How to Learn the Partnerships Love Languages

How to Learn the Partnerships Love Languages

Multiple Contributors 4 min

One of the worst things you can do at the beginning of a partnerships conversation is, after a few minutes of talking about the weather, ask the partner on the other side of Zoom,

So, what can we expect from a referrals perspective?

This has played out thousands of times, and the result is always the same: a general sense of discomfort and a noticeable decrease in that partner’s responsiveness.

Partners will run from you like Usain Bolt if you are a leads vampire and only think about yourself. Instead, you need to genuinely care about the person on the other side of the call.

Here’s the secret: learn your partner’s love language.

Yeah, you heard that right.

A business partnership is a relationship. All relationships are made up of individuals, and all individuals have a love language - a primary form of expression through which they prefer to give and receive love and connection.

Once you learn it, everything starts working better.

Finding your partner’s love language

It sounds weird, but all you need to do is ask. If you want to connect on a deeper level, you’ll need to speak the same language.

Starting conversations off with questions about them will help you identify their love language.

Listen closely.

You’ve got two ears and one mouth, so listen up. Partnerships are a two-way street. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise (not even your CEO).

Once you figure out your partner’s love language, you can talk to them in a way that they understand.

You can start talking about KPIs that immediately resonate. It is your job to help them succeed, because when you do, they help you succeed.

It is incredible how nuanced a love language can be. You need to figure out which is the dominant language for each partner and communicate accordingly.

Here are the three most common Partnerships Love Languages:

  • Business development (most common)
  • KPIs might include
  • Qualified leads referred
  • Influence opportunities
  • Closed revenue
  • Co-marketing
  • KPIs might include
  • MQLs from partner co-marketing
  • Closed revenue from partner co-marketing
  • Integration development
  • KPIs might include
  • Number of new integrations developed
  • Customer adoption of integrations
  • Customer metrics (ROI, churn) impacted by integration adoption

Love ‘em or lose ‘em

Many partners respond to all three, and almost all are at least somewhat interested in number one, but finding out which is dominant can be a huge help. As you listen for words and phrases that reveal which is the leading love language, write it down.

Once you know how to love your partner, it is important to do a quick inventory of your ability to communicate in their love language. This can be an alarming exercise at first!

Many partner managers feel a little frustrated with their Marketing and Product teams, while CS and Sales are too focused on their own objectives to help. You’ve got to learn their love languages too! Find out how to make it easy on them by showing them how partners can help achieve their KPIs.

Hopefully, you’ve kissed babies and shaken hands enough internally that you have a few resources to deploy from your organization to give back to partners in their love language.

Here are a few examples of communicating with each partner Love Language:

  • Business Development
  • Send referrals (God-tier) by creating internal incentives and processes to identify customer needs.
  • Integrate partnerships into your service model like Zapier has. Send thousands of referrals each month.
  • Influence active opportunities (great to leverage a tool like Reveal or Crossbeam)
  • Lunch and learns that don’t suck; tell the attendees which of their accounts use partner’s tech/services using Reveal/Crossbeam
  • Marketing
  • Include a partner in marketing that you are already producing (God-tier)
  • List them on your website in your partner directory
  • Co-create something with your partner (but be aware of the challenges of cat herding)
  • Integration adoption
  • Partner exposure in your product (God-tier).
  • Inclusion in your company’s existing product marketing communications.
  • Inclusion in your integrations marketplace or directory.

Becoming fluent in your partner’s love language

New partner managers (seriously, close to 100% of them) tend to skip learning their partner’s love language. Everybody is telling them to get leads and the clock is ticking. The CEO is deciding if partnerships is worth it while exploring their identity at Burning Man.

The best way to know if learning your partner’s love language is worth it is to try it.

Ask them what their goals are. Speak to them in their love language. Let them know how you are going to help them. The power of partnerships is unlocked by your ability to communicate in their language.

You’ll be surprised how well you can help yourself and your company when you help others first.

A FREE Masterclass in Partner Love Languages

Thursday, September 22 at 2pm ET, join us for a session with top agency partners and SaaS leaders on how to give your partners what they really want.

Register now.

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Multiple Contributors 4 min

How to Learn the Partnerships Love Languages

A business partnership is a relationship, which is made up of individuals who have a love language - a primary form of expression through which they prefer to give and receive love and connection. Once you learn it, everything starts working better.

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