Successful Product Partnerships, Part 3: Kenny Browne
Updated: Mar 30
This article was guest written by Shohei Narron, Technology Partner Manager at Google Cloud
Many of our Partnership Leaders community members work in [Product Partnerships], managing strategic product integration initiatives at their respective companies to create a win-win-win outcome for their customers, partners, and the companies themselves. We sat down with five such partner leaders working on product integrations to understand what makes integrations a success, how to avoid common pitfalls, and how to sustain product partnership relationships long after the initial excitement of signing a partnership agreement has waned.
This Spotlight chapter is brought to you in partnership with Sendoso.
Background and Context: “I’m Kenny, senior product manager for partnerships and APIs at Daxko, and I’ve been in my role for the last year and a half. Daxko is a startup that helps health and wellness groups manage their business through revenue acceleration, customer experience, and brand awareness. Our target market includes 11 brands including NPOs like the YMCA, gyms of all shapes and sizes from small Yoga studios and 24 Hour Fitness franchises, to club chains like the Bay Club.
Our customers and people who run facilities are a unique breed — they do what they do, like running a YMCA chapter, because they’re truly passionate about it. Tech skills vary from outsourcing everything outside of core business, to coding backend software because they want to build based on their own vision. This makes it important to create a platform and integration environment that can help everyone in our ecosystem.”
Product Integrations in the Health and Wellness Space: “The types of integrations we work with range from obvious CRM integrations, to more niche categories like smart lighting companies to turn gym room lights on or off based on when these rooms are booked. Naturally, we’re open to any and all integrations, but have to prioritize who we actively work with hand-in-hand.
The most interesting integrations, and perhaps the most different from other SaaS company partnerships, are what we call facility access partnerships. These are integrations that are connected to facilities and member cards that open or lock gym doors, turn lights on or off, and even unlock massage chairs based on whether you have the right reservations. Another example is activating vending machines —a towel vending machine charges a member for towels based on whether they returned the towels last time.”
Finding New Integrations: “The most important way we find new integrations is through our customers. If we can identify 8 to 10 customers who want a particular integration, we know that the total addressable market is 10x that of the direct requests. This is usually corroborated by account mapping exercises we do with partners.
When we see products that fill gaps in our product, we want to target those vendors as potential partner candidates, and maybe think about a future acquisition. In fact, we’ve acquired 5 companies in the last 18 months that I’ve been at Daxko.”
Tracking the Right Metrics: “Like any sales organization, we look at pipeline, closed won deals, and customer attachment (how many integrations did we build that’s being used by at least one customer?) for business metrics. To improve our integrations, we monitor API usage on a monthly basis. Then there’s the health of our program, which we evaluate based on the number and frequency of comarketing and coselling opportunities like joint events and webinars.
But ultimately, the most important metric is revenue: revenue from partners for using our platform, referral commission on customer referrals we’ve passed to our partners, and marketing-attributed revenue directly from facilities customers. To support revenue growth, we mainly work on the following go-to-market activities:
Publishing a press release when we make the partnership official
Running webinars and direct email campaigns on behalf of, or with, partners
Having our relationship managers reaching out to customers for partner introductions directly”
Stakeholder Enablement: “We have our own sales knowledge based our team can use that includes a battlecard per integration. Our public exchange that we just launched (Daxko Exchange) acts as a central location for all stakeholders, internal and external, to learn more about each and every integration we’ve published. For higher-tier partners, we run sales enablement sessions with partners.”
Top-Level Alignment and Support: “When I joined the company, we didn’t really have a cohesive partner program. My job was to define what the program is, and I’ve found these Tech partnership artifacts to be absolutely necessary as I built out the program:
Ability to have a marketplace of some sort; highlight who your partners are and what they do
Some sort of technical / security review so customers trust you and your partners
Need right process in place for customers to feel that security
In order to have these in place, you will need to have sales and marketing aligned. And it doesn’t matter if you’re on the product side or on the engineering team; you need sales, marketing, and technology all aligned at the top level to execute on a comprehensive partner program that’s a win-win-win for your customers, partners, and your company.”
Partnership Leaders is the industry association for Partnership/Channel/ Alliances/Business Development leaders.
The association’s mission is to elevate the role of partnership leaders at their companies and provides a vibrant online community, virtual events, curated professional networking opportunities, and educational resources to drive success for our members.