In a soccer match, have you observed how they mention how many goals a player has assisted, apart from the goals that he or she has scored? The “Assists” metric is important because no player can single-handedly score goals in a soccer match, so the credit needs to be shared with the one that assists the scorer.
Similarly, no company can truly scale, and serve customers globally, without the right partnerships.
Go-to-market partnerships are a time-tested mechanism for companies of all sizes to expand their market reach and generate additional revenue through win-win collaborations. Partners can be from the company’s own industry, or even from a different industry that targets the same market segment. Regardless, the objective is to work together and improve brand value, increase market penetration, and drive customer success.
Forging and managing partnerships can be all but easy. It is not a transactional engagement, after all, but a long-term relationship. A professional approach is required, specifically:
- Identifying potential partners
- Forming agreements
- Maintaining partnerships.
Identifying potential partners
Before establishing a B2B partnership, each company should study the offerings of the prospective partner and define the objectives to be achieved through partnership. The objective of such an exercise is to find out if the collaboration will bring in additional expertise, extended customer reach, and increase efficiencies. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for forming partnerships.
For example in the case of FlytBase, which offers drone-based solutions for inventory management, a suitable type of partner is a company with a supply chain or logistics expertise. As a collaborative team, this can serve a customer starting from consultancy to full-scale drone deployment. Similarly, a warehouse management software provider can be a potential partner that can integrate aerial inventory scan solutions into the inventory operations processes at large warehouses and DCs.
We have successfully managed to form partnerships with different partners who have expertise in their domain, thus aligning their and our expertise towards achieving our goals together. You can check them here.
Strategically, it is important to have a well-aligned vision and mission between the partners, to ensure that the teams work cohesively. Partners should leverage each other’s strengths, while mitigating any potential gap in capabilities – just like a goalkeeper and a striker are aware of their respective strengths of defending and scoring goals!
“If people like you, they will listen to you. But if they trust you, they will do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar
Once both parties agree on the likelihood of a win-win relationship, the next step is to start investing in it – at FlytBase, we start quickly building familiarity with each other’s values, teams and offerings – thus slowly building trust. The relationship is first formalized in the form of an MoU, which is just like a contractual handshake that says ‘let’s agree to do business together’.
It is important to begin such go-to-market partnerships by first identifying a specific client opportunity where the partners work together – and see how the joint implementation pans out. This gives both parties the opportunity to understand each other, fine-tune the collaboration, clarify the roles and responsibilities and gain credibility with each other.
The focus is on 3 aspects – expectations, goals, and responsibilities of each partner.
Expectation – Before any agreement is signed, this question should be discussed multiple times. Both parties should define their individual investments of time, resources, and money. This helps to clear up each company’s responsibilities and aids in the planning, launching, and running of the efforts from start to end. Expectations should be the right mix of being realistic and optimistic.
Goals – Common goals need to be seen differently from individual goals. Although the idea of the partnership is to achieve mutually beneficial financial propositions, at times the partners might need assistance not leading to direct financial gains from a deal. The larger question to answer here should be the partnership’s high-level ambitions, which can then be translated into individual milestones. How will we reach clients, and with what messaging? What will the customers gain from this partnership? How will we improve our joint offerings? Answers to such questions help determine the common milestones, and thus clearly communicate the joint goals.
Responsibilities – This is a parallel activity with defining milestones and goals. The partners need to agree upon the ownership of each task and outcome. For FlytWare, the partnering activities are classified into three viz. pre-sales, deployment, and post-sales. We define activities for every stage of the project and clarify whether the FlytBase team is responsible, or our partner. Ownership of course also means accountability – it is paramount that each party understands and accepts their roles and responsibilities.
Partnerships are one of the engines of a high-growth business, and should be kept running smoothly to create value for the company. A regular health check should be done with existing partners to see if the initial intent has lived up to the expectations, if there is any adjustment required, or if there are critical challenges to be overcome. Often, companies dedicate a partnership manager to this effort – to ensure continuous monitoring of the engagement, build case studies, refine the partner programs, etc. Expanding the scope of successful partnerships is analogous to the best sports players, who consistently invest in maintaining their skills to stay in the top ranks.
B2B channel partnerships require consistent effort, open communication, and deserved trust. Only then can the partnerships survive the challenges of a tough global environment. Every company, irrespective of its size, sector, or stage. should actively consider forging business development partnerships.
“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
FlytWare has always believed that partnerships are either win-win, or they are not partnerships at all. If you think you’d like to explore the possibility of partnering with us, do reach out to us anytime! We would love to assist you with “scoring goals”!
Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a call with the FlytWare team.