Measuring Partnership Success, Part 2: Karen Pattani-Hason
Updated: Nov 17
This article was guest written by Shohei Narron, Technology Partner Manager at Google Cloud
I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down and discussing how six alliances professionals responsible for various types of partnerships on how they measure success, and the road to to achieving it. As always, I’ll be posting one conversation per week for the next six weeks in the hopes of elevating partnerships within an organization, if not to just make everyone’s lives a little easier.
This Spotlight chapter is brought to you in partnership with Allbound.
Background and Context: “I’m definitely a partnerships enthusiast — been in it for several years across a variety of early stage companies. I think I enjoy finding solutions through non-traditional relationships with companies targeting the same prospects, then joining forces to create something bigger than what either organization would’ve been able to create on our own. I used to be in the music business doing partnerships and digital BD until it very much got disrupted. What’s interesting about the music business is that artists can say no — we can do everything to structure a deal for a tour, festival, and commercial, but if the artist doesn’t want to do it, there’s no deal. There’s more flexibility in digital partnerships.
I just joined Google Cloud on the Global Systems Integrator Partners Team, where I will be applying my expertise to grow business with some of Google’s most critical partners.”
Measuring and Investing in the Right Things: “At a prior tech startup, my partnership team was initially placed under the Marketing umbrella, then moved to Business Development, then to Sales after shifting our focus onto sourced revenue. This, unfortunately, is often the case with companies that don’t know how to invest in the partnerships channel. We were short-staffed, yet were scouting new integrations, running partner marketing campaigns and events, building agency relationships, and tracking sourced revenue. At another tech startup, we reported into Sales, and focused solely on revenue — this allowed us to follow important campaigns run by our sales teams and track revenue more directly.”
Differences in What to Measure: “Success criteria can differ across organizations. One innovation agency was focused on bringing in business from cloud partners (GCP, AWS, Confluent, Pivotal, etc.), These relationships were about qualifying to do the work on these Cloud platforms, getting the required certifications and specializations, then figuring how to get as many referrals as possible to fill our pipeline. At a different tech startup, we wanted to increase engagement in our technology integration ecosystem, and we therefore focused much more on integration metrics. Your KPIs vary depending on the contribution of your partners to the overall business.”
Aligning Incentives with Internal Stakeholders: “Internal alignment is critical to channel success. There are always people who want to support the partnership team, but they often don’t have the bandwidth to do so, or are not compensated for it. That should be addressed. Customer Success, Solutions Engineering, anyone who works with a partner to help close business should be encouraged to engage. In my experience, it all comes down to the number of leads and increased conversions partners bring — communicating partnership value through these metrics influences how other teams prioritize and optimize the partnerships channel.”
Having a Clear Process to Track Engagement: “Digital agencies and consulting firms know that there’s a referral process, which can be an incentive as an additional revenue source. Sometimes an email to the Partnership Lead is enough to register the opportunity but beware of channel conflicts., Tracking is harder when the prospect is already in your sales process. Ultimately, you’ll need to understand the chronology of the deal — who came first? Who originated the deal? If a partner is there to speed up the deal cycle, or just involved in scoping a deal, how much credit will they get? If you are managing a large volume of partners, PRM software can help with tracking. It is definitely important to have a clear process to avoid an administrative nightmare down the line, not to mention a series of tough conversations with your AEs and partners.”