Interestingly, financing is not the top reason for start-ups to pursue partnerships, or even among the top three. Their top motive is getting access to the larger partner’s market

- Tawanda Sibanda, McKinsey

The debate continues over whether partner ecosystems will stick around or is only a passing business trend. However, at HYPE Innovation, we recognize the significant value that partner ecosystems can bring to any business, regardless of whether they’re a startup or a more established company. 

Here, we share some key insights about what strategic partner management is, how to create successful partnerships, the benefits of partner management for your business, and how to get started.

Let’s dive in!

What is Strategic Partner Management? 

There are many definitions of strategic partner management, but this is what it means to us:

Strategic partnership management is about identifying problems to be solved collaboratively with partners, scouting for matching partners and then building a long-lasting relationship with them – keeping stakeholders in the loop.

Benefits of strategic partner management

Several key benefits highlight why strategic partner management is a smart move for your business:

  • Collaborative problem solving 

    The core reason for involving partners is to work jointly to solve underlying problems and come up with ideal solutions. Rallying potential partners around concrete problems to solve help significantly. As well as transparently selecting your shortlist and creating structure in your database.

  • Partners Support 

    Depending on the nature of the opportunity or problem, different types of partners come into play. Established companies have the benefit of having a bigger budget or access to more resources compared to startups. That’s why having partners and leveraging their support can be beneficial when it comes to moving things along quickly. 

  • Expand Your Company’s Network 

    Having the right software in place allows you to scout and filter new potential partnership opportunities. It can also save you time and enable you to grow your network quickly. Partnerships also give you the opportunity to meet other like-minded peers and build long-lasting relationships that could lead to further partnerships down the road. 

But what does a partnership relationship need to be successful?

How to Develop Successful Strategic Partnerships? 

Three key elements create successful strategic partnerships:

  1. Scout for new partners online

    Use existing technology tools and digital marketing channels like email, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. Regularly update your corporation’s online profiles to highlight accomplishments. Use the internet and involve external scouts and recruiters for extended reach and new network connections. 
  2. Assess and select your partners carefully

    Self-analysis: Relationships get off to a good start when partners know themselves and their industry. It’s helpful if executives have experience in evaluating potential partnerships so that they won’t be easily swayed by the first prospect that comes along.

    Relationship chemistry: Highlighting the personal side of business relationships is not to deny the importance of the financial and strategic aspects of partnerships. Deals often turn on the rapport between chief executives that stems from their personal and social interests. A good personal rapport between executives creates goodwill to draw on if tensions develop.

    Partnership compatibility: The courtship period tests compatibility in terms of common experiences, values, principles, and goals for the future. While analysts can examine financial viability, leaders can assess the less tangible aspects of compatibility. 
  3. Document interactions with potential partners

    Document every interaction with potential partnerships in your CRM system and include detailed notes so everyone can view the progress being made.

With those three key elements in place there is no reason why you can’t develop successful partner relationships. 

Why Should Businesses Invest in Strategic Partner Management?  

If your business is on the fence about investing time, money, and energy into strategic partner management, it’s worth highlighting these three key benefits of partnering up with other corporations:

  • Explore and attract new opportunities:

    Bring in external experts to solve your current challenges. And if those experts already have proven solutions out in the market, collaboration looks like an attractive opportunity. 
  • Gain new partnerships quickly

    The faster you can leverage partnerships, the bigger your competitive advantage will become. When collaborating with startups, speed is of the essence. Otherwise, a competitor might snap up the opportunity. 
  • Receive additional guidance on gaining new partnerships 

    Right now, it’s likely that there are already one or several potential partnerships in discussion at your company. But many employees don’t know how to efficiently bring these conversations to a successful end. Guiding them on what to do and how to do it will increase the probability of success. 

This insight from Narry Singh emphasizes the importance corporations place on collaborating with partners, and startups in particular: 

We can expect to see more partnerships and collaborations taking place between corporations and startups as 80% of corporations are interested in knowing more about startups and pursuing a professional relationship.

Three Reasons Why Strategic Partner Management is Valuable and Will Stick Around 

Going back to the original idea behind this post, you could argue that this whole topic is just another business buzzword, so why not ignore it and wait for the next wave? However, at HYPE, we believe that strategic partnerships are invaluable and will continue to flourish. Why? 

  1. Collaboration with other startups means you can move at a much quicker pace, take more risk, more easily deal with complex issues, and have more focus. 
  2. Established Companies can Support Startups increasing their ability to innovate and work with emerging technologies while providing them with access to infrastructure, funding, industry experts, and market access.
  3. Partnering with academia gives both parties access to more resources to undertake research projects and diversify research areas. In addition, publicizing their research through partnerships can help academic institutions gain more funding. 

And if that wasn’t enough, this eye-opening statistic from the State of Startup and Corporate Collaboration highlights how important partnerships are when it comes to innovation:

 82% of responding corporations believe that it is somewhat important to work with startups in order to innovate.

How Should Your Business Start Partner Management?  

To begin your partnership journey, searching through a database like HYPE Partnering is a great place to identify potential candidates for partnership, and can be invaluable for any team, no matter how big or small or how experienced.


So what benefits can software like Hype Partnering bring to partner management? 

A consistent central information hub 

Have all the latest data around your partnerships in one place, so that everyone knows the latest changes. It should be seamlessly integrated into day-to-day tools like Microsoft Outlook to make updating data just one click away. Another important aspect of such integrations is the awareness-raising aspect. If you’re working with an external company, you might not even be aware that there is an established partnership already in place.  

Guide and support inexperienced colleagues

Your colleagues might not have experience in building a successful partnership so they might forget about crucial steps like having a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place or getting approval from senior management. Create a manual that outlines the crucial information and the steps needed to create successful partnerships. This also makes for an invaluable took to ensure that there are standards in place so that all partners have the same experience. 

Avoid a lack of focus and maximize clarity 

Your colleagues all have a lot on their plate and may forget about pushing for progress in a partnership. In the worst-case scenario, your potential partner might reach a partnership agreement with one of your competitors if you don’t move quickly. Software that automatically reminds colleagues to keep pushing for partnerships can help to streamline the process of partner management. Colleagues can track the progress of potential partnerships and encourage their colleagues to finalize partnership agreements. 

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