• Cass Polzin

Marketing, Sales, & Partnerships: The Path to Achieving Alliance Success

Updated: Jun 15

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.


Emily Cataldo has been in the tech industry for about a decade. Over the years, she’s spent time in sales, account management, and marketing before landing in partnerships. Today, Emily is the VP of Alliances at BetterCloud and has joined us to share advice from her career successes.


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.


Emily’s experience across functions

emily cataldo

Emily Cataldo studied marketing in school before taking a sales role at McKesson, a large healthcare company. There, she supported McKesson in going to market with their first SaaS solution. Since the product was new and the sales team was small, Emily and a few of her peers on the sales team were responsible for training and co-selling with McKesson's reseller community.


After about a year in the sales role, Emily moved into account management, where she was responsible for the satisfaction, adoption, and retention of both direct customers and the resold customers. Shortly after moving into the Account Manager role, Emily’s boss asked her to also manage the top reseller partner. That was her first hybrid role, which led her to other partnership-focused positions.


Emily’s different functional experiences have been instrumental in her success in recent roles. “I think that marketing, sales, and account management/customer success experience can play a huge role in being successful with partners. The time I spent managing customers taught me a lot of the skills needed when managing partners, including: relationship building, communication, enablement, organization and more. I also leverage my marketing and sales experience daily when working with partners and internal team members on the various ways we leverage partners to grow our business.”


Emily’s role today involves a lot of marketing and sales. “My team is focused on leveraging partners to generate pipeline and accelerate sales, so I spend a lot of time creating content, executing partner marketing campaigns, enabling partners, supporting deals, and more. ”


Responsibilities at BetterCloud

BetterCloud is a SaaS Management Platform (SMP) and works with three different categories of partners:

  1. Strategic Technology Partners sell BetterCloud as an OEM, white-label, or bundle model.

  2. Co-Sell Technology Partners do co-marketing and/or co-selling activities with BetterCloud.

  3. Channel Partners are all of BetterCloud’s resellers and services partners.

As the VP of Alliances at BetterCloud, Emily looks after a subset of their partners: the Co-Sell Technology Partners and Channel Partners, both of which can present significant opportunities for the organization.


Emily shared that today, BetterCloud is focused on three critical metrics for partner success, including sourced pipeline generated by partners, sourced revenue growth from partners, and revenue growth from partner-influenced deals. “Sourced pipeline/revenue shows the scale we get from partners at the top of the funnel, while influenced revenue shows how partners accelerate the middle and bottom of the funnel. There are many different data points we measure to assess the impact and health of our partner ecosystem. Every quarter, we receive quotas for the three metrics above, but we also set OKRs around recruiting efforts, marketing campaigns, and various other priorities.”


Ideal qualities of partnerships candidates

The partner program at BetterCloud is growing quickly, and with that, she plans to hire additional team members this year. Emily seeks a few essential qualities when hiring. “I look for organization, tenacity, creativity, and the know-how to build relationships. One of the biggest things that's important in partner roles is communication and a strong work ethic. I do look for certain experiences — have they worked with partners before, as well as sales or ops experience based on the role.”


Resources and advice for success in partnerships

Emily had a surplus of great leaders to look up to throughout her career. “I have been very fortunate to have awesome managers and mentors throughout my career. Working for great leaders can have a tremendous impact on your career and success. Recently, I've found peers in my network to be extremely valuable and great resources. It’s great to hear feedback, bounce ideas, and share best practices.”


With that in mind, Emily recommends any individuals in partnerships utilize their network. “My advice would be to leverage peers in the ecosystem. Find people who are in similar roles as you in similar types of industries. Tech is broad so connecting with people who are in similar categories, managing similar partners is hugely valuable. Leverage them and be willing to share your best practices with them.”


In addition to networking externally, Emily highlighted the importance of internal relationships. “Another piece of advice is building relationships internally. In a partner role, you're doing a lot. You're working with your partners, working internally, and with customers on specific deals. You can’t forget to communicate and manage relationships internally including execs all the way down to the rep level. It’s crucial to get support for the initiatives and programs you're running.”


One way to grow those relationships internally and externally is by highlighting the partner wins. “Partner teams don’t always highlight their wins. Make sure you highlight a sales win that the partner impacted. You have to make sure that you're constantly highlighting the progress and wins with partners, whether it's helping with a deal, hosting a training, or running a campaign.”


Emily’s final piece of advice is about optimizing the work you do. “At BetterCloud, we help IT teams automate a lot of the work they do. I am always trying to find ways to automate the work that my team and I have to do and ensure it is templatized/documented for all the teams we support. We developed pages to learn about partners, templated emails, and best practices. Given our small team, we’re focused on making our work efficient and scalable.”


Emily’s goals for future roles

After supporting partnerships at three different organizations, Emily seems to have well-solidified strategies. What will she do next? “In my career, I've been very fortunate that I've been able to do roles that haven't been done before or in the same capacity for the company. I love that. I love building things. I have never had a plan for my exact next role. I have managed many technology partners over the years, but one thing I have not personally done yet while working for a product company is recruit and activate a technology partner that will OEM or white label our product. That would be exciting! One of the reasons I love partnerships is because there are so many different and exciting roles and opportunities, and you can really have an impact at an organization.”


What could your future role entail?

Careers in alliances come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re looking to orchestrate go-to-market motions with partners, build a partner program from scratch, or accelerate an existing partner program, there’s a role for you.


This quarter, we’re digging into the unique way professionals in partnerships have landed in the industry, tactical advice from their experiences, recommended resources, and more. Explore all the interviews in the series so far, and be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, so you don’t miss an update.