Partnering with SIs & Agencies
Updated: Feb 4
Strategic integrations and agency partnerships can take months to activate. Strong partnerships can increase revenues for both organizations and drive an enhanced user experience. However, not all partnerships are created equal.
This quarter, we got the opportunity to talk to eight leaders in the partnership space about their experiences working with SIs and agencies, key metrics to track, strategies for prioritization, success indicators, and more. The leaders we met with covered a wide range of industries and company sizes.
Still to come this quarter, we’ll be hosting a panel event with SI and Agency executives in February and a Community Breakout room session in March. Each week, we’ll take a deep dive into a conversation with one of our Partnership Leaders members. In their range of experiences, we saw some overlap in recommendations, as well as some variances in opinions. Below are highlights from those conversations.
This spotlight series is brought to you in partnership by PartnerStack.
Target the right stakeholders.
Many leaders shared that when you’re initiating a partnership, targeting the right stakeholders is key. In order to develop excitement and momentum around the partnership, it’s important to identify a business and technical stakeholder on each side.
When going after large agencies, as opposed to SIs, leaders shared that it can be helpful to approach partnerships the same way you would sales. Specifically, approaching large agencies in a multi-pronged fashion ensures that if you lose momentum with one stakeholder, you don’t have to start at square one.
Partnerships need to be mutually beneficial.
Every member we spoke with highlighted the importance of establishing mutually beneficial partnerships. Partnerships should streamline the sales process while also enhancing the customer experience. Many interviewees recommended going after partners with overlapping prospects or customers.
Partnership priorities depend on your business.
Many leaders working with SIs shared that they approached partnerships by looking for mutual customers and technology integration needs. Similarly, others prioritized partnerships by existing client requests. From the technology aspect, it’s important to find a lane of expertise and come to a complementary SI to collaborate on a service offering package.
Other leaders shared that finding SIs and agencies that can support service delivery for their clients is most important. Some shared that their organizations were even willing to share leads with partners before they had ever closed a deal. In fact, many recommended that it’s important not to approach an agency with your hand out, and starting with a deal opportunity can be the best partnership introduction.
SIs and agencies alike are both empowered by knowledge.
Many members shared that their partnerships were most successful when SIs and agencies were deeply familiar with their tool. In fact, many interviewees mentioned that full platform training is a crucial milestone in enablement and necessary to cover before the first sale.
A few leaders commented on how important it is to celebrate and amplify wins, big or small. Even if it’s, “We booked this meeting!” or “We ironed out this go-to-market strategy!”, share those accomplishments throughout both organizations. It’s important to keep both teams excited about the partnership’s potential and bought-in on its success.
Know when to step away from a partnership.
While some partnerships may take longer than others to activate, interviewees mentioned it’s crucial to have open lines of communication. Many highlighted the importance of regular status calls to check-in on pipeline opportunities and prospect progress.
Some partnerships can take a while to spin up — interviewees shared that 6-18 months is a fairly common time frame. However, if your partner continues not to have new prospects to discuss, or if you’re always chasing the same deals that never pan out, it’s important to know when a partnership is no longer worth pursuing.
Have a brain trust to share ideas with.
Partnerships is a fairly new industry, but many professionals are working through the same challenges. Individuals we interviewed shared how valuable it is to have other professionals going through the same or similar experiences to share ideas with.
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