The Value of Partnerships Part 1 – Leveraging an Existing Customer Base

When it comes to successfully selling a technology product or service, sure, you could do it all on your own.

But have you ever heard that expression “no man is an island.” I really feel that the same can be said of businesses. Yes, you can operate in a silo and do everything completely independently, but in my opinion, you are really missing out on some great opportunities.

By working with other companies and bringing partners on board, you are expanding your horizons so to speak – your business will be in a position to learn, grow and succeed faster, more easily and more confidently.

Let’s dig into the topic a little more and get into some very specific ways that partnerships can offer value to your B2B technology business and your marketing plans.

In this first post of a 3 part series, we’ll discuss arguably the most potent reason to bring on partners – getting access to their customers.

Think about these stats:

  • According to the New York Times, 65 percent of new business comes from referrals. (Source: Vouchfor)
  • According to the Optify 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark report, the conversion rate for referrals leads was 2nd only to email.
  • According to Nielsen, an information-gathering company, you are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. (Source: Vouchfor)

In short, referrals are huge. And by partnering up with another business, this is exactly what your organization is tapping into.

The power of leveraging an existing customer base

Any marketer or business owner understands how challenging it can be to reach new customers. It takes a whole lot of time, effort and consistent strategy to market to and most importantly, engage prospects. If they’ve never even heard of you and you don’t have a strong or well known brand behind you, your job just got that much harder – even if your product or technology solution is awesome and just what the market needs.

And don’t just take my word for it…

  • According to the Customer Service Institute, 65 percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied.
  • According to Gartner CRM analyst Adam Sarner the number is even higher. He says obtaining a new customer is 10 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.

(Source: MarketingProfs)

One of the most powerful arguments of bringing partners on board is that you get access to their existing customer base.

They have already spent all the time and resources building their communications channels

They’ve built the email list. They’ve got the social media channels. They’ve offered the customer support and the sales assistance. They’ve started conversations.

In short, they have already built up what takes so long to do. The subscribers, the followers and the likes.  Communications and brand experience has already been established.

They have already developed the like and trust factors

When you are trying to sell or promote a product to a new customer or audience, you most likely are lacking in what any business professional would agree is marketing gold – the like and trust factors. Sure, you can do your best to engender these with your website content (testimonials, awards, partner logos) and your other online channels. But in truth, there is no stronger like or trust than that built by actual first hand experience with a product. And the next best thing to that? Hearing from someone that you already like and trust that they recommend the product or service.

This is where your partnership offers a very strong potential. They have already built the like and trust. They are not strangers so to speak to their target audience. And if your offering is backed and recommended by them, their customers are much more likely to take notice than if you just attempted to convince them directly on your own of the value of what you’re offering. They will be much more receptive.

You can see results much faster

By leveraging your existing partner relationships, you’ll enjoy a speed to market that you simply could not enjoy on your own. The audience is already there. The communications channels are already in place. You don’t have to be an expert in every market. You don’t have to train your sales team to deal with every market.

Now it’s just a matter of providing your partners all they need to succeed when it comes to marketing your product or service. You support effective communications, they in turn use their existing channels to share your message and offering.

In Part 2 of this series, we will look at how partnerships can help resellers give their customers exactly what they want, creating a win-win scenario for both parties.

About the Author:

Hartland Ross is the Founder and President of eBridge Marketing Solutions. He has over 15 years experience in marketing and business development, focusing for the last decade or so on the technology sector. Prior to starting up his own internet marketing agency, he operated a successful franchise, worked with two different online advertising startups and was the VP of Sales and Marketing for a national development and training company. He now puts his entrepreneurial and business skills to work running eBridge, which since its inception has supported the internet marketing efforts of over 150 web hosts worldwide.

Posted May 28, 2013
Categories: eBridge Marketing Solutions' Blog, Advertising and Marketing General, Channel Marketing
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