Unlocking the Power of Partnerships with Martin Scholz of PartnerXperience

Unlocking the Power of Partnerships with Martin Scholz of PartnerXperience

Aaron Olson 16 min

We’ve added a new partner to our PartnerHacker Education Hub. PartnerXperience (PXP) offers live and online courses and certifications in partnerships.

I contacted PXP’s cofounder Martin Scholz to learn more.

This is the 5th article in a series focused on our Ed Hub partners, you can read the rest of the series here:

Check out my latest interview with Martin Scholz of PXP below:

Why create another partnerships course?

We felt there was no good education out there [in Europe], as far as we could see.

After getting validation at our meetup, we felt like we needed to start some kind of formal education. – Martin Scholz

Martin Scholz and Bernhard Friedrichs decided to launch PartnerXperience after an informal partner meetup. Attendees asked Martin and Bernhard where they could go to get more education.

The two had been thinking about starting a course, but the outpouring of interest in partnership education validated their idea.

PXP believes in creating an experience

We strongly believe that one part of this value is that we share our experiences. Partner pros can interact with each other and share expertise. It’s more of an enabling experience for partner folks to come together and exchange and challenge ideas and perspectives. – Martin Scholz

Experience is so important. Martin and Bernhard believe in creating an educational experience. It’s not just about leaving with a certificate in hand.

The courses are about learning out loud with other partner pros.

Get specific with your goals and metrics

Unfortunately, many companies are not clear about what partnerships are. Partnerships are very often vaguely defined. And if success is not defined, you cannot be successful. – Martin Scholz

Partner manager roles can sometimes be vaguely defined. Martin says success in partnership is often not clearly stated. It happens more than you’d think.

His courses at PXP help PMs understand their roles and encourages students to have difficult conversations with their superiors about how they are being judged on their performance.

Education you can apply the next day

We do believe that this training session should be very hands-on. We want to make sure that you have a clear understanding and that you can take and apply it the next day back at the office!

Some training is very high level, and they’re all amazing, but we want something tangible you can apply to your work the next day. – Martin Scholz

It’s great to have high-level educational stuff, but it is also important to be able to apply what you’re learning. Martin and Benhard keep their training down to earth.

They even teach things like cultural differences. Martin says there are big cultural differences in how partnerships work in Europe vs. the US. If you don’t pay attention to those differences, you’ll miss out on partnership opportunities.

Full transcript:

Aaron Olson 0:04

Hi everyone, Aaron here from PartnerHacker. Today I am talking with Martin Scholz of partner experience. Martin has one of the latest courses that we have in our education hub over at partner hacker. Martin, thanks so much for coming on the call with me today.

Martin Scholz 0:21

It’s my pleasure. Good to be here.

Aaron Olson 0:23

So Martin, I want to know a little bit more about partner experience. There’s a lot of partnership courses out there. Why did you feel the need to create another one partner experience? Tell me more about it?

Martin Scholz 0:36

That’s a very good question. Actually, when we came up with this idea, we felt there is no good education out there. As far as we could see, I feel like this is religiously among a momentum, which was gained or scaling over the last weeks and months probably. Probably also, because we are basically in Europe. And there’s certainly a lack of training and education available in our region here, which I think this has some differences to, let’s say, the North American market. So we felt like we initially started with a partner meetup here in our local region in Berlin, very collected from you know, from us for from partner folds for partner folks, just a casual meetup. And literally on the first one, where we have this idea of launching the partner experience Academy. In our back of our minds, we ended this gathering with 30 people. And you know, one question which came up during the sessions was, hey, Martin, can you recommend any kind of formal education? And we’re like, Well, yeah, actually, we do. And that’s kind of where we got the validation for our thoughts. And we decided to oh, that’s just give it a try. And that’s how we started.

Aaron Olson 1:53

Yeah, well, I love that. I mean, your customers, you started a meetup. And the people who attended were just clamoring, they wanted more, and, and you made it happen. So I, I love that model. That’s, that’s amazing. Tell me a little bit more about what’s it what’s unique about your courses? You mentioned that there, it started as a meetup, is there still an alive component? Or is it all online?

Martin Scholz 2:17

While we still running the meetups, which is simply like, kind of regular get together for folks in the region. We did then separately from that launching the Academy. And the we launched life as an in person life event. So it’s a full day in person workshop, because we strongly believe that one part of this value is that we share our experience, the maybe at least as valuable partners, that people interact with each other and share expertise experiences in between. So it’s not a full time, like frontline education, but more enabling experience partner folks to come together and exchange and challenge our views add to this for you know, bringing their perspectives to the workshop.

Aaron Olson 3:11

You mentioned that you, you bring your experience, tell me a little bit more about your experience in partnerships and why you believe partnerships are so important.

Martin Scholz 3:23

I personally strongly believe in partnerships now more than ever, basically, also, because we had this idea of, you know, one plus one is three, I mean, it sounds like a bit of all thing, but this was what we tried to achieve. And we see the power of ecosystem just today, especially in more challenging times. If you’re not alone, if you have an ecosystem we can rely on, everybody can help each other but out. That’s certainly very, very strong. And I’ve been doing this for about 15 years. Together as my co founder, we used to run partnership teams in different startups scaleups, which were, you know, successfully internationally. So I had the pleasure to build partnerships and strategic partnerships across the globe. And I always find that very rewarding. If you really make that happen. You’re in the for the long run, you’re not trying to get a quick game, you’re not just sitting your next commission check. But you’re really establishing something which is valuable for the customers. And since it’s valuable for the customers, it’s valuable for both parties involved. So your company but also the partner. And I’m very proud to say that all of these business relationships, even some friendships developed because you had this strong will to do something good together. I think this is what we try also to teach people. On the one hand side, there’s such a beauty in partnerships. On the event side, there’s this challenge of hardly any formal education and actually, some of the other venues I think you Is it in their in their marketing? Like you wake up and find yourself in about a marketing role? And this fits like, yeah, they’re heading it. I mean, this is how most people come to this role.

Aaron Olson 5:13

It sounds like, I mean, I haven’t worked in partnerships. I write about partnerships. But it sounds like a lot of people are kind of thrown into it. And then they’re left scrambling, trying to figure it out. Figure it out. Tell me a little bit. Oh, go ahead.

Martin Scholz 5:30

Sorry. Yeah, just today I did lunch was with a young professional who’s taking on the role of a partnership manager in a Berlin based startup. And he said, Yeah, my background is more, you know, from project management and implementation, etc, etc. And he, I mean, he’s more on the technical side of partnerships. So that really works well. But there’s no yes, no formal education, like you can’t go to college and, you know, study partnerships or something like that. So we all we on the space, we have started some, typically somewhere else, customer success, some and sales summon more than a marketing role, some new product role, but it’s typically nothing you start your career with. So that’s why I feel like, hey, you know, it’s typically a great bunch of people. Let’s bring them together, give them the chance to speed up their own career to get to the next level. And to learn, you know, what it means to be successful? In the Partnership for abroad?

Aaron Olson 6:35

So you’ve got two courses over at our education hub. And if you want to partner hacker.com/ed, hub, you can get there. But tell me a little bit more about the partner, manager versus partner leader? What’s the difference between those two courses?

Martin Scholz 6:53

Sure, very good question. So we initially started with a partner, the first, the first idea was like, Hey, let’s just share all the knowledge we have in our minds and make that big certification. And then, you know, we give it a second thought, and we create create the first materials and we look at it, that’s probably not good. Because you know, there are different roles you can take as the the people, the one, which we believe was the most quiet one is the one of the partner manager. So somebody who’s operationally we were tasked to work with partners and make them successful. And we said, Okay, what is the stuff we taught our own teams, we will, you know, when we build our teams, were the exactly the same behind people who had no partnership background, because they’re hard to find. They’re very rare. So we hired a lot of young professionals, and we educated them to be successful. So we distill what do you need to be successful in a company where you have some what the partner strategies set, maybe a partner program is set up. And I still want to do what I do every day to be successful reach my goals. So that’s basically the the partner manager course where we do start catching on partner strategy and partner concepts, just to make sure, unfortunately, many companies that’s not really clear partnerships is very vague very often. And if success is not defined, you cannot be successful. So if you find yourself in a role where success is not clearly defined, or defined in a very interesting way, let’s say this way, then you may want to go back to your leadership team and say, Hey, can I please you know, get in a conversation with you and make that more clear and more specific, to really get to know what I what you expect me to do? So we touched base on that, but the main focus will be operational work. Okay, what is an IPP? Why do I need it? Do I need at all? So as a professor, you know, how do I find partners? Where can I look like practical tips and tricks? Okay, you are expected to recruit new partners, okay. Where do you start? How do you qualify them? How do you disqualify them? How do you make sure that you spent the time with those partners who are worth your time? Who will produce who will develop it with you? How will you onboard them? How do you enable them? How do you onboard them, you know, some partners are not meant forever, right? So these kind of really, day to day operational stuff, including also this session about process skill set, as well as partner software, which may come in handy in your day to day job. So that’s the Partner Manager Certification, what is the main theme is like how to become successful in your role as partner manager and the partner leadership course, design, basically the stuff which as a product manager You hopefully have, you know, prepared by a partner leader, which would include really like, okay, partnership strategy, what, what, how to align partnership goals to company goals, what kind of partner types are there, what partner types typically would contribute to which partner or goals. So let me give you an example, if your company would love to utilize partners to increase lead generation, you know, to address more customers, then you can do that with channel partnerships, maybe referral partners, but you could also do that as product partnerships. So teaming up, and you’re attending a joint story with another software vendor who has the same ICP, so really broadening the horizon beyond, oh, I want to have a reseller. But then really, okay, if you if that’s the goal, that’s the partner type. How do I create the meaningful value proposition? What are other aspects, I have to keep in mind as a partner leader to make sure that my company delivers a great partner experience to my prospect partners, so they want to love, they love to partner with me. So it’s really more the strategic aspect. And of course, we touch base on the operation stuff, because as a partner leader, you also should be able to guide your product managers on the day to day operational jobs.

Aaron Olson 11:18

Everything comes back to the partner experience, doesn’t it?

Martin Scholz 11:24

I mean, that’s what we strongly believe, right? You, too many people say, hey, they give 30% discount, and here’s a contract, let’s go. I’m not going to work, right partner experience is so much more we were all trained about this customer experiencing for, I don’t know, a decade or so. Right? be customer centric, etc, etc. But somehow this this this model, or this holistic model of seeing, what is the experience to work with me, has not translated into the partner world.

Aaron Olson 11:55

Well, Martin, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to come on the call and talk with us a little bit about your course. And about partnerships. Is there anything that I didn’t ask about partner experience that you feel that listeners or viewers of this should know?

Martin Scholz 12:11

I think we did decide to do these trainings, both in person as well as virtual, or virtually, because we got a lot of interest from abroad, which actually surprised us quite a bit. So we decided that we will try and move virtually as well, we will not make a full day virtual event because I think that we pretty daunting. So we will cut this up in three sessions, or two hours, to two and a half hours, which is we believe is more digestible. So I think that’s important to know. So there are in person and virtual editions, which you could join. And maybe also something which is core for us. We do believe that this training session should be very hands on, we want to make sure that you have a clear understanding something you can take and apply it next day, some of the trainings or some of the education you can join our, you know, very strategic, very high level, and they’re all amazing, but nothing tangible you can apply on your work next day. So our rule was always something you can apply next day when you’re back in your office. And last but not least, I know you have a great audience in North America. If you are working in North American company and you consider utilizing partnerships are expanding to Europe, believe me intercultural difference is a thing. So make sure that you are aware of that. And if you want to learn more, check out our courses. We even have a special special course of coming to Europe. Because we have seen all of my career, we always had this big American competitor, and we were always lucky that they had no idea that Europe is a bit different than us. So if you don’t want to make that same mistake, you know, have a check. Check it out and see why there are, you know, so many myths about the cultural differences. It’s real.

Aaron Olson 14:13

Martin, thanks again. Take care. Thanks for coming on the call today.

Martin Scholz 14:19

Thank you for your time was great here. Bye. Bye, everyone.

Aaron Olson 16 min

Unlocking the Power of Partnerships with Martin Scholz of PartnerXperience

PartnerXperience (PXP) offers live and online courses and certifications in partnerships.

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