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There’s no denying that strategic partnerships can be key to achieving business growth. After all, it can’t just be a coincidence that high-growth brands are three times more likely to use partner marketing than no-growth firms (as revealed in the Hinge 2020 High Growth Study).
But here’s the real question: do you need to designate a team to acquiring and managing new partners? Or could you just leave it to the head of growth or marketing?
While only you can answer that question, we’ve taken a look at how growing a partnerships team can help your partnerships (and your business!) thrive.
1. Make partnerships a priority
Considering how much potential partnerships have to grow your brand, it’s important that you make them a priority as opposed to an afterthought.
This isn’t to say that your marketing or growth team aren’t capable of prioritising partnerships if they’re made a central part of your growth strategy. But when there are so many other activities to juggle, partnerships are often the thing that gets dropped first – especially as they tend to require a large initial outlay of time and resources before they start to generate results.
Most brands recognise the importance of having a head of paid search. Yet figures from Wolfgang Digital and Forrester reveal that partnerships can be credited with generating high-growth businesses with more revenue than paid search. So, don’t they deserve the same amount of attention?
By hiring a partnership manager and ultimately growing a partnerships team, there’ll always be someone who’s making partnerships their number one priority. The hard graft gets done and you’re better set for longterm growth. Hurrah!
2. Nurture relationships
Growing your business through partnerships doesn’t end at partner acquisition. If you’re going to create long-lasting partnerships that achieve long-term growth, you’ll need to invest in building strong relationships.
This is where a dedicated partnerships team will come into its own. They’ll have the time to get to know each partner individually and will be able to put themselves in your partners’ shoes. All this means that you’ll have somebody in-house who can advocate for and safeguard your partners’ goals and interests.
One of the most common problems with partnerships is one partner being less committed than the other (read our article on why partnerships fail to find out more). By dedicating a person or team to relationship management, you’ll be able to ensure that your partners continue to benefit equally, which will in turn encourage them to put just as much into the partnership as you do.
3. Invest in training and support
Some types of strategic partnerships, such as affiliate, reseller and referral agreements, rely on one brand promoting or selling another brand’s products. If you’re the brand who’s being promoted, it’s all-too-easy to leave your partner to ‘work their magic’ with little to no input from you. After all, this is their area of expertise, right? Wrong!
You know your product better than anyone – from how it works to its USPs and target market. It’s in your best interest to share your knowledge with your partners so that they can successfully sell your products and generate you more revenue.
A partnerships team will be able to invest in training and educating your partners, so that they can achieve results that benefit you both – whether that’s being on the phone to iron out any teething problems or walking them through a product demo. At the end of the day, your partners’ success is your success!
4. Rapid response
A full-time partnership manager or team will be able to respond to any queries regarding new or existing partnerships straight away. This may not seem noteworthy, but in reality, the ability (or inability) to respond rapidly can make or break a number of partnership types.
Take distribution marketing partnerships, in particular reseller agreements, as an example. If a reseller needs support in closing a deal, a slow response could cause a lost sale. Or, take affiliate marketing. If you’re trying to find affiliates to join your affiliate program, having access to a full-time affiliate manager or support team could be a huge selling point.
On top of all this, the ability to respond and action requests quickly is vital to getting new partnerships off the ground, ultimately driving more revenue quicker. Although the average partnership manager spends 35% of their time sourcing new partners, using a tool like Breezy will give them more time to negotiate, action and optimise the partnerships they find.
5. Acquire expertise
Hiring a partnership manager isn’t just about channelling more time and resources into your partnerships. It’s also about acquiring expertise. You wouldn’t put someone with no experience in charge of your paid advertising strategy. So why would you do this when it comes to your partner ecosystem strategy?
A successful partnership manager will know how to help you achieve your company goals using partnerships as a tool – whether that’s supporting your partners in improving conversions or using their industry knowledge to make sure your partnership program stays ahead of the game.
On top of all this, a partnership manager who has experience in your niche may even be able to bring connections with them from previous roles, making your partnership hunt a whole lot easier and helping you to develop a flourishing partner ecosystem. With the right manager, the benefits are endless!
At the end of the day, there’s nothing stopping you from sourcing and managing your brand partnerships yourself, particularly if you’re a small business. But by working towards hiring a partnership manager and growing a partnerships team, you’ll be able to ensure your partnership strategy goes from strength to strength.
Whatever you decide, one thing’s for sure. With Breezy, you’ll save a ton of time on your partner discovery, leaving you with more time to focus on making your partnerships as successful as they can be. Just book a demo to get started.