There are several types of business-to-business partnerships that a business owner may pursue to improve their business. The main objective behind most business relationships is to find new customer leads and convert them into increased sales and revenue for both participating companies. Consider these four primary types of business-to-business partnerships to achieve the goal of increased sales and revenue including suppliers, customers, resellers, or companies with significant existing sales channels and/or vendors. Each type of partnership has its own unique set of advantages and challenges for successfully implementing and maintaining, therefore it’s important to evaluate each type to understand which is in your best interest to pursue.
Creating business relationships with suppliers usually makes great financial sense and can lead to unique business opportunities. Many suppliers are in a very competitive environment and constantly have to find new channels to sell their products. As a rule, suppliers will be willing to give a business partner special pricing, expedited customer service, and business referrals when opportunities that are out of their scope present themselves. However; there are some disadvantages with aligning too closely with a single supplier. It is recommended that you keep your supplier partnership agreements as open and flexible as possible to allow multiple partnerships to exist in the same space thus avoiding price spikes or product unavailability due to unforeseen partner problems.
The best types of business referrals come from existing customers. Provide a revenue share or special pricing for customers that can deliver leads that turn into new clients. Developing an incentive program for customers that make referrals is a win-win situation. Often a simple discount can keep your business at the forefront of the customer’s mind when their meeting with someone that fits your target market.
Resellers or Agents
Many businesses that have large databases of potential customers will actively sell a product through their sales channels for a fee and/or a revenue share. Building partnerships with resellers can quickly grow a company’s ability to reach out to the market. Resellers will invest time and resources to market their partner’s products and put their sales force to work selling the product. Small businesses with a limited staff to actively sell can benefit greatly from these types of partnership deals.
Finding other vendors that sell a complementing product is the right partnership solution for a company that by itself has a product that is not the full solution that a customer is looking to purchase. An example is a computer hardware manufacturer partnering with a company that makes software to do unique tasks that a customer needs.
As a business owner seeking additional deal flow, it is important to evaluate all of the business-to-business partnerships that are possible for your company. Regardless of whether the focus is on vendors, resellers, suppliers, or existing customers if properly executed business-to-business partnerships are one of the best strategies for business growth.