Show That You Can Manage the Partnership
One of the biggest hesitations that large companies have when working with startups is that they will be unable to properly manage an influx of new customers. Emphasize that sales and support is the main priority of your company. Bring Fortune 100 representatives into your office and show them your ability to scale up as volume increases. Provide them with your current sales and support processes and metrics, your onboarding procedure, and any associated costs. This transparency will help to sell your ability to manage growth.
Send Personal Gifts
Personal touches go a long way. At Mhelpdesk we like to send a personal gift to anyone who manages a potential deal. The moment we have a channel or sales operations manager assigned, we send them flowers. We also determine their personal interests by reading their Twitter accounts. In one example, we quickly determined that our channel manager was a big Rutgers fan. Two months into the relationship, we sent her four tickets to a game.
I can’t begin to describe the benefits this had for our company. She helped us get a co-marketing budget from the Fortune 100 company, she pushed our product to the sales team as a high-priority item, and even put our partnership program in the next highest tier (which means more resources) that would normally take years to attain. If I were to quantify our personal gift strategy and put on a return on investment, it’d be more than 10,000 percent.
Hire an Ex-CEO of a Current Partner as a Consultant
One last thing to consider when trying to land these lucrative partnerships is hiring the ex-CEO of a company who is already an established partner of the target Fortune 100 company. He or she can help you navigate the organization with valuable insight into internal politics and influential stakeholders. You’ll also be able to leverage their existing relationships.
Bottom line: Landing a partnership with a Fortune 100 company is hard. You’re going to have to ensure that the deal makes sense to them – in terms of product and financials. Assuming it does, these tactics have helped us in the past and, I believe, greatly increased our chances of closing a deal.
Ryan Shank is the COO of Mhelpdesk, a field service software company that helps small businesses manage their jobs, scheduling and invoices.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.