Monday, October 15, 2012

Building Strategic Partnerships

We have all heard that all too common expression: “It takes a village…” Like it or not, it is true.  From micro-communities to SMBs to large corporations, it takes many voices and many hands to see a project through to fruition.

We do our best when we reach out, build alliances, foster collaboration and build trusting relationships, in order to help grow the business. 

One of the most tried and true marketing strategies is word-of-mouth.  In B2C it is easier to see through social platforms where your voice is now projected further than simply to your one friend, but to your 360 friends on-average and to their 360 friends on-average.  That is quite a reach.  But in B2B, recommending a data center consolidation program is less easily spread via word-of-mouth social platforms.  Will you feel compelled to retweet, post, etc. that the new update in functionality helps to increase server blah blah blah?  Probably not.  This is why building partnerships with companies that share some of the same value props with you can help to spread your message in both, your voice and their voice.  The best advocates of your brand are others who have used your product and believe that what you do will help their clients. This is still word-of-mouth, but through your alliances and partnerships.  You might not get someone to tweet about the new plug in software update that changes data speed, but when the meeting matters, you have a company that will advocate for you, because they believe in what you do and you believe in what they do.  You are trusted and you trust. Call it a win - win. 

Some easy steps to start the process:

1. Start by listening.  This can be done on your social platforms.  See what companies you want to build relationships with based on similar core messaging or complimentary messaging. 

2. Take the step and send an email, via linked in or personal email if you have done your research. Introduce yourself and see whether or not your values align. 

3. Think about what type of partnership you are looking for and what your potential partner is interested in. There is a wide range from content sharing to revenue sharing.  See what makes most sense.  You can start off small and grow your relationship. Kind of like dating.

We don’t have to operate independently, we can use “the village” to help support our similar value propositions, so all parties can benefit and grow.


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