Mini Essay: Archetypes of “Partnerships” and How That Impacts Positioning When Selling into Payers

Rohan Siddhanti
2 min readFeb 10, 2022

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The word “Partnership” has been diluted over time. Partnerships has a distinct meaning but is now widely applied to simply any relationship between two business — even investors are doing press releases of “partnerships” when a company joins their portfolio. While capital relationships might sometimes be True Partnerships, most investments are simply money changing hands.

Let’s ground ourselves in what a Capital P Partnership really is. A true Partnership is one where both parties gain more marginal value from being together, then they otherwise could have achieved attempting the same thing on their own. Given that definition, I see four different archetypes of partnerships when two non-investing (re: regular) companies get together:

If you’re selling a Partnership into a Payer, you make the sales cycle longer for yourself by trying to be more than one value-prop, because the Payer is obligated to then track down and discuss each value prop with the various stakeholders.

1 — Channel Partners — Your ultimate client is the Head of Sales or Head of Distribution in the company. Focus on how you’ll drive sales up, keep cannibalization down, and disruption low in terms of the Payer’s other channel partners. Cross-sells are key, as are buy-up services that you provide (e.g., broker platforms that drive HRA completion in the first 90 days of enrollment).

2 — Vendor — Your ultimate client is the person whose P&L this comes out of. If it’s back/middle office, it’s the CAO/CFO’s office; if its disease management it’s the Line of Business Lead with blessing from Clinical Lead; if its supplemental benefits it’s the Supp. Ben. Manager with LOB lead blessing; the key is to show ROI and savings. Sounds obvious, but most don’t focus enough on that alone.

3 — Strategic Capability — Your ultimate client is usually a Market President, as strategic capabilities are often concentrated geographically (e.g., home care delivery); unless it’s a technology Partnership in which case the CTO or Chief Product Officer is your buyer. Quick implementation, immediate ROI, and high flexibility makes the Payer want to outsource this.

4 — New Business Development — Your ultimate client is often a Head of BD, a GM or Line of Business Lead, or even a CEO. These are the hardest partnerships to source, create and manage, but also have the highest payout. Invest resources in gated stages, and only once you have the correct, signed buy-in from proper stakeholders. Knowing when not pursue any further here, is the art.

FYI, this is simply a copy and paste of content that I put on my Twitter account ( 👇). Check me out there @Rsiddhanti > would always value your feedback!

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