Crafting Your Ideal Partner Profile (IPP): The Key to Strategic Partnerships

“We need to recruit 50 new partners this year if we are going to grow our channel revenue”. Regardless of the actual number, how many times, as partnership professionals, have we heard that one?  


As it turns out, the volume partner play is rarely the best approach, as the old 80/20 rule takes hold and lo and behold, only 20% of your partners really drive the lion’s share of your revenue and logo growth.


So, what’s the first step on the road towards finding the magic 20%?  Overcoming the challenge of quantity over quality is where an Ideal Partner Profile (IPP) comes in – it’s a valuable tool that helps you identify and target the partners that are the best fit for your company.


What Is an Ideal Partner Profile (IPP)?

An IPP is a detailed description of the characteristics and qualities that your ideal partner should possess. It’s not a generic list; instead, it’s a tailored representation of the partner that would thrive within your ecosystem. An IPP helps you understand the specific attributes that make a partner a great match for your company.


Attributes of an Ideal Partner:

  1. Company Size and Industry: Determine the ideal company size and industry that aligns with your goals. Are you looking for nimble startups or well-established enterprises? Is their industry complementary to yours? Do they have the capacity to deliver on a consistent basis?
  2. Customer Base:  Consider the customer base that your ideal partner serves. Are they focused on B2B, retail, healthcare, or another specific sector? Do they have the capabilities and experience you are looking for? Understanding this helps you identify partners who can provide access to the right customer segments.
  3. Shared Values: Successful partnerships thrive on shared values and a common mission. Look for partners whose values and principles resonate with your company’s culture and goals.
  4. Complementary Skills:  Identify partners whose strengths complement your weaknesses, and vice versa. Does this partner share your commitment (dedicated resources, willingness to collaborate, etc.)? This synergy can create a powerful partnership where both parties can leverage each other’s expertise.

Why IPPs Matter:

  1. Precision Targeting: IPPs help you focus your partnership efforts on the most promising prospects. Instead of casting a wide net, you can strategically target partners who truly align with your vision and needs.
  2. Resource Optimization: IPPs prevent wasted resources and efforts on partnerships that may not be a good fit. You can invest your time and resources where they are most likely to yield positive results.
  3. Strategic Alignment:  IPPs foster strategic partnerships that are built on a solid foundation of shared goals, values, and complementary capabilities. This alignment is essential for long-term success and mutual growth.

Crafting Your IPP: A 6-Step Guide

  1. Define Your Goals: Start by clearly understanding your company’s objectives and the outcomes you want to achieve through partnerships. Is it increased exposure, revenue growth, or a combination of goals? Your IPP should align with your overall vision.
  2. Research and Data: Gather data and insights on existing partners and their performance. Identify the partners who are driving the best results and share your company’s values and objectives. This data will provide the initial framework for your IPP.
  3. Interview Current Partners: Your current partners can offer valuable insights into what makes a successful partnership. Understand their motivations, challenges, and what they value in a partnership. Use these insights to refine your IPP.
  4. Attributes and Filters: Based on your research and insights, define the specific attributes and filters that your ideal partner should possess. These may include company size, industry, customer base, and other relevant factors.
  5. Collaborate Internally: Involve key stakeholders from various departments, such as sales, marketing, and product teams, in the IPP creation process. Their diverse perspectives will help create a well-rounded and comprehensive profile.
  6. Iterate and Adapt: Remember that your IPP is not set in stone. As your business evolves and market conditions change, be prepared to update and refine your IPP to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

The good news is that there is an emerging class of AI-driven tools that partnerships professionals can leverage that not only help you create your IPP, but also take your IPP and automate the process of finding the partners that are the best fit.  I’ll discuss more about these tools in a future article.


In Conclusion

Creating an Ideal Partner Profile is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and refinement. It’s not about finding a large number of partners; it’s about finding the right partners who can truly complement your business and contribute to your success.


By investing time and effort into developing a comprehensive IPP, you’ll be better equipped to identify and pursue partnerships that align with your goals, values, and objectives. The result will be stronger, more strategic partnerships that drive mutual growth and success.

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