Sales and Sales Management Blog

December 15, 2006

Do Marketing Partnerships Work?

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 4:20 pm

I received an interesting e-mail this morning from a gentleman in the UK asking if marketing partnerships really work. His issue is he has approached a number of potential partners, all seem interested, yet none have done anything. Just so happens I ran across a similar question on MarketingProfs.com.

There seems to be quite a bit of interest right now in marketing partnerships. It’s about time. I’ve helped many clients set up and implement very successful partnerships, but the process is long-term. Partnerships don’t generally produce results quickly.

When trying to establish a partnership, there are a few things to keep in mind:

First, you only want partners with the marketing reach and the reputation you want. If their reach is smaller than what you desire to have, don’t approach them. If their reputation is not what you want your reputation to be, don’t approach them. Even if you are relatively new in your business. If their reach is too small, you won’t get the results you want. If their reputation is less than steller, you reputation will end up being less than steller.

Secondly, when you initiate a marketing partnership, the people and companies you approach will want to see results before they become enthused. You’ll have to sell them on the idea that the partnership will produce real business for them, not just for you. And they won’t want a new free “soft” service benefit to their customers. They’ll want a real dollar benefit. So approaching them with the idea that they can refer a customer with a need to you and thus provide a “service” to the customer won’t cut it. The partnership must offer them real benefit. Even then, they won’t be full participants until they have received some benefit and see that it will work. That means you must be prepared to give referrals before you get referrals.

Third, you’ll have to do the vast majority of work, at least at first. You will be dealing with people who may well like the idea and who want it to work, but they’ll be skeptical. You’ll have to carry the ball and show them that you are committed to it and the it will work before you’ll get much help.

If you’re looking for a quick fix to sales problems, a marketing partnership will not work. But if you are committed to a long-term marketing partnership that can vastly increase the prospecting capabilities for all concerned, marketing partnerships can work wonders.

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