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IMG_8394-1How do you most efficiently find the right marketing partner?  Here’s a guide to help you in your quest for the best marketing partners:

  1. Have a clear partnership marketing plan.  Before you even begin prospecting make sure that your goals are well defined and determine how partnership marketing relates to your overall marketing plan.
  2. Determine Partner Categories and Qualifications.  What industries align best with yours?  Look at your own marketing channels and determine which industries utilize a similar mix of channels as your own.  What products and services are being sold in the same marketplaces as yours?
  3. Scale.  How big does a partner have to be to make them a suitable partner?  Is this measured in transactions, retail outlets, overall customer base, web visits, Facebook fans, revenues?  Scratch partners off the list if they don’t meet your minimum requirements.
  4. Low Hanging Fruit.  Where do you already have connections and what partners are going to be the easiest to develop?
  5. Access.  Where can you develop new connections the easiest?  Do some industries have more bureaucracy or over taxed marketing staffs?  Who is most willing to hear your story?
  6. Partnership History. What companies have partnership personnel in place and/or have executed a number of partnerships in the past?  Companies with partnership marketing experience are going to be able to proceed more quickly and have a better idea of what works for them.
  7. Timing. Do you have a sense of urgency surrounding your partnerships? If so, will certain business categories be able to implement partnerships quicker than others? If your partnership program has to be part of a marketing budget when is the planning period for the next budget?
  8. Who have your best partners been historically? If partnership marketing is not a new venture to you then establish who your best partners have been in the past and look for similar partners.
  9. Competitive partnerships. Who has partnered with your competitors?  Would these same partners be suitable for you as well?

Once you’ve determined all of the attributes you want in a partner you should then develop a prospect list. For most business categories you will want ten prospects for each eventual partner you hope to develop. Just remember – the more strategic your prospecting – the less time you’ll be spending in developing and selling partnerships.