In 2024, partnership teams should be making decisions with facts not feelings
Partnerships can seem like a dark art to understand. Whether you’re building a program from scratch or inheriting an existing program, it’s easy to get caught up in the feelings that surround partnerships. How often have you heard “It feels like this partner is more engaged” or “It feels like this AE gets us”?
When you’re building in the early stages, it seems like there are more questions than answers and the primary “feeling” might be confusion. As a team, it is important to establish the answers to these questions early on:
- How do you identify the right partners to work with
- Should I spend my time on technical partnerships or system integrators (SIs)
- What does success look like and how long should I expect it to take
Once a partner program has been established, the questions only intensify with the investment. Without fail, within a few months of a partnership launching the questions start around performance.
- Which partners are highest performing
- Which individuals inside those partnerships are champions
- Where are there gaps and opportunities to increase or adjust your approach
- How do partner engaged opportunities perform compared to non-partner
These questions aren’t easy to answer without data, hence why people fall back to their “feelings”. And although sales teams live in their CRM, these systems are configured to focus on customer data, not partner data. Alliance teams often get caught in the sentimental value due to lack of data, reporting, and insights.
Ditch the feelings
The problem with most partnership teams is that the relationships and tracking live in someone’s head, a notepad, or if you’re lucky Excel. If partner data is tracked in your CRM, it’s most likely at the partner company level. Very few are tracking at the individual level which means you’re missing out on identifying and cultivating relationships with individuals. Likewise, you run the risk of losing those relationships when an individual leaves your partner team.
Can you answer the following questions about your partner program?
- Are you driving sourced revenue with repeatable action plans that live outside of a single person’s head or spreadsheet?
- Are you measuring marketing funnel, events, and AMP but not alliances and co-selling?
- Do you know how co-selling deals or partner engaged deals are performing – do they close faster, at a higher rate, and at a larger ADS, but lack the metrics
to prove it?
If you can’t answer these questions you’re relying too much on feelings. The risk of not basing your partnership program on data spans from lost time to revenue.
- Time wasted on order management and manual relationship management
- Losing track of evangelists
- Missed opportunities
- Lack of a repeatable future proofed program that lives beyond a single individual
- Lack of proof that partnerships are working
The last point might be the most important if you consider yourself an alliance leader. As budgets tighten, two things become true – an organization will scrutinize performance metrics and look to identify where cuts can be made. The past year has resulted in many alliance teams being stripped down or cut altogether. The ability to prove your partnership team’s success becomes not only a nice to have but critical to sustaining your team. Furthermore, beyond just saving your team, you have the opportunity to be recognized as a shining star in the battle for more pipeline.
Removing the indifference to partner teams with cold, hard facts
New channels of business become beacons of hope during economic uncertainty. Lucky for partner teams, our entire focus is on these alternative channels. Bringing the facts through data on how partners, both SIs and technology, impact the pipeline and highlighting clear opportunities and gaps resonates much more than someone’s “feelings” around partner performance.
Stick to the facts
To wrap, I wanted to provide tangible ways to move from feelings to the facts in 2024 and beyond.
Start with data-driven performance analytics
- Identify high-performing territories, teams, and individuals within partner organizations to optimize collaboration and maximize revenue generation.
- Understand which AEs are working SI-led deals, the highest performing territories, how deals progress with vs. without partners, and the teams generating the most revenue.
Focus on opportunity level reporting
- Track and report on detailed insights within your partner deals, enabling better decision-making every step of the way.
Future-Proof your alliance team
- Keep your partner relationship data organized and accessible for everyone on your team (not in someone’s head).
The ROI on moving from feelings to facts have benefits across your organization that can affect your bottom line.
For the alliance team:
Data helps to clearly identify and understand gaps and opportunities at the individual and partner level making it easier to recognize tangible next steps to increase traction. With reports and dashboards available to show these opportunities the ambiguity of partnerships dissolves. Automating the tracking and order management saves time, cycles and reduces manual mistakes.
Data helps to narrow the focus and act with partners that lean in and show success. With limited resources and budget, facts will help your marketing team identify where to invest and how. That could look like regional events where you have identified an industry or localization of active AEs.
For sales teams:
A new channel or channels of business mean more opportunity and more ACV. When partnerships can meaningfully affect pipeline with lower sales team engagement, you earn the trust and confidence of sales reps who become more willing to engage with partners.
Not sure where to start? Schedule time with our team to brainstorm how you can make partnerships a meaningful part of your 2024 strategy or visit us on the AppExchange to learn more about Invisory’s Partner Success Tracker.
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