Successful Product Partnerships, Part 5: Jake Wallace
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’m the head of strategic partnerships — our first hire in partnerships — at SignEasy, a startup in the eSignature space. We’re focused much more on SMB / MM rather than enterprises, and serve a lot of freelancers and one-off users as well. Starting as a mobile-first eSig app, we were the first eSignature app in the Apple app store — we’ve expanded to tablets and released a web app, too.”
Creating an Integration Roadmap: “First and foremost, we focus on technology partnerships, which include cloud storage partners, productivity tools like Evernote and Zapier, CRMs, and industry apps across real estate, insurance, logistics, and more. Cloud storage partners were a necessity, since we needed to back up signed documents in the cloud.
Future integrations with non-storage companies are mainly guided by customers. Our customer experience team surveys customers on a regular basis through onboarding and QBRs to understand their use case, tech stack, and how they envision us working with certain products they use.
We also use G2 Crowd and Forrester data to rank priorities. We want to support our field team’s outreach and efforts, so, for example, if they’re going after HR teams, we need to prioritize integrations with what HR professionals use like candidate management and onboarding software.
Ultimately, we create a list of potential integration targets, and corroborate their value through G2 Crowd and Forrester as well as user feedback to prioritize the final integration roadmap. For those that fit the bill, and covers the widest use cases rather than servicing one particular use case, we’ll put together a deck about why they should partner / integrate with SignEasy.”
What Success Looks Like: “For our platform business, we look at number of installs and trials, trial conversion rate to paying customer, and customer retention for starters. We also track the number of document imports into cloud storage as a usage metric.
For tech partners, we monitor the number of integrations we’re publishing per quarter, but also take it a step further with number of partner-influenced revenue, coming from our marketplaces or co-selling relationships.”
Integration Enablement with Internal Stakeholders: “Our sales team consist of about 10 individuals out of about 75 employees in total. Once the integration is ready and the partnership is official, we’ll demo the partner product and integration to the sales team, with some time focused on topics we anticipate our customers would bring up. We also map accounts with Crossbeam for co-selling, and especially for identifying ways to close opportunities in which we’re both involved separately. Finally, we offer customer success stories every month to highlight and repeat the importance of our partner integration ecosystem.”
Long-Term Integration Maintenance: “Integration development falls on different teams depending on the method by which our partners are including our product. If the partner wants to list us as an extension option, all a partner needs to do is to set up OAuth, and our mutual customer pays us directly through our partners’ marketplace. If the partner is embedding our product directly into their product, the partner would take on development efforts. In this case, we would bill the partner based on usage metrics like $X per document.
We actually just hired a PM for integrations and platforms, and formulated a full team dedicated to technical support for ongoing maintenance and updates. Being on the business / commercial side, having a full tech team we can rely on has made our lives much easier, and more effective at our jobs.”
Closing thoughts: “We’re actively seeking new partnerships in various industries (Sales CRM, HR tech, education, logistics), so if there’s anyone out there who needs eSignature given the new norm, we can help them stay afloat and adjust to the new norm. Would love to talk to folks in these industries.”
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.