Launching a Business Partnership
The Deal is Done
Executing on a Marketing Partnership
During the negotiations of a new business partnership that is focused on marketing and selling a companies products or services, it is wise to begin putting items in motion to have a successful execution strategy that ensures a growing and successful partnership. It is always a good idea to identify the low hanging fruit opportunities, which can be described as the “customers that are easy to close”. This allow lets you work out any kinks in the processes for signing up a new customer / handing off the lead right away in order to eliminate potential problems. If you can't walk a customer through each phase of the partnership, you do not know where something may break and it is best to figure these points out quickly and early in the relationship.
It is always great to have a few customers lined up to push through the system in order to gain their feedback prior to engaging with a large group of customers or spending significant resources to market the partners company.
Success or Failure with Partnerships
Does your business have a partnership success?
To Do Tasks for Partnership
The following are all items that need to be executed quickly in order to see a successful partnership kickoff.
Create a timeline for the first 7 days, first 30 days, first quarter, and the year of important goals, action items, and executive meetings.
Train staff that needs to be trained about the partnership for both companies.
Create marketing materials or co branded marketing materials.
Drafting a press release about the partnership is optional, but many companies still like to release a formal announcement. Placing on the company blog is an alternative to a formal business wire release
Updates on company websites with partners information if relevant.
- Schedule meetings with executives and management within the chain of command for executing the details in the agreement.
- Set a date for launch and stick to it.
- Build an online marketing plan for SEO, social media outreach, guest blogging, and other marketing activities to drive in new customer leads.
- Develop scripts for sales team members in order to answer questions correctly and with the information that a customer will need to make a buy decision.
Training Staff is Critical
Training Materials and Introductory Training Meeting
Create a binder or folder of all the training materials to ensure everyone is on the same page. Using a binder is a good way to control the message that is received by the team members of a company you have done a deal with. While there may be a digital version that is also provided to share more content such as marketing collateral and other details of the partnership, a hard copy is a great way to ensure that people have received all of the information that they need to know in order to their job correctly. Inside a training binder should include basics about the company, while this information easily found on the web is more likely to be read rather than skimmed or skipped which is what happens if just a link to a website is provided in an email. The processes and procedures for the business deal need to be outlined, which includes every step in the partnership if a customer is going to be handed over to a new partner for servicing them or delivering the product this exchange needs to be clearly defined and according to the details outlined in the partnership.
Executive and Management Meetings
Make sure that there is an open line of communication for all involved. While meetings may be a waste of time in certain aspects when a new partnership is in the process of launching face to face meetings can help make sure answers are delivered on all the little questions and everything has the chance to run smoothly.
Meeting with key decision makers and their staff is important, as it establishes a line of communication between the two companies. It can be very effective if the sales team of one company is going to be actively working with part of a partner company that they have met in person if possible, or through web conferencing as it helps to build the confidence required for a sales team to make the introductions that are required to close a business transaction with a customer.
After a relationship has been developed in person than emails, phone calls, and Skype chats when necessary should suffice for resolving almost all issues regarding servicing a new customer that is coming in through the sales pipeline.
Take Care of Employees
A new partnership always causes stress on employees, especially to those that bear the brunt of the additional workload. Make sure that they are rewarded for the success of the deal and they know ahead of time that they will benefit directly from the increased revenues and sales from the new deal. There are many tasks that are required that are not easy to track back to a specific sales lead and be rewarded with a commission so make sure to compensate employees for the success, not just the sales teams that are closing the deals.
Individual rewards can come in many different ways, but whether it is cash bonus or gifts for excellent work keep the focus on the partnership as the reason for the new rewards. This drives home the point of why they are being rewarded and should help instill the desire to work hard on all future partnership opportunities that come up.