Innovating Through Partnerships
May 16, 2016 | by Chris Kalaboukis
Have you ever heard the expression, "Riding on the Coattails of Others?" What it means is - achieving success by associating with other people or groups. In sales and marketing, it’s another great way to create opportunities and improve your sales revenue. Let’s look at how.
To achieve success through others, you have to form partnerships, or what we sometimes call a joint venture. Each partner in the venture does something that benefits the other partner. That way, both sides have a good reason to be involved. In sales and marketing, there are many ways companies can help each other.
Just sharing information such as marketing research can be of value. For example, if your company collects information about consumer preferences and a non-competing company has different information about those same customers, you could swap the data and learn more about your customers.
A partnership can be formed to share sales leads with each other. When one company makes a sale, they give that lead to the other company so they can go in there and make a sale. This opens up a whole new source of leads to put into your sales funnel.
Co-marketing can become much more aggressive than just sharing information and sales leads. For example, each company in the partnership could promote and sell the other one’s products and services. If you sell real estate, you might want to co-promote with moving companies. Once you’ve established a strong relationship with your customer base, selling other company’s products can increase your revenue by taking commissions on those sales.
Finally, another great way a partnership can work is when the partners share resources like channels of distribution or training resources. The secret is to give your partner something that is inexpensive for you to provide but of great value to them, and vice versa.
The key is to pick the right partner and strike the right deal. A good partner is someone who does not compete with your company, but is closely related enough that customers would understand why the two of you are associated. Think about the profile of the customers you want to reach.
Ask yourself, what companies out there also sell to these people? What companies have insights about their buying habits and needs? Do they have a relationship with these customers, and do they have sales channels to reach them? If so, you’ve found an ideal candidate to partner with.
Now here’s a tip. You want to be careful that you don’t create a situation where your reps are distracted selling the other company’s products to the point where they miss forecast on your products. A simple way around that is to bundle the products together. That means putting two or more products together so the customer buys all of them at the same time. For example, if you sell vacation packages, you might bundle travel insurance with it.
So take a look at potential partners given the types of products and services you sell. Give them a call and discuss the possibilities. You’ll be surprised at the many advantages of riding on the coattails of others.