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Phases of a successful product partnership

While no two partnerships are exactly alike, there is a roadmap to help make the partnership a success.
Phases of a successful product partnership

While no two partnerships are exactly alike, there is a roadmap to work on together to help make the partnership a success.

Some of the activities in these stages will be unique to your partnership, but the basics to focus on together could be some variation of the below.

Phase 1 - Learn

The initial stages of a partnership should be primarily about learning how to work best together.

This will involve learning about each others technology:

  • How does the API platform work?
  • What kind of support is available?
  • What policies or guidelines need to be considered for integrations?
  • How does the app store work?
  • How do you run Early Access Programs (EAPs) and tests with customers?
  • What marketing channels and activities work best together?You

You are both trying to become experts in each others businesses and technology.

During this phase it is important to keep a log of improvement opportunities. These are areas that could be improved to build better user experiences, remove any friction from discovery or activation or inflect growth in the future. These can form the basis for programs to run in the next phase.

Phase 2 - Grow

By this point you should have some integrations together that are seeing some early success.

The next phases of the partnership should focus on ways to positively inflect the growth of these integrations.

This could be any combination of:

  • Improved app discovery experiences for customers
  • App store or marketplace improvements
  • Removing any blockers involving admin<>user engagement
  • Removing friction from the 'Discover >> Install >> Authenticate >> Use' funnel

This is also a time to deep-dive on your GTM analytics. Can you see your funnel and look for inefficiencies? Is your attribution approach working. What could be improved?

Phase 3 - Innovate

Not every partnership can or should get to this phase. Many successful partnerships can stop at Phase 2, and continue to drive business results for many years.

But, for teams who want to continue to explore ways to expand their business together, they can begin to look at areas for co-innovation.

At a basic level this could simply be modifiying product roadmaps to positively benefit the partnership. Do more faster together.

The sky is the limit to what you can do here if you creatively think about potential new customer experiences, unlocking more growth opportunities or continuing to make your platforms more connected.

Areas to consider:

  • Identity system integration
  • Commerce integrations
  • Out-of-the-box (native) integration experiences
  • 2-way data exchanges
  • X-platform user experiences

The only limits here should be your creativity and resourcing.

Don't be disheartened if these programs take some time to happen. These are big ideas, with big time commitments needed. They can often be a lag between the idea being created and the work being funded. Keep pushing together to make them happen!

"The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." — Neil Gaiman

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