Many people in the strategic partnerships world are still unsure of what strategic partnerships actually entail and how to use them efficiently to promote co-selling.
In our experience, the definition of strategic partnerships in the world of sales differs depending on who you ask.
In this article, we will break it down and explain what strategic partnerships actually are, how to identify strategic partnership opportunities and best practices for finding new customers and increasing sales via strategic partnerships.
So, sit back, kick your feet up, and let’s blow through this so you can get back to making money.
What Is a Strategic Partnership?
To keep it simple, a strategic partnership is an agreement between two business entities with similar customers to share resources with the goal of mutual success.
Co-selling is a type of partnership in which two companies join forces to mutually scale their businesses through a partnership of referring leads and collaborative selling.
Strategic partnerships in the B2B SaaS industry can go a long way. In fact, 85% of business owners believe partnerships are necessary for success.
A partnership with like-minded entrepreneurs can help save both companies a lot of time.
How to Identify Strategic Partnership Opportunities for Your Company
The B2B SaaS industry is massive and super competitive. It helps to have some support from a like-minded business that’s already in the game.
When searching for a strategic partnership, find someone that you can benefit from, and vice versa.
You and your partner should have some customer overlap. Both of your goals should be to scale your business and make money. Having access to new distribution channels with similar customers will help you reach your goal.
Additionally, a company with a complementary product or service is ideal.
You also want to make sure that both your growth trajectories are aligned. If you’re looking to sell up-market and they’re selling in mid-market, the partnership is not going to be beneficial for you.
You can determine whether your companies are aligned by doing account mapping. This is the process of cataloguing people that work at your prospective businesses and creating buyer personas.
You can do it the old-fashioned way on a spreadsheet or the modern way on an automated platform with Partnered. 😉
Now that you know how to identify strategic partnership opportunities, let’s chat about best practices for finding new customers.
Best Practices for Finding New Customers and Increasing Sales with Strategic Partners
Start with what’s easiest: ask your current customers for referrals.
Current customers are your best intros and can help you get a warm lead into a lateral department at a key account.
Leverage your partner’s platform. That’s what the partnership is all about—tapping into each other's resources to increase revenue. Your partner’s network can help expose your business to new markets.
Know your prospects' tech stack to uncover opportunities using account mapping. Using real-time account mapping is the most efficient way to determine integration opportunities into a tech stack that could help your prospect.
Use account mapping to prioritize which integrations your team should focus on to solve a problem your customer is facing.
Meet with your internal account managers to identify opportunities regularly. Account managers have the best insight into possible co-selling and upselling opportunities across departments.
You can prioritize the visibility of partner data for the account manager. They can then inform you which partners to reach out to and when.
You can use Partnered—a co-selling platform with sophisticated data automation capabilities compatible with industry-leading CMS products like Salesforce and HubSpot.
Pulling up-to-date data allows the account manager to strategize potential co-sell opportunities in real-time.
Take it one step further and generate reports that shortlist your co-selling opportunities.
Whether you choose to leverage your relationships with the account managers and/or your partner, you should always tap into the resources you can access quickly and easily.
You also don’t want to treat these relationships as one-way streets. To maintain a long-term and healthy relationship, you have to find ways to nurture it.
How to Best Manage a Strategic Partnership
First off, communicate frequently. This is a great way to understand one another.
Relationships can get bumpy, even in business. However, there are proactive actions you can take to maintain solid working relationships.
30 to 40% of business partners' time can be spent on talking shop. The remainder goes toward building trust and getting to know one another.
Frequent communication not only helps strengthen your relationships but also keeps everyone in the loop.
Focus on regular communication and opportunities (this is easy to do with software that makes the process seamless). You’ll be able to quickly learn your partner’s capabilities, capacity, and level of motivation.
You should know from the get-go what each company wants from the relationship and what moves they are making in their business. This will set expectations and increase the chances of a fruitful partnership.
Then, all it takes is nurturing and managing the relationship.
Want to make managing your strategic partnership easier? Invest in platforms that’ll make a world of difference in your partnership management.
Well, are you fired up yet?
It’s time to take everything we’ve talked about above, get back out there, and smash those sales quotas by leveraging strategic partnerships.
We’re excited to see what you’ve got!
P.S. If you leverage strategic partnerships to grow your customer base and increase sales, subscribe to our newsletter, where we deliver the latest insights on managing and driving revenue from your partnership ecosystem.