Partner Adoption
Technology partner

What is your go-to playbook for activating newly recruited partners?

14 Answers
Avi Hercenberg avatar
Avi Hercenberg
SmartSuite VP of Partnerships
The best thing a partner manager can do to activate newly recruited partners is to spend time with them. I do my best to get on a 30-minute call with every partner I feel can have an impact on our program. Other methods we use, are making sure partners get certified so we are confident they know the product well, and making sure they have all the information. Another thing we’ve seen to be very successful is making sure they all end up in a Slack channel with our team and talking to each other. This gives them a sense of community and a place to go when they are unsure about something.
Joe Corcione avatar
Joe Corcione
Trainual Partner Manager
The best way to activate newly recruited partners is to have a pre-made 30-60-90 day plan with the partner, and to present the plan with them on the initial partner kickoff call. The beauty of having a solid 30-60-90 day plans is that it not only lays out the specific actions that are expected from both you and the partner during the first 3 months of the partnership; but it also puts DATES on these actions. When you put dates on actions, you avoid the risk of "things coming up" or "being put on the backburner" on both the partner's side and your side. When I started to implement this with our partners, we saw partners start to bring on clients to our platform in a much shorter time than before. And, not only that, we were able to give the partner exactly what they needed in the timeframe that was best for them too. Some things we include in our 30-60-90 day plans is putting a joint webinar on the calendar to promote Trainual to the partner's audience, creating custom content that shows affiliation of our partnership and helps to empower the partner's audience to make an easy decision about moving forward from our software, and having the partner think about the optimal way they can offer Trainual in their service offerings.
Sebastian Daly avatar
Sebastian Daly
Adjust Strategic Product Partnerships Lead
This is a fundamental question because you want to be sure that the Integrations work to getting a new partner up and running is bolstered by your commercial conversation. My advice here would be to focus on getting new partners excited about your company, the shared value your services will bring to your mutual clients, and ultimately, the commercial benefits they will receive by being and growing within your partner program. What we do @ Adjust is that the moment the PM qualifies the partner as worthy of an integration, simultaneously when Integrations is doing their work, we have the partner onboard onto PartnerPage (our Partner Marketplace). This provides them control over how they are presented to our client base about the brand exposure they hoped to achieve by partnering with us. Once the integration is live, we push the partner’s listing to public, and the PM managing the relationship will add them to our client-mapping tools to begin account mapping.
Greg Kelly avatar
Greg Kelly
Webflow Principal, Product Partnerships
For me, it's critical to provide newly recruited partners with a clear to do list, and a clear set of performance KPIs to work against. If you fail to provide clarity out of the gate on what is expected within your program, you may lose the opportunity to build any momentum causing the partnership to drop in priority for both sides.
Maurits Pieper avatar
Maurits Pieper
Dixa Head of Partnerships
Typically I would have categorised them into different tiers/groups. Some partners are more relevant for marketing, others for retention whereas some are all-round. Below an example for a top tier tech partner that is relevant for all departments of my organisation (not in order): - Landing Page on Marketplace - LinkedIn/Social Announcement - Add into our monthly customer newsletter - Setup an enablement session (both ways) - Partner referral agreement (but this financial add shouldn’t be the primary driver!) - Account mapping on both a macro level (partner manager to partner manager) but also a micro level (pairing of regions/vertical reps) when appropriate - Mutual customer success story (this is of course dependant on if we have mutual customer at start or not - as you want months of joint value to display) - Where possible but is prioritised.. giving introductions and intel to new tech partner :)
Sarah Kang avatar
Sarah Kang
AfterShip Manager, Strategic Partnerships
Once you have gone through the discovery phase and you have indicated a mutual partnership fit. The onboarding and enablement phases are extremely important. These phases will be different for all partners depending on your partnership goals. During the onboarding phase identify metrics to measure your success. This can be done through creating some kind of mutual success plan. Here you can share all enablement materials (one pagers, sales decks, case studies, stats) in one central hub. Include information on your ICP for them to refer back to. As well as indicate next steps to keep us on track. Setting a communication cadence as well as outlining communications methods will be critical as well. In a sales role, think about the attention to detail and level of dedication we provide our customers with during onboarding. We want to ensure these customers are set up for success from the beginning and a partner should be no different.
Daniel O'Leary avatar
Daniel O'Leary
Box Director of Partnerships
I love working with new partners, when the excitement is high, and possibilities are endless. But you must have a plan to get partners to a predictable level of success, and that requires both plans and planning. I am a strong advocate of setting up joint success plans with partners, and creating a joint action plan that tracks your goals and the actions needed to achieve them. A joint success plan aka JSP can be part of partner software, or tracked on Box note so don't worry about the technical details, it's more important to connect and document both your partner goals, and your goals and the activities needed to achieve them. For example, if a partner wants to achieve 100K installs of your integrated solution, or driving $1M in revenue, document those goals and start to peel back the actions that each party will need to take to start to work towards achieving those goals.
Doug Gould avatar
Doug Gould
LaunchDarkly Head of Ecosystem Partners
First, the starting point is to share information on how our product is used and what our strategic priorities are to make sure there is alignment while learning the same from the partner. The overlap is the most important part and dictates everything from the design of the technology underlying the partnership, the terms of the partnership, and the timeline. From there, issue instances of your product for the partner to get comfortable with our technology. In some instances at LaunchDarkly, we have had customers look to become a tech partner which helps knowing they are familiar with the product. In parallel, look at the overlapping customer base to see if you can learn about how customers are leveraging the two products together. At this stage there are a few questions worth looking into: is there a large number of overlapping customers? If not, are there significant customers that overlap or customers with sophisticated use of our product? Are customers using your products in ways that have overlapping capabilities or are the two products being used in very separate ways? From there, be responsive to the partner as they look to develop the technology. It's important to have humility and respect for partners - every team is resource-constrained and being responsive and easy to work with is important in moving things along even though deadlines may be missed. Once the partner is ready, have resources to collaborate around what a launch might look like and, depending on where the tech lies in your strategy, see what additional things you can do for more strategically important tech partners. Remember: prioritization of your ecosystem is key and not all partners are equal. From there, it's really up to the customers to decide the fate of the partnership and getting their feedback dictates what the next steps are.
Christiannah Oyedeji avatar
Christiannah Oyedeji
AWeber Director of Partnerships
I like to break new activation into 3 phases: discovery, onboarding, enablement. During discovery your focus is gathering information needed to evaluate the partnership (and set rough targets), understand the partner’s goal, find overlaps in those goals with your own, and identify the correct point of contact/decision makers for partnerships activity. There may or may not be NDAs that need to be executed. Once initial conversations conclude, and you confirm the partner is a “good-fit”, agreements are typically signed. Now we head into onboarding. This is when you will begin to set communication cadences, educate the partner on your platform/service/tool, and begin to share brand assets and resources. Partners are also typically provided access to portals and or slack channels (where applicable). Setting up an autoresponder can be extremely helpful in streamlining this process, but only use this method to deliver resources and walk the partner through basic onboarding steps. With anything else I would lean on making the communication more personalized — remember you are building a relationship with this partner. A sample sequence can look like this: Welcome message: Introduction to the program, share support contact information, reminder of benefits & expectations (aka goals) Resources: How to access to access the portal, training materials, and partner resources available Activity 1: Reminder to schedule training sessions Activity 2: Booking a kickoff meeting Resources: Samples of best practices (to reach agreed upon goals) and relevant resources Most PRMs will have some functionality to help with this, but you can also always use an ESP like AWeber too. Last, but not least, you will move the partner into the enablement phase. During this phase you will begin your normal outreach cadence. Activities typically include: Bi-weekly to Monthly check in calls (these should be more frequent earlier in the relationship or when a GTM activity is underway). You can also substitute calls for async emails or slack communications. I also recommend including partners on some sort of newsletter to provide feature updates, new opportunities, etc. Announce the partnership (where appropriate) Plan and execute initial partner activity (this varies based on the type of partnership but blog swaps or webinars are a great place to start) Revisiting partner goals and tracking progress against those goals (goals can range from completing training to new customer acquisition or a set number of connections to an integration. Discuss areas for improvement, roadblocks, and any upcoming initiatives (from both your end as well as the partner’s)
Leeran (Lee·Ron) Schwartz avatar
Leeran (Lee·Ron) Schwartz
Celigo Strategic Alliances Manager
I think it all starts with one mutual customer. If we can find one mutual customer and find a way to make their process more efficient using both of our technologies, and then find a way to document this in the form of a case study, we can use that story to build our mutual customer base up.
Kelly Sarabyn avatar
Kelly Sarabyn
HubSpot Platform Ecosystem Advocate
I think this depends on the partner type, but activation is a very important part of the partner journey just as it is with customers. This stage is great for aligning around technical plans, business objectives, and GTM launch plans. For managed partners, I would have a standard template to align on business objectives and GTM launches. This would include what the cadence of touchpoints is and KPIs for each side of the partnerships. Ensuring partner enablement content around the product and marketing side is strong also helps to kick off the partnership on the right foot. For low touch/scaled partners, setting up automations and GTM enablement content can increase activation rates as can a well-designed partner portal. For all partners, make sure to track inactivity or low performance of partners out of the gate, and put in place automation or direct contact that discovers and helps to fix the problem.
Michael Jed Lantis avatar
Michael Jed Lantis
Chili Piper Channel Partnerships Manager
When starting from scratch, target smaller partners with similar ICPs (ideal customer profile). You'll start getting a sense of what your IPP (ideal-partner-profile) then, you can rinse and repeat. A lot of times, referrals will be your best partners to work with or individuals that you meet in person (e.g., happy hours, dinner, conferences)
Franz-Josef Schrepf (FJS) avatar
Franz-Josef Schrepf (FJS)
Hopin Head of Strategic Partnerships
Most people assume that a tiered partner approach works best: hold a carrot on a stick (e.g. the next tier of your partner program) and make the partner work for it. Assuming you done your diligence and the partner is relevant and capable to serve your customers, try to invert this approach: Ask not what your partner can do for you. Ask what you can do for your partner. Give first. Prove to them that your program is not all hype, but you can provide value to their business. Send them leads or make relevant intros. It'll be much easier for your champion in the partner org to unlock resources for your partnership if they have the numbers to back up this investment.
Tiffany Dunn avatar
Tiffany Dunn
Aircall VP of North American Channel Sales
Getting to action and their first deal quickly will get that partner activated quickly. Depending on resources I like to have an “onboarding” guide or person to get them through the first hurdle of understanding your product. Make sure the program is spelled out simply and can be easily accessed so they know what they are getting/giving becoming a partner. Share best practices of your most successful partners. First you have to educate them and they have to commit to some education. You can make it light, in short snippets, and interesting (think video!). Once they educate, agree to help them get their first deal - perhaps give them one as a gift. You can also send them some cool swag for becoming a partner and taking the first education event. Create an incentive for that partner to sell their first deal or their first few deals. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Consistent touch points - stay in front of them with interesting industry information. Invite them to your communities. Again, give them exposure i.e. linkedin post welcoming them to the program with a little shout out to something they excel at in their space.