Last week I had the opportunity to spend time with Hiliary Robertson, Partner Operations Manager at Optimizely for a webinar on how Optimizely is eliminating the dreaded 80/20 rule in their partner program by recruiting the right partners, keeping things simple, making partnership a part of your organization’s culture, empowering partners to be successful, and not being afraid to leave behind tactics of the past.
One of my favorite parts of our webinars is when members of our live audience can ask questions — it’s in these moments where some of the best knowledge transfer takes place. If you missed the webinar last week, you can catch the recording here. In the meantime, there were four great questions Hiliary answered that deserve some extra attention:
What changes have you seen in your partner program benefits over the last couple of years?
Some of the changes that we’ve seen in our partner program benefits are really around scalability. When we first launched our partner program, we were very focused on providing co-marketing benefits to all of our partners, as well as the ability to come in and meet Optimizely’s sales team. We were doing events together, webinars together, and Optimizely was putting in quite a bit of marketing effort to make our smaller partners successful. As we began to work with larger agencies, we found that they had their own marketing teams and they weren’t that interested in hosting a happy hour in New York with Optimizely. They were more interested in monetized benefits. They want access to premium support at no cost, they want leads from our sales team, and they want referral commissions. They’re very driven by dollar amounts, so we’ve completely pivoted our program benefits to be very focused on the monetization of our program.
How do you integrate information about partners, their resells, and general consultant management?
We know that every channel organization works in different ways, so let me explain how it works at Optimizely. Our partners work with us in three main ways. We have reseller partners who completely sell our product on our behalf. We have solutions partners who actually manage our customer services for Optimizely — so they’re doing the hard work on our behalf, running those Optimization programs. And then lastly we have referral partners who send us leads. To keep our data organized we tag everything in Salesforce by partner types and use custom objects so the team knows which partner is providing which services for each customer.
How big is your team and how do you structure your partnerships team at Optimizely?
Our partnerships team is about 15 individuals to date, and we focus on three different types of partners. First, our technology partners — so other technology companies that integrate with Optimizely to make our product a little bit stickier. Our second focus area is on our solutions partners — this is more of a customer success play. Here we work with our post-sales team to make sure that our partners are providing the best possible service to our customers while also ensuring that our partners are doing well and are building successful businesses. Thirdly we focus on our alliance partners — the big bets for Optimizely, focusing on going upstream to larger agencies who can help us gain access to a larger market share.
Besides Salesforce, what other softwares have you been using for your partner program?
Salesforce is our primary CRM program, and at Optimizely we also use Allbound for our partner portal. In addition, we use technologies like Zuora for our order management and we use Marketo for marketing integration and automation.