When you play in a competitive field, you will often come across other startups or established firms that you perceive as competitors. They target the same group of customers, may have a similar product or market focus and you often come across them while out selling. One thing to keep in mind is that many of your competitors can actually be some of your best partners, especially if they are well established in the industry. Here are a few top reasons why:
Product: You will often find that their products can be complementary and fit within your stack. Sometimes they can even exponentially increase the attractiveness of your product offering.
Acquisition: They can help you acquire larger customers given the power of both of your brands and products working together.
Referrals: They can be very helpful in opening new doors and introducing you to customers you would normally have a hard time engaging.
You need to be very careful when bringing on these types of partners and make sure both parties are aligned. Sometimes it may be necessary to put a written agreement in place to formalize:
Branding: Make sure that you both understand each other’s brands, guidelines and that both firms are correctly represented.
Product: You need to get both sides sales, technology and product teams together to make sure there is a deep understanding of how each of your products work, and how they work together.
Joint Selling: When out selling to customers, you should make sure there is a clear sales strategy in place when pitching both offerings and that it is consistent across all sales meetings.