The ‘Give & Get’ Approach to B2B Partnerships


By Rebecca Smith, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing.

Your business starts and stops with the relationships you develop. It’s all about networking and working together to grow your business. Your partner relationships are no different. They probably started because of some networking event you both attended and the rest is history.

Setting up a partnership with a company that can provide a product or service you don’t offer will help your business operate effectively and efficiently. Your company probably doesn’t do everything or have every technological feature, and it really shouldn’t anyway. To help meet (and exceed!) all of your clients’ expectations, start developing these B2B relationships that can easily turn into strong partnerships.

In order to maximize your partnerships, you have to make sure your agreement works well for both parties. Usually, it’s a give and get attitude. Or, in other words, “I scratch your back, you scratch mine.” Setting expectations up front about what you are going to do for them and what they are going to do for you is really important. Having that clear pathway of how this affiliation will work is what will maintain strong relationships with both each other and your clients.

To set the stage for a successful B2B partnership, here are some questions you should be thinking about:

What kind of companies should I be teaming up with?

In other words, what product or service will work harmoniously with my company’s goals and objectives? Before you can even mention to another company that you’re interested in a partnership, make sure the company is the right fit for your business. You pair up with the wrong company and your business could be headed on a downhill slope pretty quickly.

Have you screened and eliminated?

Now that you’ve determined the kinds of companies that will enhance your product or service, have you looked into their reputation? That may sound a little shallow, but you want to team up with a company that will make you look good.

Ask yourself these additional questions:

  • Is the potential partner established?
  • Are they profitable?
  • How old are they?

What do you want to get out of this relationship? What is realistic for you to give them?

Develop a clear picture of what this relationship should look like. If it is working really well, what does the interaction with the partner look like? How closely do you two work together on your goals and objectives? Developing a relationship takes time so this process might start out slowly. Develop small milestones or goals at first. It can only grow from here.

Are you planning on generating leads together?

Developing a joint marketing or lead generation plan is ideal. Most successful partnerships have a plan like this in place. Not only does it focus on generating leads, but it increases awareness of your brands which can generate leads over time. Work together to brainstorm ways you can create mutual leads. Explore running integrated marketing campaigns that benefit both businesses.

How will client-sharing or referrals work?

Generating leads is awesome, but getting buyers is even better. A partnership that lasts will refer highly qualified leads and buyers to one another. If your partner does well, it’s safe to say you’ll do well also. Your products or services go hand-in-hand, and of course you want to think that you can’t have one without the other. Your buyer can be convinced of the same thing.

Nothing says, “I love this partnership” like referring highly qualified leads and buyers to your partner. A true B2B partnership isn’t about creating a one-and-done relationship. It’s about longevity; reciprocally supporting one another long-term.

Successful business initiatives take time and effort. Find companies that adhere to your goals and mission, and work together to create a long-lasting partnership that can help both parties see results. Thriving partnerships can help take your business to the next level.