Like most, my own company stemmed from a problem that hadn’t yet been solved - accurately mapping indoor spaces. REITs and mall owners were struggling to keep their in-mall directories up to date and it was negatively impacting their shopper experience and pushing more share towards e-commerce. We took this information on the cyclical impact of an infrastructure shortcoming and applied it to how we approached prospective clients, presenting a clear understanding of the problem that needed to be solved and how we could help fix it. After reflecting on my company’s recent partnership with Simon Property Group, I realized that in order to win the big fish, you must first understand their biggest problem and then prove you can solve it.
Step One: Identify the Problem
Pinpointing the problem that your product solves is the first step towards developing successful partnerships. For enterprise software, if you understand where and how your product impacts your clients’ customers, you can immediately provide value by offering it as a solution that simplifies or completely solves this critical challenge.
Step Two: Win Internal Advocates
Next, identifying members of a prospective partner’s team who understands the magnitude of the solution your product offers is critical to clearly conveying your company’s value early on. Internal advocates become incredibly beneficial as you present your solution further up the ranks, as they’re able to vouch for your offerings with the confidence often needed to invest in a new solution. Even as you identify your internal advocates, it’s equally as important to present your solution in a way that allows everyone - even the less technically adept - to understand how useful your product is.
Step Three: Don’t Stop When the Ink’s Still Wet
Presenting your client with a detailed, highly strategic plan of how you intend to implement your solution and solve the problem at hand proves that you’ve thought beyond winning the contract. Never underestimate the value of forward thinking; it may sound like a given, but you’d be surprised how many people forget that the real work comes after the work in securing a partnership.
Step Four: Keep Going!
With the right plan in place, securing new relationships will set your company on a new path to success, but it’s a common misconception that winning big clients means your product is already the best it can be. In reality, winning partnerships should encourage you to assess and improve your product in order to continuously showcase the value of what you’re bringing to the table.
-Hongwei Liu, Co-Founder and CEO, Mappedin