Five Biggest Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Partnering

1) Not spending enough time to select the right partners

It takes time and effort to find the partners that will help you to increase your revenue on a long-term basis. The partner's business has to match with your offer. Some may look at system integrators, others at distributors, and so on. But there is more: you need to get along with the Management, sharing the same values and vision. You also need to make sure your partner will be active and will effectively push your solutions. Do not rush; spend the necessary time to discover new companies and do your due diligence.

2) Bypassing the partner benefits

You certainly have good reasons to think your solutions are excellent. But put yourself in the shoes of your prospective partner. Is it going to be profitable for them? Do not forget your partners are your outsourced sales team, and they are in the front line. You need to think carefully about "what's in it for the partner?" Is it going to be easy for them to sell? What margin can they make? Will their team adopt the new software or services to sell? The list goes on.

3) Underestimating the cost of partnership

Some Entrepreneurs believe that partnering is cheap or even free because the partners support the cost of sales and delivery. Yes, partnering is an excellent way to boost your business and accelerate your domestic or remote market. But you need to plan the partner acquisition cost and the cost to run the partnerships.

4) Having no plan to entertain the relationship

Signing a partnership agreement is not the end. It is just the beginning. Get prepared to push your partners' salespeople, train their business and technical teams, provide necessary collaterals, support them when there is an RFP, and organize events to boost their motivation. There are many things you should do to get the best out of your partners.

5) Forgetting to drive the business

Do you drive your sales team? You should do the same with your partners. But they are not your direct employees, and the odds are high they have no exclusivity. You then need to set up a system to monitor their sales activity, ensure they meet the targets, and have ways to support their growth.

Jérome La Dall
March 12, 2021

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