How to Make Your Software Business an Extraordinary Partner

Many of our software clients have been asking us what they have to do to get involved in partnerships. The first step is defining your partnership strategy. What do you have to do to be a market leader in partnerships?
If you own your own software company, you don’t want to be average. The fact you decided to go into business for yourself tells me that. So if you’re willing to go out on a limb to start your own company and be more, why would you want to be an ordinary, average partner? Yet many companies do that every day by not providing their partners with the information they need to sell your product. Providing information to your partners to increase your sales not only makes you an extraordinary partner, it also makes you a stronger company.
What sort of information do you need to provide to your partners? You need to answer the following questions for your partners:
• Who are you as a company? Partners need to know how big you are in terms of employees and revenue, if you can provide support, and how long you’ve been in business. They need to know you’ll still be around a year or two from now.
• What is your market? Partners need to know how big the pie is and how many other companies are trying to take a piece. They need to know what makes your product the solution to the customers’ problem.
• On what platform does your software run? Partners need to know the skill level their people need to work with your software. Is it based on skills they already have or do they need to learn something brand new?
• Do you customize your software? Partners need to know if they can have access to the code to customize it for their customers or if you do. They need to know if you handle any regulatory or statutory changes for different states or countries and if you don’t, who does.
• What kind of relationship do you have with your partners? Partners need to know if you provide special services for them, such as a direct support line or someone specific to deal with their issues.
• What kind of investment do you expect your partners to make? Partners need to know what kind of expense you expect in terms of time, resources, and money.
These are all questions you need to think about and answer before you start looking for partners. Can you get partners without answering these questions? Yes, in fact most software companies don’t provide this information. But responding to these questions improves the quality of partners you find and makes your partners more enthusiastic about working with you because they know you’ve done your homework. Partners need to know this information and you’ll come across as more credible if you answer the questions before they have to ask them.
Tripp Braden is an IT marketing and sales consultant who specializes in developing seven figure partnerships and businesses. He is also the editor of Market Leadership Journal. Discover how to grow your company through extraordinary partnerships by visiting where you can find information on the Software Marketing Toolkit.

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