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Episode 66

June 18, 2019

#66 Matt Alvarez: Building a Partner Program: What Should You Focus on First?

Any business wants to have good solid partnerships. Nobody gets successful all on their own, and establishing a good partner program is crucial to the ...

Any business wants to have good solid partnerships. Nobody gets successful all on their own, and establishing a good partner program is crucial to the success of any company, particularly in the software and technology field.

But how do you go about building a partner program? How do you bring the right people along, provide the right levels of support, and structure your program in a way that’s beneficial for everyone involved?

Matt Alvarez, Manager of Partner Alliances at SalesLoft, was recently a guest on the Alliance Aces podcast and had some great ideas and examples that he and his team at SalesLoft have been focusing on as they build out their partner program.

Formalize Partner Program Framework

Before you can do anything, you’ve got to know what you’re starting with. You’ve got to have an established set of criteria that you’ll operate with.

What are your rules of engagement? How do partners follow the standards and boundaries that you’ve set in place for your program, so that they’re both representing you well, but also doing good things for their own business?

No partner program is going to go anywhere if you don’t have a solid, well documented and established set of guidelines and standards that you’re adhering to, and that you expect your partners to adhere to as well.

Partner Enablement

Once you’ve got a framework put into place for your partner program, you want to focus on enabling your partners.

What is the most effective way to get all of the things that you do well internally into their hands, and how can they leverage them to make their own companies as successful as they can possibly be?

Maybe it means hiring someone just to focus on partner enablement. Maybe it means, depending on the size of your partner program, hiring multiple people to focus on partner enablement and what it means to your organization.

Establish Internal Buy-In

You can have the best program, the best partner enablement, but if you don’t have buy-in from your own internal team, you’ll go nowhere. You’ll be dead in the water and so will your partners.

Your business is moving a mile a minute. Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and make sure that all of the right pieces are moving and functioning exactly as they should, and that everybody is going in the same direction.

Keep an open line of communication with your sales team, particularly if co-selling is new to them, and make sure that not only are they investing in the partners, but that the partners are investing back into your organization so that you can maintain internal health.

Don’t Ignore Culture

Culture is perhaps the most crucial aspect of the entire partner program. You can have the best partners in the world, who meet all of the right strategic goals and technical goals, but if you don't’ have a good culture fit, it's going to be very hard to keep a healthy program.

Listen to the podcast here.

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the Alliance Aces Podcast, or visit our dedicated Alliance Aces page.

To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest or join the conversation about alliances, he can be reached by: