Your Partner Value Proposition is NOT Your Customer Value Proposition

Pretty much everyone agrees that your customer value proposition is the cornerstone of your marketing efforts.  It’s why your customers should buy your product or service – the benefits of doing so, or what you’ll lose out on if you don’t buy.

To enter into and maximize partnerships, you likewise need a partner value proposition: Why should they partner with YOU?

value proposition

In the case of your indirect sales channel partners, simply explaining your customer value proposition is not enough.  “We have neat products” only goes so far.

Yes, they may be interested in partnering with you if they think THEIR customers will find the product value proposition attractive. But they have to make a margin that is better than other options, be efficiently equipped to adequately sell and support the products, and they have to want to work with you. 

Your value proposition is your elevator speech to attract the partners that you want to do business with.  Increasingly, the best partners have other options, including just focusing more on the portfolio they already have, or working with your competitors instead. A great partner value proposition opens the door and makes them want to hear more.

So your partner value proposition needs to explain the benefits and advantages of working with you.  Do those benefits outweigh the costs and risks of working with you?  Taking on new products and a new supplier takes resources that they could use to do something else.

A bad or nonexistent one means you may never hear from them again.  Worse, they may take on your products making optimistic (or opportunistic) assumptions about your partner value proposition; if those assumptions turn out to be wrong, you’ll quickly move down the pecking order in their priorities.  And getting them back on track at that point is unlikely.

Your partners are not the same as your end customers.  So your partner value proposition needs to be different from your customer value proposition.

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