The following Blog was written by Management Consultant and author Ken Thoreson
Partnering up with other organizations can only help you provide a better level of service to current and potential customers.
At Acumen Management, we've found that today's most successful salespeople tend to excel in six critical areas of sales management:
- Understanding their clients' business needs
- Maintaining selectivity and effective account segmentation and penetration
- Developing solid strategies for handling their key accounts
- Improving how salespeople manage their time, their accounts and their territories
- Using all available resources as effectively as possible
- Constantly strengthening their efforts to win market share
If your company isn't hitting home runs in all those areas, you may want to consider establishing your own partnership program to help improve your performance.
When I was working at a partner organization the president told me that if I was success in building partnership program: it would bring me the equilviant of one salesperson’s quota /year without having to hire more resources”
Working with partners can provide you with the additional knowledge that you may need, for instance, to better understand a particular client's needs or more readily identify prospective accounts. Your partners may be able to introduce you to important contacts, purchasing patterns and corporate strategies or access to decision makers. Their sales and technical teams may be able to help yours make joint presentations and proposals, better serve mutual territories and accounts or create true business solutions for customers. Ultimately, joining forces can help both parties improve their market positioning and achieve higher sales goals.
You can choose among several types of partnerships. While space limitations prevent us from exploring them in depth here, some of your options are:
Business partnerships designed to increase asset bases, expand the numbers and types of products or services offered and improve competitive advantage for both parties (possibly involving a formal merger or acquisition).
Business ecosystem partnerships that let non-competing parties sell related products and services in certain shared markets. This is the key kind of partner each organization should develop 3 to 5 business ecosystem partners. If executed properly, this relationship can bring you the equivalent of one salesperson’s quota per year.
Market alliance partnerships that allow two companies to share leads, establish salesperson-to-salesperson relationships and pay each other for referrals.
Strategic alliance partnerships with vendors that can provide your business with leads and support.
Alliance/consulting relationships in which companies exchange mutually beneficial services, such as serving on each other's advisory boards.
Before opening talks with any business ecosystem potential partners, it's smart to seek answers to a few important questions:
- How many users does the other company have in your market? Knowing this number will help you gauge how well the other party knows your customer base.
- What domain knowledge does the other party offer that your team lacks? What additional value or expertise or benefits does that company bring to your solutions?
- How well do you understand your potential partner's culture and value proposition? Is it in alignment with yours?
- Why does this company want to partner with you? What can you offer the other party?
Finally, remember that business ecosystem partnerships take time to develop. Successful ones involve:
- Trust, which evolves from commitment, communication, strong performance and, most important, both parties consistently following through on their promises.
- Innovation, which stems from the new opportunities that the relationship opens up for each organization.
- A solid, mutually acceptable set of metrics, which can measure how well each company is meeting the other's expectations and how well they're both doing at progressing toward their shared goals.
Need to learn more about increasing leverage? If you are currently a Microsoft SMB partner or wish to become a partner, you NEED to know about Microsoft Community Connections (MCC, it is designed to help leverage relationships
MCC is designed exclusively for Small and Midsize Business partners to enable them to leverage Microsoft’s resources and relationships to generate more leads and increase your sales pipeline.
You are invited to two special events to learn how to unlock the value of Microsoft Community Connections (MCC) and learn about a new Playbook designed to show you how to increase sales through leverage. In these exciting sessions find out how other partners are creating leverage in their community and increasing sales without investing marketing dollars or hiring salespeople. We will discuss the secret sauce and 5 steps you can take now to change your business. Download a Playbook to learn more, Denis Wilson of DWP Information Architects who says: “The MCC Playbook is superb and the best training document I have seen of its kind.”
To Register goHere
Webinar 1 of 2: Tuesday, December 16th
Eastern 9am (EST)
Midwest 10am (CST)
West 9:30am (PST)
Webinar 2 of 2: Tuesday, December 16th
Eastern 9am (EST)
Midwest 10am (CST)
West 9:30am (PST)
MCC helps partners engage with their local communities through their local influencers such as the Chamber of commerce, CPA organizations, Small Business Associations, legal, and many other 501C3 and 501C6 associations.
Partners who engage with MCC are growing 15% faster than Partners who don’t! So take advantage and engage NOW! For a preview of the Playbook, go HERE
To Register for Webinar(s) go HERE
About the Author
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 16 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.
He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2014.
Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance.