Selling Through Partners
When I ran a healthcare FinTech company, we struggled to find ways to get our solution in front of small business owners at medical practices. Doctors are strongly protected by the people that answer their phones, and most of their time reserved is for seeing patients. Owners of home health agencies are slammed all day managing their caregivers in the field. We tried every manner of outreach including cold calling, direct mail, email, content marketing and more.
We concluded that the best way to reach these business owners was to partner with medical practice management software companies. The biggest players in the industry have tens of thousands of customers already, and those customers are on their software daily. What better place to be? So we added a senior partner sales person at a high salary and went after these partnerships.
We had some success, signing deals with three of our top five target partners. We thought the customers would come stampeding through our door, but that is not what happened. Inking the partner deal was just the first step in a long journey. For some of our partners, we were like a cereal company fighting for shelf space in a grocery store. Their sales teams had a lot of products to sell, and we were just one of them. One partner sent an email to their huge customer base highlighting a service provider each month. This would have been amazing, except they had over 50 partners. Our email wouldn’t go out for years. We offered a cash sales commission to some partners, but it wasn’t enough to break through with them.
My advice, it’s really hard to build your business around a sales team and process you don’t control. It’s OK to spend some of your sales energy on big partners, but please make sure it is just one leg in your customer acquisition strategy, not the only leg.
Thanks for reading today’s post, I hope this helps you with your go to market strategy for your startup.