our client to build a more fruitful relationship with them.
Quickly identifying this company as not being partner friendly, we did a quick search for their biggest competitor. This other company, was clearly partner-friendly and made it very easy to explore opportunities with our client. Their senior partnership and business development executives were receptive to the opportunities. The result? They are now in the process of not only partnering with but winning the business of our client. For the incumbent supplier, this is a case of the “one that got away,” no thanks to their inflexible solutions and high turnover which had a negative impact on their partnership reputation.
This is a very good example of how having a partnership-friendly reputation and going the extra mile when it comes to accommodating potential partners can land you a solid partnership, even if you’re up against a bigger rival with more resources. If you have built this kind of reputation and continue to nurture it, size won’t matter as much anymore, letting you level the playing field or even stay ahead of the competition when it comes to becoming the partner of choice. We’ve seen many a business overtake their competition through great partnerships.
Tip: No matter if your Business is big or small, openly communicate and work with your Partners. And remember being successful in one partnership can lead to more opportunities either with that same partner or with other businesses.
If you want to grow your reputation as a great partner and be more likely to attract other partners and more opportunities in the future, you need to get this right from the beginning. If you’re not sure how, we can help you with the framework, tools and expertise to make this easy and maximise your probability of success.
Let’s take your business to another level. Click here to find out how you can started immediately and DO BETTER TOGETHER with your partners.