Nearbound Daily #510: Matt Dornfeld's Step-by-Step Guide for Building Partnership Executive Summaries

Nearbound Daily #510: Matt Dornfeld's Step-by-Step Guide for Building Partnership Executive Summaries

Ella Richmond 3 min

Did someone say, “Decade of the Ecosystem?!” 

We’re seeing a shift in the way people partner inside of an ecosystem.


It’s subtle but important.


Before, SaaS companies and agencies might’ve said, “We’re building around HubSpot.” Today, they’re saying, “We’re building around HubSpot’s ecosystem.”


What’s changing is where the value lies.


In the past, value came from being aligned with the company.


Now, companies like HubSpot and Microsoft who boast impressive ecosystems recognize they’ve built something greater than themselves.


Today, their company’s growth comes as a result of ecosystem growth so they facilitate and encourage their network of partners to partner (aka succeed) with and through each other.


If you want to hear how companies like HubSpot think about growing alongside their ecosystems, listen to this 30-minute video from Karen Ng (SVP Product, HubSpot).

Build an executive summary, get buy-in 

When Matt Dornfeld, Senior Director of Omnichannel Partnerships at BigCommerce, is ready to push out a partnership to the market everyone from his internal stakeholders to his partner community is on board.




Step zero: He builds an executive summary for every partnership opportunity.


His goal with step zero is to create a source of truth for everyone involved in the partnership.


While this helps Matt and his stakeholders understand the value of the partnership, it also becomes a great tool in determining when and why a partnership might not be valuable.


Matt breaks each executive summary into 5 crucial steps:


Step one: Create a living document.


You have a potential partnership opportunity. Now, create a document and expect this document to evolve. This will be your #1 source of truth as you chase the potential opportunity, gather insights, and begin to determine whether or not to go forward with this partnership.


Step two: Note initial information.


Write down everything you already know—who are your points of contact around the organization? Who might influence go-to-market? What initial questions do you have?


Step three: Learn directly from your partner prospect.


Deepen your relationship with your partner prospect, ask them questions, and prioritize learning about their company and the potential opportunity. As you do this, note down all of the information and data you gather.


Matt shared this example,

We worked with a large marketplace platform that was rolling out ancillary services all the time: new fulfillment programs, new ad programs, and so forth.

I needed to go really deep with that partner to understand how they implemented their solution, how clients onboarded, how fast that onboarding process was, and all of the ’gotchas’ in the process…

Step four: Learn from your partner community.


Your partner community can and should help you validate this partnership. Ask them for their opinions, information, and data that might help you pursue this opportunity.


Your partners are there for you. They’ll either help you, or they’ll point out a potential blindspot.


Step five: Meet with all relevant stakeholders.


Throughout this process, you should be meeting with all relevant stakeholders—Marketing, Sales, Success, Legal, and Finance—to rally them around this opportunity. 


By the time you’re ready to go forward with the partnership, everyone should be excited about the opportunity.


One sentence summary: Build an executive summary for your next partnership opportunity to capture and communicate the potential value to every stakeholder involved.


A huge shoutout to Matt Dornfeld for such a simple, useful idea!


And check out Matt’s full GTM playbook on the Howdy Partners podcast.

When you pick quantity over quality

Just a friendly Friday reminder to prioritize quality partners over quantity of partners.


"Number of partners" is a nice metric, but you know what feels better than that?


Number of partner-sourced deals.

Number of opportunities sourced by partners.

Number of partner-sourced leads.


Thanks Alex Richards for the meme!


Share the executive summary how-to

Share this NbD with a partner pro who could use this step-by-step guide.

Ella Richmond 3 min

Nearbound Daily #510: Matt Dornfeld's Step-by-Step Guide for Building Partnership Executive Summaries

When Matt Dornfeld pushes out a partnership to the market, every one of his stakeholders is on board. How does he do it? Step zero.

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