Strategic Alliance Checklist

From Marketing Battleground, the book:

The United Nations is one of many strategic alliances formed by various countries with the goal of mutual benefit.

As a business owner, you should form strategic alliances for mutual benefit with other organizations and powerful people.

Getting your prospective customer’s attention is your first priority for acquiring new business. It’s also the biggest challenge. The market is saturated and distracted.

To overcome this challenge, form a Strategic Alliance with another company that already has the attention, access, and trust of a group of your potential customers. In Chapter 4 of Marketing Battleground, I revealed many benefits to forming Strategic Alliances. Here is a checklist:

1 – Know What They are Thinking About

Consider the thought process of the people in the organization that you hope to partner with. They already have the customers you are trying to reach. Although you may offer the business a nice profit-split, their biggest concern will likely be how you will treat their customers. They will want to know that you have a great product/service and that you will treat their customers at least as well as they are used to being treated.

It is not enough to tell your potential Strategic Alliance partner that you will take care of their customers. You must be believable and sincere. You will need to provide proof. Provide a sample of your product or service. Offer a book of testimonials from your customers.

It is highly possible that your potential partner will research you and your business outside of what you have provided. They will find and read your online reviews. In Chapter 8 of Marketing Battleground, I shared a story about a client who offered gift certificates to his customers during a promotional campaign. The gift certificate was to be used at a restaurant that our client regularly enjoyed. However, our client did an abrupt about-face and offered gift certificates for a different restaurant.  Although he personally liked the original restaurant, he cancelled sending his valued customers to them because of recent, bad online reviews that could reflect poorly on him for sending them there.  The point is, even if someone personally likes you and/or your company, they will protect their own reputation by shielding their customers from your bad one.

2 – Why, or How, Does an Alliance Benefit the Other Partner’s Customers?

Any partnership should add value for the other party’s customers. They should get something out of it. Don’t be lazy and go straight to discounting benefits. That may make sense, but there are other ways to offer value in this type of alliance.

3 – How Does the Alliance Benefit the Other Partner?

Of course, your partner will reap a share of the profits. But the value of a partnership should be more than that. Other business owners have most likely approached your targeted alliance partner with a share of profits. If a portion of profit is all that you offer or explain as a benefit, you may lose out. Advanced thinking on this subject is not included in this section. For more information, use the contact form at the bottom of this page.

4 – Why an Alliance Benefits You

The potential partner will want to know what’s in it for you. What is your motivation? To pilfer their customer list is not a good answer.

5 – Have a Plan

Don’t leave it up to your potential partner to figure out what a strategic alliance looks like. You can be flexible in terms or strategy, but come with a plan, not handing over more work for the potential partner.

6 – Everything Should Be in Writing

I’ve done deals with people whom I totally trust. Even so, get everything in writing in case someone forgets any details.

7 – Share Examples to Remove Guilt

At times you will encounter someone who believes that it’s wrong to allow other companies access to their customers and make money because of it. There are other reasons that I cover in Marketing Battleground.

A great method to explain the benefits for Strategic Alliances and help potential partners overcome concerns and objections, is to give them a copy of Marketing Battleground and tell them to read Chapter 4.

If you have thoroughly read Chapter 4, you realize the enormous power of Strategic Alliances. If you wish to purchase a bulk order of Marketing Battleground to share with other companies for the purpose of forming strategic partnerships, go to the Contact Us page and let us know. We can ship a bulk order of books and you can take it from there. If you place a large enough bulk order, we will help you write your letter that goes to each potential partner and ship all of it for you so that you can focus on your business while we do the work.

8 – Take Extra Good Care of the Partner’s Customers

In Chapter 5 of Marketing Battleground, I wrote about the importance of customer service — so it shouldn’t be a surprise here. Take extra special care of your partner’s customers by offering something extra that no other customers get. Or give them premier or VIP customer treatment.

Our company has alliances. We provide something for our referring partner’s customer that is not found anywhere else. It is our way of demonstrating to the referring partner that we will go above and beyond great service for their valued customers. It also demonstrates to the customers that the other partner is looking out for them.

9 – Make Sure the Other Partner Knows that You Took Good Care of Their Customers

When you get testimonials from a referring partner’s customer, get it to your partner immediately. It will make them feel good about referring you, and it will motivate them to do more of it.

10 – Track and Measure

There are many ways to track and measure the success of a Strategic Alliance campaign. Some are trickier than others. Second only to, “taking care of the referring partner’s customers” is tracking the success of your campaign and sharing it according to the agreement. You also should track and measure in the same way that you do for every other form of advertising/marketing.

For consulting on forming Strategic Alliances or Cross Promotions, fill out the form below.