If you’re fortunate enough to be with a company that values alliances, the next task is to expand your ecosystem. It can be challenging to find the right partners, onboard them, and ensure the quality of the product and support is maintained across the delivery chain.
Andrew Lezon met that challenge (and succeeded).
He’s the Senior Director of Channel Sales & Partner Programs at LivePerson. He came on our #AllianceAces podcast to share how he scaled his ecosystem from 40 to 200 partners.
Here are the tools he offered to our #AllianceAces community:
3 Steps to Scale Your Ecosystem:
Andrew was given a leadership directive to scale LivePerson’s ecosystem. At the time, they had 40 channel partners. Now, there are 200 alliances within their network. Here are the 3 key areas Andrew focused on:
1: Remove friction
The first thing Andrew did was trim down their MPA process. It had 23 steps, and it was laborious, time-consuming, and intensive. Now, it’s an easy click-through process on their website.
Andrew made it easier to become a partner with LivePerson, but he also ensured they had vetting on the backend.
The philosophy behind LivePerson’s enablement program is to understand two elements:
- Why does an alliance want its platform?
- How LivePerson can enable that alliance to drive those results?
Andrew has several pieces of his enablement process including a partner portal (a live virtual training for every alliance) a lighthouse process, and a partner day and cohort program.
The ‘Lighthouse’ Process (Learn, Do, Teach)
This is where the magic of Andrew’s enablement philosophy really shines.
Learn (the first sale): Andrew directs all his channel managers to ask new partners: “Who are you going to approach first with this offering?” Then, the channel managers actually tackle the first sale with the partner, who mostly sits back and allows LivePerson’s channel manager to do the heavy lifting.
Do (the second sale): The channel manager will again accompany the partner to their second sale, but this time, the partner does the work, and the channel manager offers assistance and feedback.
Teaching the entire team: Once the partner has a handle on the sales, they will usually begin teaching the rest of their team how to scale out the sales for the product. The LivePerson channel manager will go to the sales training, watch and provide feedback.
This lighthouse process also provides another vetting layer:
The lighthouse process also provides an additional vetting layer by determining who’s serious: If you aren't going to give LivePerson your time to learn a process, then you aren't going to invest money.
Partner Day & Cohort Program
Another way Andrew ensures partner success: A while back, they had a partner day, where they invited all their partners together. At the event, they broke up their partners into small groups. Most of them were in different segments, but some were even competitors. It didn't matter — they couldn't get them to stop talking to each other. Everyone was hungry for best practices, tips on how to sell, etc.
They also have a cohort program, based on the same idea of collaboration: Once an alliance member is on board, they are put into a small group with 4 to 5 other companies they can get to know, bounce ideas off each other, and learn best practices.
As Andrew says, “When you see success, success becomes real.”
Andrew’s Last (& Best) Tip for Alliance Professionals:
“In a partnered context, if I'm not giving you value, then I can't expect value from you.”
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: