For many, it seems that finding your perfect partner can be a real challenge. You know you want partners, you’ve heard how great they can be and how much they can help your business grow. But so far they have remained elusive, mythical business creatures. Hunting for your ideal business partner should not be as impossible as the quest for Sasquatch.
First thing’s first, before you start your partner search ask yourself, do you know where to find partners or how to lure them in? Knowing these things are key to making sure you’re following the right track to finding your perfect partner. If the partners you do recruit aren’t the ideal fit, they are likely to churn. On top of that, if you’re chasing the wrong type of partner, your efforts can be costly in both the long and short term. In fact, partners churn about 10% of their vendors per year. If you’re just starting out your hunt for your perfect partner there’s a handful of things to consider.
Hunting for your ideal business partner should not be as impossible as the quest for Sasquatch.
1. How to Identify Your Ideal Partner.
When looking for your perfect partner, ask yourself:
- Which type of partnerships are you looking to add to your business?
- What responsibilities will your partner have?
- How much time and money are you willing to invest in your partner program?
- Your ideal partner may be the right fit for you—are you the right fit for them?
- How will you define success for your partners?
- How will your partner define their own success with you?
Ask yourself these questions before jumping into a partnership to make sure you are setting yourself and your partners up for success. After all, the goal of any partnership is to have two equally invested parties who are both benefiting from the success of the relationship.
2. Developing Your Ideal Partner Persona
After you’ve determined your hunting strategy, which partner type you would like to implement, and your partner responsibilities, it’s time to build your Ideal Partner Persona (IPP). Assigning a name, title, industry, and business size to this profile will help you adjust your messaging to fit that specific person. Everyone wants to be communicated with like a valued person and tweaking your messaging to match the language and values of that persona will help bridge the relationship gap and relate with their goals.
When creating this partner persona, you want to make sure your IPP is someone who isn’t so different from you that your cultures and products/service offerings do not align, but different enough to have a diverse audience—giving you the chance to address prospects that are normally outside of your reach. Remember, the partnership has to be a good fit for both of you, otherwise, your partnership could end with a messy breakup. If that partnership doesn’t work out, don’t think the perfect partner is nothing more than an urban legend—get back to hunting!
3. Determining the best way to lure in your perfect partner.
You’ve spotted your perfect partner, it’s time to lure them in. The goal of any partnership program is to be exclusive enough to drive interest, but open enough to avoid disqualifying solid partner candidates.
In addition to referral commission, helping your partners feel well educated and prepared to have conversations with your customers is a huge incentive. The easier it is for partners to sell your product, the more the partner will be willing to sell for you. With partner education in mind, it may be a good idea for you to offer free quarterly training, an invitation to an annual partner conference, reserved time with the engineering team to request new features or integrations, and/or a subscription to your platform for a length of time. Making the education a known factor from the beginning will help partners to feel supported.
4. How to Get on the Right Track for Long-Term Partnerships.
Like any employee, partnership relationships work well if you set achievable, task-based goals. Think about this, if there are free goodies on the line, in addition to your standard agreement, your partner will work hard to earn those goodies. Not to mention, if you elevate your partner’s status based on their achievements, they will feel valued and recognized. How many times have you referred six friends to try yoga, spin, karate, etc. just so you could get a free month of classes? I have. Those rewards are highly motivating. As a bonus for the vendor, referred customers are more likely to adopt, quicker. It’s a win for the partner and a win for the vendor.
5. Eyes on The Prize—Now What?
After demonstrating to your partner all you have to offer, it’s their turn to offer benefits to you. Any relationship, including partnerships, is a two-way street so it’s important to make sure that your partner is as invested as you are in the relationship.
Finding your perfect partner isn’t impossible and doesn’t have to be as elusive as the search for Sasquatch. Determine what partner type is best for your business, what characteristics make those partners ideal, where to find those partners, how to intrigue those partners, and what will give the partner enough incentive to join your journey. If you can answer all of those questions, the next step is to start hunting. Get ‘em, tiger!
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