Types of B2B Marketing Partnerships for Sales Growth

B2B Marketing Partnerships
According to Hinge Marketing’s 2021 High Growth Study, partnership marketing is ranked the 7th most impactful type of marketing for professional service companies. The same study suggests that high-growth companies are three times more likely to use partnership marketing as a part of their marketing strategy.

Let us look at what B2B partnership marketing entails, the types of B2B marketing partnerships that can drive your sales, and how you can create a great B2B partnership marketing strategy.


Defining B2B Partnership Marketing

Partnership marketing is a symbiotic marketing endeavor where two or more organizations benefit from each other. This may be a broad definition, but that is because every marketing partnership has its own set of unique attributes and requirements.

The dynamic of a marketing partnership depends on specific strategic goals like increasing revenue, reach, developing new products or expanding into different domains. Partnership marketing can be anything from working on a tough research project together to asking a partner to mention you on their social media.

When it comes to B2B partnership marketing, it involves associating with other companies to help sell your products or services. They are more complex as compared to B2C marketing partnerships.

Many times, B2B marketing partnerships start small and eventually develop into something big. This is because partnering companies get to understand each other and form a cohesive relationship that works for them.

Here are some B2B marketing partnership examples:

  • Co-produced and co-promoted webinars
  • Researching together on a new topic
  • Exchanging emails with your partner to promote content or services


Benefits of B2B Marketing Partnership

Here are some of the benefits of a B2B marketing partnership:

  • Helps You Branch Out into New Markets
You can market to your partner’s audience and branch out into new markets that would have otherwise remained untapped.

  • Provides You a New Perspective
It gives you clarity on the loopholes in your strategy. You can also adapt your partner’s strategy or get new ideas from it to enhance your marketing.

  • Helps You Drive Your Sales
You will notice a boost in your sales and an influx of new clients once you get into a partnership that is also a sales partnership.

  • It is Cost-effective
As compared to other strategies, partnership marketing is cost-effective because the marketing expenses get divided among the partners.

  • You Get a Bigger Team
With partners on board, you can get access to a bigger team and brainstorm campaigns with powerful outcomes with more people.

  • Improves Brand Trust
If you choose the right partner, you can leverage their brand trust to lift the value and perception of your brand safely and swiftly.

Types of B2B Marketing Partnerships

There are several types of B2B marketing partnership techniques that organizations engage in. No matter which type, they all aim to achieve growth in sales for both partners. Let us look at the most effective types of B2B marketing partnerships.

Strategic Partnership

This type of B2B marketing partnership is a relationship between non-competitive companies whose products or services complement each other. An amazing B2B marketing partnership example would be the one between Starbucks and Barnes & Noble. Whenever a customer entered a Starbucks within the Barnes & Noble store, they browsed books, and whenever someone browsing the books saw the Starbucks in the store, they walked in to get a coffee. Both companies mutually benefited from this strategic partnership and saw their sales soar. A strategic partnership can develop into an integration partnership. An integration partnership is all about integrating your product or idea with another partner’s product.


Starbucks Coffee Was Served at Places It Had No Retail Presence as a Result of a Strategic Partnership with Barnes & Noble

As a part of a strategic partnership with Barnes & Noble, Starbucks served coffee in the Midwest, where they did not have a retail presence. This was possible because of a licensing agreement between the two partners. More than 400 Barnes & Noble cafes served Starbucks because of it, leading to a boost in Starbucks’ sales.

Let us look at what the numbers say:

More than 2,000 strategic alliances are formed every year. Their number is growing by 15 percent each year. (Source: Strategic Alliances: Three Ways to Make Them Work)

57 percent of companies say that they use partnerships to acquire new customers. 44 percent form alliances to get new ideas, insights, and innovation. (Source: BPI Network)

Channel Partnership

A channel partnership involves promotions that come from outside sources like affiliate partners, private sellers, distributors, and private sellers. They act as an intermediary between a business and its customers. This partnership not only expands your outreach, but also minimizes the effort behind promoting products or services. There is a sales effort distribution, which means external partners get a commission per unit or service sold. It facilitates promotion to a new audience by channel partners. Affiliates harness social media for promotions, while third-party distributors increase brand trust by using their already established platforms and industry authority as trusted marketers. There are many kinds of channel partnerships, like channel value-added resellers (VARs), service delivery partners, technology alliance partners, high-velocity partners, cloud service providers, managed service providers, and global systems integrators (GSIs).

High performers allocate 17 percent of their total marketing budget to channel marketing (Source: SiriusDecisions)

Tech Partnership

A tech partnership enables two tech companies to benefit from each other. It is similar to a strategic partnership but is heavily dependent on technology. A great example of this type of B2B marketing partnership is the one between Apple and ARM Holdings. Apple phones and iPads are powered by processors designed by ARM Holdings. A tech partnership usually lasts a long time and involves the integration of a hardware or software product. It enhances both partners’ brand loyalty, awareness and trust. It is mostly implemented by software-as-a-service companies to drive their sales. These also include joint product partnerships where product mergers or white label marketing are done. Tech companies sell or lease their products or services to a partner, and the partner uses them under their brand name.


Content Partnership

According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, 91 percent of B2B marketers implement content marketing. Partnering to create content with another popular brand that complements your services or products can lead to new engagement and leads. Content partnership also involves sharing or building links with another brand within the content so that both brands get exposure by using advanced search engine optimization. Content like whitepapers, articles, blogs, infographics, podcasts, and videos can also be created collaboratively and marketed to attract the target audience of both partners.

Now that we have explored the types of B2B marketing partnerships, let us look at how to create a healthy B2B marketing partnership.

Tips to Creating a Healthy B2B Partnership

Here are some tips you can use while creating a B2B partnership.

Start with a Simple Partnership

If you are new to B2B partnerships, start with a simple partnership. If it works out well, you can scale it up.

Define your Goals and KPIs

Set clear goals and define your KPIs to understand the impact of the partnership on your sales and revenue. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Research Your Probable Partners

Research your probable partners thoroughly to make sure they can assist you with your goals and that the partnership can be mutually beneficial.

Your Target Audience Should Match

Select a partner who has a similar target audience to yours. Whatever products or services you offer should match this partner’s brand audience, so you get good results.

Stress on Feedback

Get feedback on your prospective partner from a third-party (neutral source) so you have a good perspective on what you can expect from the partnership.

Summing It Up

B2B partnership marketing can scale your sales if you choose a great partner based on the goals and business objectives you have in mind. According to a Forrester report and Wolfgang Digital, high-maturity partnership programs generate 28 percent. So, it is safe to say that B2B partnership marketing strategies work tremendously well when implemented well.

FAQ


What is channel partner marketing?

Channel partner marketing includes methods used for promoting products or services that channel partners sell. Channel partners act as an intermediary between the vendor and the end customer.

How can you design an effective partner marketing strategy?

You can create an effective partner marketing strategy by aligning business plans, building out marketing campaigns, and engaging dedicated partner marketing account managers and specialists.

What are some examples of partnership marketing activities?

Some examples of partnership marketing activities are holding live events that target similar prospects, creating content pieces together, and co-producing and co-promoting webinars.

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Partners can acquire the new Specializations by showcasing a combination of product and sales expertise through customer wins and a go-to-market strategy. The new Partner Specializations showcase partners’ unique strengths in the market and encourage innovative ways to continue to grow their ServiceNow practice. “Last year at this time, we made a massive commitment to our partner community by completely transforming our partner program to ensure that partners are front and center in everything we do as a company,” said Erica Volini, senior vice president, global partnerships at ServiceNow. “With the launch of Specializations, our customers can easily identify partners with the best experience and expertise they need to help solve some of their biggest digital transformation challenges.” Obtaining a Specialization will help partners in three critical areas: Differentiate among the ecosystem:Partners will receive badging that will appear across their ServiceNow profiles with increased visibility on the ServiceNow Partner Finder. Prospective customers will also be able to search partner experts in Partner Finder based on the current Specializations. Unlock new revenue opportunities:Each Specialization addresses a pressing customer need that presents a large, untapped market opportunity and high year-over-year growth. Earn benefits to grow ServiceNow practices:ServiceNow will offer additional benefits for partners to build and grow their business through invitation to the ServiceNow Partner Advisory Council to ensure their needs and counsel are being addressed across the broader ServiceNow ecosystem. Qualifying partners will also have access to ServiceNow co-marketing programs and the ServiceNow Partner Development Fund announced last January. The program is launching with three Specializations, Service Operations, Serve the Customer and Power the Employee, that present large market opportunities with high year-over-year growth and a large total addressable market (TAM). All Specializations can be obtained at the regional and global level as well as two levels of achievement for further differentiation. Additional Partner Specializations are expected to be launched in 2024. The three Partner Specializations are expected to be available for partners to obtain starting in ServiceNow’s second quarter of 2024. Many partners have already expressed their feedback on the importance of the ServiceNow Partner Specializations including: Jason Rosenfeld, Senior Vice President at Cask: “ServiceNow’s new Partner Specializations offer an opportunity for Cask to showcase our unique consulting expertise and change management solutions to drive digital transformation across enterprises. Program updates like subsequent badging and product line achievements provide greater reach and visibility with organizations looking for the best partner to meet their specific needs. We believe Specializations and the partner finder are a winning combo for connecting customers with the right support and implementations.” Michael Lombardo, Chief Executive Officer at GlideFast Consulting: “We’re thrilled about the new designations to ServiceNow’s Partner Program. With new Partner Specializations, we can continue expanding our technical consulting services and delivering deep ServiceNow expertise to new markets. We look forward to helping customers find value in the Now Platform.” Michael Vadini, Chief Executive Officer at Infocenter:“Today, organizations are looking for a collaborative partner for support with the adoption and scale of new technologies. ServiceNow’s new Partner Specializations will help Infocenter build industry-specific solutions and accelerate technology for customers and their businesses more quickly. We are excited about the enhanced benefits offered by ServiceNow and the continued focus on partners.” Jon Reynolds, Senior VP Global Alliances & Corp Development at Thirdera, a Cognizant Company:“As our company looks to further expand our work across different industries, we’re focused on differentiating our services and ServiceNow platform expertise. ServiceNow's comprehensive Partner Program provides valued guidance and incentives to improve how we advise, implement and optimize technology for businesses worldwide. ServiceNow sets a standard for what it means to be an innovative partner.” ServiceNow is also launching a brand-new partner channel on LinkedIn. Join the new social community for the latest ServiceNow partner news here. For more information on the ServiceNow Partner Specializations visit here. About ServiceNow ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) makes the world work better for everyone. 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