Nearbound Daily #499: Takeover with Nelson Wang from Partner Principles

Nearbound Daily #499: Takeover with Nelson Wang from Partner Principles

Nelson Wang 4 min

Meet your new partnerships mentor

Hey everyone! I’m Nelson Wang, Head of Worldwide Partnerships at Airtable, and Creator of Partner Principles.


Thank you so much for letting me take over the daily (and your inboxes) today! 


Why the takeover?

The team and I have joined forces on a content series that has one goal in mind: 


Giving partner managers the support and resources they need to win. 


Over my 17-year career in partnerships, I’ve recruited over 1,479 partners and built a partner playbook (5 times from zero to one) that has grown revenue from $0 to $150M.


But I’m going to tell you a secret: I struggled a lot in the beginning. 


I felt like I was on an island, trying to build partnerships without much education or a community. My first impulse in my first partner program build was to recruit as many partners as I could—and you can imagine how that went.  


So what changed? I started to seek out mentorships.  


This changed everything. 


Each one of my mentors taught me the foundational principles of partnerships—the importance of customer centricity, internal team alignment (we can go fast alone but far together), goal alignment, mutually beneficial outcomes, trust, continuous improvement, and effective communication.


I am so grateful—and recognize I am incredibly lucky—to have had these mentors along the way.


And now, I want to pay it forward to each of you so you can find success with your partners 10X faster. 


My goal with creating Partner Principles—and now with this partnership with—is to share everything I’ve learned over the years to help other partner pros crush it in their roles.

I want to be the partnership mentor I needed all those years ago. 


I’ve shared bits and pieces of my partnerships playbook on LinkedIn and through the Partner Principles newsletter (which just passed 2,248 subscribers!).


Together, me and are going to take it up a notch.


We believe in helping Partner Managers succeed through tactical, valuable content.


Each week, I’ll teach you fundamental partnership principles, give you templates and visuals, and share my partner stories.




Because I don’t want you to have to go through the hard lessons I did in building partnerships from zero to one. I want to help you:

  • Save time (Less slide building. Less strategy guessing. Less trial and error.)

  • Get to business outcomes faster and I are on the same page—we want Partner Managers to lead B2B into the decade of the ecosystem. But you need support, and we’re here to help.


As a close to this takeover, I want to leave you with a resource you can use and a lesson.


The resource

Value of Partners

Click here to find a complete slide deck on the value of partners. If you ever need help articulating the value of partners internally, this 20+ slide deck will be incredibly helpful with the visuals.  


The lesson


One of the most important things you can do when launching a partner program (especially at SaaS PLG companies):


Having clear swim lanes.


This helps your company (the executive and GTM teams) and your partners understand how you can work together.


Here are examples of clear swim lanes:

  1. Segmentation: Route to partners based on customer segments. For example: Partners cover 100% of the Commercial segment (<1000 employees), while the SaaS company takes on Enterprise segments (>1000 employees)

  2. 100% reseller GTM: The SaaS company only sells through resellers. As you distribute leads to partners, you create a long-term flywheel effect. In some cases, this is not possible to implement due to the self-serve nature of PLG, and often a "customer-driven" approach to reselling is more common.

  3. Regions: Partner-led by region (for ex: country). Partners can help with the local presence, language, currency exchange risk, and contract terms.

  4. Capabilities: Every customer requirement that falls into a pre-defined "capability" goes to a partner.

  5. Verticals: Partner-led by vertical where they have much stronger domain expertise.

Partnership Leaders + Partner Principles (2)

I put together this slide with Partnership Leaders to help you ideate on possible swim lanes. Hope it helps!


I’m excited to learn and grow alongside you.




P.S. Read my first article on my 17+ years in partnerships. And come back each week for more!

Nelson Wang 4 min

Nearbound Daily #499: Takeover with Nelson Wang from Partner Principles

Meet your new partnerships mentor

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