How does a small-mid sized business approach an established business for partnership?
We are a small to medium sized business that temporary staffs service providers. One of our prospect is New Zealand's iconic brand and they already have one big service provider.
What should be our strategy to successfully approach this brand and get our foot in the door?
I have used a Responsibility Matrix to help communicate the value each party brings to a partnership. This simple spreadsheet basically takes the elements of the deal that they, and you, bring to the table and displays that value tangibly. This makes it much easier to show your value add and the necessity for a partnership, while giving credit to them for what they offer as well.
Identify who the people are that you want to talk with and find out who knows them and then ask for an introduction. Once you have the introduction set up a meeting with the purpose of getting to know them and find out what they need/want and might not be getting from your competitor.
My experience in approaching a larger organization to provide services to them is to clearly be able to identify where my companies core capabilities fit a specific need that the larger company has an issue with. Forgetting about the fact that they have a one big solution provider already, your best bet is to have a great understanding of what you do that is different than any other company in your space does; i.e. your discriminator. Bring this to the head of the group that purchases your type of service stating that you would like to send them a one page explanation of where you solve their problem (can also do a process you developed that no one else follows, a better way to source and track candidates, etc). This was you can send them something with the hope that they allow you a foot in the door. From there, sell, sell, sell.
Keep in mind that a lot of companies go to one to three top providers for finding talent. Your job is finding a soft spot where you can be a go-to resource for both the large company even if that means you go through the larger service provider.
By being prepared at hand, by approaching the right person at the best time, by being creative and effectively negotiable, and by doing all this while keeping the "spark"alive. Because after all, it is about relationships, negotiations, and mutual interest. Show him a potential plan, bring the roses first.
I am sure my Colleagues have already stated these elements. There 3 Parts of Go to Market Relationship: Relationship Management, Mutual Revenue, and Customer Success - you have to Plan out the Relationship as a Process. If you don't do that, then you are just looking for a Logo for your Website, and it won't be successful.
There is no way to appear more suitable for the job than to become big. If you really want the contract, spend money and time on it and show you're committed. Shoot for plan B - oh we really want to work with you - and there's no turning back.
The key to a win-win partnership is to offer something that is valuable to them and relatively cheap to you in exchange for something that is of value to you but easy for them to part with. As others have said this requires doing a bit of research into what your prospective partner really values and where you can find complimentarity. Sometimes you need to think quite laterally.
Why have you picked this particular partner? If it is for the prestige then it may be difficult, but if you have done archetypal customer analysis ( what are the characteristics of your best customers) and they are a slam dunk for your proposition then do not be put off by their size. Assuming there is no politics at play, bigger companies like to have new nimble suppliers because they know that they are hungry and more eager to please than more established firms. That said they do need to be convinced that you wil still be around in a year or two.
Good luck. The kiwis are very open to innovative young firms. One of their best export stories is only a few years old - the cloud accounting business Xero.
It is not a rule, but in general big companies buy from big companies. This is because big providers have more "muscle mass" to respond faster on failures.
So, to be a player in this game, in my opinion you should work in some points:
- get refererrals from your current clients - you should start to build your brand, provide credibility;
- try to find out the benefits and the business model your big concurrents provide and try to list your weaknesses when compared to your current offer.
- make or review your sales material to support you on your sales meetings;
- with this information in mind, build relationship with key people on the big companies you want to work for.
Richard Stern-Suggest you research a "void" in the market you can fill that the large company does not do.
In the proposal discuss profits and growth opportunities.
Well said...As a rule people buy from whom they like...