Once you have decided to start a product partner program, it can be helpful to have a rough plan for how you will start these partnerships, and how they will develop over time.
Below are a few ideas to get started, but there is no right or wrong approach. Initially this can be tracked on a page or spreadsheet, but overtime you may want to consider a CRM or PRM solution.
Stage 1 - Goal Setting
This is an internally facing stage. You want to work with your product and sales teams to help identify areas or ways that partners may be able to help with their goals and challenges. This could be to help fill product gaps, provide access to new customer segments, to provide geographic coverage or improve customer engagement.
Stage 2 - Prospecting
Once you have more clarity on what kind of partnerships your company needs, you can begin working on a list of potential prospects. Some helpful resources for compiling these shortlists are:
- Product telemetry data
Stage 3 - Outreach
In this phase you will contact partners on your shortlist and begin to build relationships. Responses will likely be mixed, so don't get discouraged. The important thing here is to begin to share the value-prop for why these partners should want to work with you, what's in it for them, and what resources you can bring to the table.
Stage 4 - Discovery
Here you will be taking early potential partnerships to the next level of detail. Try to learn as much about your partner as possible. What are their goals, how do they like to work, who will build the integrations, how could co-marketing work? By the end of this stage their should be a firm commitment to work together, and a rough plan for how that would work.
Stage 5 - Build
The fun part! Product and eng teams are working together to build an integration. Don't assume you can step away during this phase. Partnership teams can help troubleshoot and help keep lines of communication open during this phase. You can also keep reminding teams about the goals for the partnership and the WHY behind the engagement, which can get lost during this phase.
Stage 6 - Launch and Grow
Here you will take what you have built together and share it with your joint customers. Partner marketing and PMM are key collaborators during this phase and common ways to drive adoption include blogs, newsletters, emails, webinars, PR and events.
"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. – Henry Ford"
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