We discussed in our previous posts how your B2B technology business can leverage partnerships to access a partner’s existing customer base and how much easier it is to connect your company and your solution to your target market thanks to the preexisting relationships your partners already have with their clients. This gives the end customer what they want – more solutions from the companies they already like and trust. (see The Value of Partnerships Part 1: Leveraging an Existing Customer Base and The Value of Partnerships Part 2 – Giving Customers What They Want)
But that’s not all.
Your partnerships can also assist you to optimize your offerings.
Partners already know their audience
When you’re bringing a new product to market, or even marketing an existing offering to a new customer type, when you’re doing your market research and developing your ideal customer profile, let’s be honest, in most cases you really are just making your best guess about some things. All the research in the world can’t compare to true, firsthand experience with a real person or business.
I’m not slagging market research or target market definition in any way. As an internet marketing professional, it certainly would be foolish of me to do so. What I’m saying is that if you can get firsthand experience, that’s even better.
Enter your partners and resellers.
They work with your target market day in and day out. It’s true that they may not know exactly how they will relate to your product or offering if they haven’t sold them something similar in the past but they definitely understand their customers through firsthand experience. Short of speaking to their target market directly, your partner is the next best bet. They may come up with questions or angles you never even thought of. And they can help you better understand pain points and how to communicate your benefits in just the right way to appeal to your audience in ways that your partner already knows from experience, works.
Surveying a partner’s customer base and getting their feedback on your solution is another great way of leveraging that VAR relationship. You get valuable insight into what your target audience wants and needs. And your partners benefit from the same.
Sure, there is the possibility that you don’t get the feedback you were hoping for. Perhaps a potential partner’s customer base doesn’t show much interest in your solution. This can be discouraging, but that’s just the nature of business. The important thing is learning from the experience so that you can make your offering even better. Learn and move on.
Yes, it’s certainly true that not all partnerships are a match made in heaven. If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve certainly dealt with partners that were a boon, making things easier on you, and helping you big time in the promotion of your offering. And then there are others that provide little in the way of value or worse, ones that can be a drag, demanding of resources without delivering the results.
One solid way to get around this is to have a strong reseller partnership program in place where you have all the resources and materials to help any partner succeed. Fielding partner queries and offering support will be so much easier and faster, and won’t feel like such a drain on your time and resources when they are set and ready to go.
Certainly in some instances, a partnership, no matter how hard you try, just won’t work out. That’s natural. But don’t let one bad experience sour you on the idea of partnerships forever. They do offer benefits. It’s just about finding the right ones and nurturing both their success and yours.
About the Author: Hartland Ross is an online marketing strategist, entrepreneur, and founder and president of eBridge Marketing Solutions – an online marketing agency and consulting firm catering to B2B Technology companies.