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What Are the Partnership Strategies?

There are many ways to form a partnership with other businesses. But no matter what kind of partnership you seek, all business partnerships are essentially the same thing: a strategic relationship that benefits each organization that’s involved. As you think about what partnerships you want for your business, consider who you want to work with, why you want to work with them, and most importantly, what benefits partners are likely to gain from their strategic alliance with you. It’s also critical to develop a partner management strategy, complete with the tools to support it.

If you’re looking for advice on building out your business partnerships, Torchlite has you covered. Below we’ll cover some of the most common types of strategic partnerships and how to run your partnerships effectively—which, as you’ll see, is a lot easier with the right software at your disposal. But first, let’s cover the reason partnerships are so important for business success.

Why Build Strategic Partnerships?

Partnering with other organizations potentially provides a whole host of benefits. Depending on what your goals are as a business, here are some of the reasons you might work with other organizations:

  • More client referrals from other businesses that have a similar customer base to yours
  • Improved operations through software partners or companies who augment your efforts
  • Increased market share and reach from joint ventures, collaborations, and more
  • Creating new ideas by working with innovative partners or those in related industries

These are just a few of the ways partnerships can make a difference for your business. The key, though, is knowing how to form an effective partnership, and having solid reasons for strategic alliance when you approach potential partners.

How Do You Structure a Partnership Strategy?

The exact structure for each partnership will depend on your business mission, products, and the shared goals you have with each partner. Here are four partnership types that are common in business:

Referral | Similar to customer referrals, business partners will sometimes refer their clients to other businesses—typically from existing networks, such as a partner’s customer network. Referral programs help both companies amplify their marketing efforts; additionally, each partner will usually give some sort of monetary incentive for successful referrals.

Affiliate | Similar to referral, affiliate partner programs focus on connecting partners with potential clients. However, affiliate programs are typically much simpler, using a method such as referral links rather than full-on introductions or customer relationships.

Resellers | Department stores, retailers, and supermarkets are one of the most common business partnerships out there. Rather than manufacturing thousands of unique products, resellers work with a myriad of partners who make said products—and sell them on their behalf.

Distributors | Some companies have a great product that’s successful in its current market, but lack the resources to expand effectively. Working with a larger company gives a smaller company access to large-scale reach and marketing power—and the distributor benefits from marketing a specialty product consumers can’t get anywhere else. A great example of this is Coca-Cola’s distribution deal with Ale-8-One.

Co-Sellers | Businesses with specialized solutions may benefit from teaming up with similar companies who offer related products or services. Rather than two or more companies trying to reach their respective niche markets on their own, they can join forces and create one combined solution, effectively pooling their customer bases into a wider, more accessible market.

Technology Partners | Also known as software partners, some companies seek out organizations whose software synergizes with their product. For example, we at Torchlite partner with Crossbeam because they provide effective account mapping and campaign launches—both of which work well with our PRM software solution. Our partnership with Crossbeam showcases both our solutions’ capabilities and gives us both added reach in our respective markets. 

How Does a Strategic Partnership Work?

Forming an official partnership involves an agreement of some sort, along with a means to maintain and track the success of the partnership. For example, if two companies agree to an affiliate partnership, they may set goals for how many customer referrals they’re looking to receive from each other. Effectively tracking this goal will require a partner portal: a digital platform where referrals can be recorded and properly attributed. The partnership will also require regular communication between the two companies—particularly regarding goals, progress, and any resources they might need to more effectively collaborate and promote each other.

Keeping tabs on all those moving parts is the biggest challenge of partnership management. And this challenge only gets tougher as you add partners to your portfolio. Simple tools like email and spreadsheets will only get you so far, especially as you develop different partnerships with different terms, goals, and key metrics. Having a PRM-specific platform like Torchlite makes this balancing act much easier by housing all the needed functions in a single source of truth. You can consolidate, automate, and mediate your partnerships all in one place—one that is equally accessible to your partners and your leadership team.

How Do You Create a Strategic Relationship? With Torchlite

Partner relationship management is a complex challenge, but it doesn’t require a complex answer. Torchlite provides a “Simply Intelligent” solution with our software: a program that is both easy to use and easy to customize as your partner programs evolve. Through our software solution, you’re able to:

  • Track targeted intent data from a single source of truth for your entire partner portfolio
  • Share marketing materials, videos, and any other resources each partnerships requires
  • Maintain communication between your partners in the same place you track partner programs
  • Integrate with CRM platforms and any other software your business currently uses

If you’re ready to make partner management a breeze for you and your business, book a demo with us today and see the power of our software for yourself.

Kelly Schwedland

Kelly Schwedland is the CEO of Torchlite, where he is at the forefront of scaling partner programs and revolutionizing the way businesses collaborate and drive growth, with a passion for driving revenue and fostering innovation through partnerships.