Nikita Zhitkevich has been with Partnerstack for over four years now. Partnerstack is a platform that helps businesses and brands manage their partnerships. They also aid in building new revenue channels by empowering each of their partners to succeed. Partnerstack has made quite a name for themselves since they’ve formed and has grown exponentially since that time.
It’s what every entrepreneur dreams of: to find that strong product-market-fit and go after it.
The Steps to Running Your Own Channel Partner Program
For Nikita and Partnerstack, they had a unique problem of building partnerships for their channel partner program platform (meta-partner program!). In order to best find and maintain partners for their company, they had to do quite a bit of research in order to find a good fit. Today, Nikita is sharing that process with us.
Step 1: Understanding your market
You need to understand what your programs are and what types of programs you want to run. Nikita went to their customer success team to understand exactly who their clients were and who their clients worked with. Once they understood who those people were, they were able to knock on those doors first.
Those were the doors we knocked on first. We went up to them and said, ‘Hey, we want to build partnerships with you. You’re helping our current clients today be more successful. How do we find clients and go to that market together?’
Step 2: What solutions do your clients purchase alongside your products
Nikita found an overarching theme there as well. After analyzing their intel, they noticed a common thread. When a company is ready for channels, they generally already have product-market-fit within their own market. So Nikita went looked at the products that their clients used and identified if any of those companies would be interested in partnering up with Partnerstack.
Identify the market opportunity and know who those partners are.
It is important to note that researching your market and your potential partnerships is an incredibly important part of this process. You can’t go after everyone you possibly want to partner up with. You only have so many resources (financial, products, energy, and other resources).
Step 3: Make sure you have a well-rounded team and you know what is needed of you.
A well-rounded team
Reaching out to potential partners and forming partnerships can require specific skills that you might not be ready to take on by yourself. Each part of this process takes a specific proficiency. Because of this, you might need to bring in other team members for these tasks, be it sales, management, or some other skillset.
It was important to bring in somebody that was a channel partner manager, that owned that selling process with the partners, to continue to expand how much revenue we owned. That was the thought process behind bringing in more channel partners.
Find what your partners would need from you
If you and your partner are new to this type of partnership, you might need to go to your partner in order to ask them specific questions like, “What do you need from us in order for you to thrive from this partnership?” and “What do you want to see out of this?”
We could finally see where we were going without guessing anymore.
Three different types of partnerships:
There aren’t black and white types of partnerships. Sometimes they will blend together. Remember that each partnership is different.
- Referral – someone who has a one-on-one relationship with you
- Marketing – a one-to-many relationship with you. You know them, they know many or have an audience you want to reach out to (an example would be affiliates)
- Resellers – these partners know how to sell your products, they are an augment to your sales team.
Resources about partner programs that Nikita recommends:
- Hubspot’s Ultimate Guide to Channel Sales is a great resource
- The CRN website reports on a lot of news in IT partnerships
- Partnerstack articles
Personal Mission Statement: It’s always day one. There’s always an opportunity to do better.