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Partners for life: 7 things to look for in a B2B partnership

B2B partnership ideas from Paul Donlan

When it comes to servicing SMBs, enterprise B2B strategic partnerships have emerged as catalysts for innovation and growth. They unlock added value for SMB customers at a significantly reduced cost compared to developing new products in-house, while also massively contributing to overall revenue.

With 95% of Microsoft’s revenue, for example, flowing directly through partners, businesses large and small can benefit from this strategy. However, not all partnerships are created equal. It’s important to consider what the agreement will bring to your SMB customers, your business and your B2B partner, in both the short and long term. To ensure mutual benefit and longevity, it's crucial to carefully select the right business partners.

Empower SMB customers with all the crucial steps to start a business.

Choosing a B2B partner

Here are seven key factors to consider in choosing a B2B partner.

01. Industry leadership

A B2B partner should be a market leader both you and your customers can rely on. Opt for a partner with a proven track record of success, looking at things like the number of years in the industry, size of customer base and market share. Ideally, it’s best to find your match in a different industry.

“Combining the strengths of two industry leaders can unleash exponential value for customers,” says Kevin Nolan, CEO at GE Appliances, on their partnership with Google Cloud.

A strong B2B partner should always be on the cutting edge in their field. They should be a product/service-focused trailblazer, consistently releasing updates and new developments. Ensure a solid foundation for collaboration by selecting a partner who stands out in the industry, bringing unparalleled expertise and resources to the table.

“We selected Wix to be our preferred partner because of their leading technology and product innovation,” says Robert Keane, Founder and CEO at Vistaprint.

Product Roadmap
A solid product roadmap and consistent new releases are signs of an industry leader.

02. Brand reputation

Reputation speaks volumes. Aligning with a B2B partner renowned for their brand integrity and commitment to excellence enhances your credibility and instills trust among customers. Co-branded campaigns and industry reports can have an amplified effect. According to PartnerPath, 68% of consumers can make buying decisions simply after seeing a co-branded campaign.

How do you assess brand reputation for a partnership? For the greatest impact, your partner’s brand should speak for itself and be nearly synonymous with their offering. Try this: When you think of the respective market, what are some of the first brand names that come to mind?

03. Custom partnership

Seek a B2B partner that’s not only willing but eager to tailor their offering to meet a partner’s needs. A cookie-cutter approach rarely yields the desired results.

Prioritize partners who take the time to understand your business objectives and adapt their strategies accordingly. Flexibility should be core to the process. A custom partnership ensures alignment on values and goals, and maximizes mutual benefit.

Wix AI website builder
A B2B partner must be able to build a tailored offer that fits your business and audience.

04. Audience expertise

Partnering with a team that has developed a deep knowledge and understanding of your specific target audience can be a huge benefit. Sometimes sharing part of a customer base isn’t enough. It’s best to find a company that has invested time and energy into your particular audience. Partnering with experts ensures that solutions are finely tuned to address unique business challenges and capitalize on opportunities.

As Tom Priore, Executive Chairman and CEO at Priority Technology Holdings, explains: “Wix is on the front end of generating revenue for small merchants like our customers. That’s why we knew they’d be a great partner.”

05. Extensive product offering

Seek a B2B partner with a comprehensive ecosystem: a wide range of products and/or services to empower SMBs of any business type.

Products and services should be verticalized and tailored to the specific industries of your audience. And the offering shouldn’t stop at one particular thing. It should expand to include related services that your SMB customers will inevitably need in order to achieve success. Agree on an offer that empowers you to deliver end-to-end solutions.

SMBs can learn how to create a website using Wix’s complete business solutions.

Digital commerce solutions with Wix
Digital commerce solutions can include online selling, reviews, social promotions and more.

06. Support infrastructure

Reliable support is paramount for both customers and partners. Prioritize partners who offer multichannel, multilingual support to customers: from email to phone to chat, along with resources like written and video tutorials. SMB customers should have 24/7 access to some type of support.

And don’t neglect your own support, either. Make sure your partnership includes an intentional approach to B2B customer success. You and your business deserve a dedicated, experienced account manager to take the journey with you throughout technical and business processes.

SMB customer support channels
SMB customer support should include multiple communication channels.

07. Commitment to growth

Make sure to have a long-term view when establishing a B2B partnership. Choose a partner that’s committed to ongoing innovation and growth, that will collaboratively develop an all-encompassing strategy, implement routine analysis and identify new opportunities and revenue streams. Don’t just think about immediate benefits. Make sure your B2B partner is in it to win it with you.

In a nutshell—when picking a B2B partner, it’s best to consider those that are poised for sustained growth and innovation, capable of evolving in step with your business. I always prioritize factors like industry leadership, product portfolio and long-term vision for a sustainable and fruitful partnership.

Remember: It's not just about choosing a B2B partner for now, but for 5, 10 or even 20 years from now. A strong B2B partner is a partner for life.

Learn how a channel partnership with Wix can drive growth for your business and your SMB customers.

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