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How to Structure a Partner Management Dream Team
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Partnership Job Descriptions

Hire for all levels of your partnership team with these ready-to-go templates proven to attract top partnership talent!

After you’ve hired a rockstar to manage your organization’s partnerships, it’s time to look ahead to the future. What goals are you looking to crush with your partner network? What do you need to get there? 

Scaling your partner program means investing more in your internal resources and growing your team. What should you consider and evaluate as you create that dream team?

Finding Your Partnership Management MVPs

It’s common for the first person who steps into the partner management role to wear many different hats in the early stages of the program. As it scales, new roles can be created to align with specific objectives. 

A robust partnership program should include a mix of individual contributors and leaders connected to overseeing overall company and revenue goals. Partner managers should take the lead in executing projects for each partner, while directors and VPs will oversee strategy and manage teams.

An individual contributor is someone who:

  • Is task driven
  • Has a set of defined duties
  • Is singularly responsible for completing assigned projects

 

A director, on the other hand, is responsible for

  • Greater overall leadership
  • Cross-functionality between company departments
  • Managing a team of people who complete and carry out deliverables

 

Finding stellar candidates who fit each of these roles can mean hiring outside the organization for qualified professionals or looking inward to see if a member of the sales, marketing, or customer service team could be a natural fit for partnerships.  

Skills like relationship building, excellent communication, campaign management, and conflict resolution are all hallmarks of a partner manager MVP. Consider who has the soft skills needed to create strong ties with partners and proven excellence in executing initiatives, analyzing results, and achieving goals.

The Most Important Roles on a Partner Manager Team

The exact job title for individuals in charge of managing partnerships can vary depending on the organization. Some org charts may include niche roles like Head of Strategic Technology Partnerships or Director of Alliances. These job titles can vary by industry and size of the company and its program.

A partnership program with a solid foundation will have a good mix of individual contributors and managers. Some teams will succeed with two people spearheading the program, while others will have multiple seats that need to be filled.

The essential roles on a partner management team will include:

  • Partner Manager: This individual will handle each partner’s daily experience. They’ll be the point of contact and responsible for completing tasks related to partner initiatives.

     

  • Director of Partnerships: The person in this role develops and oversees partnership strategies. They’re responsible for leading a team of partner managers and aligning various departments to accomplish tasks related to the partner program.

     

  • VP of Partnerships: The VP will ensure partner strategies align with overall business goals and objectives. They report metrics and growth plans to the company’s C-level executives.

 

Growing Your Program

If you’re at the point in your partnership program where you want to gain more partners or generate more leads and deals from these partnerships, ensure your team is equipped to take on these new growth opportunities.

It’s vital to dedicate enough attention, time, direction, and resources to existing partners while spearheading initiatives to bring in new partnerships. To grow your program, you must have all your bases covered, which means appointing managers for existing and upcoming partners.

What an Ideal Partnerships Team Looks Like


Some organizations will have multiple partner directors and vice presidents in charge of smaller departments or niches, such as partner marketing or partner operations. The number of How many team members of the team you decide to recruit depends on how many partners you have, as well as your goals. 

After placing your first partner manager into their role, plan to double the team when you’re able and reevaluate quarterly to determine when and if you need to expand. Consider recruiting, hiring, and onboarding timelines as you build your partner team.

The obvious answer to “When should I hire more positions for my partnership team?” is “When your existing partner manager no longer has the capacity to manage all partnerships.”  

An additional piece of advice is to expand the team when you’re looking for specific skills to carry out tasks for new or future partners or objectives. Here are a few examples:

  • When diversifying partner types: You know what they say; hire for the skills that you don’t have. If your team is seasoned in referral partnerships, but you’re expanding into resellers, then there’s an opportunity to add an all-star to your team to lead that initiative.
  • When building relationships with partners in different regions: In the age of remote work, we know how difficult it can be to set a meeting time with someone in another country. If you’re looking to expand to another region, adding a local headcount to your team could be a surefire way to drive success. They will be more well connected in that region, align with partner availability, and understand the local community.
  • When a growing number of partners achieve an upper-tier status: Graduating from one partner tier to the next means more white glove service. As more partners move to the highest tier, hiring CAMs for each level may make sense. 

Determine if and when there is a need to expand the team, and remember that the timing has to be right. Identify areas where new roles could be created. For example, if you want to invest more of your marketing spend and strategy into partnerships, you could create and fill the role of partner marketing manager. This may mean transitioning a present employee into this role or hiring an outside candidate.

Measuring Program Success

Measuring the success of your partner program is key to evaluating and setting new goals. Set KPIs for your partner program, including average deal size and activation rates. Define revenue targets and track your success and opportunities in this area.

Additionally, measure partner program success by setting individual and team goals for your partner managers and leaders in this department. Not only will this assist in professional development, but it can also increase engagement and help leadership determine areas for improvement. 

Understanding program success through KPIs is crucial to propelling the partnerships team forward. When leadership understands that you’re hitting or exceeding your goals, they have a full view of the internal team’s quality of work and understand the value of expanding the number of team members.

 

Team goal examples:

  • Tracking partner attribution
  • Number of referrals from partners
  • Number of partner support cases
  • Building pipeline per quarter

 

Individual goal examples:

  • Accomplishing three revenue-driving projects per quarter
  • Leveling up a partner
  • Learning new, relevant skills
  • Tracking progress and reporting monthly

    Budgeting for Program Expansion

    There are many factors to consider when planning to cover internal budgeting for headcount, bonuses, and promotions, including the size and maturity of your partner program. Budgeting for partner compensation will also play into your program’s success and scalability.

    Identify how much you’re willing to risk for exploratory or experimental channels. Also, consider how much you want to dedicate to your anticipated wins and successes. Collect data to determine which partners are bringing in revenue and which are not—this can help you analyze where your dollars are coming from.

    When creating your budget and partner forecast, align with teams across your organization before presenting to executive leadership. Define your assumptions and your level of certainty around each cost to get the buy-in you’re looking for.

     

    Elements to include in your partner program budget:

    • Payroll
    • Marketing Development Funds
    • Partner Enablement
    • Automation/Optimization
    • Travel Expenses

       

      Coaching Your Team

      Supporting your partner management team begins with nurturing their individual strengths and bringing in more hands when needed. In terms of daily workflow, finding an effective PRM can help you roll out initiatives faster and get new hires up to speed by having all partnership program info and resources in one place.

      Building your partnership management dream team can be accomplished by investing in your people and growing as needed. This will help your organization engage more partners, drive more pipelines and facilitate more sales.

       

      To learn more about building a partner management dream team check out these top articles:

      • Channel Manager Job Description Changes You Need to Make Now: Once you’ve elected to hire a new member of your team, the next step is to create a powerful job description that brings in the right audience. In this blog, we outline how to ensure your job descriptions are top tier.
      • Interview Questions for Partner Managers: Choosing the right person to join your team isn’t an easy task. We’ve created an interview question guide and paired it with a candidate evaluation sheet. Happy hiring! 

      Guide to Partner Relationship Management: The ultimate guide to creating valuable relationships with partners. This eBook will walk you through optimizing the onboarding process, increasing engagement and retention, utilizing partnerships automation, and more.