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How To Partner With Me: Hootsuite’s James Partington

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“How to partner with me” is a series where we explore the inner workings of partner programs to help you better understand how to build your partner ecosystem.

Read previous entrants Intercom, Typeform, Zylo, Monday.com and Zapier.

James PartingtonAs businesses digitally expand and have increased needs for more robust customer data, they can find their analytics software filling up with dashboards which are tricky to de-duplicate, and lists of custom UTMs becoming hard to keep on top of. 

Known largely for being a social media scheduling tool, Hootsuite has upped its game to provide businesses with a true 360° view of their customers from every point of their digital experience— and that’s all thanks to their extensive partnerships 

The Canada-based company has devised bespoke solutions for more than 800 of the Fortune 1000 companies and users, including Marketo and Sony Music, and their global partnerships team comprises more than 20 team members. The enterprise solutions can help agencies, consultants, and value added resellers (VAR) whip up new revenue streams by offering HootSuite Pro or Enterprise to their customers.

Crossbeam spoke with James Partington, Senior Partner Manager, about what kind of strategic partnerships Hootsuite provides and how partners can use the platform.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

We’re looking for… so many types of partners. There are five main groups of companies that we typically partner with:

  1. Strategic Alliances, which would be with the social networks themselves. 
  2. Developers that could build integrations into the Hootsuite ecosystem. So we have API and software development kits available for independent developers to build apps into the Hootsuite App Directory
  3. Large software companies that provide way more than social; for example Adobe and Oracle, whose offerings have been integrated into Hootsuite itself e.g. Adobe’s content library and stock images and Oracle’s Marketing Cloud, so users can unify everything across their digital campaigns. 
  4. Digital service providers who would fall into the reseller bracket, which would be agencies, System Integrators (SIs), or consultancies.
  5. Independent software vendors (ISVs) that we can then resell as complementary technology.

 

One type of partner we’re looking for is…  I love working with value added resellers (VARs) and agencies because they can leverage Hootsuite as a tool with a prospect or a client. 

The VAR can sell Hootsuite in and get a margin or referral fee, but also sell great services to the end client. So the end client gets to digitally transform, and the agency charges for services and gets a referral fee for Hootsuite, and Hootsuite gets sold in by an expert in the space. 

Some of the core, more strategic partnerships are with companies like Adobe, Marketo and Microsoft, which all have a huge marketing automation stack that they can then resell Hootsuite into. 

Everybody is trying to get towards what's been talked about for years, which is that 360° view of the customer. 

 

The benefits to our partners are… The extensibility. A lot of companies come to us when they’re “outgrown” other similar, smaller companies. 

 

One thing we do that’s unique is… Scale. We have 15 million users, of course, a huge amount of that are the free users who primarily use Hootsuite for social scheduling. But the flip side of that is - and that's the benefit of scale that a lot of people don't know about - the fact that we can be a true enterprise company when we do these big partnerships. 

 

A successful partner for Hootsuite is… A big singing, dancing integration. For example, something like a Salesforce or an Adobe solution, where you're going in talking about the entire digital experience of a company's customer. 

We’ll brainstorm and do strategy sessions with not only the end client, but also the partner who provides complementary technology and all of that. To me, that's what partnerships are all about: delivering a holistic experience. 


In the next year, our partner program will… Have a big focus on strategic services.There's a huge push at the moment — partially as a result of COVID — of clients looking to digitally transform. 

If you just try to focus on social on its own, you're not going to get the same amount of success as if you approach the whole digital landscape in an organization like you can with Hootsuite. Advising on that will be a big push for me over the next 12 to 18 months in terms of the partners that I work with.