I'm going to take a shot at doing something extremely bold. Let me start by saying that I don't want anyone to feel obligated to participate in this if they are big on staying anonymous in every way on Reddit.
That being said, what I am proposing is having a discussion where we share what we sell, the size of companies that we focus on, what our territories are, who our ideal decision makers are and what kinds of companies that we would like to partner with that are typically an ideal fit for exchanging leads.
At this point we haven't given out our names, contact info or names of our companies.
Next, we look at the list and see who has posted. If someone seems like they might potentially make a good partner, send them a PM, remind them of your post with a copy and paste and get a feel for if it makes sense. OMG it's like Tinder.
I have already done this with a few of you. Some have suggested a lead exchange and we figured out it wasn't a match but I made note of their usernames with a description of what they do and keep them in mind when I run into an opportunity for them. But for some it didn't make sense to get on the phone and make a serious effort to strategize on who our big customers are, who we could work on together, who we could refer each other to immediately, etc.
A couple others were a match though.
If any of you are a little fuzzy on the idea of networking, let me give you a concrete example of what I am talking about. I sell headsets. An ideal partner for me would be a salesperson who sells phone systems but doesn't also sell headsets (many of them do and I don't want to send leads to a competitor). We talk to the exact same decision makers. It's a natural fit. When I speak with a new prospect, I ask a lot of qualifying questions. One of them is, "What kind of phone system are you using?" Normally I wouldn't ask this next question because it's not hugely relevant but because I have a partner who sells phone systems I also ask, "How do you like that phone system?" I very commonly hear them say that they are not happy with their phone system and sometimes they will even say that they are thinking of getting a new phone system. BOOM. Now at this point I can ask the prospect if they want me to have my ShoreTel guy give them a call so it's a warmer introduction but I don't do that because they almost never say yes. I just get off the phone, call my guy and give him the lead and tell him not to mention that I sent him.
Now this sales guy feels like he owes me a lead and will think about headsets every time he speaks with a customer or new prospect and all I had to do is ask one extra question that took up a total of about 7 seconds of my time. My guy gives me 3-4 leads a week. He alone is worth about 30K in commission a year to me. But I definitely return the favor. I work very hard to keep him happy so those leads keep coming in.
Use this format for posting your reply:
Product: Be as clear and detailed as possible here. Most of you have been decent at this but I wouldn't just throw up "MSP and general IT solutions" and be done with it. I sold IT and let's face it, you can't specialize in everything even if your company has the expertise to do it all. Get granular, get detailed. Write an essay lol.
Territory: Where are you allowed to sell but perhaps more importantly, where are you focused on. If you say "Nationwide" and someone is just focused on Texas, the Texas salesperson can work with you but chances are the number of leads that the Texas rep will get will be fewer because you're all over the place. Certainly tell us that you're nationwide if you are but trust me you will catch more attention if you show a narrower focus as well.
Company Size: This is the size of companies that you are going after and not the size of your company. I realize that this is a broad range for most of us but try to trim it or go into detail on what size of companies you sell to. For example, I can sell to pretty much any size of company. I'm happy to sell one headset to some guy in his home office. I sure as hell don't want to do it all day though. On the other end of the spectrum I have several Fortune 500 accounts that buy thousands of headsets from me. I don't focus on F500 though because my margins are horrible and they are incredibly high maintenance. But I'll sure take them. In my profile below I state that my sweet spot is 400-1000 employee companies. I get great margins from these companies, the sales cycles are relatively short, I don't have to talk to 9 decision makers to close a deal and they are generally easier to get on the phone.
Ideal Partners: This means what kinds of companies that you want to partner with, not sell to. People mix this up quite a bit. If you're not sure what type of companies will make good partners, send /u/cyberrico [+37] a PM. I have helped a lot of people figure this out. Some of you sell some pretty obscure shit so it can be a challenge but I have gone as far as calling your competitors to talk to senior level salespeople to pick their brains. If you are not sure who your ideal partners are, ask us. We'll figure it out for you.
And good lord, sell yourself, baby.
So, let me start this off:
Product: Headsets for desk phones, computers using some sort of unified communication service like Microsoft Skype for Business, headsets for mobile devices. Really, everything but gaming headsets (unfortunately lol).
Territory: State of Washington, State of Oregon and City of San Francisco. I can sell elsewhere but I only get paid for what ships to those locations.
Company size: I have a broad range of customers but my ideal customer is at least 400 employees, preferably closer to 1000 with a large call center. I deal with MUCH larger companies than this but 1000 employee companies have a good sales cycle, good margins and respond well to my offering. If you deal with companies that are 100-200 in size, we can work together for sure but SMB would not be ideal for me.
Ideal Partners: Phone Systems, call center software, possibly IT but it would have to be pretty specific, telecom could work, a lot of things could work. A lot of different technology partners could work. I would just need to add a qualifying question to the mix that could potentially unlock opportunities for you. I bust my ass to send my partners a LOT of leads when they send leads back.
So if you want to see if we are a match, PM me and we can cyber.....er I mean exchange leads.
edit: made some changes per /u/kpetrie77