I was talking recently to a prospective client about his business and where he wanted to take it. Let’s call him Bryan. Bryan has big dreams for his company: new products and services, expanding his staff, relocating to a smarter address…Bryan wants it all. As a result, he wanted to chat with a small business consultant (me) about his sales and operations planning. We talked about his company’s goals and strategy and what else he could be doing to grow the company. The pivotal moment came when I asked a very simple question:
“Bryan, are you making enough sales?”
Since Bryan does not own an NYSE American conglomerate, you can guess that his answer was in the negative. And then came my next question: “What’s your plan to increase your sales?”
Challenging Bryan’s sales strategy was the first step to his becoming a client of Take the Stairs.
And the business consultant’s answer is…
My mom is a clever lady. She always said, “Adam, if you’re going to be a good business consultant, you should never ask a question of a client without knowing at least some of the answer.”
I asked Bryan if he made enough sales and the answer was no. My response to him? What do you know about partner marketing?
What is Partner Marketing?
Partner marketing is the collaboration with another business because it is involved with a section of the market that you would like to access. By partnering with a brand that has an established (and often loyal) customer base, you eliminate the need to start from scratch to find customers. By creating a joint marketing strategy, you promote each business’s brand, pool budgets and talent, and reach new audiences.
Such partnerships are particularly prevalent in the IT sector, but every business, big and small, should do it. Who could forget Taco Bell and Doritos, and their joint ‘Doritos Locos Tacos’ campaign? Or Adidas’ hook-up with Kanye West to produce the Yeezy brand of sneakers that helped Adidas’ net income in 2019 climb 19.5% to $1.9 billion?
Could your business use a little partnership magic?
Give me a call at (615) 219-9181 and let’s have a conversation about how strategic partnerships might be able to give your business the boost it deserves.
Best practices to develop partnerships
Is partner marketing starting to sound interesting? Well, here’s how you get started with my top 5 things to consider:
- Brainstorm the goals you want to achieve and the types of business that will get you there? For example, if you are a seller of antique bathroom fixtures, partner with local builders and renovators. Think laterally and draw up a list of relevant businesses in your area.
- Think about how your partner(s) will benefit, just as you think about how the partnership will help your goals and objectives. Once you understand how a partnership is good for the other party, you can start to approach businesses that stand to gain from a partnership with you with a definitive proposal in hand.
- Define the products and services your clients want that you don’t fulfill. Do you continually receive requests for products or services that you don’t offer? Consider finding businesses that provide these services and propose a barter system: you refer your customers to them and they do the same. Word-of-mouth referrals are the best type to get!
- Develop a joint value proposition to explain to your customers exactly what you and your partners are offering. The power here rests with your ability to focus on how the solution will better meet your joint customers’ needs than the competition – whether that’s faster, better, more cheaply, etc. A good value proposition will not only enable you to sell your joint solutions, it will also help to further develop and strengthen your partnership.
- Find more partners. Once you’ve successfully achieved reciprocal referrals or set up a joint customer offering, it’s a case of Rinse. Wash. Repeat.