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Sometimes known as channel partner development, partner development is a business strategy that typically involves entering into working arrangements with other vendors who offer goods and services that may be of interest to a company’s clients. This type of arrangement sometimes includes some incentives for customers of all the channel partners, such as discounts on certain goods or services. Considered a customer-centric approach to supporting clients by offering them a wider range of products through the same basic channel, the concept of partner development is used in a number of industries, including food service and telecommunications.
The actual structure of a partner development effort can differ, based on the goals of the partners involved. One approach has to do with startup companies that are hoping to enter into relationships that help them eventually become established in the marketplace. In this scenario, a new company will build relationships with more established companies that already have a solid client base, offering some type of goods or services that are likely to be of interest to those clients. This approach can benefit the startup, in that there is immediate exposure to potential customers through the partners. In addition, the relationship can help affirm that the products offered by the startup are unique or at least attractive enough to constitute minimum viable products that consumers will want to purchase.
Partner development does not have to involve only a startup company creating relationships with older companies. At times, the goal is to allow two or more partners to create relationships that allow their combined customer bases to enjoy a wider range of similar services. For example, an audio conferencing provider may choose to partner with a fax broadcasting company and a video conference provider, if each of the three companies do not currently offer the services provided by the other two. The end result of this type of strategic arrangement is that customers of all three companies have easy access to those ancillary services, usually with some special pricing involved. Customers have the benefit of working through a vendor they already trust while also enjoying pricing they would not likely be able to secure on their own.
With partner development, the goal is to create a working relationship that ultimately benefits customers and helps to solidify customer loyalty. As long as the products offered by each of the partners can be logically associated with one another in the minds of the clients, there is a good chance that each partner will retain their bases while also enjoying an upsurge in business as customers of their partners choose to take advantage of the incentives and place a few orders for those products. When all the partners have similar customer-centric policies and procedures and offer quality products, the potential of this type of working relationship is significant.