If you know enough about partnerships to visit Firneo’s website, you know these relationships play an indispensable role in the 21st-century corporate world. A successful partnerships program can help you benefit from other organizations’ strengths while improving your own company’s public image. What you might not know is that partnerships can come with unexpected opportunities to find new clients.

To unlock the sales potential within your partner ecosystem, you need to find and develop your “nearbound leads.” If you’re unfamiliar with this concept and want to learn more, you’re in the right place. Read on for our complete guide to nearbound leads and how to maximize them.

What Are Nearbound Leads?

The best way to understand nearbound leads is to compare and contrast them with another type of sales lead: outbound leads, or potential customers that have not yet reached out to you. The process of developing outbound leads involves investing in targeted marketing campaigns or contacting them directly in the form of a “cold call.” But as anyone who’s ever received a robocall knows, this isn’t necessarily the best way to find a receptive audience.

Nearbound leads are a bit different. These leads already have a connection with one or more of your partners. Because nearbound leads are linked to your company’s partner ecosystem, you have an “in” with them from the get-go. Thus, even if you contact them before they contact you, they aren’t outbound leads per se.

There are two basic types of nearbound leads you’ll want to familiarize yourself with:

  1. Partner-recommended leads are nearbound leads that have already heard about your organization from your partners. Since some of the legwork for these leads has already been taken care of, there’s a strong chance they’ll be interested in talking to you—making your odds of scoring a conversion relatively high.
  1. Partner-qualified leads are also leads that come from your partners. In this case, however, your partners haven’t reached out to these organizations about the possibility of working with you before sharing their contact information. That means you’ll be solely responsible for getting your relationship with these leads off to a good start.

Maximizing Your Nearbound Leads

If your business has a partnership program, it has nearbound leads. But just because you have access to these leads doesn’t mean they’ll automatically choose to work with your organization. To turn these leads into new customers, you’ll need to:

Make Nearbound Leads a Priority

By definition, nearbound leads already have at least a loose connection to your company. That means the average nearbound lead will be warmer to the thought of working with you than the average outbound lead would be. Taking that into account, your sales department has nothing to lose by focusing on nearbound lead development.

Work With Your Partners

Since nearbound leads are closely linked to your partnership program, talking to your partners about this subject will make it much easier for you (and them) to find and convert new prospects. Co-marketing, co-selling, and sharing data with your partners are effective ways for you and the other businesses in your partner ecosystem to get the most out of these leads.

Upgrade Your Partnerships Program

It’s simple logic: the more partners your company has, the more nearbound leads you can pursue. Adding new partners to your existing partnerships program will give you even more opportunities to benefit from these potentially lucrative leads.

Get More Partners—And More Nearbound Leads—With Firneo

While expanding your company’s partnerships program will automatically increase your number of nearbound leads, this process is far from simple. You’ll need to ensure your program is running as smoothly as possible, track down prospective partners aligned with your organization’s goals and interests, and convince them to team up with you to accomplish this goal.

If you’re like most people in the partnerships industry, you didn’t have a chance to learn about the field back in business school. In fact, there’s a good chance you weren’t even given a clear explanation of your job duties when you entered your current position. And if keeping up with your existing partnerships feels like a massive responsibility, the thought of adding even more partnerships to your workload could sound nearly impossible.

But expanding your organization’s partner ecosystem doesn’t have to come at the expense of your sanity—not when you get help from the pros at Firneo, anyway. When you go through our Certified Partnerships Professional program, you’ll finally get the partnerships playbook you never received from your college or company. 

Today, 73 percent of marketers consider partnership management to be a challenge. Beat the odds by signing up for our next cohort ASAP!

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