4 Tips to Co-selling with Partners
Co-selling with Partners takes time. Invest in building your partner sales funnel, it’s just as important as your sales funnel.
Partnerships are more important now than ever. Growing your partner network and forming mutually beneficial relationships with partners will help bring value to your team.
Cassandra Gholston, CEO and Co-founder of PartnerTap, has built relationships with partners throughout her career that have led her to exceed her sales goals, even during the 2008 recession. Cassandra shared, partnerships were what kept qualified leads flowing during the last recession.
Here are 4 tips to grow your partner network and build valuable relationships.
1. Focus on Earning Trust and playing the long game
Growing your partner network is a long-term effort that requires you to focus on earning trust from partners through frequent, value-added communication.
“If the partner doesn’t trust you, there is never going to be a business outcome,” says Cassandra. “Partnerships are really about the long term. They can have short term outcomes which are great, but the majority of the time, it is a long game that can carry you through your career.”
Entering partnerships with a focus on building trust at all stages in the process will help you to gain partners that will last the test of time.
2. Focus on building your Partner Funnel
Focus on building a partner funnel. If your organization has developed a partner ecosystem, start reaching out to sales reps inside of those organizations. Cassandra advises sales reps to schedule at least one new partner meeting per week and one existing partner meeting per week.
“You constantly need to get new partners into the funnel because those sales partners will end up being promoted, moving around the company or leaving that company altogether,” says Cassandra. “The goal is to meet with a new partner weekly, and move them through the funnel. The more partners that are actively sharing leads the better. The bottom of the partner funnel is leads and that’s where you want to get every partner.”
When working remotely, think creatively about the different ways you can schedule engaging virtual meetings with partners. Cassandra recommends scheduling weekly coffee meetings and virtual happy hours to build relationships and explore opportunities.
3. Come to Partner Meetings Prepared
Before meeting with partners, If you don’t have an account mapping system like PartnerTap, make sure you have received their account list prior to the meeting and dedicate time to gathering intel that your partner is looking for on your shared accounts. This process is important to produce business outcomes. If you don’t know which accounts overlap you don’t really know if the partnership is worth your time.
“Always, come prepared and bring something to the table,” says Cassandra. “Partnering takes a lot of work and PartnerTap can get you laser-focused on the people to work closely with that have territory and account overlap with you. There is still work to be done even when you know the overlap.” Cassandra shares what information you should be looking for to share with your partner.
If you haven’t had meetings yourself with these companies, review notes and information in your CRM left by prior reps to gather insights about mapped accounts. Every sales reps needs to find opportunities where change is happening and their product or service can help with specific change or trigger events. Here are some standard trigger events that can typically help your partners:
- Executive changeover
- M&A activity
- Organic growth
- Revenue diversification
- Reductions of staff or costs
Showing up to meetings with valuable insights or known trigger events taking place that you can share with your partner will demonstrate that you are invested in contributing to their success. Even if you can’t produce a warm introduction or lead, sharing insights that your partner wasn’t aware of is providing value.
“Everything is valuable. Knowing just a little bit about a company could give your partner insight on what they can do to gain access into that account,” says Cassandra. “Pinpoint the accounts that you would also like an introduction or information on and have those questions ready on the call.”
4. Prioritize Human Connection
When meeting with a partner, take the time to build your relationship and get to know them. Dedicate the first ten minutes of the call to getting to know one another. Then, share the insights you have learned throughout your research that can add value to your conversation.
“Everybody is going to want to work with the person that is bringing value to the relationship,” says Cassandra.
Meeting with reps virtually can make it difficult to develop a connection with the person on the other side of the computer. Focus on leveraging technology to facilitate human connection.
“When you jump on these calls with partners, turn your camera on,” Cassandra says. “It’s a hard thing to do, but it will help you to not be distracted with other things and build trust”
Growing your partner network will take time and energy. Remember that earning trust is a long-term effort and may take multiple meetings to result in success.
“Even if the business outcome isn’t a lead right after that meeting, it could be a lead three months from now that is the deal that gets the rep over the line. That is why it is so important for reps to put in the time,” says Cassandra.
Looking to activate your own partner ecosystem? Get your free sales rep account today!