How to Support Partner Innovation and Why You Should

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The needs of customers are constantly changing and partners need to keep up. They need to redefine their offerings and even create new ones. As a vendor, you are more experienced in creating new offerings and your partners are going to look to you for advice and support. 

Giving your partners the support they need creates value for both you and your partners. By helping your partners expand their offerings, you can get more industry coverage than you had previously. You may also be able to expand into new markets. You’ll also create lifetime value for your customers which will keep them coming back. 

How to support your partners

Partners need a lot of things to innovate and expand their offerings. They need money to fund innovation, people to help them innovate, and a lot of knowledge, especially if they’re creating a new product. You’ve gone through the whole process of designing, creating, and launching new products and are the best to help your partners undergo that process themselves. You may even have the budget to help fund their innovation efforts. 

Here are 3 ways you can help your partners innovate.

  1. Create a partner innovation program

Similiar to how startup incubators and small business programs provide resources, money and technology to support startups and small business owners, partner innovation programs are designed to support partner innovation in the same way. These programs may offer business development support to help partners market their new offering. They may also offer technology such as specific software or a sandboxed development environment to help partners develop their new offering. 

  1. See your partners as individual businesses

We’ve talked before about treating your partners as individual businesses. By not treating your partners as an extension of your business, you give them space to grow their capabilities. This lets your partners develop offerings that complement and grow your industry coverage. Also, your partners may develop offerings that allow you to expand into areas that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to expand into otherwise. 

  1. Create a community 

Unlike your partner innovation program, this community will be for you, your partners, your customers and anyone else who works with you. Use this community to start and follow discussions on best practices, common problems people encounter in the industry and things that people wish they could do with their current tech. 

As you and your partners listen and participate in these discussions, you can trade ideas with each other and see what solutions you can come up with. You can then use your partner innovation program to support your partners as they develop these solutions and bring them to market. 

Helping your partners develop new offerings and solutions to current industry issues benefits both your partner and you. These new offerings and solutions can provide more value to both current and new customers ensuring that you’re always top of mind for them. They can also help you gain more industry coverage than you would had otherwise. 

Three ways you can help your partners expand their offerings are by treating them as individual businesses, creating a community for them and others and by creating a partner innovation program. By treating your partners as individual and independent businesses, you give them the space and freedom to develop new offerings that complement your existing ones. By creating a community for them, your customers and other people who work with you, you and your partners get a space to share new innovations, best practices and to listen to common problems that inspire you to create new offerings. Finally, by creating a partner innovation program, you provide your partners the knowledge and support they need to create and bring their new offerings to market.