Nearbound Daily #482: Your Path to Chief Partner Officer?!

Nearbound Daily #482: Your Path to Chief Partner Officer?!

Ella Richmond 4 min

Do we need a Chief Partner Officer?


We have VPs of Partnerships and other partner leaders. Do we need a C-level function dedicated to partners?


There’s still debate around the topic, but in a recent Nearbound Podcast, Asher Matthew (CEO at Partnership Leaders) gave a compelling argument that had Isaac Morehouse and Will Taylor nodding their heads in favor of the role.


Most partner-related tasks can be done by a VP of Partnerships, but the strategic value of the build, buy, or partner decision is so high, it might just deserve someone to own it.


He explained,

That decision can literally change the trajectory of companies.


Build, buy, partner

And if we have more senior executives that want to lead that conversation and the execution of it, I believe we can have CPOs.

What do you think?


Continue reading to the other learn the other ways a CPO adds value to their organizations.

What do CPOs do?!


In the previous section, you heard the most compelling reason for a company to invest in a CPO—to lead and execute on the build, buy, and partner decision. Now, let’s backtrack and explore the CPO role in a bit more detail.


In a recent article, Asher explained a Chief Partner Officer is,

a strategic executive role focused on managing and optimizing partnerships and collaborations within an organization’s ecosystem…

Much like the addition of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or Chief Sales Officer (CSO) empowers a company to strengthen its Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies, having a CPO is equally instrumental in elevating the partner program’s effectiveness.

The objective of a CPO is to unlock an ecosystem’s complete value.


In the podcast, Asher explained that unlocking ecosystems is about capturing three different types of audiences: prospects, customers, and partners.


Marketing thinks day in and day out about prospects. Sales thinks day in and day out about customers. But who’s thinking and obsessing about driving and capturing partner value?


That’s where the Chief Partner Officer would come in.


To date, Asher shared there are only 267 people in the world with the CPO title.



CPOs Paving the Way

Check out a few of these CPOs!


Chief Partner Officers are different from VPs of Partnerships and other partner leaders because,

These C-level roles are not doer roles, they’re manager roles and they’re created to support a bunch of makers…

At last year’s Catalyst, Greg Sarafin, Chief Partner Officer at EY, shared five key initiatives a CPO must spearhead to be successful.


Greg Sarafin’s CPO Must Activities

Read more.

A great CPO must:

  1. Expand traditional understanding of partnerships

  2. Instill partner-centric ethos inside its organization

  3. Establish a dedicated partner function and define partner activities

  4. Introduce a structured approach to partnership management

  5. Prioritize measuring the value coming from partnerships

You see, this CPO conversation isn’t a conversation about feel-good titles or vanity. It’s a conversation about how we can unlock the most ecosystem value.


Read the article for a full list of CPO responsibilities and listen to the podcast episode to hear how an exec board might think about the role. 


Would love your opinion—does there need to be a CPO role?


FREE CPO report 2023


Download The CPO Report 2023 by Partnership Leaders (free for PL community members) now for insights, data, benchmarks, and more. 


Or if you’re not a Partnership Leaders member, download the executive summary FREE here. 

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Stuff you don’t want to miss!

  • Nearbound Summit 2023 Recordings—The future of GTM is Nearbound. Watch the recordings to hear how B2B leaders across departments unite with Nearbound strategies and tactics. Listen here.

  • Dec 27th, 2 PM EST—You’ve Signed a Partnership Deal... Now What?—Join Philip Low (Former Head of Partnerships at Codat) and Scott Pollack (CEO at Firneo) as they unveil the often-overlooked steps post-partnership deal signing. Register now.

  • January 25th— CEO Summit—Join Pavilion and many more companies to be part of expert-led educational sessions, covering top-of-mind issues for CEOs and Founders. Learn about the latest sales insights, building a pricing strategy, and co-selling. Register here

  • Feb 5-7th in Miami—Impartnercon 2024—Partnerships are the future of growth. Join partner leaders to learn what it means to build the future of business, together.  Register here.

  • March 19-20th—Affiverse’s Amplify Summit—Join them for a 2-day virtual event to help affiliate businesses amplify their performance. Learn about digital, partnership, and affiliate marketing. Register here

Dare or dare: send this to a CPO


I bet a CPO has never received an email dedicated to CPOs. Do you think we can get this NbD in all 267 of their inboxes?

Ella Richmond 4 min

Nearbound Daily #482: Your Path to Chief Partner Officer?!

We have VPs of Partnerships and other partner leaders. Do we need a C-level function dedicated to partners?

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