How To Win Budget For Partner Tech

Have you ever found partner tech you thought would be a game-changer for your organization? But then you try to get budget, and no one else agrees? You’re not alone.

Sarah Hertzberg, Head of Partnerships at Gem, found some partner tech she wanted to add to the stack - in this case, the Reveal Nerbound Revenue Platform. She knew to have a chance of getting budget, she needed to prove the value and make it a no-brainer.

This is how she won budget for partner tech, and how you can too.

Master the tool yourself

You can’t expect others to believe in the value of a tool until you do.

Sarah explained,

It was all about understanding the tool. Knowing how it helped me, understanding the ways that it could be applied to the rest of the organization, and then building a business plan for that.

She spent weeks figuring out the tool and its many use cases.

…I want to be really good at using this system so that I am the source of truth when I have rolled this out to my team.

By making a case for the tool, she was putting her reputation behind its success (or failure). That meant she needed to ensure she was capable of rolling it out efficiently and effectively if they did approve it.

Create internal champions

Don’t rely on your own excitement. Get others involved.

Sarah explained that she knew she needed to create internal champions and broke them into two categories:

  • Folks that would be directly impacted by the partner tech (i.e. Head of GTM, CRO)
  • Folks who had used Reveal at former companies

It was easy to get the folks who used Reveal at former companies excited. She used their excitement to get everyone else excited, including the folks she needed buy-in from.

I naturally tapped into them, based on their experience and their history. I asked, 'can you just start talking about it…kind of talk it up on calls with your peers.'

Show, don’t tell

Show them the value. It might require some heavy lifting, but it’ll be infinitely more convincing.

Hertzberg knew that telling her team about the possibilities wasn’t enough to either make them want it or justify a huge spend, so she needed to get them hooked on the value it could provide.

She began manually creating value for her team (internally) and partners (externally) to give them a taste of everything the partner tech was capable of.

She took the data from the tech, built a spreadsheet in Excel, and bucketed it into two categories – Formal introduction & Account Support and Intel. Based on the category, she’d take action.

I would ask my partner, who we were under contract and everything with to go through our Reveal database and tell me which 10 accounts they want support on, and we would then just start going back and forth.
I would go into Reveal, pull 10 accounts, work with my partner at the other company, and we would go through and start to bridge the gap for both of our reps. We'd bring them together to talk about one account. And then those reps would be like, 'That's great. How did you do that? Let's start doing more of that.'

Despite the overhead work, it was worth it because, started to get reps excited about partnerships and the impact that account Intel or a warm introduction from a trusted partner could make when trying to get into an account.

You gotta be honest with yourself. Your team doesn't see this new tech the same way you do. They see it as something they have to figure out. It's more work for them.

Not to mention, when crossing departmental lines, there's a temptation for teams to compete rather than work together.

Instead of ignoring these realities, Sarah intentionally created a shared ideal.

...sometimes you have to just kind of warm folks up to the fact that partners can actually support in pushing deals further and faster. We're not always competing.

Build the deck

Next comes the official pitch. To build a compelling presentation, you have to anticipate the questions on your leadership’s mind.

  1. Why anything?
  2. Why now?
  3. Why Reveal [or insert partner tech name here]?

Why anything

Present the problem this tech solves (and always tie it back to revenue).

In Sarah’s case, she had become a bottleneck to partnership opportunities. As a partner team of one, unless she told sales about an opportunity, they wouldn’t know.

Unless X account is top of mind for me, I'm not telling the rep 'Hey, you know, we've got three partners that are already working with this account.' So giving the folks that are talking to these accounts on a daily basis, access to the intel that I have allows us to go further faster.

As a team of one, Sarah needed to find ways to scale her efforts. The tool made it easier for Sales to work with partners to close more revenue.

Why now

For the tool to be valuable today, you have to prove that the ROI of the tool is greater than the ROI of anything else you’d spend that money on.

Sarah knew she couldn’t prove that alone, so she enlisted the help of experts, the Reveal team.

She explained that she had a candid conversation with the Reveal team,

You tell ME…what information and documentation are you already sitting on that you know is going to be a game changer as I’m building my presentation.

She was straight-up with them.

I have one shot at this so help me build the strongest proposal here.

In 24 hours, she had the most valuable information the team could provide – the untapped revenue potential that existed in Gem's partner ecosystem.

There are X number of untapped accounts that Gem is not speaking to, or that my partner has where we don't even have an open opportunity with. That's green space. There are X number of dollars and associated accounts that we could be doing something with, that we aren't or don't know about.

Why the specific tool

To make a compelling case for this specific tool, address the problem it solves and why you're choosing this tool over the others on market.

For Sarah, creating an air-tight case around Reveal meant going back to the experts.

I kind of view my relationship with Reveal as a partnership in and of itself… there's a reason you're asking to roll it out. Leverage them to help you in building that case.

They gave her information about how others were using the partner tech.

That makes what I'm putting together even more impactful if I have a larger view on how the system can be can be used across a company.

Summary: how to win

Sarah won budget with a bottom-up approach.

She did her own due diligence. Then she got her team excited about it. And finally, she built out an air-tight case addressing three primary questions:

Why anything? – Present the problem and tie it back to revenue.

Why now? – Explain why the ROI of the tool is greater than the ROI of anything else you’d spend that money on.

Why [tech]? – Address the problem it solves, why you're choosing this tool over the others on market, and paint a picture your leadership can buy into.

Now it's your turn! Good luck!

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