Writing a partner proposal that gets funded isn’t hard if you follow these tips.
Transparency builds trust. Start the proposal with a simple overview of everything that will go into the initiative you are looking to gain support for. Make sure that all key stakeholders understand exactly what the programs/initiatives are designed to do, what elements and tactics will be utilized and when results can be expected. Share all elements of the plan and how each will play out to drive a message that matters for both partners. Ultimately make sure to be clear on what will be sold together within the partnership and how it will benefit the customer.
Have data points that support the recommendation that is made. State what happens if nothing is done or if the organizations continue to do things the way it has always been done. Contrast the current view with what is possible. Inspire the stakeholders with the idea of possibility. Perhaps you are trying a new strategy. If so, be sure to have data to back it up. Also learn how you can get your partner marketing back to the future by reading about how dated partner marketing approaches could be hurting your chances for partner marketing success. The back to the future quiz is a quick way to see where you stand.
3) Buy in
Go into the negotiations with support from a few key stakeholders already on board. Having sponsorship from both sides will make it easier to get the financial, executive and resource support that are needed to deliver a truly successful program. Doing some legwork upfront and having others that will champion the initiative are a great way to gain momentum that will launch a successful program. The sales team is one of those teams you cannot realize success without. If this a point of contention for your organization and/or between your organization and a partner organization, read 6 Steps to Partner Sales and Marketing Alignment.
4) Past Successes
Demonstrate past success with similar programs or have data that shows how other organizations have been successful with approaches like those you are recommending. People love a winner. By showing a certain strategy works and has been proven, getting support becomes much easier. Also, be sure to include data points for market demand from respected analysts or media.
Be clear on what is needed financially from each partner to get the program off the ground. Don’t be shy to ask for funding. Be specific and make sure each partner has skin in the game. Yet don’t stop there. Both the investment and the resulting pay off must be included in any proposal. After all, it is the results that ultimately ensure continued investment. Be sure to check out “5 Ways to Get a Bigger Piece of the Pie” for strategies on how to get more than your fair share of partner support.
6) Metrics and Reporting
Make sure each partner knows what success looks like in terms of the numbers. Provide a few ‘if-then’ scenarios based on real-world data and/or past initiatives. Commit to report on regular intervals and agree together on what metrics will be included. Without the numbers and some sort of clear picture of what level of financial success can be realized it will be challenging, if not impossible to gain the necessary support.
Results that can be measured are the only ones that really matter. Know which 3-5 metrics will be used, make sure the data is available in simple to create reports and then ensure the reports are shared regularly.
Extra Credit: Make sure to keep it simple. Go into sufficient detail, yet don’t deliver a 30-page or more proposal. No one has time. If the program cannot be communicated in 5-10 slides, in simple and easy-to-understand language and graphics, you might as well skip it.
Confidence plays a big factor as well. If you are not sure, your partner won’t be either. To build your confidence, make sure your proposal shines.
Here’s a partner marketing initiative proposal template you can use to build your next partner funding request presentation.