Breaking Down Silos and Getting a Seat at the Table

Breaking Down Silos and Getting a Seat at the Table

Sam Yarborough 3 min

The evolution of SaaS over the past decades has made the phrase, “That’s how we’ve always done it,” even more dangerous. We grew at all costs, leaving us with siloed departments, dispersed KPIs, and an afterthought approach to the lifetime value (LTV) of the customer, causing growth to stall.

As a partner professional, it might seem obvious how effective partners can be in helping companies grow at scale:

  • More efficient, bigger, and faster sales cycles

  • Delivering more complete solutions for customers, helping retain and extend LTV

  • Product alignment on build vs. buy vs. partner to expand into new industries or total addressable markets (TAMs)

  • Increased reach with decreased spend through co-marketing with partners

However, given the landscape we've grown up in, partner professionals can’t just rely on doing their job well. That’s table stakes.

A few weeks ago, I was discussing this with Salesforce—how can partner teams garner executive alignment and buy-in? Without it, partner motions will remain siloed and never execute their full value to the company. One of my favorite takeaways from this conversation was asking partner leaders:

“Are you adding value to your company?”

Most would answer yes, hopefully. But then, follow up with:

“Does your Executive Leadership Team (ELT) think you're adding value?”

And there's likely a pause or a thoughtful moment.

We all know the outcomes from above, having seen many reports or webinars citing them. I’ve given a few webinars on the topic myself. But we often assume ELT knows all of this and is aligned on why and how partners can impact our business. This assumption can cost us meaningful results, impair our ability to drive impact, and in some cases, cost us our jobs.

So, how do we move forward? For starters, get outside of talking with other partner people. Go talk to leaders in product, marketing, and revenue—internally at your company and externally at partners.

  • What are their beliefs on why partners are important?

  • In their eyes, what does success look like for a partner program in the near and long term?

  • Does their team have resources to dedicate to the partner strategy?

(If you need help getting started with these conversations, check this out.)

The answers to these questions will inform how aligned you actually are. However, alignment is really just unity at the end of the day. What gets measured, gets done.

If your ELT is bought into a partner strategy, ask how you can integrate the partner strategy into the entire go-to-market (GTM) motion and beyond. Consider KPIs like these for internal orgs:

  • Marketing: X number of co-marketing events and campaigns per quarter. Develop a target list of joint prospects (via Reveal or Crossbeam) with a partner and X number of MQLs from a campaign.

  • Sales: All deals that fit X qualification (deal stage/size/use case) have a partner attached. From here, ask for other accounts that look similar or an intro to a teammate who owns similar accounts. Build relationships with partner sellers.

  • Customer Success: Consider X number of joint customer intros a quarter. Think expansion, knowledge share, or even choose a partner to do a webinar for joint customers with. Remember, add value—don't just sell.

  • Product: QBRs with top partners to align roadmaps and discuss how you can jointly build a solution for customer needs.

  • Operations: (This team should be your best friend) How can you build all of the above into existing workflows? People likely won’t do more work, so adding this into how they are already managing their day-to-day is key.

  • ELT: Ask for a seat at the table or find a sponsor who will ensure partners are surfaced in all conversations. You and each department head should report early and often on all these KPIs from a company perspective. Partnerships is a team sport.

Partnerships are in their infancy, and while there are great communities of partner people learning from each other, it's time that we step out of our silos. Jason and I feel so strongly about this that we are hosting the Arcadia Leadership Summit this summer in Montana. As an anti-conference for 50 of the top GTM minds, we are creating a beautiful space for partnership, revenue, and marketing leaders to have these curated conversations and break down silos. Because the way we've always done it isn’t working.

We’d be honored to have your voice in the conversation—join us.

Sam Yarborough 3 min

Breaking Down Silos and Getting a Seat at the Table

How can partner teams garner executive alignment and buy-in? Without it, partner motions will remain siloed and never execute their full value to the company.

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