How do you make a tech behemoth, valued at nearly US$300 billion, take notice of your business that’s incomparable in size and reach?
Ask any business, and they will attest that securing partnership agreements with iconic brands at a local level is no mean feat, let alone globally.
At Go1, we have achieved this by staying true to five core principles:
- be curious
- create a demand
- simplify for stakeholders
- think a few steps ahead
When approaching a potential partner, it’s important to have a curious mindset. Before starting the conversation, be equipped to answer, ‘how can our partnership benefit you and your customers?
Partnerships of this nature take a while to come to fruition – if successful. The bigger the brand, the more complex the conversion cycle.
From the outset, it helps to be conceptually prepared for what the process and commercial model might look like before talking dollars and cents. Make clear how your solution or product solves their customers’ pain point(s) before diving into the complexities of revenue or margins. Clearly articulate the value proposition across both organisations.
It’s important to keep persevering. If, at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again. Don’t give up, don’t take no for an answer, but there’s a fine balance between being persistent and pestiferous.
Building rapport is key. You might come across a stakeholder that is initially not very responsive. One way to keep the engagement going is to congratulate them when they’re in the news or share a recently posted article – all in the name of reigniting previous conversations.
You have to demonstrate your ability to read the market and identify opportunities for your future partner. This is when you create demand by presenting a business opportunity your solution can address or satisfy customer needs better than at present.
Take the example of Apple. The world didn’t need another payment mode, but in 2014, the Silicon Valley powerhouse redefined the market by creating Apple Pay alongside partners like Visa and Mastercard. Today, more than 380 million users rely on the elegance and simplicity of their Apple devices to buy goods and services.
Apple and its allies didn’t necessarily solve any problems but sold the idea that tapping your phone at the checkout was somehow faster and better than navigating cards and wallets.
Have a clear way of articulating a problem, issue or challenge your potential partner is facing and why your product or solution is the answer.
Do your homework, understand that the other party requires the support and backing of multiple stakeholders within their organisation for any deal to succeed.
It’s incumbent upon us to ‘simplify’ for their stakeholders and show clear deliverables to pursue any potential partnership.
Make it easy for external stakeholders to share and discuss your value proposition, which will help reduce the sales/partnership cycle.
Creating proposal decks that clearly demonstrate your value proposition means contacts don’t have to spend time rehashing and explaining the merits of the partnership to their key decision-makers.
Where it makes sense, distributing internally produced videos to illustrate the benefits of your solution is another boon for the potential partner – it’s all about having a creative mindset.
It’s important to think a few steps ahead and have an open-door policy with potential partners. Build a partner’s ‘brains trust’ and impress upon them that their input is crucial to product roadmaps.
By working together to align upcoming services, features and solutions, shaping the future of your product offering in lockstep with a partner can reap the rewards for years to come.
By Bassem Emera, Vice-President of Partnerships and Alliances, GO1
This article was first published by Dynamic Business