Have you ever watched a road bicycle race? Typically, one person will be in the lead, with a group of competitors clustered immediately behind them.
What they’re doing is "drafting" — enjoying the reduced wind resistance behind the leader, but with the long-term strategy of eventually pulling out ahead, taking the lead, and beating the competition.
Small and midsize B2B companies often have the opportunity to "draft" behind the names of large, well-known partners that confer credibility on your brand. You might never pass these giants in the race -- but they can sure help you get to your destination faster.
The key is to display these partnerships prominently on your website -- by showcasing partner logos, telling partner stories, including partner testimonials and more.
Leveraging Partnerships to Build Trust
Specializing in B2B technology, my agency Idea Grove commonly works with channel programs in which vendors confer partner status on resellers. Household names like Shopify,Citrix,Microsoft, VMWare, Oracle, eBay,Mailchimpand others leverage partner programs to increase sales.
Joining a partner program confers status on your company, because partners generally have to meet technical, training and other requirements to be accepted. Many partner programs also establish competitive tiers based on a partner's success in sales, the attainment of special designations, or other criteria.
Idea Grove, for example, is a Platinum HubSpot Solutions Partner. HubSpot requires partner agencies to sell its software, manage customer relationships, and complete certifications to advance to higher tiers in its program -- from Gold to Platinum to Diamond to Elite.
As one benefit of participating in the program, we leverage this partnership on our website to validate our expertise in HubSpot software and digital marketing. This includes a dedicated landing page describing our partnership and explaining what it means for our clients. Even if a buyer isn’t interested in HubSpot software, the partnership helps them to trust our experience.
Showcasing Your Own Partner Program
In many cases, smaller companies don't have to rely on a larger company's partner program. They can simply start their own.
Scaling a B2B company of any size increasingly requires partnerships to be successful, which is one reason that many tech giants team with smaller players to augment their offering. Companies like StackPath and HyTrust have built partner programs attracting big names like AT&T, Cisco, Intel, IBM and others.
HyTrust is a midsize company with fewer than 100 employees, but by showcasing big-name partner logos on its site, it immediately builds trust with website visitors:
Partner logos are a no-brainer for building trust with your buyers. But don't just take a “check the box” approach to sharing partner information. Dig deeper to explain how these partnerships help you better serve your customers.
People Trust What Other People Say About You More Than What You Say About Yourself.
Scott is founder and CEO of Idea Grove, one of the most forward-looking public relations agencies in the United States. Idea Grove focuses on helping technology companies reach media and buyers, with clients ranging from venture-backed startups to Fortune 100 companies.