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.
With the help of Partnership Leaders, we chatted with partnership professionals at Contentsquare, Workato, and Airship to learn about their partnerships org charts, so you can get an idea of what structure would work best for your long-term vision. Including:
Takeaway #1: As your company scales, you’ll need to think about how to cascade partnership strategies from the top down. For instance: hire global leaders to define long-term strategies with the c-suite and regional leaders to define localized versions of those strategies that speak to different customer bases and their needs.
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.
Takeaway #3: Consider segmenting your partnerships team according to partnership type. For instance: develop a technology partnerships team or channel partnerships team within the partnerships org depending on where your company’s priorities lie.
Takeaway #4: Contentsquare and Workato have partnership orgs that roll up to the CEO, while Airship’s partnership org rolls up to sales. Consider how the reporting lines for your team will influence their KPIs, foster or hinder alignment between the marketing, sales, and product departments, and create a need for roles existing within those departments or your own.
The Partnerships Org Chart at Contentsquare
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 800 employees with 10 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
Mary Vue, Senior Director of Business Development at Workato, has developed a partnerships team of global partner account managers and partner marketers since she joined the work automation platform in 2018.
Headcount: Workato has more than 350 employees with 10 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. Vue says this gives their 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.
Vue says 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 Vue. “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 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 250 employees with nine global offices.
What stands out: Since the go-to-market partner team reports to sales, Yule has 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, Yule’s 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. Yule is also working on leveraging account-based marketing (ABM) with account mapping to create a shortlist of highly strategic accounts for co-selling.
So, what’s your next move?
Do you love the way you’ve grown your partnerships team within the org at large? Care to let us brag about your org chart? Send us a note on Twitter @Crossbeam, and let’s chat!