Fueling consistent business growth is incredibly complex and requires a multifaceted approach.
You need a strong team and supportive culture, with a laser focus on customer centricity. You should also develop a firm understanding of how to address your friction points in your flywheel, and stay equipped with the right set of tools in place for automating sales.
And that still doesn’t check all the boxes. One of the most commonly overlooked aspects to consider when you’re building a business growth strategy is developing strategic partnerships.
What Are Strategic Partnerships?
To put it simply, a strategic partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship between two companies. The relationship is often laid out in a legally binding contract in what’s called a strategic partnership agreement.
The basic elements to consider when pursuing strategic partnership agreements include:
Identify how each business benefits from this arrangement and most importantly, how your customers will gain value from this partnership. These goals should be clear and relevant to your company's big picture growth objectives.
Designation of Responsibilities
Both you and the vendor need to have a clear idea of who is responsible for what. Laying out who in each company is responsible for owning certain responsibilities is key to keeping everyone on the same page.
Sharing of Assets
This is another crucial foundation of a good company relationship – detail how both of you will contribute resources like finances, labor, expertise, etc.
With the right amount of information and planning, you’re ready to yield awesome advantages from partnership agreements.
Benefits of Strategic Partnerships
There are plenty of ways your organization can benefit from working with the right companies.
Depending on your company and industry, you can save on cost in many ways. For example, you can order bulk supplies if you’re partnering with another company that shares your needs.
Expanded Customer Base
Speaking of your partner’s audience, this is a whole new area you can penetrate. With the right campaigns, you’re able to build brand awareness and develop credibility in underutilized markets by collaborating and entering your partner’s world.
You can even create new products or solutions to offer more value to existing and new customers.
Accelerated Business Growth
From an operational and technical standpoint, you can share resources to boost productivity and output.
For example, manufacturers can team up with companies that have an established marketing plan and a strong distribution channel. These external companies have their foundation, so the manufacturer can hit the ground running with revenue growth.
With all these benefits, it’s obvious why 40 percent of U.S. CEOs plan to pursue a new strategic alliance or joint venture to drive corporate growth and profitability within the year.
How to Determine If a Partnership Is Right for You
Once you decide to seek partnerships, you need to understand how to make the right decisions that are best for you, your company, and your customers.
Talk to Previous Partners
Ask previous partners about their experiences with a potential partner. They can give you the unbiased truth about the whole experience.
Find Core Value Alignment
Look for ways you align from a core values standpoint. If you start working with a company that doesn't value accountability, honesty, or other fundamentals you believe in, your relationship won't gel well.
Develop a Shared Vision
See if you can create a shared vision and mission together. This way, you know for certain how your goals match up and where you both want to steer the ship.
Determine the Partnership Type You Want
There are several kinds of partnerships you might consider pursuing someday. These include:
- Horizontal: When two companies within the same area (sometimes competitors) decide to collaborate to boost their market position.
- Vertical: When an organization collaborates with another within their supply chain to secure lower prices and reduce risk with the supply chain.
- Equity: When a company buys a minor equity stake from one business in exchange for monetary investments.
- Joint Venture: When two or more companies create a new company and split profits based on a formal contract.
- Intersectional: When businesses from different areas agree to share knowledge for the sake of mutual advancement.
Keep in mind that your business plan might not consist of equally sized deals. Some might call for one large partnership along with a few smaller partnerships.
The most important consideration you need to focus on when you’re building out your strategy is how your partnership can improve your customer experience.
You need a clear answer to this question: How can this partnership deliver value for your customers?
Strategic Partnerships We Formed to Better Serve Our Customers
As an agency, we’re always looking for ways to empower clients to drive their results. This is where our partners come in.
We form partnerships based on how to better serve our customers. Our customers pay us to be experts in marketing, sales, and service. They expect the best, and we want to deliver that to them.
That’s why we form these partnerships – to develop a full tech stack so we can deliver awesome results in every area of our customer’s flywheel.
We have a variety of partnerships to use and test with our own internal marketing team. After using them for a full quarter, we can roll them out to customers if we think it can provide value for them.
In other words, we eat our own dog food.
For service and consulting companies, you typically have partnerships that help both internally (for your business) and externally (for your customers).
Our internal partnerships are used by our team to best serve our customers. We don’t charge our clients for these tools. They are strictly used for our team to do our best for the clients.
Here are our noteworthy internal partnerships:
Moz and Ahrefs
We use both of these amazing tools for so many different things. From keyword research and competitor analysis to content strategy and link building, these tools help us drive real SEO results through our content marketing efforts.
This tool is essential for tracking and monitoring visitor behaviors on our clients’ websites. We use many features, including heatmaps, visitor recordings, and form analysis, to inform how we can best optimize webpages for maximum engagement and conversion.
Our external partnerships were tested and researched extensively by us before we rolled them out to our clients. Here are a few partner solutions we (and our clients) are currently enjoying:
This is an obvious one. We are a proud diamond partner, and HubSpot is our largest partnership. We use them for everything for our internal operations, as well as for our clients.
They continue to introduce a ton of new integrations, which is awesome for our clients and for us.
Conversational marketing is a burgeoning trend, and for a good reason – chat bots and live chat are changing the landscape in digital marketing and sales enablement. We use this internally and externally too, helping clients drive engagement on their sites.
Attribution, routing, analytics, and more, this AI call tracking software is a great tool for managing all your important conversations.
Our favorite business analytics platform, this tool is excellent for delivering more insightful analytics and expanding reporting capability for clients who need to do a deep dive on data.
For document management, we used PandaDoc for all sales related documents. Proposals. Quotes. Contracts. This tool has it all, and it’s something our clients can benefit from in their sales process.
Online video hosting is a necessity in today’s digital landscape, and HubSpot Video ushered in a new partnership opportunity for us. Vidyard powers HubSpot Video, and they’ve become an excellent addition to help our clients drive results.
This is another incredible video software that delivers so many features for us and our clients, including advanced video analytics, lead generation tools, and integrations with marketing automation platforms (including HubSpot). Plus, their Soapbox tool is the easiest way to shoot, edit, and share personalized videos.
No matter your business, you can benefit from strategic partnerships.
For example, if you’re a SaaS company, you can partner with external vendors and provide integrations to best serve your customers. If you’re in manufacturing, you can have vertical integration by partnering with other manufacturers who provide related parts.
It’s all about your customer. When you can find partners that work for you, you’re better equipped to delight your customers.
When you continue to make your customer happy, your flywheel spins with full force. This is why strategic partnerships are more than just a nice-to-have. They're a must.