W Taylor 44 min

From Recruitment to Revenue: How to Turn Your Ideal Partner Into ARR


Margaret Adam, Head of Product Marketing at Allbound, Nelson Wang, Founder of Partner Principles, and Will Taylor, our Head of Nearbound Partnerships, will tell you how to turn your Ideal Partner into increased ARR.



0:00

Welcome everyone. Oh my gosh. I'm so excited for this.

0:04

We are going to be talking about today how you can turn your ideal partner into

0:11

ARR.

0:12

And of course, it's going to be together in true partnerships fashion.

0:16

You're going to be working together. And of course, you're going to learn from

0:20

some of the greats today.

0:22

I'm a little insecure about how awesome the people are that we're talking to

0:27

today about this topic.

0:30

We have some experts on to share.

0:34

And of course, Nelson is up first. Nelson has an extensive background in

0:39

partnerships.

0:40

He's done this many, many times over. He worked at the likes of box, optimisely

0:45

, air table.

0:46

And he is the founder of partner principles. And without further ado, there's

0:50

enough talking for me.

0:51

I hope you all have a wonderful time learning about what we are talking about

0:56

today and hearing from these experts.

0:59

If you have questions, pop them in the chat. We will be running some Q&A near

1:04

the end.

1:05

So don't be shy. This is all for you. So make sure that you are asking the

1:09

right questions at the right time.

1:12

And yes, this is being recorded and you will be sent to a recording thereafter.

1:18

Thank you for being here. And Nelson, I'll let you take it away and dive right

1:22

in.

1:23

Sounds good. I'm so excited to be here. Thank you for the intro. I love the

1:27

energy.

1:28

Excited to talk about how I recruited over 1,400 partners, specifically 1,479,

1:37

and to give you the step-by-step process.

1:39

So my name is Nelson Wang. These are the four key areas that we'll cover today

1:43

at a quick high level.

1:44

And first, I just want to start off with a brief introduction.

1:47

So I'm the founder of partner principles where I teach folks about how to build

1:51

partner strategy and get it to launch in revenue.

1:54

I've been doing this for over 17 years now at many different tech startups and

1:58

Fortune 500 companies, companies like Cisco, VMware, Miro, Box, AirTable, Top-T

2:03

ow, Optimizely.

2:04

And ultimately, I've led five partnership divisions from 0 to 150 million.

2:09

I also ran field marketing at one point and also have been very entrepreneurial

2:13

, built a couple of apps, sold that company in Angel Invest and advised quite a

2:17

bit as well.

2:18

And I'm proud member number one of partnership leaders, which I think many of

2:21

us are familiar with.

2:23

So to kick things off, I wanted to start off with a question, which is, have

2:28

you been through this before?

2:30

I don't even know where to start.

2:34

Just sign the GSIs, we want the GSIs.

2:38

There's a ton of inbound partner applications. Let's just work on those

2:42

partners.

2:43

Or let's outbound and recruit partners of our competitors. They'll definitely

2:45

want to work with us.

2:47

So I'm really curious. If you've been through this, please mention what your

2:51

experience has been like in the chat.

2:53

I would love to see it. It's also going to get feedback from your peers.

2:57

And often, one of the challenges I've seen in building partner programs from 0

3:01

to 1 is people say, "Well, let's just start recruiting."

3:04

And one of the questions that we always want to ask back is, "Well, you have an

3:07

ideal partner profile, right?"

3:09

And sometimes that's met with silence. And so I kind of created this meme that

3:13

just make a good joke out of it.

3:15

But it's actually a very common problem set that I myself have gone through,

3:19

experientially, and have seen other partner leaders go through as well.

3:22

So my job is to help you through that.

3:24

So the way I think about this is there are phases to think about when you are

3:27

building out a partner strategy and recruiting partners.

3:29

And that's the Assess Plant Execute Review and Optimize Phase.

3:32

And don't worry about memorizing all this or writing it all down. You will get

3:35

a copy of these slides.

3:37

But ultimately, when you think about a partner strategy, what you really want

3:40

to anchor on is it needs to be focused on the customer.

3:44

That is the underlying foundation to everything else. It is so important to be

3:47

customer-centric.

3:49

So when you are thinking about recruiting and building out a partner strategy,

3:54

one of the first things I always recommend is make sure you interview your

3:58

customers, right? Especially the ones with the highest potential, the high spend accounts, right?

4:03

The ones that fit your ideal customer profile and really get to know what's

4:07

happening within those customers.

4:10

As an example, some questions you might ask are like, "Hey, what are the

4:12

biggest challenges you are running into in deploying our platform and getting

4:16

to the business outcomes?

4:17

Which of those make the biggest business impact to you?"

4:21

And here's a visual and an example of how we can help through perhaps

4:24

technology integration partnerships, services partners, procurement type

4:29

partners, resellers, etc.

4:32

And which of these do you find to be the most helpful in your journey?

4:37

And then from there, you can ask what third-party companies do you already work

4:40

with today with our platform and why?

4:42

And that's usually a huge unlock is already identifying existing partners that

4:46

are engaging.

4:47

And what does a fair exchange of value look like as you solve for these

4:51

problems?

4:52

And would you be open to working with third parties overall to get to the

4:54

business outcomes?

4:56

And just these few simple questions will be incredibly eye-opening.

5:00

You're going to get a lot of customer feedback telling you what their main

5:03

problem set is, and then because you can map it to the business impact, you can

5:08

help them prioritize.

5:09

And by prioritizing those problem sets, you then know which partner types to go

5:14

prioritize to go fix those problems.

5:17

And so what I recommend here, and this is very important, is when you sit down

5:20

to interview your customers, take copious notes on the language they use, on

5:25

exactly what they're saying, and get those quotes down on paper so you really

5:30

understand their journey, you deeply empathize with them, and you understand

5:33

the impact it's going to make to their business.

5:35

As an example, when I joined AirTable, one of the first things I did is I sat

5:39

down with 10 enterprise customers immediately to really understand the pain and

5:44

the journey that they're on, so I can understand which partner types to go work

5:48

with to go solve for that pain.

5:51

Okay, and then what you also want to do is internally do these functional

5:54

interviews as well, right, with your C team, your sales team, your marketing,

5:58

your CS and Melissa goes on and on, I've listed them out here.

6:02

And what you want to do is also collect that feedback from them, so you can get

6:05

their perspective on the importance of partners, how it can impact their

6:09

journey and the outcomes it can drive for their teams and their specific goals

6:13

as well.

6:14

This is also really critical for you to learn to understand how to align to

6:18

your internal teams so that everyone can embrace partnerships in a one team

6:22

motion, right, so partnerships I want to stress again here is, is not just

6:28

under the purview of the partnerships team.

6:30

It is the entire company's responsibility to think about partners to ingrain it

6:34

into what they do, and this is why it's so critical to get the feedback from

6:38

them directly and then understand how partners can impact them on their

6:41

specific goals.

6:43

Now, in addition to this qualitative analysis, what I really recommend is going

6:46

through a quantitative analysis.

6:48

So work with your BI and ops team for data analysis on your ICP, and you can

6:52

look at things like sacriink verticals by count in ARR or by segments.

6:58

You can stack rank economic buyers, departments, regions, use cases, right,

7:02

these are just a few examples to get you ideating around this.

7:06

But the idea is this gives you tremendous insight into what your ICP should

7:10

look like that then informs who the partner should be that will go and help

7:14

them.

7:15

And I'll explain why that's important when we go through the ideal partner

7:18

profile template.

7:20

Okay, in addition to this, other quantitative analysis that is often very

7:24

powerful is to look at the cohorts and to do the analysis around that.

7:29

So for example, when you look at win rates without or with a partner or average

7:33

deal size with or without, or the adoption and usage with or without, these are

7:38

fantastic ways to demonstrate the value of partners and how they can impact

7:42

that customer journey.

7:43

And again, it helps you prioritize, right, which partners will go and help your

7:48

customers in which ones you go and recruit.

7:51

So as you go through that qualitative and quantitative analysis, you'll come

7:54

out with an ICP.

7:55

Now, most companies you join will typically already have an ICP, but I still

7:58

recommend going through the exercise.

8:01

And the reason is, while you might have an ICP built out and you have some data

8:05

already provided by the company, nothing beats qualitative interviews for you

8:10

to personally, truly understand your customer.

8:12

And your customer and the journey that they're going on. So that's why I always

8:15

recommend, even if you have the data, even if you have the profile built out,

8:20

go and meet your customers.

8:23

Now, how do we think about partner strategy related to that as you finalize and

8:26

build out that ICP and understand the customer journey?

8:30

Well, if you think about it, in order to get the customers to the business

8:33

outcomes, right, you need to help them on that journey with partners to get

8:36

them there.

8:37

And so think about mapping out what are all the key needs that your customer

8:41

has to get to the outcome with your technology or platform.

8:46

And then you slot in partners to go drive and solve for those problem sets

8:51

accordingly, right?

8:53

And so I asked this question often to partner leaders, have you mapped out all

8:56

those needs across the journey?

8:58

And often the answer is no, right? And so this is something I highly recommend

9:03

you do to be able to get clarity on that process.

9:06

This is a simplified version of what this looks like. When you think about a

9:09

customer journey and partner types that would map, this is an easy way to get

9:13

started.

9:14

But to really help you in this, I've created templates for specific partners.

9:18

Now, for example, for resellers on a typical customer journey, here are areas

9:23

that they can add value and the specific activities to drive that value.

9:27

And most importantly, what are the business outcomes it'll drive for your

9:31

company to be able to go and add that value to a customer journey, right?

9:35

Now, I'm not going to read these off one by one. We have a very short amount of

9:37

time today.

9:38

But don't worry, you will get all these slides. And the idea here is I've made

9:41

one specific to resellers.

9:43

I've made one specific to solution partners. And I've made one specific to ISVs

9:48

and technology partners.

9:50

Now, I know there's other partner types out there, but I wanted to start with

9:52

the three most common ones.

9:54

We often see in enterprise technology platforms and wanted to share this with

9:58

you to really help you get to value much more quickly

10:02

versus spending a tremendous amount of your time on slide.

10:06

Now, one of the key things to think about here is as you map to that customer

10:10

journey, you yourself as a partner leader need to be very clear on the partner

10:14

types

10:15

and the definition of each of them, the value add they provide, and the company

10:20

outcomes that they drive, right?

10:22

So this is really critical because if you yourself are not very, very

10:26

knowledgeable, right, and really sure about what are the partner types and what

10:31

they do, you can't map them to the customer journey, right? So I encourage you to go

10:34

through this exercise to ensure that you have a lot of clarity on this,

10:39

and then you can do that mapping exercise.

10:42

So the idea here is at the end of the day, you'll probably have a lot of

10:46

partner types that are interested in partnering with your company

10:49

or that you might be interested in. And the key is you really want to make sure

10:53

, based on your resources,

10:55

that you focus on the ones that create the largest impact for your customers.

10:59

Now, if you have a tremendous amount of resources, you can probably have many

11:03

different partner programs, but if you are more limited on resources,

11:07

you really want to hone in and focus on the ones that drive the business impact

11:11

So here's an example of what that might look like. There might be five or six,

11:15

but you might say, based on this set of customer interviews,

11:19

the data analysis, the ICP, and the customer journey, we believe that these two

11:23

partners make the biggest impact.

11:25

Let's go invest there, and these are the reasons why we're going to make that

11:29

investment.

11:30

And ultimately, this is a summary of what I just said, right? But it helps to

11:35

make it very simple and straightforward when you present this mission statement

11:39

to others, which is here is the shared vision we have for our customers with respect to

11:43

how our partners will help them, right?

11:46

And then the second is here are the customer needs we're going to go address,

11:49

and then here's the strategy that we're aligned to on the vendor side,

11:52

the partner side, and the customer side that will ultimately drive great

11:55

customer outcomes and also drive revenue and profitability for the partner and

12:01

also for the vendor company as well.

12:04

And then what you want to show downstream of this is here's the company impact

12:08

that will arise from this from an, you know, for example,

12:11

from an AR/Net retention, actor/view, user growth perspective. These are just

12:15

placeholders to help you ideate,

12:17

but certainly you can switch these out for other ones that may be more

12:19

important for your business. These are just the most common ones I see at

12:23

companies that I've worked with.

12:26

And then ultimately based on this whole assessment process, you come away with

12:29

an ideal partner profile, right? This is a sample version.

12:33

But typically you think about this in what I call the 4C framework, which is

12:36

capacity capability and then commitment.

12:40

And the fourth one is driven by the customer overlap, right? So again, like I

12:45

mentioned, customers are always the foundation of this.

12:48

But as you can see, capacity you can think of as like the size of their sales

12:51

team, the depth of their bench, the reach, the number of customers they might

12:55

have, whereas capability is referring to their practice areas and their depth of

12:58

experience in case studies, their existing partner portfolio they work with,

13:03

their vertical expertise, their alignment to the economic buyer, and then

13:06

ultimately commitment like dedicated resources, the willingness to execute

13:11

together with a joint plan and so forth.

13:13

Now, I won't read off all of these because, again, we're short on time, but I

13:16

wanted to show you this is a great framework to start with to think about what

13:20

does your ideal partner profile actually look like.

13:23

So when you have an inbound application, you can qualify against key criteria

13:27

that you set, or you might actually have an outbound list of partners that

13:32

match this criteria that you're looking for, that you can go prioritize for out

13:36

bound motions.

13:38

And from that, you should have a list of partners. One thing I really recommend

13:43

that I've really loved building out is having these partner targets, whether it

13:48

's outbound or the inbound application process built on air table,

13:52

because you can track all the criteria and be able to understand how it maps

13:55

back to your ideal partner profile and ensure that you're recruiting and

13:59

onboarding the right partners.

14:01

Another slide template I wanted to include here that I think is always helpful

14:04

as well is, as you think about showcasing the value of the partners and how

14:08

they already work with many of your existing customers,

14:11

this slide can be really helpful for that as well and I wanted to share that.

14:14

Now, again, as you start to recruit and onboard these partners, one of the

14:17

things I wanted to stress is the way you really get them building momentum and

14:20

successful their company, especially in the early stages, is winning hearts and

14:25

minds. And so I wanted to share this quick template around a partner customer case

14:28

study where you outlined the problem solution and outcome.

14:31

And it's really as simple as that. You don't need a million things on a case

14:34

study. You just need three simple things.

14:37

Because what will happen is if you tell this story incredibly well, you will

14:40

win people over, they will see the value of partners and they will engage more

14:44

over time.

14:45

And as you build out a lot of these wins and momentum, you will then get more

14:49

resourcing and then you'll be able to build out more operational workflows and

14:52

mechanisms to go drive partner programs at scale, which is really exciting.

14:56

So I wanted to share this as it's really helpful.

14:59

So I'll wrap on my side. I've got two minutes left, but ultimately, one is I do

15:02

a lot of coaching to help people build what I call the 150 million partner OS

15:06

system.

15:07

This is based on my experience of scaling from zero to 150 million at many

15:09

different companies.

15:11

If you need help in this area, feel free to reach out. You can scan this QR

15:14

code here and I'm happy to engage and help you on this.

15:17

I coach many, many partner leaders out there. And also, one thing I'm really

15:20

passionate about is I want to save you time on things like building slides

15:25

around strategy or trainings or recruitment.

15:28

And so I have a lot of templates that you can leverage here that will get you

15:31

to value significantly faster.

15:33

So you can focus on really core things like building pipeline or getting

15:37

service engagements attached to your opportunities, et cetera, unless on

15:41

spending hours and hours and hours in slide wear.

15:45

And actually, one big thing that I'm focused on is making sure you get a ton of

15:49

value for me.

15:51

So I know if you subscribe to the newsletter, we said you get the ideal partner

15:54

profile.

15:55

I'm going to take it one level up for you. I'm actually going to give you nine

15:59

of my templates at no cost.

16:01

You're going to see this if you had subscribed any milk coming soon with links

16:05

to nine templates for partnerships that will get you up and running.

16:08

So I'm really excited to share that with you as a huge bonus giveaway today

16:12

just for subscribing and attending the webinar.

16:16

I'll stop here. I assume we'll hold questions for the very end. So I'll go

16:20

ahead and pass the ball back to the reveal team.

16:24

All right. Everyone, that session with Nelson was fantastic. I was learning a

16:30

lot. I don't know if you saw me in the chat, but I was all over it.

16:35

It's all about the customer and the value for them. And of course, Nelson has

16:39

those great templates to help you get there.

16:42

And now we're going to be talking about how you can translate that ideal

16:48

partner profile into revenue, how you can accelerate that time to revenue.

16:53

And today we are joined with Margaret Adam, who has an extensive background in

16:57

partnerships.

16:59

She's worked with the likes of Salesforce, IDC for many years, and of course,

17:06

in the partnerships realm.

17:08

And she is now the head of product marketing at Channel Mechanics, which is now

17:12

a part of all bound in the recent acquisition.

17:16

So when I was talking to Margaret, I told her to her face that I was so excited

17:20

to hear from her today. So without further ado, I'm going to stop talking and

17:24

let the expert talk.

17:25

So Margaret, thank you so much for being here and for sharing your expertise.

17:29

Yeah, brilliant. Thanks, Will. And wow, that was a really good session with

17:34

Nelson. So much of that really resonated with me.

17:38

A little bit of background to me, head of product marketing at all bound, came

17:42

from the channel mechanic side of the business.

17:46

But yeah, my background always been involved in partnering and partnering

17:50

ecosystems. I've worked vendor. I've worked in partners.

17:55

But I spent 14 years as an APP analyst at IDC, looking after partnering as an

18:01

area of focus.

18:03

And for those of you who are not familiar with analysts do, we talk a lot,

18:07

obviously presenting and providing thought leadership during a ton of market

18:12

research, but also do quite a lot of custom advisory and inquiry.

18:16

And I think one of the number one questions me and my team got asked was, hey,

18:23

listen, you know, we're looking to enter this market.

18:26

Can you give us a list of the top 1000 partners or who are the top 500 partners

18:32

in a specific industry?

18:34

Or, you know, we want to expand into EMEA or can you give us who are the

18:39

biggest partners and always try to guide customers away from that kind of

18:45

process because for me, you're looking at one metric there, which is size.

18:50

We're actually as also so eloquently articulated, you really need to be

18:54

thinking about what is it that we want these partners to do? What are the kind

18:59

of business objectives that they're going to help us achieve?

19:03

And then critically, let's prioritize, right, because you probably want

19:08

partners to do a whole lot of things.

19:10

But going through that process and being very thoughtful about what that ideal

19:15

partner actually looks like is critical for the next stage of that evolution

19:20

and the next stage of the partner journey, because if you don't do that process

19:25

, you're going to find both yourselves and your partners

19:28

are investing a ton of time and really not being able to see that revenue

19:39

impact. So you may be familiar with all bound, all bound are a revealed partner

19:41

. But if you've been following this space, essentially all bound have a quiet

19:43

channel mechanics and it's a very exciting time in the evolution of our

19:47

business,

19:48

what it does is it brings together two market leaders who coming from different

19:53

contexts, which is really important for this discussion. The all bound is

19:58

always really focused on the partner experience and making the partner journey

20:04

as intuitive and as easy as possible.

20:07

And channel mechanics comes from a strong heritage in terms of partner program

20:10

automation, right, ensuring that ease of doing business. And so we're really

20:15

trying to bring the two together to transform the way you think about the

20:21

technology layer behind your partner ecosystem.

20:26

And so when we talk to customers, really what we are talking about and really

20:31

what our reason for existing is, is to help companies to optimize their partner

20:36

journey right from that point of identification and recruiting into your, into

20:42

your partner program or into your ecosystem

20:45

to point five, which is where they're starting to make an impact where they are

20:49

going out, prospecting for business and helping you drive revenue and whatever

20:54

format that is.

20:56

And ideally what you want to do is make that process between one to five as

21:00

quick as possible and as impactful as possible so that those partners are still

21:06

motivated that they are driving revenue that they're driving business for your

21:11

for your company.

21:14

And so I'm going to share a couple of tactics that I've seen be successful.

21:20

And really these are kind of centered around three main objectives. Right,

21:25

first of all, you need to be thinking about once a partner is on boarded, what

21:30

are the things that we can do the really tactical activities that we can do so

21:34

that we can accelerate that time to revenue short and that on boarding process.

21:39

At the same time you need to be thinking about what's next, right, it's not

21:43

just the initial transaction or the initial engagement.

21:47

How do we scale that? How do we make sure that we keep that partner motivated,

21:52

interested, seeing someone's so that we can we can look to scale.

21:57

What are the programs and activities we need to bring in in order to do that.

22:01

And critically, how do we make sure that we able not only to win partner mind

22:05

share, but we're able to retain that.

22:08

Our data shows us most partners work with eight vendors, right.

22:12

If you're a smaller vendor working with a large partner, really, really

22:15

difficult to actually get that kind of mind share.

22:19

So whatever you do, particularly in these early stages, which may be that

22:23

partners first experience of your brand, you need to make a good impression.

22:28

You need to appear to be easy to do business with because if their first deal

22:32

is too hard, the partner might put you in the too hard to deal with Fox, right.

22:36

And that partnership is going to kind of die very quickly.

22:42

So real kind of activities that I've seen.

22:46

The first is around programs to increase that onboarding process, right.

22:53

And two tactics that I've seen really help here is around guided partner

22:57

journeys.

22:59

So if you imagine making sure that you have the right technology in place so

23:03

that their partner, when they come in, they go through your portal experience,

23:07

but they also are able to experience your entire partner program and you're

23:11

guiding them all the way through using technology to say,

23:14

"Hey, thank you so much for signing up this contract.

23:17

Did you know that you need to upload your logo here so we can do co-marketing

23:20

with you?

23:21

Hey, have you seen the sales enable when one or one and just making sure that

23:25

you take them through the steps instead of relying entirely on your partner

23:30

account managers to take them through that.

23:33

Make it as intuitive and easy and simple as possible from the minute that they

23:37

are on your partner program and in your partner portal.

23:41

It's also a really good idea to start incentivizing specific milestones in that

23:47

onboarding journey.

23:49

So great to have you onboarded.

23:52

We noticed that you watched our value proposition video.

23:55

Guess what? You get 100 points for that.

23:58

This is amazing super user.

24:00

You've got 100 partners.

24:02

You've got 100 of your people signed up to our partner portal.

24:06

You get this number of points or this kind of incentive.

24:10

So actually making sure that as they do these different steps that you need to

24:15

do in order to get them onboarded, trained and enabled,

24:20

that you're actually motivating and incentivizing them and that helps to keep

24:25

that momentum going.

24:27

The next tactic is really, really pragmatic help to close.

24:32

Without giving my weight my age too much. I've probably been involved with

24:36

partners for 20, 25 years in various forms.

24:40

And it still amazes me how very few companies really focus on the practical

24:46

sales coaching that you would give your own salespeople.

24:51

What partners want to understand is what works, what works in the field, what

24:56

kind of pain points can we really focus on,

25:01

what kind of stakeholders do we need to be engaging with, how do we practically

25:06

engage different people and how do we compete.

25:11

So they're really kind of hands on sales coaching from your own salespeople is

25:15

really effective, right?

25:16

Almost helping them to become sellers.

25:20

And so that's not just giving enablement materials is actually how to.

25:25

Another big component of this which I've seen really move the needle in terms

25:29

of accelerating the time to impact from new partners is,

25:34

I've got an example here from so far, really providing pre-sale support, right?

25:39

Recognizing this is, you know, it's a complex sale.

25:43

We're going to give you people that will help you with RFPs, that will help you

25:46

do sizing, that will help you with product migration support.

25:50

And so because partners will sell what they feel confident selling.

25:55

So giving that really kind of high touch at least in the early stages, pre-sale

26:00

support really helps to accelerate that program.

26:05

And then the third area is really around making is particularly in the early

26:10

stages, training is accessible as possible, right?

26:14

So acknowledging there's a cost of doing business with the new vendor, as

26:19

checkpoints said here, you know, we recognize this.

26:21

So we are going to make up a level training free, at least for those new

26:25

partners for a period of time,

26:28

so that you are able to make it a lot more accessible, but also keep their

26:33

motivator, keep them enabled.

26:35

So I alluded to the beginning, another thing that's pretty critical, right, is

26:42

to make sure that you have the right platform in place,

26:45

so that you're able to see those outcomes.

26:47

And I've got an example here, I won't go into too much detail, but the main

26:51

driver behind Sky High was launching a new partner program

26:56

and making sure that they had a PRM launched at the same time.

27:01

Because they had an objective of growing partner source revenue from single

27:04

digits to over a third of their business,

27:07

which they were able to do in less than a year.

27:10

And a key part of their success was because they were able to guide partners

27:14

from that initial onboarding all the way through

27:17

to the point where they're starting to generate revenue.

27:20

And their process was simple, it was consistent, and they were able to engage

27:24

in a very consistent way.

27:26

And so we're able to show those results to the business, which gave them the

27:29

ability to reinvest and to continue to grow in their partner ecosystem.

27:35

So I've covered a time in a very short part of time, but I think hopefully you

27:39

've got the message out here that it's not just also about one to five,

27:44

it's also about taking from five to six is really, really important.

27:48

When you got started to generate revenue where there's momentum, now you need

27:52

to make sure that you're able to optimize and grow,

27:55

because really that's what this is.

27:58

It's a flywheel.

28:00

Your co-sell is around identifying the right partners, onboarding them in the

28:04

right way so that they share value,

28:06

and you have shared goals, and you start to hit those revenue goals.

28:10

Then you need to think about how do you keep those partners?

28:13

What is the nurturing, how do you ensure ease of doing business to make sure

28:16

that you get the right kind of results and you're able to scale?

28:21

It also gives you intelligence, so you get observability from that process,

28:26

which helps you to give you the signals, the feeds, the intelligence on what

28:31

does good look like,

28:32

what does partner success look like, so you're able to feed that back into your

28:35

programs and so you're optimizing, grow,

28:38

and increase that acquisition and retention of those partners.

28:42

So, covered at time, we'll be able to share the results of the year after this,

28:46

and hopefully that gave you a few tactics and tips to bring back into your

28:49

business.

28:50

Thank you very much.

28:52

All right. Thanks for everyone who's still sticking around. I know some people

28:59

had to drop off, but now is our Q&A.

29:02

And this is your time to ask these experts what you're curious about. There are

29:08

some questions that we'll start to go through.

29:11

And one of the ones that I wanted to touch on was Incentives. So Jane Hamilton

29:17

asked, "What sort of incentives do you use?"

29:21

Margaret, I would love your take on you are highlighting some of these

29:25

different incentives.

29:27

What are some examples of incentives that can either be deployed in a PRM or

29:32

just in a partner program in general?

29:35

Yeah, so Incentives is a big topic as you quite directly pointed out. So I

29:40

think the most common ones would be rebates, right?

29:44

So these are kind of longer term incentives where you've had a growth goal or

29:50

something very strategic in terms of the performance of that,

29:55

and you will give them a 2% rebate based on performance. So that's probably one

29:59

of the most common ones.

30:01

And then you get sales performance incentives, which are called SPFs typically.

30:06

So these are to drive a particular, I wouldn't say short term,

30:11

because it takes a while for the partner to take on board incentives, but you

30:14

could offer, let's say, over a six month period,

30:18

a specific incentive around a specific sales number or for a specific activity.

30:25

So actually using that incentive funding to say,

30:29

if you get three people certified, we will actually give you an additional

30:35

incentive. So trying to use that to also not just motivate sales,

30:39

but also to motivate behavior. And then the third area is around point space

30:45

systems, right? So where you've got kind of,

30:49

you know, maybe your hard and fast revenue numbers that you've got incentives

30:52

associated with. You can have point space programs,

30:56

which can be at an individual or at a partner level, which is really looking at

30:59

those activities and used to motivate behavior rights.

31:02

And those can be kind of, yeah, if you perform training or if you launch a

31:06

marketing campaign, how engaged you are,

31:11

you can put any kind of point space system and start to recognize individuals

31:15

as well as partners based on those points,

31:18

and then give either a prize or a physical prize or some kind of experience or

31:25

give cash,

31:26

and increasingly it is often cash based on performing those. And then you've

31:31

got the gamification elements as well.

31:33

Is that in the sense of or is that kind of engaging? It can be linked to

31:37

incentives, but also using things like badging and specific gamification

31:43

activities within the PRM or within the portal to drive that motivation and all

31:47

of it's really around,

31:49

you know, keeping motivation up and keeping partners interested in engagement

31:53

and these yes sticks.

31:55

So, yeah, I think I'll cover those. And the other one is marketing funds as

31:58

well,

31:59

arguably that's also an incentive, you know, giving money back for performing

32:03

specific marketing.

32:04

So I think those would be the main types.

32:07

Awesome. Yeah. Nelson, I'm curious your take on, should this be included in the

32:12

ideal partner profile generation in terms of trying to align

32:16

with the

32:18

partnership with the partner?

32:20

I think that's a great thing to do with the partnership.

32:23

I think that's a great thing to do with the partnership.

32:26

I think that's a great thing to do with the partnership.

32:29

I think that's a great thing to do with the partnership.

32:32

I think that's a great thing to do with the partnership.

32:35

I think that's a great thing to do with the partnership.

32:38

I think that's a great thing to do with the partnership.

32:41

The recurring thing you're always going to hear from me is it should anchor

32:45

first with the customer.

32:47

And like the more you understand a customer in their journey and how partners

32:51

can help,

32:52

the more downstream you can go in terms of things like what these incentives

32:57

should look like to then go drive the right behavior with the partner

33:01

to then go impact the customer experience and outcome.

33:04

So that's the principle I always teach is you have to start there.

33:08

Start with the customer in mind and then another component to this is you have

33:12

to balance that of course with your company goals.

33:15

But you've got to be crystal clear on those two that then help you align on the

33:19

partner types and then with that specific partner type,

33:22

you take into consideration their business models as well and you think about

33:26

what incentives align to the customer, your company,

33:29

and that partner to then go address that.

33:31

And I'll give you a very specific example because sometimes when I'm working

33:34

with people they'll be like,

33:36

"That's a great principle, but how do I actually do that?"

33:39

So let's say your customer is struggling with let's say the development or the

33:44

implementation and the training and the change management

33:49

and the ongoing support of rolling out your platform.

33:53

Let's say the complexity of your platform is high to get to the outcome.

33:56

Well then you know that services or solution partners or SIs are going to be

34:00

really helpful in impacting that customer journey

34:03

and the pain that they solve for them is prioritizing it's very high.

34:06

Okay now that you have anchored on this partner type, you know how it impacts

34:09

the customer journey,

34:10

it's going to provide a great customer experience, then you think about what

34:13

are the customer incentives specifically,

34:15

sorry, the partner incentives specifically that will drive the partner to

34:19

behave in the way that you want to drive great customer experiences

34:22

in doing things like the services across that journey, right?

34:26

And I'll give you examples.

34:28

One of them could be you can measure managed MRR.

34:32

It could be services revenue that the partner is actually getting on an annual

34:36

basis, right?

34:37

That's reflective of the health and the value that providing for the customer

34:40

on these engagements.

34:41

It could also be downstream of that things like a CSAT survey, right?

34:46

And then also you might want certifications to ensure that the bench has the

34:50

capability and to that also the capacity.

34:53

So maybe the number of people that are actually certified.

34:55

But you'll notice the things that I highlighted all latter back to how does

34:59

that create a really great customer experience?

35:01

Like you need those elements in order to ensure that the customer has a great

35:05

services journey with that partner.

35:07

So the idea here is less about, you know, I don't want to rattle off like maybe

35:12

like a hundred things you can incentivize

35:14

because reality is with many different partner types, there's a lot of things

35:17

you can incentivize.

35:18

What I would suggest is really get clear and crisp on those things that I

35:21

mentioned to start with

35:23

and then focus on the ones that really move the needle-line incentives.

35:26

You don't need 30 of them.

35:28

I can promise you that it's usually it's as simple as a handful, right?

35:32

Maybe less than five probably.

35:34

And then from there you can really start to move the needle with your partners.

35:37

And lastly the reason I'll say this is because I've done a lot of these partner

35:39

program builds.

35:40

And also I've looked at 35 different partner programs in detail.

35:44

What I found consistently is the more simple and easy it is to understand.

35:50

And the more it's anchored towards helping the customer in the way that you

35:53

want,

35:54

the more likely your partners will buy into the program and go work against att

35:58

aining those goals.

36:00

Hopefully that helps.

36:02

Amazing.

36:03

Simplicity and clarity will definitely drive action.

36:05

And Kirsten, I believe that answers your question in terms of, you know, the

36:10

rev share and you're trying to minimize that,

36:13

but they're the referring party.

36:14

And so how do we actually incentivize them?

36:17

Start with the customer like Nelson said.

36:19

And you'll probably more easily find your answer in terms of the value that can

36:24

be translated to the customer and also of course to the partner.

36:29

We didn't necessarily touch on this, but Pete asked around the tactics for

36:34

reaching out to reseller partners that are likely already serving your ICP.

36:40

In terms of, Nelson, I'll point this to you, in terms of using the ideal

36:45

partner profile to inform an outreach strategy, what should organizations be

36:51

thinking of?

36:52

Let's say if they're the smaller player in the interaction and it's a larger

36:55

reseller that they may want to reach out to,

36:58

how can they craft a better message of value versus what the typical is, hey,

37:03

we want a partner, let's talk.

37:05

You know, we have these great incentives.

37:07

How could you use that ideal partner profile to inform better outreach?

37:12

Certainly you want the criteria to match before you do the outreach because you

37:16

want to make sure the probability of landing that partner is very high as you

37:20

go through that outbound motion.

37:22

But I will give you some very practical tips on how to speed up partner

37:25

recruitment.

37:26

The first is you ingrain it into your process, cross functionally.

37:30

Now, what I mean by that?

37:31

Well, with your sales team, with your CSM, with the data gathering within your

37:36

CRM, right, what you want to do is with these cross functional teams, get them

37:41

to start asking the question,

37:43

hey, do you actually work with a partner today and what does that look like?

37:46

Whether it's resell or a services partner, SI, et cetera, or technology partner

37:50

and so forth.

37:51

And just by gathering the data, when you have that cross functional team

37:54

interaction with a customer is tremendously helpful because as an example,

38:00

if you're already aware that a reseller is working a deal with that customer

38:04

and your team, you can then go to the reseller executive and say,

38:08

hey, I'd like to strike up a partnership.

38:10

Here's the value proposition of why we should do this.

38:13

And then ultimately we already have a deal or a handful or a lot of deals in

38:17

motion that validate this partnership will be successful.

38:20

And I will tell you that has always been the fast track to any partnership that

38:23

I've done is having proof points and actual,

38:27

referenceable case studies that get people to buy in very quickly.

38:30

Now, I've also signed a lot of partnerships that were strategic that did not

38:33

have the proof point yet.

38:36

And the way that I did that is you've got to be very thoughtful and

38:39

personalized in the messaging.

38:41

You cannot spam like a general, hey, come join our partner program.

38:45

It's exciting.

38:46

That doesn't work.

38:47

What I literally do is I have this template, which I'm happy to give you the

38:51

link so you can take a look.

38:53

But basically it's a personalized recruitment approach that you can send to a

38:57

CEO of a company.

38:59

And the idea is you've put in so much research and thought into why this

39:03

partner ship makes sense.

39:05

And you've spelled out the business case in great detail and you talk about

39:09

alignment on vision, customer need and how you're going to help them grow their

39:12

business in detail.

39:14

And you know what? Is it a lot of work? 100%.

39:17

But then the question is if you get five or six of these strategic partners on

39:20

board, how game-changing could that be for your company?

39:23

So again, that's why it's so critical to be really clear on the customer, the

39:26

IPP, and then ultimately prioritize your partners because you're not going to

39:30

have so many cycles to send out a thousand of these, right?

39:34

But if you send out 20 that are really thoughtful and you land six of these

39:37

really strategic partners that you want to bring on board that you know will

39:41

make an impact, that can really move the needle for your company.

39:44

And one of the last things I'll leave you with is over and over again, as I

39:48

build partner programs, you know, the Pareto principle often applies, which is

39:52

you'll have these really top performing partners deliver the vast majority of

39:56

the results.

39:57

And that's why something like personalized recruitment that is very strategic

40:01

can go a long way. So hopefully that's helpful. Those two tactics.

40:03

Awesome. Yeah, people were asking for that template. So if you have the link,

40:07

then share it here. And of course, everyone, if you want more templates, then

40:12

subscribe to partner principles and Nelson has many, many templates and

40:16

tactical insights.

40:17

Couldn't recommend engaging with him enough. We have about two or three minutes

40:23

left.

40:24

I've got two questions that I think we could choose one of.

40:30

Far as I'll take a look at yours. How do you deal with pushback from sales or

40:34

service to ask the questions about what partners.

40:37

Do you mean what partners the customer work with or how do you mean the sales

40:46

and service pushback the customer.

40:51

So your sales and or service team is pushing back about asking customers.

40:58

So, I mean, at the end of the day, I'll give my like one cent on this at the

41:02

end of the day, it's all about the customer value like Nelson mentioned.

41:08

And so if the seller or the service team is not focused on value, then, you

41:11

know, the customers, your boss, they pay your bills essentially. But Margaret,

41:16

I would love your take on how to navigate pushback from anyone who's trying to

41:22

protect a client in terms of.

41:25

They think it's going to hurt the sales cycle by including a partner or at

41:28

least trying to learn about the partner.

41:30

What's your take on how far us could approach that?

41:35

Yeah, that ever happens to always happen.

41:41

Yeah, I think there's a lot to unpack there. I mean, I think the first point is

41:45

there's probably a degree of education internally in terms of the value that

41:50

partners provide, right?

41:52

And particularly important if you're working with a very large SI, typically

41:57

they have in conversations, probably your product is one tiny component of a

42:01

conversation that's been going on for 18 months, right?

42:05

And sure, your sales person may not have that full visibility, but you're

42:08

typically a component of a much bigger transformation project, for example,

42:12

right?

42:13

So the more intelligence you can gather and build on not only the roles that

42:17

your partners are playing in their customer, but also the breadth of those

42:22

relationships, I think is one way to overcome it.

42:26

The more visibility you have, and we talk a lot about observability, it's so,

42:31

so important, right?

42:33

The more that you can show the impact that your partners make, not just the

42:37

revenue, of course, that's an easy one to show, but these more complex

42:41

relationships like your ISVs, like your consulting partners, you know, tracking

42:47

things like how many demos have they done?

42:48

How many proof of concepts have they done?

42:51

Actually, being able to show the sales progression that they've provided also

42:55

again, cement the influence that that partner has.

42:59

Look, it's not an easy answer, but it is all about educating and it's about

43:02

being as visible and transparent as possible.

43:05

Also, and I've done this in my own career, it's really important to share the

43:09

wins.

43:10

Often, your partner teams will operate in a bit of an echo chamber, right?

43:15

They'll tell each other about a wonderful day.

43:17

It's actually really important to make sure you share that internally, right?

43:21

Talk about the impact that partners have had just as much as you share your own

43:26

sales stories internally, share those partner wins, because that gives that

43:32

confidence and mitigates.

43:34

You know, for me, it's about slowing down the deal, but it's also about

43:37

mitigating risk.

43:38

If I bring somebody else in, is they going to muddy the water or they're going

43:40

to recommend somebody else?

43:42

So kind of creating that trust is really, really important, and you only do

43:45

that through over-communicating the value of partners.

43:49

I love it. Well, that's everything for today. Thank you so much for your wisdom

43:54

, both Nelson and Margaret.

43:57

Everyone, this is recorded. Send this to anyone that you think could find this

44:01

valuable.

44:02

Of course, check out partner principles and what Nelson is working on.

44:06

Have a look at all bound, one of our partners, and of course, Margaret is a

44:09

wealth of knowledge, and of course, as well, check out reveal if you're not

44:14

already signed up.

44:15

But thank you so much for everyone for sharing your wisdom and your questions

44:18

today.

44:19

If you have other questions, these people are very friendly, so hit them up on

44:22

LinkedIn, send them an email if you have it.

44:25

And yeah, don't be a stranger. We're all here to help. Thanks so much for your

44:29

time, everyone.

44:30

Thank you, Bill. Thanks, everyone.

44:32

[BLANK_AUDIO]

X

This is a test comment.

X

This is a longer test comment to see how this looks if the person decides to ramble a bit. So they're rambling and rambling and then they even lorem ipsum.


author