Make it About the Markets and the Money
What makes or breaks a channel partnership at the outset isn’t how great the product is, but the opportunity it represents—one defined by expanded markets and increased revenue. More money.
We all have a natural bias in favor of the things we send out into the world. When those things are products we make and sell to customers, we necessarily believe they’re the greatest. If not, how else could we persist and prevail when the going gets tough?
When it comes to building channel partnerships, we need to temper that bias. Because what makes or breaks a partnership at the outset isn’t how great the product is, but the opportunity it represents—one defined by expanded markets and increased revenue. More money.
To demonstrate this, we need to convey three things: profit, path and proof.
Profit—What it all comes down to
How will the partnership help the other party reach new customers profitably? Does it allow them increase the average deal size, reduce churn or shrink the sales cycle? Does it help them expand current markets or enter new ones? Could they better defend against encroaching competitors and increase their win rate?
You may only have a hypothesis, but think it through carefully. For a smart partner, how you help increase their profit will be top-of-mind.
Path—The plan for getting there
What are the means and the method by which you’ll go to market together? How will you attract, close and retain customers? How do you expect for your teams to work together? Where could they compliment and where might they clash?
A partnership is just that, a sharing of responsibilities and outcomes, so you don’t need all the answers up front. But if you’re initiating the deal, it’s in your best interest to go in with a clear plan for how to get where you both want to go.
Proof—Show, don’t just tell.
Nothing solidifies a partnership like new customers. To back up your claims of expanded markets and increased revenue, come with customers in-hand. If not those who are ready to buy your joint solution today, then at least those who serve as viable proof of what could be. Walk your potential partner through case studies and stories of how better served these customers could and will be if you come together.
Take the time to craft and tell a story of a profitable partnership, the path to success and the proof that backs it up, and you’ll gain an audience all too happy to hear about your great product.
Otherwise, you’ll be just another sales pitch.