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A Hiring Manager’s Guide To Partnerships Roles And Job Titles

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In her Supernode 2022 talk, Andreessen Horowitz’s Sarah Wang, shared that “Partnerships is the number one hire that we hear our early companies making. Our best-performing companies are relying very heavily on partnerships.” According to Wang, companies with strong partnerships teams could be “asleep at the wheel” and still bring in ARR through their partners.

The message is clear. Hiring managers: Prioritize partnerships roles in your hiring process. 

Before you start wading through the 270+ unique partnerships-specific job titles listed on LinkedIn, let’s go over some basics. 

Partnerships positions exist at multiple levels of management and across several disciplines of functionality. Depending on the size, reach, and strategy of your partner program, you should consider what level of investment you want to make in each discipline. In general, the range of seniority per discipline can vary:

Where these roles sit on an org chart can differ and, depending on the unique partner program they belong to, can function slightly differently. Hiring for a role that doesn’t quite fit with your current partner program could result in turnover, so knowing what you need at the present to scale is important. 

With that in mind, we have a breakdown of some of the more popular partnership roles. 

First, we are taking a look at the disciplines of partnerships

Then, we are breaking down partnerships roles by

And finally, we give you a look at the different ways to configure your new partnerships hires with sample org charts

The Disciplines of Partnerships

Many partnerships roles are crossovers of several different disciplines. While breaking down partnership roles by discipline isn’t an exact science, there are some prominent categories within partnerships roles. 

Technology, Channel, and Strategic Partnerships

Some partnerships roles are split by which of the three types of partnerships they are responsible for: technology, channel, and strategic. 

A technology partnership is when two or more companies integrate their products with one another. Technology partnership roles focus on the sourcing, creation, selling, and maintenance of integrations created with partners. 

A channel partner is a kind of extension of your sales team. They resell, manage, and/or deliver your product, helping you (the company or vendor) go to market faster. Channel partnership roles oversee the sourcing, onboarding, and fostering of channel partnerships. 

A strategic partnership is a long-term, multi-department commitment with clearly defined goals for both companies. Strategic partnership roles focus on maintaining these long-term partner relationships while finding creative ways to generate revenue from them. 

Partner marketing

Partner marketing builds a strong partnerships brand using various marketing motions. Partner marketers are often tasked with attracting new partners, amplifying existing partners, and communicating with their partner’s customers. Some examples of partner marketing often include:

Partner sales

Partner sales is the discipline of co-selling with partners. 

This can include co-selling an integration you’ve built with a tech partner or partnering with a channel partner who sells your product on your behalf. Partner sales roles can focus on top-of-funnel lead generation or working with sales teams to actually close partner-influenced deals. 

Partner Ops

Partner Ops, otherwise known as Ecosystem Ops, is a repeatable, sustainable set of practices for working with your partners and internal stakeholders and scaling your partnership program. 

Partner ops can include: 

  • Repeatable workflows between your internal teams and external partners 
  • Tools for sourcing, vetting, planning, and tracking your partnerships 
  • Internal alignment and communication between teams (think: buy-in)
  • Internal training practices 
  • Partner enablement processes
  • Specialized internal partnership roles 

The C-Suite

Chief Ecosystem Officer/Chief Partnerships Officer

Pay range: $220K – $230K

Have you heard? There’s a new kind of CEO in town. As ecosystems become an increasingly prevalent part of business,, some companies are carving out a space in the C-Suite for a Chief Ecosystem Officer. This new CEO position is a way to make partnerships a driving force behind sales and revenue growth. 

A Chief Ecosystem Officer can provide a high-level assessment of partnerships data and feedback to the C-Suite. This can be integral for companies who have lost out on valuable customer data via cookies. In this LinkedIn post announcing his new role, Chief Ecosystem Officer at reputation management platform Reputation Brent Nixon specifically referenced the “changing way companies gather and act on customer feedback to drive decision making”.

Read more about what Nixon had to say about his role here.

Similarly, in this announcement that named Aaron McGarry as Chief Ecosystem Officer for experience management company Qualtrics, his ability for “soliciting and incorporating feedback” is cited.

A Chief Ecosystem Officer (sometimes called “Chief Partnerships Officer”) can be responsible for:

  • Integrating partnerships into sales and marketing motions by working with the CMO and CRO. 
  • Helping to build partnership KPIs and OKRs into companywide KPIs and OKRs.
  • Working directly with potential investors and analysts to show how partnerships is being prioritized. 
  • Building partnerships into overall business strategy.

Consider hiring if…

  • You are ready to make partnerships a guiding part of business strategy rather than just aligning long-term partnerships strategy to company OKRs.
  • You have the buy-in and resources from your other CEO and C-Suite members. Otherwise, your Chief Ecosystem Officer will be fighting an uphill battle and you are better off proving the value of partnerships at a smaller scale first.
  • You have a clear direction for your long-term partner strategy.

Where to source?

Most Chief Ecosystem Officers are either brought up from VP-level or senior management level partnerships roles. Source from your internal VP-level or senior management hires or reach out to folks who have already held partnerships roles at companies with comparable headcount, resources, and partner program structure as your company.

VP-level Management

Pay range: $230K – $240K

VP-level management partnership roles keep partner strategy aligned with a company’s overall business strategy. You might sometimes see folks using the title “Head of Partnerships” interchangeably. 

While not as low-touch as a C-Suite position, a VP role is still highly strategic. A Chief Ecosystem Officer focuses on making partnerships a guiding part of business strategy. Folks at the VP level might still influence business strategy but are typically more focused on building out long-term partnerships strategy that aligns with overall business strategy. Consider bringing in partnerships professionals at a VP level when you are wanting to elevate your partner program from successful workflows and quarterly OKRs to long-term, multiple-year strategic plans. 

When it comes to VP-level partnerships roles, companies will often hire a VP of partnerships who oversees the entire partner program or split up the role into multiple VPs who oversee one of the three partnership types (channel, strategic, and tech). In some cases, VPNs will oversee two of the three kinds of partnerships if the workflows involved are closely linked. 

Alternatively, some companies hire multiple VPs within one partnership type category (often times this is broken down by geographical location i.e. VP, Tech Partnerships for the Americas). As a result, VP-level management partnerships roles can look very different from company to company. 

With that in mind, here are four common partnership hires at VP-level management:

VP of Partnerships

A VP of Partnerships can be responsible for: 

  • Developing and implementing partner and alliance strategy.
  • Ensuring that the business planning process and operational cadence across all partnerships are aligned with the company vision.
  • Reporting partnerships metrics and attribution to the C-Suite.
  • Establishing the legitimacy of the partner program through networking and outreach. 
  • Maintaining the growth of the number of partnerships the company has. 

Consider hiring if…

  • You have at least two distinct partner programs (tech, channel, and/or strategic partnerships). 
  • You have the buy-in and resources to grow your partner program. 
  • You are looking to establish uniform workflows across your different partnerships. 
  • You are focused on building out your partnerships business strategy.

Check out this VP, Partnerships job description:

VP, Partnerships and Alliances Americas at Okta

Follow Chris Samila, VP of Partnerships at Crossbeam on LinkedIn (along with these 20 other partner professionals) for insight into what his role looks like. 

VP of Strategic Partnerships

A VP of Strategic Partnerships can be responsible for:

  • Strengthening relationships with existing strategic partners.
  • Identifying and pursuing long-term campaigns or projects with strategic partners.
  • Collaborating with the company’s tech partnership team to create and execute a strategy for future integrations.
  • Developing strategic partnerships strategy that is aligned with overall company OKRs.
  • Reporting partnerships metrics and attribution to the C-Suite.

Consider hiring if…

  • You have the buy-in to sustain strategic partnerships that might not yield significant immediate results.
  • You have already seen success building out tech and/or channel partnerships.

Check out this VP, Strategic Alliances job description:

VP, Strategic Alliances at Sophos

VP of Channel Partnerships

A VP of Channel Partnerships can be responsible for…

  • Working with Sales leadership to grow revenue opportunities through channel partnership. 
  • Gaging the effectiveness of the channel through data-driven metrics. 
  • Keeping the C-Suite informed on the state of the channel.
  • Aligning channel business tactics with overall company strategy

Consider hiring if…

  • You are wanting to tap into new disciplines through your channel partner program and need someone to craft and execute a low-touch channel strategy.
  • You are looking to partner with SIs and need someone to build and maintain those relationships. 

Check out this VP of Channel Partnerships job description:

VP of Channel and Alliances at Level Al:

VP Tech/ISV Partnerships

A VP of Tech partnerships can be responsible for 

  • Creating a strategic roadmap for building new integrations and scaling existing tech partnerships.
  • Growing and promoting an app marketplace.
  • Reporting the success and customer feedback regarding integrations to the C-Suite. 

Consider hiring if…

  • You want partnership data to influence product decisions regarding integrations. 
  • You are launching or want to launch an app marketplace.

Watch Maureen Little, VP of Tech Partnerships at Okta share her strategy for scaling at Supernode 2022: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJVskPikcNA

Director level

Pay range: $180K – $190K

Directors help to implement, oversee, and tweak partner strategy in their particular discipline. They provide a perspective that is both “on the ground” while also maintaining a high-level understanding of strategy. They might interface directly with partners but also often oversee teams of partner managers who handle most of the day-to-day interactions.

Like those in VP-level management, the discipline that Directors oversee can sometimes be blended together depending on the structure and needs of the company, For example, it’s common to find job descriptions such as Director of Channel and Sales. This is because the Director role can unify efforts between different teams, and in this case, departments. 

Directors also help VP-level managers focus on things like long-term strategy and partner outreach by owning the day-to-day functions of the partner program. 

Some common Director-level roles:

Director of Tech Partnerships

A Director of Tech Partnerships can be responsible for

  • Helping to develop tech partnerships strategy with direction from VP-level management.
  • Owning the execution of that strategy including ensuring alignment between partners, tracking resource allocation, and reporting on the success of integrations.
  • Working alongside VP-level management to maintain and expand an app marketplace. 
  • Project managing integrations from creation to implementation.

Consider hiring if…

  • You have seen a business impact from your existing tech partnerships and have buy-in to execute a more long-term tech partnerships strategy.
  •  You need someone to own your integration process and serve as a project manager for all teams involved.
  •  You want someone “on the ground” who can report on the day-to-day successes and roadblocks of your tech partner strategy.

Check out this Director of Technology Partnerships job description:

Technology Partnerships Director at DigitalOcean:

Director, Channel Partnerships 

A Director of Channel Partnerships can be responsible for:

  • Executing channel strategy and reporting on success and roadblocks to VP-level management.
  • Working with internal teams to share the partner program value proposition to potential channel partners. 
  • Using existing channel relationships from previous work experience to bring in new channel sales. 
  • Keeping a finger on the pulse of existing channel partnerships to ensure they are healthy.

Consider hiring if…

  • VP-level management wants to focus on long-term strategy and needs someone to oversee the day-to-day function of the channel
  • You are planning to expand the channel.

Check out this Director of Channel Partnerships job description:

Director, Channel Partnerships at Trustly

Director, Strategic Partnerships

A Director of Strategic Partnerships can be responsible for

  • Developing existing tech partners into long-term strategic partners. 
  • Working with VP-level management to craft and execute partnership strategy.
  • Defining and sharing your value proposition for potential strategic partners. 
  • Recruiting, onboarding, educating, and fostering new strategic partnerships. 

Consider hiring if…

  • You have seen success in your tech partnership program and want to turn some of those partnerships into long-term strategic ones.
  • You have the buy-in to sustain long-term partnerships that might not yield results immediately. 
  • Your upper-level management wants to make partnerships a long-term part of their business plan.

Check out this Director of Strategic Partnerships job description:

Director of Strategic Partnerships at Punchh

Read more about how Checkout.com Director of Strategic Partnerships Tyler Zanini drove early results from his strategic partner program. 

Director, Partner Marketing

A Director of Partner Marketing could be responsible for

  • Protecting the reputation of your partner program by ensuring all partners have a positive experience from recruiting to onboarding. 
  • Cultivating interest in co-marketing efforts with existing partners.
  • Serving as the go-between for a general marketing team and a partnerships team.
  • Managing marketing team and/or partner marketing team members to make sure all creative assets are uniform and align with the overall partner marketing strategy. This is highly important for ensuring that your product is correctly represented by channel partners.

Consider hiring if…

  • You want to expand your co-marketing efforts.
  • You have channel partners that represent your product on your behalf. 
  • You want to drive alignment between your general marketing and partner marketing efforts.

Read more about how Yotpo Director of Global Partner Marketing Moran Khoubian manages her team. 

Check out this Director of Channel Partnerships job description:

Director of Partner Marketing at Mineral

Manager level

Pay range: $110K – $120K

Partnerships managers are responsible for the day-to-day management of a partner’s experience. From overseeing co-selling and co-marketing efforts to providing operational support to developing day-to-day strategy with a specific partner, managers are foundational members of a partner program. 

To have a healthy partner program, you need a healthy ecosystem of managers overseeing the many different facets of a growing program (meta, we know). 

If one partner hire is doing the role of three, you have three foundational roles in your partner program that are most likely being done poorly. Take, for example, this post from Managing Partner at DigitalBridge Allan Adler

While this specific example focuses on Partner Account Managers and Partner Operations Managers (more on both later), it applies to other manager roles as well. 

Your managers are oftentimes the folks interacting the most with partners and helping to create their day-to-day experience. Therefore, it’s important to hire accordingly and make sure that any important function of your partner program is supported by a manager. 

Here are a few: 

Partner Manager

A Partner Manager could be responsible for

Consider hiring if…

  • You have a small but growing partnership team. 
  • You want to provide more resources, attention, and strategic guidance to your existing partners to increase partner retention. 
  • You want to increase your partner sales and lead generation.

Check out this Partner Manager job description:

Partner Manager (Americas) at Micromine

Partner Account Manager (PAM)

A PAM could be responsible for

  • Overseeing a portfolio of partners and working directly with them to plan and execute partnership strategy. 
  • Being the main touch point between a partner and your company to ensure the partner is being supported. 
  • Working with partners to create new opportunities for co-selling and co-marketing.
  • Helping to increase partner retention.

Not coincidentally, PAM is also the name of our mascot:

Consider hiring if…

  • You have strategic partners and want to drive short-term results from those partnerships. 
  • You want to increase your partner retention. 
  • You are looking to expand the creative ways you work with partners. 

Follow PAM, the official Crossbeam mascot, on Twitter for Partner Account Manager spotlights. 

Check out this PAM job description:

Partner Account Manager at Plaid

Partner Operations Manager

A Partner Operations Manager could be responsible for

  • Tracking attribution for partner sourced and influenced revenue.
  • Setting up onboarding workflows for new partners.
  • Serving as the point of contact for partners regarding any needs or issues that might arise.

Consider hiring if…

Check out this Partner Operations Manager job description:

Partner Operations Manager at Netlify

Read more about how investing in partnership operations can help grow your partner program

Partner Sales Manager

A Partner Sales Manager could be responsible for

  • Developing sales strategies with existing partners.
  • Serving as a bridge between partner and sales teams, creating alignment between the two departments’ work.
  • Working with your partner marketing or general marketing team on co-marketing tactics.
  • Sourcing and building relationships with new partners that have co-selling potential.

Consider hiring if…

  • You want to increase your partner sourced and/or influenced revenue by driving more co-selling opportunities with partners. 

Check out this Partner Sales Manager job description: 

Partner Sales Manager (NOLA) at Diligent

Channel Sales Manager

A Channel Sales Manager could be responsible for 

  • Strengthening relationships with channel partner executives and sales teams.
  • Serving as a bridge between the sales team and the channel partner team.
  • Overseeing the execution of channel strategy, including partner acquisition and channel sales generated revenue.
  • Gather product feedback from channel partners and pass it along to upper management and product teams. 
  • Increasing channel sales by supporting channel partners.

Consider hiring if…

  • You want to use channel partner feedback to influence product decisions. 
  • You want to increase your channel sales. 

Check out this Channel Sales Manager job description:

Channel Sales Manager at Gitlab

Channel Account Manager

A Channel Account Manager could be responsible for

  • Identifying new channel partners. 
  • Growing the channel through new partner acquisition. (This top-of-the-funnel focus is different from the deal-closing focused Channel Sales Manager position).
  • Onboarding new channel partners and ensuring they have the support they need.

Consider hiring if…

  • You are building or growing your channel partner program. 
  • You have Channel Sales Managers or Partner Sales Managers who can handle an increase in channel partnerships.

Check out this Channel Account Manager job description:

Channel Account Manager at UpRoar Partners

Partner Marketing Manager

A Partner Marketing Manager could be responsible for

  • Identifying and developing co-marketing strategy with partners.
  • Serving as a bridge between marketing and partnerships teams, surfacing any overlap in projects.
  • Ensuring that all enablement assets are up to date and valuable.
  • Working across internal teams to execute co-marketing projects such as webinars, one-pagers, and social media campaigns. 

Consider hiring if…

  • You are leaning on or expanding your co-marketing efforts. 
  • You want to ensure your company’s brand and your partner program’s reputation are protected when working with partners. 

Check out this Partner Marketing Manager job description:

Partner Marketing Manager at Raydiant

Sample Org charts

Not only are there many options to choose from when sourcing partnerships roles, but there are also several ways you can configure those roles once hired. 

Take, for example, the partnership team org chart at LeanData

Learn more about the benefits of this configuration and check out five other org chart examples here.

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