Identify Partners That Support Win-Win Relationships

In challenging times, one of your best resources for new leads can be companies that target the same audience that you do yet offer complementary services or products. By leveraging their contact list and allowing them to leverage yours, you can both achieve growth and strengthen your value and message to the end user. Some of the key benefits of a strong marketing alliance include:

1. Reducing risk. 2. Sharing marketing and prospecting costs. 3. Improving time to market. 4. Offering a more complete package of services for the end user.

Given the value of these alliances, it’s important to choose your partners carefully, keeping in mind the fact that it takes a lot of work and commitment to make a partnership truly flourish. Questions you need to ask to determine good matches include:

1. Does this partner have the potential to generate adequate sales to make the alliance worthwhile? What’s our definition of adequate sales? 2. How can they contribute to our growth, and how can we contribute to theirs? 3. Can their strengths be leveraged to empower our business’ weaknesses and vice-versa? 4. Does this company possess our "must-have" list of business values and connections required in order for the partnership to succeed?

When choosing a partner, it’s obvious you need one whose business targets similar companies while not competing with your customer base. However, it’s equally important to ensure you choose a company whose strengths and weaknesses complement and balance your own. For example, if your employees are great at prospecting for new customers but have a hard time closing the deal, you should ideally look for a partner whose sales strengths are outstanding but whose ability to identify new prospects may be weak. Therefore, you create a win-win situation, allowing each company to benefit and remain committed to working on the growth of the partnership.

Beth Goldstein President Marketing Edge Consulting Group Boston

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.