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This post was a guest post originally published in AaltoES TeamUp Blog: http://teamup.aaltoes.com/blog/

There is a popular saying that goes: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” . A very important part of developing and growing a business is who you associate with. That is why as part of AaltoES TeamUp program we decided to host a couple of workshops about the value of building B2B (business-to-business) relationships and partnerships. This post covers the main points of the presentation given by our Head of Marketing Claudio Camacho at those workshops.

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B2B relationships play an strategic role in a company. Selecting your partners right can help you increase your sales and behind ahead of your competitors while keeping margins. The aim of a B2B partnership is to work together with another company to bring stronger success for both parties. B2B relationships should add significant value to your product, marketing or business overall.

There are many theories about how to build and develop strategic partnerships and B2B relationships. At Tuxera, we believe that all these theories can be reduced down to two simple principles:

Two principles for successful B2B relationships

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1. Everybody needs somebody. Sometimes.

Apple and network operators. Tesla and Airbnb. Could you think of any successful company or startup that does not have a partnership? Having the best product, the best marketing, or the best team just by itself is not longer enough to ensure you will succeed on your venture . The sooner you admit you need partners, the faster you will develop your business and the markets.

2. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Most companies think that the main purpose of a partnership should be to bring more revenue to both partners involved. However, when building strategic relationships and partnerships, you should be thinking about the results for the end user. The fact that you get more revenue from a partnership is an outcome, not a purpose. The purpose of a strategic partnership should always be to bring even more added value to the end user through a better user experience. Using “more revenue” as a value proposition for your partners is never a good selling point. Telling your partners how much better their users will do after you combine your products or services (so much better user experience, so much more added value than before) will take you way further.

Different cases, different partnerships

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The likelihood of your business succeeding without strategic relationships is null. Partnerships are especially useful in the following cases:

Entering a new market. A clear example here is the partnership Samsung and Facebook have through the Gear VR platform. The combination of the best hardware from Samsung and the best software from Facebook’s Oculus brings many good things for both companies and long-term possibilities based on the evolution of VR. Samsung offers Facebook access to casual VR consumers thanks to their widespread mobile ecosystem, while Facebook builds and develops tomorrow’s social VR experiences.

Complimentary markets. Sometimes it just make sense for two companies to work together due to the nature of the services and products. This is for instance the case of Airbnb and KLM airlines. Both companies connect people around the world and in most cases people who flight are in need of accomodation. As part of this partnership, KLM users are able to search for a place to stay on Airbnb through the KLM website along with their flight booking.

Bringing a product to the next level. If you offering is based in attributes like high quality, luxury, superiority,… you need expert partners that are the best in their area. Think for instance about BMW. The car manufacturer partners with companies that excel at what they do (e.g. Bridgestone for wheels, Delphi for infotainment…) to extreme enhance their product and build a better driving experience than they could do by themselves.

Key takeaways

To summarize, you always need partnerships if you want to grow and be successful, and, when you work on your partnership forget about increased revenue and focus on the final user experience as the main theme of your value proposition. How does your partnership portfolio currently look like? We are interested to hear about your experiences with B2B partnerships.

 

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Eva Rio
Eva Rio is a service designer and marketing manager at Tuxera Inc. Eva is also one of the lead organizers of the Finnish Android Association (now Google Developers Group Helsinki), the largest community of mobile developers in the Nordic countries. At Tuxera she works closely with developer communities to strengthen the software ecosystem in Helsinki region and drives design thinking initiatives to improve customer experience. Eva holds a M.Sc in Service Design and Engineering from Aalto University.