< Back to resources

How to get internal teams to buy into partnerships

How do you become successful in partnerships? It all starts internally. You must have the whole company onboard in order for things to work, otherwise you’ll all be pulling in different directions. Here's how to get internal alignment.
Download Pdf

Ready for the content?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pa

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Download Pdf

2024 is the year of partnerships. It’s no longer possible to deny the sheer value partnership-led acquisition brings compared to direct which is why Allbound is pivoting its own strategy to take advantage of the changing tides.  

How do you become successful in partnerships? It all starts internally. You must have the whole company onboard in order for things to work, otherwise you’ll all be pulling in different directions. 

But, it can be overwhelming to try and move your whole company culture from a primarily direct-only model to an ecosystem-first approach. This article will walk you through everything you need to get your internal teams on the same page, and excited about the future of partnerships.

Why ecosystem-first is better than direct

Understanding the changes that are happening in direct GTM is a key part of educating your teams on why partner-led growth is on the rise. 

Kelly Sarabyn, Platform Ecosystem Advocate at HubSpot, summarized things perfectly when we asked for her view: 

"With macroeconomic uncertainty, companies are looking for more efficient ways to go to market. Additionally, with the high volume of content and cold outreach, vendors are struggling to break through the noise and connect directly with buyers.

Partner-led growth can overcome both these challenges. Organizations who leverage their partners' networks of trusted relationships to grow their business will thrive in 2024."

There’s a huge sense of possibility when it comes to partnership selling, which is super exciting considering the lack of growth we’ve seen across the board recently. 

Alexis Petrichos, Director of Strategic Partnerships & Ecosystem Marketing at Chili Piper, expanded this thought stating: “Building a partner program is the only way to stay competitive in this market. There's no room for ignoring revenue channels and amplifiers anymore. They say "leave no stone unturned", but partnerships isn't a stone – it's a boulder.” 

According to Ernst and Young, businesses report that by moving to an ecosystem-first GTM, they typically see:

  • 65% increased efficiency and reduced cost
  • 56% improved new customer acquisition
  • 47% accelerated product-to-market

It’s no wonder many companies are making the switch to partnerships. 

But….how do you get everyone on board?

Executive sponsorship

Before you do anything, you need to get your CEO over the line. There’s no getting around it: the single thing that will bring your whole partnership efforts crumbling down is the lack of executive buy-in.

If the higher-ups of your business don’t agree, you’ll forever be fighting an uphill battle. Outline the changing landscape explained above, use industry-specific data to support your argument, and address any concerns head-on. 

With such a big change in strategy, support must come from the top down. The CEO must then address the company and explain that an ecosystem-first approach is the pivot you’re making, why, and what it means for the business. 

The aim of this is to get other leaders in the company to buy into the idea of partnership-led growth. This will then trickle down into individual teams. Be prepared for a lot of initial questions, but getting this stage right is crucial to getting leadership to take partnerships seriously.  

Once the senior leadership is aligned, a company all-hands meeting outlining the vision is an ideal way to get everyone onboard. Drill down into the impact the changes will have on individual teams from Sales and Marketing to Customer Success and Product. 

By doing this, you’ll ensure partnerships are a top-down strategic priority instead of it being de-prioritized by functional leaders. This will allow you the time, budget, and respect needed to make partnerships successful.

As an example, Paul Szemerenyi is CEO of Albbound, and he recounts, “I've been in the partnerships space for a long time and I've been witness to a steady increase in partnership-sourced business over the past few years. However, what I'm seeing now, with the perfect storm of direct acquisition costs, AI technology, new partner tech, and a post-COVID world where relationships become much more relevant, is an accelerated move to advocated business.” 

Creating a vision and teaching each team how to work with partners

Now it’s time to build out and implement your strategy. 

Work with each head of department to help them understand what’s needed to move to a partner-first approach. After all, people can nod their heads and agree something is a good idea, but it is only with action that you’ll get results. And in order for them to be able to support the new vision, they need to fully understand and commit to supporting partnerships. 


Your sales team will understandably have a lot of questions:

  • Are they going to be getting leads from partners? 
  • How should they handle these leads? 
  • Do they need to advocate for partners?
  • Are they expected to co-sell, if so, how does this process work?   

We’ve found the best approach for sales teams is breaking things down into smaller pieces rather than trying to tackle everything at once. Partnership selling is a big change for most sales teams, so a slow and steady pivot will be much more successful than chaos and confusion. 

Here are the top 5 things you need to bring your Sales team in line:

  1. Shift to an advocacy mindset and enable your team
    Impress the value of ‘give and take’; it’s no longer just about “how can I close this deal?” While you now get assistance from advocates, you also have to advocate for another business (probably for nothing in return) which is a big mindset change for most ‘direct’ sales teams. 

    You then need to enable Sales to advocate by educating them on any joint value with a partner. How deep this has to be depends on the nature of the business relationship. For example, a reseller relationship may require more training than a referral agreement. Obviously, the same goes for enabling your partners’ commercial teams on your proposition too. Be sure to elverager tech such as PRM and LMS platforms to help. 
  1. Intro, influence, information
    Understand the importance of the 3 I’s: intro, influence, and information. The principles of advocacy and co-selling aren’t just about being introduced (or introducing) an opportunity. There is an equal amount of benefit in influencing a currently active opportunity through a pre-existing relationship or providing information that may assist in an opportunity's progression.
  1. Utilize co-sell technologies
    Make the most of some of the great tech out there. For example, Reveal’s account mapping enables you to focus on low-hanging fruit through overlapped opportunities with your partners. This is an easy, yet effective, way to get started in both engaging potential customers and developing more strategic relationships.
  1. Incentives 
    Remember to give incentive payments on partners’ closed deals that sales have advocated. There could be opportunities for your Sales team to be incentivized to advocate for your partners’ business. Whether it’s quota retirement or non-OTE-related KPIs, look for ‘fair’ ways to incentivize sales and CSM teams to provide strong advocacy to partners and ensure your partners are doing the same for you.

    An example of this is to give them the same commission on co-sold deals as 1:1 deals. A lot of businesses don’t differentiate between commissions, and given the relative difficulty in direct deal progression, this typically results in an affinity to co-sold deals – which is a good thing. 

    Co-sold deals typically close much more quickly (enabling sales to move on to the next opportunity) and have higher retention figures. 
  1. Tracking
    Make sure you’re tracking advocation (both sourced and influenced) and making this public. RevOps/PartnerOps plays a huge role in enabling advocated selling because the relative differences between direct and advocated revenue need to be widely visible.  

    Also, track comparable KPIs between direct and indirect (no deals, ACV, sales cycle, conversion rates) as this comparative data can be used to calibrate the investments in direct vs advocated GTM. Moreover, it motivates commercial acquisition teams to tackle low-hanging fruit opportunities. 

    And finally, track deals registered by partners in CRM (via PRM Deal Registration capabilities). Rather than manage introduced deals manually, it makes more sense to utilize a PRM platform to enable partners to register opportunities directly with you (and integrate seamlessly with your CRM for holistic tracking.)

Customer Success

Next up, customer success will ask how they can use partners to help them renew their accounts. They will want to understand which customers your partners also have as customers, and how they can utilize these partnerships to their advantage. A good way of starting to bridge the gap is to encourage customer success to talk about partners on their regular QBRs, and begin to blur the line between traditional customer vs partner definitions. 

You’ll notice there is some overlap with what is needed for Sales, making things easier to set up.

  1. More give and take
    Again, you’ll want to instill a ‘give and take’ mentality; partners will want CS to advocate for them to their customers. Most CSMs are responsible for looking for upsell/cross-sell opportunities. An ideal scenario, for example, would be one of your CSMs being able to recommend a company such as Cypher Learning if their customer mentions Learning Management Systems. 
    You should also enable CSMs to advocate to customers by educating them on any joint value with a partner. Make sure CSMs are included in the enablement of partner solutions that you’d give to the Sales team. While they may not be selling full-time, they are interacting with customers, which means strong advocacy –  that can be leveraged for your partners.
  1. Don’t go it alone!
    Look for partner assistance in any potential expansion opportunity in the customer account. If you think an expansion (cross-sell, upsell) into the CSM's own account could be assisted (any of the 3 I’s) with a partner, then reach out to that partner and see!
  1. Provide incentive payments
    Incentives will always drive results if they’re the right kind, so provide incentive payments on partners’ closed deals that CS has advocated. And, where it makes sense include CSMs in arrangements made with the Sales team too.


The types of questions you’ll need to address for your product team will be around integrations and priorities. For example, will there be a push to build a full suite of integrations, and if so, how do they interact with partners? Who is taking the lead on this and makes the decisions on what integrations to prioritize?  

A good approach would be to hold a meeting where everyone comes armed with questions ahead of time, allowing you to tackle the bulk of them in one go, rather than everyone feeling slightly confused for the first few weeks. 

Here’s what you need to prepare your Product team:

  1. Your product roadmap
    Take a look at your product roadmap in relation to what capabilities may compliment strategic ISV partners. When you look to partner with another business, there could be important product-related implications, (both positive and negative) that you’ll need to consider.
    For example, questions surrounding an ISV partnership would include if you’re targeting the same ICPs, whether the technologies can integrate, and could there be a ‘better-together’ story? There will be times where elements of the product roadmap will be impacted by the selection of strategic partners, especially when considering integration priorities. 
  1. Understand joint value propositions
    With strategic ISV partners, look to build mutual-value integration points between your technologies and select partners with value propositions similar to your own in order to deliver maximum value to the end user. 
  1. Open communication
    If you make your priorities clear to others, it’ll make it easier for them to approach you. So, things like sharing your product roadmap information with partners will ensure you see mutual benefit going forward. This openness will also inform the types of companies you partner with based on technology strategy.


Marketing will need to understand that they are needed to provide resources to co-market with partners. It’s important that a process is put into place around how they prioritize these requests so that it fits in with their other projects and can be achieved in a sensible timeframe.

Perhaps they create a separate request form for all things partner related so that everything is easily accessible in one place. 

Partnerships aren’t a one-off project that will fizzle out after a few weeks, and every arm of the business needs to understand that so they can understand what is expected and prioritize long-term. 

Last, but definitely not least, is how to align your Marketing team:

  1. Generate and distribute leads 
    As you build out a partner program you will quickly (hopefully!) run into the provoke of conflict. When you generate leads, do you give them to your own sales team or to a partner? Most companies segment leads across dimensions such as geography, industry or company size. These provide clear demarcations for lead distribution. Providing your partners with warm leads is THE most valuable thing you can do for them, so start to make it a part of your demand generation activities. Perhaps utilize a PRM platform to fairly distribute partner leads according to predefined business objectives.
  1. Track multi-touch advocacy
    Partner co-marketing becomes a significant % of marketing investment in both time and budget. So, make sure you track advocated (sourced and influenced) and make this public so the credit is attributed to the right place!
  1. Track comparable KPIs 
    Also, keep an eye on your KPIs and compare the differences between direct and indirect (no deals, ACV, sales cycle, conversion rates etc.)
  1. Make the most of co-sell tech
    This one also overlaps with Sales, making it a great investment: make the most of the great tech out there. For example, Reveal’s account mapping enables you to focus on low-hanging fruit through overlapped opportunities with your partners. This is an easy, yet effective, way to get started in both engaging potential customers and developing more strategic relationships.
  1. Use a PRM!
    Things will get overwhelming fast if you try and do everything manually. A PRM will make it easy to register marketing-sourced deals (and integrate back to CRM for combined tracking.) We happen to know a great one if you’re on the lookout…

Celebrate Wins

One of the easiest ways to gain internal buy-in for partner programs is to celebrate wins! After all, there’s no better way to get the whole company behind the partner initiative than to show them that it’s working. 

The kinds of things you should celebrate are: 

  1. New logos that were a referral from a partner, particularly if they’re a big name!
  2. A deal that sales co-sold with a partner, and the positive experience they had
  3. A webinar that was co-marketed with partners that got a lot of registrants

By constantly reaffirming the value of partners, it will make it easier to get buy-in from all areas of the business. If you can prove it's working, well, then that’s the golden ticket you’ve been looking for. 

First steps to success

To recap:

  1. Get buy-in from your CEO and key stakeholders first. This will be the difference between whether you’re trying to climb a sizeable hill or a humongous mountain – pick your route carefully! 
  1. Craft a vision that excites your company about the possibilities partnerships can bring, and present this in a company-wide all-hands.
  1. Outline the challenges and objections each area of the business will face and create achievable action plans for everyone so they know what is expected of them. 
  1. Celebrate the wins and make sure you’re showcasing all the successes partnerships bring to keep momentum and enthusiasm high
  1. Revise your strategy as you go and learn from the reactions your team give you. Every business dynamic is unique, so what works for someone else might not work for you. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to pivot your business to a partnerships GTM, keep an eye out for our industry-leading report detailing how to do it coming soon! 

Meet the Speakers

Speaker One
Speaker One
Allbound Speaker
Speaker Two
Speaker Two
Allbound Speaker
Speaker Three
Speaker Three
Allbound Speaker
Speaker Four
Speaker Four
Allbound Speaker