Strategic alliances can offer more value – to joint customers and your business
By forming a strategic alliance, you may be able to offer joint customers more value. For instance, you may be able to offer a special product integration or joint service arrangement/agreement where the customer only has to visit one place for purchasing, information, product fulfillment, or customer service rather than two. In general, the relationship or alliance provides customers with value that is greater than the sum of their parts and may provide a basis for competitive advantage if the joint offering is unique to the marketplace. Usually, each partner brings value to the other, making the relationship a win-win for both parties. The partner may provide a product/service feature that complements your offering or they may have more distribution and communication channels that provide your company with the name recognition you need to build trust with prospects.
Agree on responsibilities and expectations
If you form a strategic alliance, make sure you agree on the responsibilities and expectations – and how success will be measured.
- Define the rules of engagement clearly so that prospects understand the offering and are not confused by multiple entities contacting them.
- Obtain agreement on when issues should be escalated and how they will be addressed. After all, you’ll want your joint customers to be happy, knowing their concerns will be resolved quickly and completed in a satisfactory manner.
- Determine how you will work with the partner – sell with or along side them. Your sales tools will need to be tailored to the situation.
- Develop a joint go-to-market plan that includes all elements of the marketing mix for extending your reach.
When two companies are involved…
There are more messaging and branding elements to consider in addition to educating each company’s workforce on the benefits of the alliance.
- You’ll need to market your partner’s benefits and product features to your internal employees and help your partner market your company’s benefit or product features to their internal audience as well.
- By working together, you can benefit from more resources and support – money, personnel, equipment, name recognition, communication and distribution channels, vendor relationships, plus more. For instance, your alliance partner may have co-op or marketing developing funds (MDF) available to help roll out joint go-to-market plans for extending your reach.
- Be aware that in forming an alliance, the internal support you need to support, develop and engage a strategic alliance partner will typically require more resources from each organization than pursuing channel partners alone, but it depends upon the size of your organization or the plans you have to go-to-market jointly. Resources may include financial resources and support from marketing, sales, channel, technical and operation personnel.
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