- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Low Hanging Fruit. Where do you already have connections and what partners are going to be the easiest to develop?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.