Jay Sivachelvan, VP of Global Partnerships at portfolio company FortressIQ joined Boldstart to chat about how to best establish and scale a partner ecosystem.
Our Top Takeaways from Jay
The partnership playbook is bespoke.
If/when to build out partnerships is often unclear due to the ambiguity around objectives and what it means for any given company.
Ideally, partnerships should enable you to accelerate sales velocity & efficiency, create competitive advantage, and enable you to meet customers where they want to be met.
Initiating a partnership program is most effective once you’ve established product-market fit, a repeatable sales motion, and product-partner fit. Typically, B2B enterprise software companies will initiate their partnership efforts between late Series A to early Series C.
Product-partner fit, at its core, is the degree to which partners can monetize your product.
Partners generally thrive when your product requires a services ecosystem to maximize value from your product, and when your product can fill key gaps or strategically extend the value of market-leading products. When starting a partnership program, don’t put the onus on the partner to figure out how they’ll make money from working with you.
Partners amplify your message.
Partnerships are often seen as an augment to sales, but they’re also a powerful marketing weapon as well. When you’re an early-stage company, you’re often the only one telling your story. Word of mouth and excitement from early customers helps generate credibility, but partnerships with influential market leaders is one of the best ways to have your story accepted by the Market. This is even more true when you are defining a new market, as many Boldstart companies are.
You can say you’re the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s way more powerful when partners say it.
Don’t forget metrics.
At scale, a great partnership program can source 20–35% of your net new business and, when partner influence is taken into account, impact a total of 60–75% of your net new business. Reaching this level of success can take years, and one big mistake is to expect success at scale in less than eighteen months.
Even though partnerships is a long term play, that doesn’t mean you can’t measure in the short and medium term! You want to track leading indicators of success such as pipeline, number of quality partners, and other metrics that reflect your unique partnering objectives.
Originally published on Medium.