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Partnership KPIs For Marketing, Sales, Customer Success + More

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Feelin’ kinda like you’re a record on repeat?

Hey, could you do me a favor and pair up with this other sales rep for co-selling?

Hey, could you help me out with a webinar we’re co-delivering with a partner? 

Hey, I know you’re busy, but do you have some time over the next few weeks to develop the next certification course with me? 

We’ve seen the business impact of partnerships again and again; Partnerships accelerate deals, increase annual recurring revenue (ARR), and play a critical role in acquisitions. So, why tiptoe around asking your internal teams for the support you need to make it all happen? 

Partnerships should never be an afterthought, and your colleagues shouldn’t need to turn “Do Not Disturb” on whenever you message them on Slack. 😅 But working in SaaS means things move fast, so you’ve got to set clear expectations and goals for your team to drive growth through partnerships early on. Here’s how: 

Adopt partnerships-related key performance indicators (KPIs) and objectives and key results (OKRs) for all of your internal teams. Setting clear expectations and goals on an individual and team level for your entire org will motivate everyone to contribute to the success of your partner program. Soon, your teammates will be the ones Slacking you about the next co-selling or co-marketing motion, partner enablement collateral, or integration go-to-market they’re being held accountable for. 

“A partner program is embedded across every function,” says Jared Fuller, Senior Director of Global Partnerships at revenue acceleration platform Drift. “Part of what you have to do in building a great partner program is build relationships and work processes — How do customer success managers best leverage partners for customer retention, gross, customer health? How do sellers best work with partners for winning deals, competitive win-rates?”

“Every other person should have partnership-related KPIs as well” says Emir Lindo, Founder & CEO at partner ecosystem consultancy Big Friends Consulting Partners. “If the partner team is responsible for 30% of sales to, through, and with partners, we would need somebody to create a piece of content or somebody from the enablement team to build a small program so we can train services companies on our platform.”

Browse through our KPIs and OKRs for each team below to surface the ones most relevant to your business and existing partnership goals. Then, tell your leadership team exactly what and who you need by your side to drive the results you’re working towards.

What to expect: 

Partnerships-Related KPIs for the Sales Team:

Chat with your leadership team about implementing KPIs/OKRs around: 

  • The number of calls your sales team has with partners
  • The number of partner-influenced and/or partner-sourced deals your sales team closes with a partner
  • The amount of partner-sourced revenue your sales team is responsible for 
  • The amount of opportunities qualified by partners
  • The amount of deals your sales team supported partners in closing

You could also consider supporting your sales team to meet its ARR goals by leveraging your tech ecosystem. If integrations are a main avenue for graduating free users on your platform to paid, look to your tech ecosystem as a main resource for your sales team during your initial goal-setting discussions and one-on-one check-ins.

In any case, setting goals that encourage rep-to-rep engagement will have a positive impact on ARR.

Greg Unruh, Director of Partner Strategy and Channel Sales at Shipware and Consultant at Partnernomics, has adopted role-based partner pairing to match his sales reps with partner reps for recurring channel sales syncs. Each sales rep is held accountable for reaching out to a specific number of partner reps each week, and the number of meetings they have ties directly to their management by objectives (MBO) bonuses. 

Sales-Reps-Channel-Managers-in-Disguise-crossbeam-cosell-greg-unruh-MBO-bonuses-1MBO bonuses according to actions precedes results (APRs). Image courtesy of Shipware.

John Smit, Channel Sales Manager at revenue acceleration platform Introhive, says two of their sales development representatives (SDRs) manage ecosystem qualified leads (EQLs) specifically from events co-delivered with partners. These reps are held accountable for managing and qualifying a minimum number of EQLs each quarter.

This SDR for channel initiative began when Diana Sapienza, Global Head of Strategic Alliances and Partnerships at Introhive, requested that an SDR focus on EQLs from events once a week during a temporary trial period.

“We were able to go back and say, ‘Here’s the uptick that we’ve had on the basis of having these guys involved,” says Smit. “We’ve seen this many more leads followed up on in a much shorter time. We’ve got this many meetings booked in off the back of that, and that was a direct result of the work [our sales team] did in those follow ups.’”

Now, Introhive has an SDR dedicated full-time to the channel partnerships team, and a second SDR working on EQLs part-time. 

Partnerships-Related KPIs for the Product and Engineering Teams 

Chat with your leadership team about implementing KPIs/OKRs around: 

  • The number of integrations developed 
  • The reduction in churn related to a particular integration
  • The number of product gaps solved by new integrations 

If you’re running a tech partner program, your product and engineering teams will need to shift their priorities from their existing product roadmap to the integration roadmap time and time again.

They’ll need to: 

  • Gather feedback around integration use cases
  • Manage your integration infrastructure in some cases (e.g. how you move data between your product and other products and ensuring your APIs produce the results you’re looking for)
  • Provide guidance to your development agency or contractors if you’re not building the integrations in-house

Investing in your tech partner program needs to feel like an exciting pivot for your product and engineering teams. Help them understand how your tech program will alleviate the lift of creating additional product functionalities and features — and instead benefit from plugging into your partner’s existing products. Then, suggest implementing KPIs and OKRs that accelerate the building of integrations that satisfy your product’s most critical use cases and make it easier for more users to get value out of your product. 

Partnerships-Related KPIs for the Professional services Team

Chat with your leadership team about implementing KPIs/OKRs around: 

  • The development of enablement programs for your consulting partners
  • Onboarding X more partners
  • Driving X more revenue with channel partners in collaboration with the partnerships team
  • Office hours completed with various consulting partners 
  • Updates to previous enablement courses that have become outdated or new courses to reflect product updates and integrations 
  • Enablement materials in conjunction with the marketing team 

The professional services (PS) team is often heavily involved with the certification and/or enablement process for partners. Your PS team has the product expertise and ability to translate their knowledge into more easily digestible courses or collateral for the partner. 

For example: If you have to boost partner attribution from 15% sold through or with partners to 30%, and you’ve determined that in order to do that you’ll need to onboard and enable X amount of channel partners over the next year, you’ll need X amount of hours from your PS team to potentially build your enablement curriculum or certification courses and to engage with the partners directly for particular client requests. 

Emir Lindo at Big Friends Consulting Partners says to have a direct conversation with your leadership team to say:

“I need you to put X KPI on your team.” 

“I need X headcount to get this done.” 

“I need to be able to enable X consultants next year.”

Partnerships-Related KPIs for the Customer Success Team 

Chat with your leadership team about implementing KPIs/OKRs around: 

  • The number of integrations adopted by existing customers 
  • Integration adoption for a particular integration tied to reducing churn 
  • Number of customers actively using particular integrations after adoption
  • Renewal rates in accordance with integration adoption 
  • Percentage of customers who were likely to churn but didn’t due to an integration or joint solution

Your onboarding customer success managers (OSMs) will have different KPIs:

  • Time to first value (TTFV) in relation to integration adoption (Helping new customers get value out of the platform faster) 
  • Number of or the success of integrations included in new customers’ integration adoption roadmaps
  • Setting up a particular number of integrations for each new customer before passing the customer along to their dedicated customer success rep

Roadmap-Rollworks-Dropshadow
An example of RollWorks’s integration adoption roadmap

At account-based marketing (ABM) company RollWorks, each OSM has an OKR of setting up at least one integration per customer (in addition to the customer’s CRM integration). On top of their individual OKRs, Erez Suissa, Senior Manager of Adoption and Onboarding at RollWorks, is responsible for driving partner engagement as part of a company-wide initiative. This responsibility cascades down through his entire team. 

Partnerships-Related KPIs for the Account Management Team 

Chat with your leadership team about implementing KPIs/OKRs around: 

  • The number of account expansions, upsells, or cross-selling opportunities influenced by partners 
  • The number of integrations adopted 
  • Attach rate for the AM’s account list (or number of complementary products or services sold in addition to the core platform) in accordance with integration adoption 

Jared Fuller at Drift says that partner data needs to be visible to your account management team to identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Once you’re able to determine leading indicators of success, it gets easier to establish and build on the AM’s KPIs. 

“Eventually, you want to have a commitment to partner attach rate and you need leadership to say, ‘Hey, 25% of all your bookings, 50%, whatever number has to come co-delivered, sourced, influenced with a partner,” says Fuller.

Partnerships-Related KPIs for the Marketing Team 

Chat with your leadership team about implementing KPIs/OKRs around: 

  • The number of webinars or events co-delivered with partners 
  • The number of EQLs from various webinars and events with partners
  • Enablement materials in conjunction with the professional services team for various partners 

Forest Yule, Senior Director of Partner Development at customer engagement platform Airship, says their partner marketing team sits within the marketing org and focuses on project-based goals (think: webinars and co-marketing collateral). Meanwhile, their traditional marketing team is measured on EQLs and marketing qualified leads (MQLs). 

Andy Choi, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Big Friends Consulting Partners, says there’s often a disconnect between partnerships and marketing around events season. Marketing may look to partnerships to provide X amount of dollars in sponsorship, while the partnerships manager wants to make sure the partner gets something equally valuable in return. By implementing partnerships-related KPIs and goal-setting at the leadership level, you’re able to set early expectations around joint content, co-marketing collateral, webinars, and driving mutual demand for your partner. 

“If you’re tied in with the CMO and can attribute 10, 15, 20% to partners, then you have a friend in marketing willing to work with you,” says Choi.

KPIs for the Partnerships Team (Don’t think we forgot about you!)

Chat with your leadership team about implementing KPIs/OKRs around: 

  • The amount of partner-influenced or partner-sourced revenue 
  • The number of deals influenced or sourced by partners 
  • Number of new partnerships 
  • Number of leads generated by partners

The type of KPIs you should focus on for your partnerships team depends on your unique business needs, partnership program types, and your partner program maturity

According to our 2021 State of the Partner Ecosystem Report, partnership professionals at the Explorer level of partner program maturity tend to get measured on the number of new partnerships created and leads generated by partners. Once a partner program hits Supernode status (think: Salesforce with more than 2,000 partners), it’s all about partner-sourced and partner-influenced revenue.

Heat-map-2-1To align your internal teams to support your partnerships KPIs and OKRs, Emir Lindo says you should plan your goals at least one to two months before your annual strategic planning meeting — a tactic Lindo learned from Steve Sloan, CEO at Contentful

If you’re aware of the goals you’re going to be held accountable for and can map out what you need to do to get there, you can then determine how all of your internal teams will need to support driving those results. A month later, during your strategic planning meetings with the executive team, you can socialize your goals and projects throughout the leadership team and the rest of the organization. 

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Want to know what the most common KPIs are for partnership professionals like you? We surveyed more than 170 channel, tech, and strategic alliances managers to hear how they’re measured, according to their company size and other factors. Take a peek. 👇

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