What are the benefits of working with partners?
When developing your strategy, consider working with partners to extend your reach. In this context, a partner is a separate legal entity with their own product or service they bring to market. There are many benefits partners can bring to the table. For instance, they offer:
- An ability to reach new or existing customers with unique offerings that provide added value
- More “feet on the street” or more distribution channels to sell your products through
- Increased awareness for offerings
- The ability to offer customers an integrated or joint solution that creates more customer value and improves your marketability
- Brand equity and trust with a broader audience
Determining whether to work with a partner
- Can a partner sell your product or complement your offering without threatening your business and taking away customers?
- How easy or difficult is it to reach and sell to customers? In other words, do you need a partner for an aspect of your business?
- Are your partner’s terms for doing business together mutually beneficial?
- Do you and your partner have company cultures that complement one another?
- How easy or difficult is your product/service to use or consume, complicating the sales cycle and customer support?
Which type of partner are you interested in?
Develop a plan
When working with partners, you’ll need to ‘go to market’ with them and market to them. To start the process, you’ll need a contract that defines:
- How you’ll go to market
- What intellectual property you’ll share
- The recourse if one side is unhappy
- How product and services will be delivered
- How costs or revenues will be split
- The resources each will make available
- Marketing resources available, plus other issues specific to your business
Put it in writing
You should consult an attorney to make sure your contract is well understood and appropriate. With a contract or agreement in place, you’ll be able to extend your reach with your strategic alliance partner or channel partner.