How to build and maintain strategic partnerships

by James Ker-Reid - February 16, 2022

Is your business focusing on strategic partnerships as much as it should be?

If you are struggling with your proposition, revenue, or onboarding the right people, strategic partnerships may be the key ingredient that you’re overlooking.

In today’s blog, we are outlining what strategic partnerships are, how to build them, and how to sustain them long-term.

Let’s dive in!

What Are Strategic Partnerships?

Defined as a “Business partnership that involves the sharing of resources between two or more individuals or companies to help all involved succeed,” strategic partners typically consist of non-competing businesses that share both the risks and rewards of their joint decision-making.

These strategic business partnerships create a symbiotic process in which you can trade services with, bounce ideas off of, and/or generate referrals. They primarily work to expand and refine each associated company’s customer base, employee base, brand awareness, reach, and even pricing or propositions. 

The six main types of strategic partnerships are:

  • Marketing partnerships, which focus on generating customer referrals and expanding each company’s scope of advertising
  • Supply partnerships, are made up of vendors or manufacturers who supply your business with services, goods, or materials 
  • Supply chain partnerships, which involve more than two companies who work together to create one finished product
  • Integration partnerships, which consist of a company partnering with an automation business or other type of integration-based business to both generate consistent revenue and ensure that the customer journey runs smoothly
  • Technology partnerships, which are made up of companies partnering with tech-based businesses which can either fix or improve their existing tech (such as computers or cloud services)
  • Financial partnerships, which typically involve a financial firm handling a company’s bookkeeping for them

We recommend analyzing your business to determine which type of strategic partnership would benefit you best before starting.

How to Build Strategic Partnerships

Now that you know why you should be building strategic partnerships, let’s focus on how you can achieve them.

Firstly, outline the value that your business is looking to receive and the value that your business can provide. This will steer you towards the type of business arrangement that will work best for both parties.

Next, don’t necessarily limit yourself to potential strategic partners with who you are already familiar. With 68% of executives stating that they see partnership ecosystems as the only way to survive in today’s market, it’s key to not limit your options.

Once you have settled on a potential strategic partnership, ensure that you all align on shared short-term and long-term objectives, values, and company cultures. After all, if you don’t have the same shared end goal, it is unlikely that you will be able to provide sufficient value to one another.

Lastly, communicate! Negotiate an iron-clad contract and set regular touchpoints to review progress to guarantee that all partners continue to be happy with the arrangement.

How to Maintain Successful Strategic Partnerships

To maintain successful strategic partnerships, focus on the two C’s: cultivate and communicate.

Setting overlapping goals, consistently communicating about what is working (and what needs work), and continuing to cultivate value on both sides is the key to any successful strategic partnership long-term.

When done right, a strategic partnership can benefit everyone involved, creating the potential for increased growth across the board. Once you’ve built a strategic partnership, don’t lift your foot off the gas! Maintaining one requires work.

Get Started With Your Strategic Partnership Today

If you’re a B2B tech startup looking to undertake your journey to establishing a successful strategic partnership but are in need of assistance to get the ball rolling, get in touch with the Sales for Startup Team today: we are proud to showcase our carefully-curated partners, from empowering software and essential services to automation that nurture our business. 



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