Building a Successful Education Partner Program with Casey Clarke

Building a Successful Education Partner Program with Casey Clarke

We explore Casey’s journey at MobileMind as they built their education partner program from scratch, going from 0 to Full Ecosystem.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into Casey’s journey at MobileMind, a leading education solution provider, as they built their partner program from scratch, going from 0 to Full Ecosystem. Discover the challenges he faced, the unique dynamics of the education sector, and the opportunities that emerged along the way.

About the author

Casey Clarke is the Director of Partnerships at MobileMind and brings a wealth of experience to his role. Before joining MobileMind, Casey served in the US Army for nearly a decade as a Civil Affairs Officer. During his military career, Casey navigated the triangle of defense, diplomacy, and development, building partnerships with the Department of State, embassies, USAID, NGOs, and the United Nations. This experience provided him with a deep understanding of partnership dynamics in low-intensity conflict areas. Now, Casey applies his expertise to drive innovation and create value in the education sector, advocating for the transformative power of partnerships.

Casey clarke built education partner program
Casey Clarke, Head of Partnerships at MobileMind

Understanding the Partnership Landscape in the Education Sector

When it comes to the education sector, building partnerships presents its own set of challenges. As MobileMind delved into this space, we quickly realized that school districts, our primary customers, often operated with fixed budgets and slower decision-making processes. Additionally, companies in the K-12 vertical had been slower to adopt collaborative partnership models compared to other industries. However, we recognized the immense potential for growth and innovation within education, making it an attractive space for us to explore.

Our product is the hub for Professional Learning, so we believed we had a natural opportunity to become thought leaders in innovating how partnerships via our hub can be activated between companies serving K-12.

The Evolution of MobileMind’s Partner Program

At MobileMind, we understood the need to shift our focus from a solely direct sales model to a partnership-led approach. As the Director of Partnerships, I collaborated with my teammates to develop a coherent Partnerships strategy and begin the transformation. We aimed to leverage the expertise and reach of our partners to expand into new verticals such as higher education, e-learning, and even government and medical industries. With a small team, we had to strategize and find partners who could effectively bring us into these verticals.

strategy for an education partner program

Navigating the Challenges

Building a partner program from scratch in the education sector was no easy task. Limited resellers and the slow pace of budgetary changes posed significant hurdles for us. However, we refused to be discouraged and instead embraced the challenge head-on. We recognized that to overcome these obstacles, we needed to think outside the box and explore alternative avenues for partnership success. That’s when we turned our attention to education consultants and service providers.

We realized that these professionals were already deeply embedded in the education landscape, working closely with school districts and having a direct influence on purchasing decisions. By collaborating with them, we could enhance our existing offerings and tap into their vast network of educators and professionals. These partnerships not only allowed us to reach a wider audience but also provided us with valuable insights into the needs and challenges faced by schools and districts.

Integration Partnerships and Solution Enhancement

In our journey to build a robust education partner program, we understood that technology played a pivotal role in modern classrooms. However, the overwhelming variety of tools and solutions available often created confusion and inefficiencies for both teachers and students. We saw an opportunity to simplify this landscape and provide a streamlined experience for our customers.

To achieve this, we actively sought out technology and integration partnerships. By collaborating with manufacturers and vendors of complementary products, we aimed to create an ecosystem where our customers could access multiple solutions seamlessly. This approach allowed us to consolidate various tools into a centralized platform. We empowered educators to focus on teaching rather than grappling with disparate technologies.

Our North Star for ideal technology partners was driven by our resellers and services partners. We prioritized technology companies with whom we shared resellers, and that already had a services-based training industry.

These technology partnerships not only benefited the end-users by offering a cohesive and user-friendly experience, but they also helped us differentiate ourselves in the competitive market. By providing a comprehensive solution that addressed the pain points of educators, we established ourselves as a trusted and innovative partner in the education sector.

great strategy for an education partner program

Some numbers from our program

  • 300% Y/Y To-Date increase in partner-sourced opportunities
  • Technology partnerships yielded 1,000s of new moments of engagement with active customers. They also influenced over 25% of total business Year-To-Date and 50% of new business Year-To-Date
  • Services Partnerships and product-led growth created a 25% bump in active accounts Year-To-Date

Lessons Learned and Future Outlook

Our journey from 0 to 1 in developing a successful partner program has taught us valuable lessons. We learned to recognize the unique dynamics of our industry and the importance of building relationships with the right partners. Focusing on integration and solution enhancement has been instrumental in our success. As the education sector continues to evolve, we remain committed to adapting, collaborating, and leveraging partnerships to meet the changing needs of school districts and our educators so they may continue improving student outcomes.

Join The 1700+ Leaders Transforming Partnerships

As a member of Partnership Leaders you will:
  • Build and learn with the top partner people at the best companies around the world.
  • Increase your impact and accelerate your career with proven resources, tools, and best practices.
  • Grow a network of peers, partners, and advisors with common objectives.

Apply for a membership here!

Login error!