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Beg, Borrow, & Steal; The Primary Skillset of the Partnership Professional

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  • by Cody Sunkel
  • on 11th April, 2022

We’re All Crooks.


An easy way to build camaraderie with a fellow partnership professional is to lament over the fact that we’re regularly forced to beg, borrow, and steal. Unlike almost every other modern business function, Partnership Teams lack resources and dedicated enablement tools to help us build and manage our programs. Thus, we’re begging for money and attention, we’re working off of borrowed time, and we’re stealing budget and people from other teams, and usually, this comes with an “I Owe You.”

I’d go as far as to say that the most important attribute of a partnership professional is the ability to activate cross-functional project teams and charm them into doing work on our behalf.

The irony is that 75% of global trade flows indirectly through... partnerships and channels. Additionally, 76% of CEOs say their business model will be unrecognizable within 5 years due to the rise of ecosystems (Forrester).

So, how do we make sense of the disproportionate importance of the partnership function to the investment allocated towards partnership resources?

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Execs are starting to believe in partnerships as a value driver for their businesses, but many don’t understand the mechanism by which partnerships create value, which makes it hard to get executive sponsorship, and therefore budget, for partnership initiatives.

Most execs still see partnerships as an art - something that requires a special eye, attention to detail, and maybe a hint of luck to create success with. However, the partnership function is making a shift to a “science,” where consistent inputs yield consistent outcomes. The inputs are best practices crowd-sourced from the partner community, applied with tools built to serve the partnership function directly. The outcome is measurable ROI.

As the shift from art to science gains steam, the number of Ecosystem Management companies in Forrester’s Channel Software Tech Stack doubled from 2020 to 2021, and the investment into partner ecosystem solutions exceeded $1 billion in 2021 (Jay McBain).

These stats are leading indicators that Partnership Teams are becoming successful pitching to the C-suite, and maybe even that we’re starting to see top down directives for Partnership Teams to start automating their workflows.

It’s the decade of partnerships and it’s time that partnership teams are seen as first class citizens, which means we need a dedicated tech stack. Partner Fleet takes a big step toward that objective by offering a purpose-built partner marketplace platform that allows companies to launch a world class, whitelabeled marketplace without requiring engineers or marketers to step away from their day jobs to build a custom solution.

If you’d like to see what this new product category is all about, get a demo with our team or request a free trial.

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