Welcome to…whatever company you just joined! You’re probably in the thick of onboarding: learning how to use the fancy coffee machine, getting to know your colleagues, filling out paperwork for HR, and all of that good stuff.
In a world as new, undefined, and jargon-y as tech partnerships, newcomers need more than just onboarding —You need an orientation that gets you up to speed on the people, information, and other context you need to feel comfortable within this industry.
A little extra effort here will make things way easier down the line. The resources we have compiled can help you skip the awkward phase of not knowing what people are talking about in meetings and get started on doing your job (and doing it well). We’ll cover the most essential:
One of the best ways to understand this rapidly expanding world of partnerships is to surround yourself with the other people within it. And unlike riding in a subway car or waiting in line for the bathroom at a concert, the more people you can get around you, the better.
Slack partnership communities are a great way to stay connected with other partnership professionals, ask questions, and maybe even make a couple of friends along the way.
Here are a few to get started:
- Hundreds of partnership professionals who empower each other, answer questions, and accelerate their partner programs.
How to join: Apply to join Partnership Leaders here.
(Crossbeam customers can receive free access to PL. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request your membership)
- Software as a Service (SaaS) companies, API services, cloud software vendors, resellers, distributors and platforms.
How to join: Sign up with your email address here.
- An interdisciplinary community of people involved in all stages of partnerships — from partnership leaders to engineers, to designers, etc.
How to join: Apply to join the SaaS Ecosystem Alliance here.
- An international community of predominantly sales professionals (with some partnerships people mixed in).
How to join: Apply to join Pavilion here.
Partnerships are all about forming networks and building your own personal one is a great place to start. Follow these people to stay in the loop on the partnerships space while gaining insight from those at the forefront of the industry:
- Adrienne Coburn (profile)
Partner Program Manager at Shopify. Previous leader of partnerships at Uberflip.
Follow if you like: tech partnerships,Ecosystem Ops,and travel
- Maureen Little (profile)
VP of Technology Partnerships at identity cloud provider Okta. She is also an investor and advisor at Kambr.
Follow if you like: tech partnership insights, go-to-market strategies, building value stories, co-selling:
- Chris Samila (profile)
VP of Partnerships at Crossbeam and a founder of the Partnership Leaders community.
Follow if you like: all kinds of partnerships, partnership community camaraderie.
- Scott Brinker (profile)
VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, Program Chair at the MarTech Conference, and Editor at chiefmartec.com. He also wrote the Amazon best-selling book “Hacking Marketing.”
Follow if you like: email, tech partnership insights, martech, gaming:
- Alex Glenn (profile)
CEO of Partnerhub, Founder of PartnerPrograms.io, Operator at The Partner Program Collective and the Agency-Partners Collective, and the host of “Make Them Famous”
Follow if you like: agency insights, tech partnerships insights, co-marketing tips.
Check out our full list of partnership people to follow for more.
Thoughtful articles on partnerships introduce you to the jargon, teach you about best practices, and give answers to the questions you might not know you need to ask just yet. That’s why we spend every month interviewing dozens of partnership professionals and distilling down the insights for you. Here are some of our favorites for newbies:
This compilation of posts is a primer (or refresher) on the fundamentals of partnerships. It’s a great place for any new hire to start.
- The terminology surrounding partnerships, integrations, SaaS, and more.
- The differences between channel, reseller, strategic, and tech partnerships.
- “Cross selling” vs “Co-selling”.
- How to monetize your partnerships.
How to Communicate Effectively With Your Sales Team About Partnerships
Partnership programs drive revenue through co-selling, something that requires your sales team to be on board. And when revenue from partnerships goes up, they will also benefit. Despite this being a win-win, some partnerships people have difficulty getting buy-in from their sales team. Oftentimes, this is a result of how they’re communicating.
- What to say to convince your sales team that partnerships are, in fact, worth their time.
- How to word your “asks” in language that your sales team understands. (Kind of like a translator, but for partnerships vs sales speak.)
8 Ways to Treat Your Co-Selling Partners With R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Partnerships are all about soft power. You will frequently need to ask people for help who don’t have to say yes and might not have any particularly motivating incentives for them to take the time. When this happens, your best bet is to have a mutually respectful and beneficial partner dynamic in place (and building one takes time and effort).
- How to avoid an “unbalanced partnership”.
- Ways to stay up-to-date and informed on your partner’s products.
- Best practices for supporting your partner…
- …and how to ask for support in return.
13 Articles Showing the Business Impact of Partnerships (Bring These to Your CEO)
Because their field is still relatively new, some partnerships people have trouble showing the impact their work has on driving revenue. This is a major roadblock when it comes to getting the people power and resources allocated for partnerships efforts. As a result, it becomes even harder to drive results, and the cycle repeats itself.
- Metrics showing the tangible business impact of partnerships at other companies.
- Ways to get more money and resources invested in partnerships.
- Real-life examples of industry successes to add to your next partnerships pitch.
2 Attribution Challenges for Partnership Professionals (and How to Get Ahead of Them)
We don’t just want you to succeed in your new partnership role; we want you to get the credit for your great work as well. This article discusses two big pitfalls partnerships people face when trying to show the impact of their work and how to avoid them.
- How to make sure the work done by both teams involved in a sales/partnerships project is recognized.
- How to make sure the work done by both teams involved in a sales/marketing project is recognized.
- Why this recognition is important and how it can be used to get more buy-in on partnerships.
Want more? Subscribe to our newsletter for new articles every week.
Some people prefer their words spoken, not written. We get it, no hard feelings here. Here are some recommendations for those new tech partnership hires that prefer to learn via podcast:
Hosted by Jared Fuller and Justin Bartels. Follow along for weekly episodes with expert guests providing knowledge about marketing, sales, and, most importantly, partnerships.
Favorite episode – Crossbeam’s own Bob Moore talk about the underserved world of partnerships:
Host and Sales and partnerships executive Vince Menzione is joined by business leaders who share their success strategies, best practices, and industry insight. Through a focus on industry transformations and diverse leadership, the podcast showcases how “changing times have led to changes in strategy” within the partnerships space.
Favorite episode – VP of Strategic Alliances, North America at Hitachi Solutions Sharan Hildebrand joins the podcast to discuss what “getting tech partnerships right” looks like.
Saastr is the world’s largest community for business software. Their podcast features tips, tactics and strategies from leading operators and investors to help others be successful in the SaaS world.
Favorite episode- Partnerships leader now turned angel investor Cristina Cordova talks about knowing when it’s the right time and the right partnership.
Check out additional partnership podcast recs here.
If you’re a visual learner, check out these educational YouTube videos:
Learn about partnership basics and more with the Crossbeam Explains series.
APIs, or application programming interfaces, are blocks of codes that act as messengers between different systems and serve as the basis for tech integrations. And considering that tech partnerships are all about tech integrations, understanding what APIs are and how they function is foundational knowledge for any partnerships newbie.
Chances are you’ve heard the word “SaaS” thrown around a lot recently either in the hiring or onboarding process of your new job. But are you 100% confident you know what it is and how SaaS really functions? (Even if your answer is “yes,” it can’t hurt to double check.)
- What SaaS is and how it functions.
The structure of your partnership program can determine its efficiency, effectiveness, and revenue. Knowing how to do it well is a valuable asset for partnership newbies — even if your new company has their program up and running, you can suggest beneficial changes (and prove your chops at the same time).
- How to build strong partnerships through partner selection recognition, and perks.
- Best practices from 10 companies with successful partnership programs including how to earn revenue, build your portfolio, attract new clients/customers, and improve efficiency.
We’re back baby (in a fully-vaxxed, masks-on kind of way). Conferences are happening and we couldn’t be more excited:
Supernode (Spring 2023 – Location TBD)
Supernode is a two-ish day gathering presented by Crossbeam. Join other partnership professionals from leading SaaS companies to swap best practices, get inspired by leading partner programs, and (most importantly) make new friends.
Go if you like:
- This blog 😉.
- Actionable, battle-tested workshops.
- Listening to talks from industry leaders.
Check out the talks from Supernode 2022
Startup Grind Global Conference (February-March 2022 – Redwood City, CA)
Join 3,000 of startups and scale-ups for a conference with an emphasis on bringing humanity back into the focus of business.
Go if you like:
- Interacting with 3,000 startups and scale-ups from the global tech ecosystem.
- Hands-on workshops for scaling and evolving your startup.
SaaS Connect (April 2022 – San Francisco, CA)
Attend the annual event for SaaS companies, platforms, API services, channels, distributors, resellers, app stores, and investors.
Go if you like:
- Total focus on SaaS partnerships, platforms, and distribution.
- Meeting 400+ partnership leaders.
SaaStr Annual (September 2022 – San Mateo, CA)
The world’s biggest SaaS event is back for the 8th year in a row. Some call the conference the “SuperBowl” for SaaS companies and it includes 3 days of networking sessions, speakers, deep-dives, and workshops.
Go if you like:
- Meeting 10,000 Cloud and SaaS founders, VCs, and Execs.
- Conferences that are outdoors, festival style.
- 100+ workshops and 1000+ mentoring sessions.
Check out more upcoming conferences here.
The most valuable asset you could get as a partnership new hire would be, oh we don’t know, a complete guide to thriving as a partnership professional. A playbook, if you will.
Gee, if only that existed:
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