5 features to look for in a strategic alliance partner

Shweta Jhajharia, founder of The London Coaching Group, looks at how you can gain better warm leads through the use of strategic alliance partners.

84% of people trust recommendations from people they know¹ and social voice (i.e. online and offline word of mouth) can increase marketing impact by up to 54%².

business partners

So it is clear that word of mouth is an effective form of marketing. However it’s also very difficult to control and measure.

Only 34% of the marketers surveyed by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association³ think they can effectively measure the ROI of online social media, and 22% for offline word of mouth.

So how do you build a strategy that is as effective as word of mouth but can also be controlled and measured?

According to Shweta the answer lies in forming strategic alliances. These can multiply the quantity and effectiveness of your referrals in a systemised manner.

A strategic alliance is a ‘loose partnership’ between non-competing businesses that can add profit to each other’s bottom lines. There are rarely any legal documents involved, so it usually requires time to build up the relationship and should be considered a long-term strategy.

It is important not to think of this as ‘getting’ something from your alliance partner. Think about how it is that you can help your alliance partner first, then about how that partner can potentially help you back. This way your alliance will flow much more smoothly.

What makes a good strategic alliance partner?

Shweta says you should start by asking yourself who are the other suppliers to your ideal clients? What other services do your customers need?

If you’re a business-to-business company, this may be stationery suppliers, accountants, lawyers, financial advisers, cleaning companies, insolvency practitioners, business coaches etc.

If you are business-to-customer, then their needs will be slightly different. Think about supermarkets, hairdressers, community centres and so on – there could be a lot more variety here.

Once you have this list of potential partners, qualify them by looking at the following areas:

1) Similar audience

Their audience does not have to be exactly the same as yours, but it definitely should be a similar clientele.

2) Non-competitive

Your service should be adding value to their customers, not competing with their services.

3) Access to customers/prospects

Ideally, you want them to have a database of clients and/or prospects that you can easily access. This is important because ultimately their audience will determine how valuable this alliance will eventually be to you.

4) Wants to work with you

This is more of a subjective point, but it is still an important one. If the potential partner is already satisfied with their sales and marketing and they cannot see much value from you, you should probably move on.

5) Wants something you can offer

You need to have the ability to offer something that they actually want from you.

Within the core products that you offer, there should be something that is valuable to your partner’s customers – then everyone will benefit.

Follow these tips above and you’ll soon have the perfect strategic alliance partners to help grow your brand and generate new leads.

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