10 Rules for Attracting a Big Partner
At MediaSpark, we have successfully partnered with several of the largest companies in the world to promote our GoVenture products. We are often asked
how we initially attracted these companies and how we went about building winning relationships.
Here are the 10 rules we follow:
(1) Have a great product or service; that's what will open the door. And the more credibility (awards, media attention, etc.) you have before you knock, the better.
(2) Articulate a vision for a product line, not just a single product. Large, well-established players know that a significant up-front investment for a single product may not generate a return until subsequent products are introduced.
(3) Know the business model. You must know how your partner makes money;
where and how they focus their efforts; and what determines their choices.
No matter how revolutionary your product may be, a big player isn't going
to change their business model to suit you, so you must figure out how
to best fit into their world.
(4) If you have a personal relationship to help you get closer to the decision makers, use it. If not, try to at least establish an internal champion within your potential partner company whom you can call upon when needed.
(5) Be persistent and act with urgency. In most cases, the partner will be slow
and you will be far from the top on their agenda. While you don't want to be
overly aggressive, you must react quickly and make yourself available to move
the deal along when the opportunity presents itself.
(6) Once you have attracted serious interest, be sure to clearly understand their
motivation and limitations. That way, you can structure the best and most
flexible deal possible, while making sure you don't leave any money or other benefit on the table. Try to set up face-to-face meetings whenever possible.
(7) Don't start with your best offer first; leave room to negotiate. If you receive a lower counter offer that you would be willing to accept, first ask for something in return — otherwise, it may be perceived that you still have room to move.
(8) Be careful with giving up exclusivity. Most large players will demand it, but
your product is your future. If exclusivity is unavoidable, be sure to include specific
marketing initiatives in the contract, and define a limit on geography, market,
and timeframe. Include an exit clause if obligations are not met, and ask for
something extra in return (an advance on royalties, extra effort, etc.).
(9) If your new partner will act as a reseller for your products, provide customer
profiles and sales scripts and be sure your products are properly introduced to
the new partner's sales force. If possible, try to attend and present at your
partner's national and regional sales meetings.
(10) Continue to communicate. Once the relationship is established, it is much
easier for a big player to work with you on new initiatives. Stay top of mind, and continue to work on deepening the relationship.