How to Identify Potential Strategic Partners

identify potential strategic partnersIf you’re looking for new ways to grow your revenue, think about finding a way to identify potential strategic partners. The Wall Street Journal’s Christina Cheddar-Berk wrote a great case study of Greg Butterfield, the CEO of Altiris, a software company in Lindon, Utah.

Greg took Altiris from $1 million in revenue in 1999 to $187 million in 2005 (and an IPO). His strategy? Find big partners to sell your products.

Partners can help you accomplish a variety of goals:

  • Access new markets
  • Increase your sales in existing markets
  • Improve your access to technology
  • Gain human and financial capital

Altiris was able to sign up large companies as sales partners because they were able to show a win-win for both sides. That’s the key to creating a successful partnership.

How to Identify Potential Strategic Partners

So how do you identify potential strategic partners?

1.  List your business goals. Exactly what do you want to accomplish and in what timeframe?

2.  Think about the types of companies that can help you achieve those goals. Are you a small software company looking for bulk sales?  Dell, IBM or HP could certainly help you move product.

3.  Identify the benefits those potential partners could gain through a relationship with you. By offering the Altiris software to customers, the big companies could help users configure their new computers more easily, reducing the time commitment and fear many people face when buying a new machine. That benefit translated into more computer sales and wins for Altiris, the partners and their customers.

Make sure to take off your rose-colored glasses here. Use an unbiased approach (and feedback from neutral third-parties) to make sure that the benefits are real. It’ll save you time and headaches.

4.  Review the list and find the companies that get the most benefit by partnering with you. They’re your best initial targets. Show them how they’ll win and you’ve got a win-win deal in the works.

This article is valuable for small and large companies alike – it also talks about implementation and the challenges facing small companies who approach Goliath partners.

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