7 Imperative Insights from SaaS Partnership Leaders

Today's SaaS Partner Leaders jumped on partnerships as early adopters. They saw the value, doubled down, and learned the industry.

Now, as partnerships gains momentum, they’re teaching everyone else how to do the same.

Here are 7 of the most imperative insights SaaS Partner Leaders had to share during SaaS Connect, the Cloud Software Association's annual partnerships event.

1. “It’s not prioritization unless it hurts.” - Amelia Kirby, Workplace from Meta

If someone utters “we need to focus” in a meeting, no one disagrees. But when you get specific about what focus really means, don’t expect nodding heads.

Focus means that you have to prioritize, passing on projects others might like to support. It’s about having the courage to say “no” or “not right now” to whoever needs to hear it, even if that's your leadership or your internal partners.

Partnership leaders need to master the art form of establishing and communicating a principled approach to prioritization.

2. “The four P’s of partner ecosystem management: product, partners, programs and people. Too often we overlook that last one.” - Laura Padilla, Zoom

Laura spoke passionately about the challenges of her scaling her team as Zoom’s valuation grew over 5x.

Few companies have faced that kind of demand and many that have, have not survived.

Laura highlighted how important it was to focus on her team's health and wellness throughout Zoom's pandemic rocketship ride.

Laura’s simple framework can be applied to most partnership teams.

3. “The #1 skill of partner professionals is entrepreneurship … if you’re hiring your first partner pro, screen for start-up skill sets.” Allan Adler, Digital Bridge Partners

Builders needed!

Partner ecosystem building is still a new domain and my conversations at SaaS Connect served as a reminder of how much companies are uncovering new solutions and learning from each other.

This kind of work requires a startup mindset - even at large, publicly-traded companies.

Customers’ needs are constantly evolving and they are looking for their partners to work together to solve their problems.

Partnerships requires leaders who can blend sales, product, marketing, legal, operations, etc.

4. “Once your partner program is finished, so are you.” - Cory Snyder, Sendoso

Partner programs grow and evolve along with your business, your customers and your products. If you think your work is done, then you’re lost.

5. “Service partners are technology companies even if they don’t write a line of code.” - Scott Brinker, HubSpot

Agencies, system integrators and consultants play a role in the decisions made by leaders at SMBs and large enterprises.

Service partners are sometimes overlooked, despite the role they have played in scaling partner ecosystems for (and with) Salesforce, AWS, Google, Workday, Shopify and others.

6. “Your partners are an extension of your team.” - Amy Gorman, Salesforce

Amy spoke forcefully about extending the same kind of compassion for your partners as you do for your own team. She organizes her team around providing partners with the services and materials they need to succeed alongside Salesforce’s teams.

7. “The last 10 years we’ve seen the explosion of CRM; next we will see the growth of ecosystem management tools.” - Amit Sinha, WorkSpan

Partnerships require their own set of tools to govern, track and measure collaboration between companies. And the startups building those tools are just getting started, including Crossbeam, PartnerStack, Partner Fleet and WorkSpan, Impact.com and others.

Just as social networks connected consumers, ecosystem management tools will help connect companies and uncover new ways to partner and innovate together.

Shared from thisforthat.biz.

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