How Industry Experts Leveled-up Their Partner Programs Through Planning, Goal Setting, and Forecasting

Cass Polzin
Cass Polzin18 Jan, 2022

December into February or March is generally considered planning season for partner professionals. During this time, partnerships professionals are working with their leadership teams and other departments in the organization to set goals and build plans for the year ahead.

We sat down with industry experts in the Partnership Leaders community to explore their tips on planning, forecasting, and goal setting. Over the next few weeks, you’ll get to hear from professionals at a variety of organizations with a wide breadth of experiences. Today, we’re digging into some of our top takeaways from these interviews.

OKR & Goal Setting Basics

OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results and defines high-level goals set by an organization, team, or individual. OKRs are different from KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in that they are meant to drive performance and enable company growth. KPIs, meanwhile, are milestones metrics for measuring performance. With this in mind, KPIs often impact compensation and OKRs don’t.

Setting OKRs from an organization-wide perspective, then disseminating those objectives into team and individual OKRs helps ensure everyone is aligned in their efforts. Further, working toward overarching objectives that are tied to growing the company fosters deeper engagement with your team and helps individuals feel more bought into the work they’re doing.

Partner Program Planning

As you take your organization-wide OKRs and use them to build a plan for your partner program, it’s essential to check in with other departments in the organization. By aligning your OKRs cross-functionally, you can optimize your resources and ensure you’re not working against each other.

Early on in your partner program, you’ll want to check back in on your goals monthly or quarterly. Use that opportunity to evaluate your progress and adjust your strategies as necessary. Over time, you can check in on your goals less frequently — every six months is good — to ensure you’re still on track.

Resources for Planning & Goal Tracking

While you can use spreadsheets to track your progress toward goals and OKRs, this strategy works best when you’re getting started. As your program expands, using a tool like or Salesforce is essential to maintaining a single source of truth your entire team can reference. Great tools will automatically pull in data from other platforms your team is using, making real-time reporting easier.

It’s a good idea to check in on your personal goals daily and your department goals weekly or bi-weekly. Doing so will help you identify any blockers early on so they can be removed. Similarly, checking in regularly will allow you to determine where to invest resources so they’re optimized for success.

Explore More Expert Tips to Advance Your Program

Dig deeper into OKRs, what they are, best practices for getting started, and sample OKRs when you download Strategies for Achieving your Partnerships Goals.

Experienced partnership professionals will join us over the next few weeks to share their insights on planning, goal setting, and forecasting. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn to catch all of the interviews as they’re published. 

Partnership Leaders connects professionals from modern technology companies looking to advance their careers, expand their partner programs, and grow their organizations. Apply now to join over 700 partnership professionals sharing diverse insights and experiences.

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