Let’s face it cold calling is hard but throw in a global pandemic and it’s even harder. If you want to gain access into key accounts, focusing on your partners is time well spent. However getting your partners to the point of sending you leads that garner successful business outcomes takes work. If you feel like you aren’t getting enough partner leads or those partner leads aren’t the Glengarry leads you’re looking for, it’s time to develop a partner mindset.
Your Partners are Your Best Prospects
Cassandra Gholston, our CEO at PartnerTap, always says that it’s best to, “think of your partners as your best prospects.” Your partners are the gateway into multiple accounts. They can provide those highly sought after qualified leads and high-ticket sales. Focusing on gaining access to key accounts through partner introductions is like fishing with a net as opposed to fishing with a spear.
You want to cast a wide net to get as many valuable leads as possible. Now, think about how you would treat your best prospect. That is exactly how you should treat your partners. It’s important that you develop your partner relationships and aim to turn new partners into your coveted top partners. Top partners are sending you more partner leads on a regular basis. These relationships take a while to nurture and mature into a source of qualified leads. Focus on constantly building trust and stay focused on the long game.
Partnerships are long-term investments, if you keep nurturing the relationship, it will pay dividends in the end. Some partners take longer to cultivate and that’s ok because the business outcome of qualified leads is worth it in the end.
Generate More Leads for Your Partner
If you are looking for partners that generate qualified leads, you yourself need to be that partner. Developing a partner mindset starts with reciprocity. Try to focus on ways to generate qualified pipeline, get wins, and drive revenue for your partner. Spend time learning about their business. Also, listen carefully in your own sales calls for queues where your partners products and services would add value to your customers and prospects.
As you bring your partner more leads and they start closing deals, your relationship will grow stronger. A good partner will help you in return by introducing you to their customers and key accounts. If you start to feel that your relationship is one-sided (ie: you’re doing all the lead sharing, and you aren’t receiving any leads in return), it’s okay to let them know. Provide the examples of leads you’ve provided and the accounts you’ve trusted them with and be specific about what you expect in return. If they still aren’t providing any leads, it may be time to focus on a different partner in the same industry.
Always Focus on Building Your Partner Funnel (It’s Like a Sales Funnel)
Finding and cultivating new partners and moving them through a partner funnel to a top partner status is as equally as important as being a great partner. The partner funnel is really important, the number one rule of a partner funnel is to always fill the funnel with new potential partners. The likelihood that your partner stays in their same role for years isn’t likely, people are always moving companies or being promoted. Always, take the time to meet with new potential partners so you have a constant flow of partner leads. Consistently meet with your partners as you build relationships and begin to move them through the partner funnel to top partner status.
An efficient partner funnel is made up of three stages. Stage One, or the top of the funnel, is all of your new partners that you have scheduled your first meetings with. Once you start to meet with these prospects, you can move them down to the second stage of the funnel.
The middle of the funnel is Stage Two, Partner Meetings. This stage is for all of your partners that you are starting to have consistent partner meetings with. During these meetings, you want to get a feel for the partner. Find out about their business. Find out if they have prospect and customer overlap with you. Is this person a potential top partner?
The final stage is Top Partners, this is the stage where you are consistently receiving qualified leads from these partners. Remember that not everyone makes it to top partner status. It is better to walk away from a time-wasting relationship and focus your energy elsewhere.
Meet with Your New Partners – Consistently
As you’re filling the funnel with new partners, focus on setting a first partner meeting. Spend time getting to know them and learning about their business. If you do this, you will never be in a situation where you need more partner leads. Salespeople are constantly moving around within their companies or turning over. Always err on the side of not having enough top partners, then your partner funnel will always be full and qualified leads will be the result.
To really develop those partner prospects efficiently, we suggest meeting at least one new partner per week. During your meetings, you can get a feel for whether or not you want to move this potential partner to the next stage in your partner funnel. It’s always helpful to understand what accounts you and your partner share. Using an account mapping tool like PartnerTap can help you source new partners and weed out the ones who don’t have any account overlap with you.
Remember your partner wants qualified leads just like you do. Understanding the accounts that you have in common helps you know ahead of time where you might provide good introductions. Don’t worry if it’s not a great match. You have plenty of opportunities to find a good partnership.
Build a Lasting Relationship
If both you and your partner are referring Glengarry leads to each other, then this is a top partner relationship. These are the partners who reside at the bottom of your funnel because they help generate pipeline. The goal is to build a lasting relationship with these people. They can continue to help you throughout your career. You might work for several different companies, but your partner relationships oftentimes are still valuable.
If you remain in the same industry, the contacts that you’ve built will continue to give you more partner leads. Remember, you’re thinking about the long game when you are working with partners. As salespeople we can read people extremely well, someone who is out for themselves in a partnership will be left in the dust. So, be authentic, build trust, and turn that relationship into a valuable friendship.
Once you’ve built a network of top partners, maintain contact, and keep referring deals to them. More deals will come your way if you approach your partners from a partner mindset.
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