Harnessing the Power of Partner Led Sales with Lisa Lawson of SaaSy Sales

If you haven't heard, we announced the PartnerHacker Education Hub at PL[X]! The PartnerHacker Ed Hub is your go-to place to learn more about partnerships.

We've partnered up with SaaSy Sales, Firneo, and Partnernomics to bring you the best courses in partnerships and business development.

I reached out to our profs at the Ed Hub to learn more. You can read parts I and II of this series here:

Today, I'm releasing an interview with Lisa Lawson of SaaSy Sales and LTL Partner Consulting. SaaSy's goal is to have partner managers walk away from their course with practical processes, frameworks, and sample agendas that drive productive partners to achieve their goals.

Lisa and I discuss the differences between partner led sales and the direct sales approach.

A multi-dimensional partner led approach

Lisa takes a multi-dimensional approach to partner led sales. She teaches the ability to manage complex relationships inherent in the partner manager role.

Lisa had this to say about the partner led sales cycle:

In direct sales, you're selling to clients, pushing deals to close. Your success is based on controlling the sales cycle.

Whereas in the partner manager role, you're both kind of a hunter closer and a farmer/harvester.

Those are different skill sets than just getting a hot lead and bringing it through the sales cycle.

Lisa Lawson
Lisa Lawson explains the multi-dimensional approach to partner led sales.

Co-selling brings complexity

When co-selling with partners, Lisa says you need to work on bringing together a collaborative pitch. The complexity comes from balancing the nuances of working with partners and juggling multiple deal cycles.

Lisa emphasizes that planning is a key ingredient when co-selling with partners.

Interested in learning more? Check out SaaSy's Partner Manager Accelerator course in the PartnerHacker Ed Hub.

Full transcript

Aaron Olson  0:00
I'm talking today with Lisa Lawson. Lisa is a partnership strategy consultant and channel program leader at SaaSy Sales. Lisa, thanks for coming on the call with me today.

Lisa Lawson  0:10
Thanks for having me.

Aaron Olson  0:12
So, Lisa, over at SaaSy sales, you guys have mastered the art of teaching salespeople through your courses? When did you start to realize that there was a need for partnership courses as well?

Lisa Lawson  0:24
Yeah, so I think, about five years ago. I broke off, and I started my own partner strategy consulting.

But prior to that, I was managing teams of partner professionals at companies like Optimizely. And that was something that was a huge miss when I was managing teams myself was that there was no role-based training for new partner managers.

It was typical, you could send a new partner manager through sales training, which was great, they obviously need to understand how to sell the product, but there was no role-based training to accelerate a new partner managers success enrollment from the beginning.

And so, as a manager, I had to decide what percentage of my time was spent training new partner managers so that they could hit, you know, 3x, when an enterprise seller was expected to hit in terms of quota so that they could acquire large partner logos, and do the activities that we know help manage partners and lead to revenue and lead to partner adoption.

Aaron Olson  1:45
What would you say are some of the different skill sets required between sales and partnerships?

Lisa Lawson  1:52
Being a partner manager is a very multi-dimensional role. It is very cross-functional; you wear many hats. And so it's the, you know, direct sales, seller competencies are very different than partner manager competencies.

In direct sales, you're more you're selling to clients, you're, you know, pushing deals to close, your success is based on controlling the sales cycle. Whereas in the partner manager role, you're both kind of a hunter closer and a farmer harvester in terms of being able to manage complex relationships and selling through

Partners, which is a different skill, set a different art or selling to partners. Those are different skill sets than just getting a hot lead and bringing it through the sales cycle. So partner managers have to pull deals out of partners but also arm and enable those partners to sell and close large partnership deals.

At some companies, that kind of depends on the type of partner manager role you're in. And so you have to have a really strong foundation in controlling the sales cycle and influencing this whole influencing and motivating influencing and motivating the whole channel. So, your ability to work cross-functionally is really important.

Your ability to manage channel conflict or ability to handle objections. All of those things are more important in an indirect sales role.

Aaron Olson  3:44
I liked how you talked about the metaphor of you being more of a harvester and a farmer; how would you see sales tactics differing when you're co-selling versus with partners?

Lisa Lawson  4:02
As an account executive, when you're co-selling with partners, which we all know is hugely important in today's day and age of competition and just the way buyers are relying on their networks more, but when you're an icon, executive co-selling with a partner.

It is a more complex deal cycle because there are more parties. And you're putting together a collaborative pitch where you might be selling the technology, the value of the technology, and the partner is selling the value of their offering or their services and how that enhances your product.

And so being able to work with the partner counterpart to strategize pre-sales gameplan the pitch, plan the sales process together, plan the steps that you need to close.

Those things are vital to a healthy co-selling relationship with lots of little steps and details along the way. And so one thing that you just sellers today have to be good at is working with other partners in their deal cycle and putting together a comprehensive solution and not just their own point solution.

Understanding what's going to drive value and outcomes long term for the customer and working with all of the different parties can help put together that comprehensive solution to drive those results.

Aaron Olson:

Lisa, I appreciate your time today. Is there anything that we didn't talk about today that people considering taking the partner manager accelerator course should think about before we end the call?

Lisa Lawson: Yeah, you know, I think now is a really exciting time in our industry.

It's also a complicated time, kind of economically or in with the markets. And so, a lot of companies are realizing that they need to diversify their sales and marketing, and servicing motions to include critical partners.

And so if you are either a partner manager or you manage partner managers, and you need them to be ready to go and hit aggressive sales goals. This is the course to send them to, it's gonna arm them with just the frameworks to be successful.

The process is the kind of tactical day-to-day scenarios, kind of exercises in group discussions, it's all peer-to-peer. So there's a lot of peer-to-peer learning in terms of sharing best practices and helping peers overcome challenges and just accelerate their success.

Aaron Olson  7:48
Thanks for explaining that and coming on the call with me today. Lisa, it was great talking with you.

Lisa Lawson  7:53
You too. Thanks, Aaron.

You've successfully subscribed to PartnerHacker
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Error! Could not sign up. invalid link.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Error! Could not sign in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Error! Billing info update failed.