Picture this: You think tactics and talent for sales should be at the top of your list in your expansion strategy as you head into a new market.
You’d be surprised at how many founders find great value and success with the right partnerships and connections in the very early days. So much so, that we decided it warranted further explanation.
Think and Grow partner, Hugo Bieber, outlines the value and power certain partnerships can provide as you expand your business overseas, as well as advice for how to source and maintain impactful partnerships as a vehicle for your growth.
Why you should not underestimate partnerships in your expansion strategy
In a new market there’s a lot of ground to cover and if it’s not feasible for you (or any of your leadership team) to be flying in and out regularly, then it can prove difficult to feel in control and maximise your growth potential without local assistance.
- Amplify your voice and promote your business to external parties without physically being present in the local area
- Extend your reach beyond your limits whilst you’re in another market, country and timezone.
- Feel supported and in-the-know from local players as you navigate this new territory and market opportunities and customs.
- Avoid needing 10+ boots on the ground in the early days of your expansion.
- Make the most of mentorship and advisor opportunities.
Things to consider when sourcing your partners and forming your partnership strategy
Founders who build successful partnerships have been able to access new distribution channels, expand overseas, open up new revenue streams and many more benefits that overall build their growth strategy which goes very much hand in hand with capital raising. Here’s a list of things to consider:
Sourcing the partner:
- Evaluate the partner’s profile and whether it would suit your expansion targets and goals
- Ask them about their past experience working with similar companies and how they contributed to their growth (and how).
- Research (or ask) if they have other partners, if so – who are they?
- Do your due diligence on every potential partner, even if they’re reputable or come recommended.
- Enquire who is in their network and who they could introduce you to.
Working with the partner:
- The compensation structure of the partnership. This can be purely a success fee-based relationship, a combination of retainer and success fee, a more informal exchange of introductions or structured fees in exchange of services.
- Rules of engagement between you and the partner
- Your partnership relationship management (PRM) system
- Establish if that partner can also sell and generate their own leads.
- Are they the right technical fit and how much knowledge do they have in your technology field? In other words, how much support would they need from you?
How to build and maintain a thriving partnership
Securing the partnerships is the first step, leveraging them is step two. Here’s how to make the most of them:
- Provide them with the full picture: Be transparent about where your limits are, where you might need support and how you feel they can best provide that support.
- Be communicative: Your partners aren’t mind-readers and the more you share with them, the more they can understand how you work and how they can best contribute as a partner. Let’s say you drop the ball on something, instead of brushing it under the carpet – just tell them and make amends if necessary.
- Externalise your data: Sharing these insights over a real-time dashboard shows them where they stand on their activities.
- Be upfront with expectations: Not just what you desire from the partnership, but what you want from them and how you foresee the partnership working.
- Treat them like part of your team: Because they are! They are contributing to your growth, so be respectful and inclusive.
- It’s not all about you: A successful partnership is when everyone gets something out of the relationship, so make sure you know their expectations as well as your own.
How to ensure the partnerships you form are a vehicle for your growth
Some partnerships will be more beneficial and effective than others. Here are a few tips for how you can spend more time and energy in the right places:
- A reputable partner combined with a great story is an excellent opportunity for PR and brand awareness. Leveraging your success with a specific partner (especially if its industry specific) can lead to greater credibility in that space, as well as awareness amongst your first potential customers.
- You’ll come across many potential partners you feel may be a good fit, but avoid being hasty in signing all of them up. A consequence of this is not spending enough time and strategy on the partners that could heavily influence growth in certain regions.
- Partnerships can act as powerful enablers in your international growth expansion from getting to know the local market and mentorship opportunities to warm intros to investors and having a presence without having to be physically present.
- Set up a partner sourcing strategy which includes researching their existing partners similar to your business and due diligence.
- Next establish how the partnership is going to work as a part of your expansion strategy, including partner relationship management tools and whether they are the right technical fit.
- Leverage your partnerships by being communicative and upfront with your expectations, treat them as part of your own team and remember, it’s not all about you!
- Turn your partnerships into a vehicle for your growth by acknowledging when partnership news could become a powerful PR story to gain customers or to excite new and potential investors and ensure you’re spending time and energy on the right partners, avoid signing up all that cross your path.
Think & Grow are growth partners for bold technology businesses. We utilise our global network, deep market knowledge and best practice methodologies to facilitate sustainable growth across borders, help customers gain their first clients and pave the way for long-term, actionable strategies driving revenue growth and capitalising in undiscovered markets.
To find out more expansion opportunities or how Think & Grow can help you expand internationally , email firstname.lastname@example.org.