Every great partnership has a few things in common: shared values, a common mission, and a willingness to collaborate. If just one of those elements is missing, things can head south—fast. But once you find that perfect match, everything falls into place.
The Bench and FreshBooks story
FreshBooks makes small business invoicing and billing simple. Their intuitive software gives entrepreneurs more time to focus on the important stuff—like growing their business and leading happier lives. And if you’ve been paying attention, you know that’s what Bench is all about too.
So, we made it official. Together, we developed a partnership that pairs FreshBooks’ invoicing technology with Bench’s bookkeeping software and qualified professional support to create something even better for small business owners—an all-in-one financial solution. Bringing more customers to both Bench and FreshBooks in the process.
As we enter our fourth year of working together, here are our thoughts on why our strategic partnership has been a success:
A keen eye for quality
There are many reasons why brands enter into partnerships. Access to new markets, finding new customers, complementary products/services, the ability to bypass any growing pains stage with ready-to-go infrastructure—the list goes on and on.
But when you really get down to it, partnerships are really about one thing: teaming up with smart, like-minded people to help customers run smarter, better businesses.
As partners, we focus on delivering stellar support to our customers. And we’re selective and transparent. If an Bench Onboarding Specialist chats with someone who isn’t a good fit for FreshBooks, they won’t refer them—and vice versa. This means that the customers we bring onboard get a solution that’s tailored to their unique business needs.
Are we leaving money on the table? Maybe. But we’ve found that doing business this way helps pinpoint who the Bench/FreshBooks customer is, while prioritizing client experience over everything else. Being able to provide thoughtful product recommendations with our trusted partners has helped us significantly reduce customer churn, while increasing customer satisfaction and new business acquisition.
Which makes sense when you think about it. Jonathan Auerbach, Executive VP of PayPal says, “while the benefits of partnership are becoming increasingly clear, the effects of moving from competitor to collaborator will ripple throughout every aspect of an organization and how it operates”.
Communication and collaboration
A lot of our shared success is down to our communication style. Benchmates and FreshBookers speak on the phone weekly. Each quarter our teams meet in person, alternating between Vancouver and Toronto, to touch base and have important face-to-face conversations that keep our partnership healthy. We have monthly round tables and open feedback sessions to ensure nothing’s left to chance when building a better service for our customers.
That may seem like a lot of work, but we’ve found that it’s the most effective way to build a healthy partnership, where communication is key and our clients’ get what they need. Getting to know each other on a deeper level and collaborating in this way keeps us in sync, and ensures our core mission is always top of mind.
A strong value-fit
When you look at Bench and FreshBooks’ About Us pages side by side, there are more than a few similarities. Clear mission statement? Check. Focus on high quality? Check. A vision of a better world where entrepreneurs have everything they need to stay on top of their finances, ultimately giving them tools to improve their lives? Check and mate.
One of the reasons we love working with FreshBooks is because they feel like extended members of our own team. We’ve worked hard to build a truly collaborative relationship based on shared goals. This positive work culture spills into everything we do together.
We’re not alone in this thinking. Adidas Originals’ global director of digital and retail marketing, Swave Szymczyk has a similar outlook, “As long as [partnerships] are not only strategic but also reflect who we are as a brand and what we believe in, it really drives authenticity”.
And as many people have said before us: teamwork makes the dream work.
Partnership leads, success follows
We’ve worked with FreshBooks for four years now, and we’ve ramped up our partnership significantly this past year.
But the question remains. Are we on to something?
Short answer: absolutely. In 2019, we’ve seen major partnership growth. Our team has grown both at Bench, and over at FreshBooks. We crunched the numbers and saw that, since January 2018, the number of Bench/Freshbook shared clients has doubled as new clients from this partnership have increased more than 150% from the previous year.
Wading through the murky waters of small-business finance can be a confusing game of trial and error. Together, Bench and FreshBooks work hard to make it simple to get your invoices prepared and your books up to date, so you can focus on what matters most.