20 Questions to Ask Yourself When Building a Partnership Strategy

February 21, 2017 Shirin Birjandi

Having been part of the Salesforce ecosystem for over a year now, I have had the opportunity to learn about some of our successful partners’ tips and tricks in getting to market faster. I strongly believe a thriving channel partner relationship can mean competitive advantage for any business that is looking to grow. By teaming up with a channel partner, you can increase your value proposition to your customers — and, in turn, grow your profits.

A key phrase I hear when I talk to our partners in the ecosystem is “scale” and the common question is: What is the key to scale our sales efforts and maximize revenues?

Let’s start thinking through the three steps to help you define your partner strategy:

1. Understand where you win

Identifying your best, high-growth products, market and segments.

Start by gathering your facts, sales data, last two years of closed deals, and success stories. Where are you trending in regards to market segments, verticals, and territories? Which product combinations are selling the best in each region?

Action: From your wins, define what can complement your solution to your end customer. Talk to your customers and get feedback by asking the following questions:

  • What makes their decision making easier?
  • What helps the sales process go smoother?
  • What do they believe creates better alignment?
  • What makes your solution more attractive to them compared to your competition in the market?

2. Establish your business goals

Understanding where you win, what regions, and verticals, will help you target areas that you want to invest in. Sharing this information will also make it easier for partners to recognize an opportunity where they can partner with you to get to market faster.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you looking to co-market/co-sponsor events?
  • Are you looking at expanding into new markets and regions? New market segments and verticals?
  • Are you looking for a partner who complements your technology?
  • Are you looking for a partner who supports your implementations and provides professional services?
  • Are you looking to leverage existing networks and expand your coverage through your partner channel?

Look at your competitors’ partner programs, including the type of partners they target, the events they sponsor, how are they incentivizing and creating value.

Action: Answer the above questions, and identify the top two reasons you are looking to partner. Write down your business goals for the partnership. Lastly, define the three benefits you can accomplish by developing partnerships in the ecosystem.

3. Develop measurable objectives

Here are some questions to answer in order to set revenue targets for your partner program:

  • What is your predicted partner-led revenue as a percentage of your total revenue?
  • If you have worked with partners to drive revenue in the past, what was the dollar amount your partners generated over the last two years?

Consider joint marketing efforts with your partners, and the amount your partners will contribute to that program. Below are some potential scenarios:

  • Is it more cost effective to embed a partner solution versus building it in house? If yes, have you evaluated potential partners? If no, perform a cost analysis to develop, maintain, and upgrade the solution.
  • If you are looking to get more leads and referrals through an extended network, is there a software company that has many of the same customers? Reach out to develop joint marketing plans. What about a partner who is already in your target vertical or market?
  • If you are looking to learn how to build a better brand and create awareness, consider the partners that have done a great job in this area. Can you brainstorm together?

Partnerships are there to help you with all of the above, but prioritize your business goals, and have clear objectives so that you can pick the right partners. Then, put a plan together and drive toward success.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Measure and know your business metrics and your customer profile
  2. Define your goals and business needs
  3. Set and measure the amount you are going to spend on your defined objectives
  4. Set and measure the amount you are expecting your potential partner to drive

To learn more, join the Salesforce Partner Community and check out the Education section.

20 Questions to Ask Yourself When Building a Partnership Strategy was originally published in Inside the Salesforce Ecosystem on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Previous Article
3 Secrets to Success That Every Business App Leader Knows — Do You?
3 Secrets to Success That Every Business App Leader Knows — Do You?

It’s no secret that business apps are changing the landscape of modern business on every front. But, as the...

No More Articles