No one can do everything alone. Big businesses constantly partner to meet consumer needs. Why shouldn’t smaller companies leverage their own advantages to do the same?
In an era of constant connection, the evolution of consumer needs outpaces most companies’ ability to keep up. Amazon and Netflix have taught consumers that personalization should be the norm. Alone, startups and small businesses might struggle to meet higher expectations. Together, companies can deliver customer experiences that are more than the sum of their parts.
To give your customers the experiences they deserve, consider opportunities to leverage B2B partnerships:
1. Help one another provide more value.
Big companies can afford to handle multiple verticals. Smaller businesses simply don’t have that kind of cash. However, you can create the same experience at a fraction of the price by partnering with other businesses.
Smart home brand Plume, for instance, works with ISPs to bring smart home technology to the homes of ISP customers. Up against big-money ISPs, smaller outfits rarely have enough resources to offer the same variety of services and perks. Through this partnership, ISPs of all sizes can offer perks like Adaptive WiFi and AI security.
Consider how businesses tangential to your industry could help you provide unexpected value. An auto rental company could work with a travel agency to help visitors find the most scenic rides. A pet brand and a cleaning solutions provider could offer a co-branded line of pet-friendly cleaning products. When it comes to mutually beneficial partnerships, the only limit is your imagination.
2. Link your loyalty programs.
If you don’t have a loyalty program yet, what are you waiting for? Loyalty programs provide more personalized customer experiences, increase referral traffic, and create social proof you can use to market your company.
Several companies offer merged loyalty programs to help consumers get the best of both worlds. Many airlines work with restaurant groups to reward diners when they use airline credit cards. That creates another type of program connection through the banks processing the payments.
If you don’t see an opportunity to partner with another company, consider integrating your loyalty programs (at least partially). This move could introduce you to a new customer base and create a short-term spike after the program goes live. But be cautious about the math to prevent opportunists from taking advantage of loopholes.
3. Join for a cause.
Even if your company and your potential partner have little in common, you can still join forces for the greater good. Now that 63% of consumers prefer to buy from purpose-driven brands, companies need reasons beyond profit to attract new business. You can do good for your cause while introducing your brand to an audience predisposed to view you favorably.
Don’t limit your search for a partner to your industry or the industries that directly affect yours. Consumers don’t care if your partnership begins and ends at your commitment to the issue. They just want to see brands champion the same values they do.
If your company hasn’t yet identified a greater purpose, unite your leadership team to pick one that makes sense. Which issues matter to your people? You can take inspiration from others, but don’t borrow someone else’s mission outright. Find your calling, then look for others with whom to combine your efforts.
4. Look to corporations.
You don’t need 10-figure revenues to find advantages in a corporate partnership. Corporations and startups make great teams under the right circumstances. Your company can provide niche value to a corporate partner; your new big sibling can help with funding, vendor relationships, or new audience introductions.
If your business sells B2B products and services, don’t view potential partners through the lens you use with potential clients. This isn’t about making a sale. It’s about forming a long-term partnership that benefits both sides. When potential partners realize you want to work together — not make a deal — they’ll at least hear you out.
Joining the big leagues might sound intimidating, but don’t let the high stakes deter you. Take pride in your company’s agility and novelty. Understand what you bring to the table. Even if your corporate partnership never evolves into a business agreement, your new partner could help you find clients down the road.
Your customers will always want a little more — and so will everyone else’s. Do the right thing for your audience and your business by partnering with other companies. You’ll be able to provide a wider range of services, boost your value offering, and set the foundation for stronger growth.