The Power of Partnerships

Posted: Updated:

I recently sat down with Hyde Park Ventures partner, Tim Kopp, and Terminus CMO, Sangram Varje, to discuss how important partnerships are to growth. Sigstr is fortunate to be partners with companies like Terminus, Hubspot, Salesforce and several others. In fact, we are building partnerships into every facet of our business strategy because we believe that being good partners and patrons in our ecosystem is a powerful and efficient growth driver - and because the right partners add tremendous value for marketers, our customer.

You can't go it alone in tech. All technology companies, regardless of their segment, live in an ecosystem comprised of organisms of varying complexity. More mature companies in established categories can function at the top of the food chain, consuming smaller companies through acquisition, but startups are seldom if ever in a position to gain dominance through acquisition. It’s vital for the success of a startup to be able to play well with others as a point solution in a broader category - and the better you are at partnering and integrating with others, the more likely it is your company will be successful. Sage advice that I got from Tim Kopp when I was starting Sigstr was to "build your business on the shoulders of giants."

First and foremost - being an active participant in an ecosystem matters not only for your business, but for your category as a whole. Banding together with other individuals and businesses helps you become more resilient and immovable as the category becomes more crowded. If you’re doing things right, the category will no doubt become crowded, which is why it’s important to make careful, strategic partnerships that last and help you to stand out.

Your partner strategy needs to start in the bedrock of your product or service and permeate through every facet of the business, culminating in precise executive alignment on your partnership strategy. Having flexible technology that can leverage APIs is a great start, but the ability to maximize those integrations comes from executive sponsorship internally and externally. It’s also imperative to launch the partnership with a shared customer’s success story. Stories are what people remember and share, and it gives third party context to your partnership.

Your ecosystem is the sturdiest and most reliable growth driver for your business for two big reasons: brand and demand.

Brand Amplification - Investing in brand is expensive and, because it’s so difficult to measure, all the more risky of an investment. Partnering with companies in your ecosystem not only allows you to spread that risk over several parties, but it also helps to amplify your brand across them as well.

Demand Generation - Similar to brand amplification, integrating with other non-competitive companies in your ecosystem can not only provide outsize value to your product, but also grows your addressable market by sharing customers. The stronger your partnerships (and the bigger their megaphone) the more your demand generation efforts can be magnified.

Both of these things combined lead to increases in customer acquisition and retention, and the more integrated you are into your ecosystem, the more difficult it becomes to displace you. Developing these deep partner relationships isn’t easy though.

Partner relationships take a tremendous amount of time and effort and, as a result, represent significant gambles. Partner efforts are tough to measure and their outcomes are tough to predict. Every relationship is unique, so there’s no playbook to follow. And deep partnerships require a large amount of coordination from several disparate members of your respective teams, which is all the more reason to have a executive alignment on the partner strategy.

Ultimately, partnership math should always be 1+1 = 3. The easiest way to identify that is to think about what happens when you combine your audiences. You want your audience to mesh well with theirs, but you don’t want there to be too much existing overlap. Will the joint story you tell to this combined audience resonate and get them excited? Is the integration you’re creating going to create more value for everyone at a lower cost? Is a partnership something you feel you can mutually execute on quickly to bring to that audience? If the answer to these questions is yes- then what are you waiting for? Go make friends!

Dan Hanrahan is the founder and president of Sigstr.

  • Perspectives

    • It's Time For The U.S. to Adopt a Presidential Regional Primary and Caucus System

      As a high school senior at North Central High School in Indianapolis, Martin Moore, one of the best teachers that I ever had, challenged our Accelerated American Government class to think about how we nominate presidential candidates in the United States. Little did I know at the time that our conversations about changing the presidential primary/caucus structure would ring so true a few decades later. In response to Mr. Moore’s challenge, I wrote a paper outlining...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Fishers Among Finalists For National Prize

      The city of Fishers is one of 12 finalists for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. The award honors "communities that are bringing partners together around a shared commitment to health, opportunity, and equity."

    • Greenwood CEO Named Small Business Person of the Year

      The chief executive officer of a Greenwood-based company has been named the 2019 Small Business Person of the Year for Indiana. U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon announced Monday this year's winners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. 

    • Campaign to Honor Former Butler Star

      An orthodontic practice in central Indiana has launched a campaign supporting a nonprofit honoring former Butler University basketball star Andrew Smith. Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics says the Be The Change campaign aims to have up to 430 people join the bone marrow registry. Jason Bunch is spearheading the effort and says the practice wanted to support Project 44 after its founder, Andrew Smith's wife, Samantha Smith spoke at an event it hosted by the practice.

    • Greenwood CEO Named Small Business Person of the Year

      The chief executive officer of a Greenwood-based company has been named the 2019 Small Business Person of the Year for Indiana. U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon announced Monday this year's winners from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.   Casey Wright is the CEO of Wright's Gymnastics Academy and Ninja Zone.

    • Matt McIntyre is co-founder and executive director of Brackets For Good.

      Brackets For Good Launches New Program

      Indianapolis-based Brackets For Good Inc. is changing up its annual fundraising program. The sports-themed fundraising organization has launched Champ's Charity Challenge, in which users can fill out brackets for the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in the name of their charity of choice. The previous iteration of the program saw nonprofits competing in a tournament-style bracket of their own to see who could raise the most money. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business...