• Tom Dewhurst

Building Partnerships for Lead Generation - with Jack Thompson

Who are we talking to?

Jack Thompson works with agencies and B2B service-based businesses of all shapes and sizes and disciplines. As a Business Development Director with a career spanning over 15 years, he knows what good business development strategy looks like.

Jack brings an approach to new business development that can deliver a predictable pipeline of well-qualified leads and ultimately new clients. 

Which growth channel are we talking about today?

Business Development (Partnerships)

Describe this channel to someone who’s never done it before?

Strategic partners are those businesses which are ‘fishing in the same pond’ for potential clients, i.e. other businesses working within the same client industry vertical as you, but who are not competitive with you.

What frameworks have you used?

Only my own which I have developed over the last 15 years. ‘Partner Management’ is a key part of the job for B2B business development.

Can you share any relevant case studies or projects?

Whilst working at a digital marketing agency I built strong strategic partnerships with three major .NET CMS platforms. Those relationships helped us keep up to date with trends in the market, helped us promote our content and case studies to a relevant audience, and provided opportunities for networking and lead generation.

60% of the agency revenue was based on projects relating to those three platforms.

What about any challenging projects?

Without going into detail there have been situations where partners haven’t fulfilled their side of a client project, and which risked my client relationship. In those situations, like any other project where issues are raised by a client, solving them came down to open communication and honesty. We all came out the other side stronger as a result having worked through the issues together and not ‘blaming’ each other.

It is for this reason however that it is important to choose your partners carefully, as you may end up effectively trusting them with part of your business.

Top 3: mistakes to avoid?

  1. Not being strategic about the types of partners you want, and why - leading to wasted time and effort

  2. Not having a clearly defined scope of the partnership - especially when there are referral fees involved.

  3. Not investing in the relationship - expecting it to be a ‘one-way street’.

Top 3: businesses nailing this channel at the moment?

Rather than sharing three businesses which are nailing the channel, I would prefer to showcase three organisations which prove the value of collaboration, which is ultimately what partnerships are all about.

  1. Fintech Alliance - which represents the Fintech industry across the UK.

  2. The Natwest Accelerator - which, amongst many things, facilitates collaboration amongst its cohort.

  3. SETsquared - which again fosters a culture of collaboration amongst its member businesses.

Top 3: key KPIs?

Depending on your level of sophistication you can track things like:

  1. New partners added

  2. Topline leads from partners

  3. Conversion rate and value of leads generated

These can be tracked either by the partner, and/or aggregated. From that, you can model over time how that channel overall, but also specific partners are performing.

Top 3: tools for this channel?

All you really need is good a CRM to keep track of all the conversations and leads :)

Top 3: tips and hacks for this channel?

Not sure these are really hacks, but three tops tips would be:

  1. Be active on your partner’s social media channels - like, comment, and share where relevant.

  2. Join membership organisations/industry bodies - where your partners are active.

  3. Identify opportunities to guest post for key partners - especially those with a larger audience.

Do you want to find out more from Jack?

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