The technology has been developed, the proposition to your end-customers is tried, tested and validated and now your partner proposition is resonating and people are interested in adding your product to their portfolio or building it into their service offering.
Lots of excitement and pressure all round, on your part anyway! And that’s the nub! The businesses you are hoping to partner with have been carefully selected and fit with your company ethos and credentials but also because they have the right expertise and are connected to your target customers. Now you need to be mindful of the time and expense they now need to invest in your business.
The critical time for a new partner relationship is the ease with which they can get up to speed on your products – and start selling.
Often referred to as the “on-boarding” phase – some key things to bear in mind:
1. Share with your partners all the tools used by your own sales people.
2. Ensure anything you provide such as competitive overviews are short and sweet, no-one has time to read a 40 page document.
3. Make the most of sales opportunities early in the relationship, making them part of the training process.
Establishing a collaborative working relationship will help generate revenues faster so everyone is happy; using shadowing and mentoring can really help in the early stages. Remember, not all will work out, but seeing this first hand through close collaboration will save you managing the wrong partner for 2 years or more.
And finally, it is likely that you need the partners a lot more than they need you. So it isn’t a case of what revenue are you going to do for me, but how can we build a business together?