You know you need a partner manager, a partner marketing manager, and a partner operations manager to help you bring your partnerships strategy to life — but where should those roles sit in your org chart?
After all, where each member of your team sits and who they report to influences the direction and success of your partner program.
We chatted with partnership professionals at RollWorks, LeanData, Reputation, Contentsquare, Workato, and Airship to learn about their partnerships team org charts, so you can get an idea of which structure would best suit your long-term vision. While compiling these org charts, we noticed a few key takeaways, including:
Takeaway #1: As your company scales, you’ll need to think about how to cascade your partnership strategies from the top down. For instance: You might hire a Chief Ecosystem Officer (the other CEO) like Reputation did. Or you might hire global leaders to define long-term strategies with the C-suite and regional leaders to define local strategies that speak to the needs of customers in different regions (like Contentsquare did).
Takeaway #2: Where each partnership role sits determines its responsibilities, budget allocation, workflow, and influencing power. For instance: if the partner marketing team sits in the marketing org, your partner marketers may ebb and flow between partner marketing responsibilities and “traditional” marketing responsibilities depending on the department’s needs and goals in a given quarter. They may also have better access to marketing resources and budget and may influence buy-in from the marketing team as a whole. Meanwhile, onboarding a role like a dedicated product marketer for partnerships inside the product marketing org could help bridge the gap between product, product marketing, and partnerships. Onboarding a customer success manager within the partnerships org dedicated to working with agency partners can improve the customer lifetime value of your mutual customers with channel partners while ensuring your account managers (AMs) have a point person who knows partnerships and can help lead account expansions with channel partners.
Takeaway #3: Hire a member of the partnerships team with Ecosystem Ops skills early on. The earlier you can track attribution and tally up some small wins, the sooner you’ll be able to invest in additional roles, get more resources, and grow your ecosystem at scale. LeanData hired a Director of Partnerships (ISV & SI) who had experience building systems to track partner-influenced revenue in Salesforce. RollWorks worked with its RevOps team to create custom fields in Salesforce and later hired a RevOps Partnerships role within the RevOps team.
Takeaway #4: Contentsquare, Workato, and RollWorks have partnership orgs that roll up to the CEO, while LeanData’s partnership org rolls up to the CRO. Meanwhile, Reputation’s partnerships team rolls up to the Chief Ecosystem Officer. Consider how the reporting lines for your team will influence their KPIs, foster or hinder alignment between your go-to-market (GTM) teams, and create a need for roles existing within those departments or your own.
Note: Tech company org charts are fluid. Keep an eye out for the year to see exactly when we profiled each organization. Org charts may change after publishing.
The Partnerships Org Chart at RollWorks
Mike Stocker, VP of Partnerships at RollWorks, went from being a one-person partnerships team to a team of nine in just three years (with more hires in the works).
RollWorks’s org chart (2022):
Headcount: RollWorks is a business unit of NextRoll, Inc. RollWorks has more than 200 employees and is based in San Francisco, California.
What stands out: They have a RevOps person dedicated to partnerships sitting in the RevOps team and a product marketer dedicated to partnerships sitting in the product marketing team. In the early days of their partner program, Stocker worked with two Senior Sales Operations Managers (Mari Miyamoto and Kendra Dixon) to identify early metrics of success. For example, they:
- Provided the entire org with clear definitions of “partner-influenced” and “partner-sourced” revenue.
- Created custom fields for tracking partner-influenced and partner-sourced revenue in the opportunity record in Salesforce.
- Automarked partner mentions from Gong and Chorus inside of Salesforce.
- Tied integration adoption metrics with their existing customer retention and renewal metrics. As a result, they knew that customers using four or more integrations had a 135% likelihood to renew vs. customers using one integration — and the delta between customers with two integrations vs. four integrations was a 32% lift.
As a result of getting these metrics, Stocker demonstrated the impact of partnerships and got buy-in for growing his partnerships team. This expansion included embedding a product marketer for partnerships inside the product marketing org and a RevOps role for partnerships inside the RevOps org.
The product marketer for partnerships sits between the product team that builds the integrations and the partnership and partner marketing teams. The role focuses on defining the use cases, developing the documentation, and managing the roll out of each integration.
“This product marketing role tied to partnerships has been so valuable because it’s thinking about use cases, about how [partnerships] tie into the rest of the product, how we become a platform — a broader solution, how we bring our integrations into the product story,” says Stocker. “I would always ask for that [role] going forward.”
Stocker adds that the reporting lines from his team directly to the President/CEO have been critical for growing his partner program and team at scale.
“Partnerships needs to report into a President or CEO,” says Stocker.
“[Otherwise] it gets biased — if it reports into a CRO, it’s focused primarily on opportunity creation. If it reports into a CMO, it gets focused on demand generation and co-marketing. If it reports into product, it focuses solely on technical integrations. Partnerships is, and should be, all three of those and needs to have support from the highest levels across all of those functions.”
Stocker stresses that especially in this decade when it’s the “era of the ecosystem”, partnerships have to be more strategic in nature, need a seat at the exec table, and thus need to report directly to the President/CEO.
The Partnerships Org Chart at LeanData
Chris Messina, Vice President of Alliances and Partners at LeanData, joined the revenue operation company in 2020. When expanding LeanData’s partnerships team, Chris knew he wanted to hire people who had skills he didn’t and that could help them fuel the growth of their now 28-partner ecosystem.
LeanData’s org chart (2022):
Headcount: LeanData has more than 220 employees and is based in Santa Clara, California.
What stands out: One of the first four members of LeanData’s partnerships team has ecosystem specialization. As a result of hiring its Director of Partnerships (Salesforce), who had previous experience architecting partnerships in the Salesforce ecosystem, LeanData achieved “Salesforce Summit” partner status (the top 1% of Salesforce partners).
“We’re by far the smallest organization in that tier,” says Chris.
If you’re looking to hire a role specializing in a particular ecosystem, Chris suggests two routes:
- Consult with an expert who knows the ecosystem you’re targeting.
- Reach out to the team at your target ecosystem to see if they know anyone who would be a good fit.
Chris also hired a Director of Partnerships (ISV & SI) who had Ecosystem Ops skills. As a result, they’re able to track partner-influenced revenue in Salesforce and have observed that deals with partners have a 40% higher average order value (AOV) than deals without partners.
The Partnerships Org Chart at Reputation
Experience management platform Reputation invests in the ecosystem from the C-suite down. With a Chief Ecosystem Officer at the helm and a dotted line between the partnerships team and a Customer Success Manager, Agency Partners, Reputation is redefining the traditional B2B SaaS org chart.
Reputation’s org chart (2022):
Headcount: Reputation has more than 700 employees with five global offices.
What stands out: Reputation hired a Chief Ecosystem Officer (a.k.a. the other CEO) in August of 2021. They’ve also hired a Customer Success Manager dedicated to working with agency partners and their mutual clients.
Prior to hiring a Chief Ecosystem Officer, the strategic partnerships team reported to the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and worked closely with the Head of Product.
“[A good ecosystem team] has to be tied in with all areas of the company, including product, sales, marketing, and customer experience. It’s easier at the C-suite, because you’re connected to the CMO, the CRO, and the leaders of the Product and CX organizations,” says Brent Nixon, Chief Ecosystem Officer at Reputation. “When [partnerships] sit at the C-suite, it’s tightly integrated into the overall strategy.”
Nixon also shared that having a partnerships role at the C-suite level can show investors and analysts that you’re investing in the ecosystem.
At our 2022 Supernode conference, Sarah Wang, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, shared that her investment firm sees strong partner ecosystems as a nonnegotiable (Watch the talk here). Hiring a Chief Ecosystem Officer can show your investment firm, analysts, and potential partners that your company:
- Is risk-averse in times of economic uncertainty
- Brings in pipeline, shortens sales cycles, and increases conversion rates
- Ensures diverse revenue streams
A Chief Ecosystem Officer can:
- Prioritize hiring critical partnerships roles in a timely manner (like how Nixon expedited the hiring of their Head of Technology Partnerships, Deven Ravel, just two weeks after joining).
- Show your investment in the ecosystem to potential partners, eliminating hesitation in partnering and accelerating the growth of your partner ecosystem. (Your partners won’t need to worry about carrying the weight of the partnership — Your team is invested!)
- Accelerate the building of high-priority integrations by aligning stakeholders from cross-functional teams.
- Influence your company’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) strategy. Nixon and Ravel work closely with Reputation’s VP of Corporate Development on assessing potential acquisition targets through the lens of tech partnerships.
Reputation’s Customer Success Manager, Agency Partners, Patrick Scott, sits in the customer success org with a dotted line to partnerships. He works closely with agency partners to ensure they can implement and help guide their mutual customers in using Reputation’s latest features and integrations. Whereas CSMs might traditionally work with a handful of customers, Scott works with seven partners and more than 100 of their shared customers.
If you’re considering hiring a sales or customer success role dedicated to partnerships, know that where they sit and who they have dotted lines to will inform how they work with internal stakeholders. Scott works closely with Reputation’s account managers (AMs) to drive upsells and expansions involving their agency partners. If Scott sat in the partnerships org and had a dotted line to CS, his relationship with AMs on the sales team might differ and he could encounter challenges regarding buy-in.
The Partnerships Org Chart at Contentsquare
Gilad Zubery, Executive Vice President of Global Business Development and Partnerships at Contentsquare, oversees three departments: Partner Sales, Partner Success, and Technology Partnerships.
Contentsquare’s org chart (2021):
The partnerships team relies on a number of global leaders across all of their departments. For instance, the Global Director of Partner Success manages the long-term strategy for partner enablement, while the regional leads spearhead local strategies.
Headcount: Contentsquare has more than 1,300 employees with 14 global offices.
What stands out: The integrations team used to be under Customer Success / Business Development. Now, they sit under Product.
Zubery says that having the integrations team under product ensures that the integrations are being built and managed according to best practices with a focus on scale and productization.
“My team’s goal is to productize as many integrations as possible,” says Zubery. “And that can only be done if the integrations team sits under product, follows product processes, and has the head of technology partnerships to direct them on priorities and support the work with our partners.”
Contentsquare calls this team the “data openness team.”
“It was key to bring everyone who touches integrations under one roof. You have in there every person who either brings third-party data into our platform or takes out data from our platform,” says Zubery. “Once we have all of that in one team, innovating is easier.”
The Partnerships Org Chart at Workato
Workato’s org chart (2021):
Headcount: Workato has more than 600 employees with 15 global offices.
What stands out: Partner Marketing sits within the partnerships team and has flexibility around budget.
As part of the partnerships org, partner marketing has eyes only for partnerships. Other partner marketing teams often report to the marketing org and therefore must dedicate some of their time to “traditional” marketing initiatives. This gives Workato’s partner marketers the space they need to test what works and what doesn’t with a particular partner in order to hone in on what’s most effective — without being distracted.
Workato’s partner program is entering into a new phase in which the partnerships team is analyzing the effectiveness of specific co-marketing campaigns over time. Specifically, they’re looking to their partner tiers, budget spending, and campaign results to understand where and how they should dedicate more of their resources to partner marketing.
“Now that we have more partners and more partner managers we also have to put metrics around our marketing budget,” says Mary Vue, previously the Senior Director of Business Development at Workato. “The question becomes, did this partner achieve the things they were supposed to achieve in comparison to other partners — and therefore the activity they’re requesting qualifies them to marketing development funds (MDF).”
The Partnerships Org Chart at Airship
The Partner Development team at Airship manages the go-to-market partner team and reports to sales.
Airship’s org chart (2021):
The partner marketing team sits within marketing, and the Partner Integrations team sits within Product—with both teams reporting to the Chief Customer Officer (CCO).
Headcount: Airship has more than 300 employees with nine global offices.
What stands out: Since the go-to-market partner team reports to sales, Airship prioritized Ecosystem Ops best practices that support the sales team and improve visibility of their partners’ influence.
Within Airship’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, Salesforce, the partner development team has created “parent” and “child” accounts for each account to clarify which account is the “customer” account and which account is the “partner” account.
For instance: If the influencing partner for a given deal is Stitch, the target account would exist within Stitch’s child account named “Stitch-Partner.” This child account ties back to Stitch’s parent account named “Stitch-Customer.” In the target account’s dashboard, the “Influencing Partner” section says “Stitch-Partner” and links directly to the child account associated with relevant partner-sourced and partner-influenced deals.
This organization helps Airship’s partnerships and sales team track partner attribution and avoid ambiguity when partnering with companies who are also Airtable’s customers. They also leverage account-based marketing (ABM) with account mapping to create a shortlist of highly strategic accounts for co-selling.
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