Successful Product Partnerships, Part 4: Allison Kelly
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.
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Background and Context: “I joined Attentive last July, and lead tech partnerships, from integrations to partner GTM strategy. I’ve spent about a decade in the MarTech space, and have been building ecosystems from scratch in the past eight years. Attentive is the fourth startup where I’ve developed an ecosystem from the bottom up. I truly believe that partnership teams are a bridge builder and amplifier when you enable other teams leverage the partner ecosystem.
Attentive is a text messaging platform that has reinvented the way brands, mainly in retail and e-commerce, communicate with consumers. Our founding team has tremendous experience in this field, having founded and sold their last company to Twitter. We’ve found product-market fit, and our timing has been spot on — half of our $396m raised came after shelter-in-place, and our growth has been accelerated due to current COVID-led digital shift.”
What kinds of integrations have you worked on?: “We work on three kinds of integrations:
e-Commerce extensions — providing personalized, data-driven messages in each partner’s e-commerce platform
Consumer communication / orchestration so users can use their understanding of their customers for better messaging. This has led to partnerships with email service providers, marketing cloud companies, CDPs, etc.
We’re eyeing loyalty platforms, and ratings and review platforms, and other partnerships within multi-media messages next to drive traffic to leverage word-of-mouth and influencer communities
With that said, we currently have over 80 integrations. The unique thing about our partnership model is that we build these integrations for free for our customers as part of our GTM strategy. We have three different engineering teams, each assigned to a specific integration bucket, building them.”
Deciding and prioritizing integrations: “First and foremost, we just began working on technology partnerships for GTM this February. Having said that, I’m amazed at how prepared we were — I’ve never had so many resources, including our engineering team, to get things going so quickly.
The way we prioritize isn’t too different from other SaaS startups in that business metrics are the most important. We look at the following:
Total Addressable Market (TAM): If we prioritize an integration, how much of the integration’s TAM will fit into our Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)?
Level of effort: We need to know what types resources, and how much, we need given we have 150 engineers working on integrations and we do most of the development.
Customer overlap: Is the integration going to be used across more than 5 customers, and does it have overlap with prospects? Can we actually satisfy customer demand?”
Metrics to measure success: “Though the most important metric to monitor is whether an integration is impacting top-of-the-funnel lead generation, there are a number of other key areas to track.
Integration adoption: We monitor this across every single integration we’ve built, and is a shared OKR for the team.
Revenue opportunity: How much revenue has this integration sourced or influenced?
Closing requirement: Is the integration critical for closing an in-flight deal? If so, we have a check box in our CRM to flag it as such, which affects our influence metrics.
Client retention and stickiness: Our CS team actively engages the partnership team if a customer is requesting a specific integration.
Though I’d like for these to tie to partner tiers, the only metric that matters for our partners to move up our partnership tiers is revenue generation. Having said that, our top-tier partners do a great job across these areas. If the integration isn’t solid, rich, or deep enough, we’ll place them as a tier two or three integration.”
Main Go-to-Market activities for new integrations: “For every integration we have, we first need technical documentation. This is a really big pain point for us because we grew fast and built fast — we have a list of integrations for which we need to write documentation up retroactively. But having documentation is foundational for enablement, including customer-facing one-pagers, sales and CS slides, joint value prop, etc. that we’ve committed to document every single integration.
The we publish a joint PR for most partners. Above and beyond that, the each partner’s tier determines the level of effort and support.
We’ll work with tier one partners on joint blog post; social callouts; partner one-pager for partner enablement, documenting incentives, and other “who’s this partner and how do we work with them” type information; Attentive AE enablement; tech partner wiki; and a Lessonly module to certify our AEs. We push for case studies and, if possible, a joint webinar.”
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