How Travis Bradley Seeks Out Partner-centric Companies
This article is part of our Uncovering the Partnerships Career Path spotlight series. Each week, a different professional joins us to share their take on the partnerships career path, responsibilities at each stage, best practices for advancing professionally, and more. Learn more in the intro article.
Travis Bradley is one of our Steering Committee Members here at Partnership Leaders and always an excellent resource on alliances, tech, and pop culture insights. Today, Travis joins us to dig into the career path that led him to become an Alliance Manager at Tipalti, along with some of the lessons he’s learned along the way, and his advice for excelling in alliances.
Thanks to Allbound for sponsoring this quarter’s spotlight series!
Allbound is a SaaS Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform that gives its customers visibility into predictable channel revenue, indirect and direct pipeline, and insight into partner engagement and adoption. With Allbound, you have the ability to monitor, understand, and track partner behavior so you can measure, iterate, and improve.
Travis’s Path to Partnerships
Travis Bradley started in partnerships as many professionals do — at a company that didn’t have a partnership team, but had a number of growing partnerships. “They decided overnight to build a program and grabbed me as a sales engineer. I was leading ISV integration partners. Really it was about making sure we had the right data to answer questions, support sales, and close existing deals that included questions about that data.”
That company was spending a lot on partnerships, but wasn’t seeing a return on their investment. Travis made it a point to work with their counterparts to start driving business and support the growth of their channel. Through that experience, Travis learned partnerships was something he wanted to continue with since it included sales, product marketing, and customer success.
When Travis took his current role as an Alliance Manager at Tipalti, he had been in the market for a new position and found that Tiplati was hiring new Alliance Managers through his network. “I reached out to the hiring manager who was the Director of Partnerships and asked to get a coffee & chat. We talked about partnership structures and teams. I really enjoyed how partner-centric Tiplati was and ultimately decided it was a good fit for me.”
In identifying Tipalti as a good-fit role for Travis, there were four key pillars he was looking for:
Do they have a partner-centric product? Does that product need other data to be successful either upstream or downstream?
Is this company partner-centric? Do they need SIs, ISVs, or agencies to succeed? Does the sales team understand how the alliance arm works and an inherent need for partnerships?
Do they have a solid product?
Is management bought in on the value of partnerships?
Managing Global Systems Integrators at Tipalti
As the Alliance Manager of GSIs at Tipalti, Travis shared his job is not as easy as creating a referral program or reseller program. “In many ways, GSIs need to understand the value of the product and be able to add their own value on top, either with hours of consulting or by offering elements of digital transformation. I work directly with SIs, ranging from individual consultants to partnership leaders.
Travis highlighted the importance of internal training in his role today. “In partnerships, it's really important to sync with your sales teams to ensure they know what partners are doing and that they provide value. We want to drive mutual value in new opportunities to Tipalti and for partners. Ultimately, my success is measured by opportunities and revenue closed.
Travis’s Growth Roadmap
While Travis doesn’t currently have any reports, there are plans for him to expand his team in the coming year. He shared a few things he’s looking for when building out his team. “I want to make sure that somebody we bring onto the team is solutions-based and willing to work with a growing team. You need to be able to build the ship while sailing it — it's a role that's never completely finished. I’m looking for someone who's driven to build, is sales-focused, and knows they need to hold the bag.”
Travis also highlighted how valuable it can be to hire someone who has experience in sales, account management, or agencies. “It's important to understand what makes a salesperson tick. We have to get into the minds of the salespeople we work with. We need to make sure we're aligned with the same values to be successful.”
Resources & Advice for a Successful Career in Alliances
Travis highlighted a few resources that have been essential to his career success. “Partnership Leaders has been fantastic. It's been wildly beneficial for me to be able to communicate with other leaders, view the partnerships role from a lot of different lenses, and talk to people about their experiences — that's one of the best ways for me to learn. Second would have to be meet-ups — meeting with my ISV partners. I'll find other partnership leaders in our ecosystem and reach out since we typically have the same solutions we're targeting.”
Travis also shared advice for others looking to succeed in alliances. “First, find good management and a good partner program you can learn from. Work for companies where partners are a natural fit. Right now, every single SaaS company needs partnerships. There are some that are just a better fit for partnerships. Look for a product that needs a partner manager or solution managers.”
Finally, and likely most importantly, Travis shared, “It’s important to understand the needs and values of the partner. Your number one focus should be on the value you can drive to the partner. Partners aren't going to drive you deals unless there's something in it for them. Partners are like a bank account. You need to put something in to pull something out.”
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