The Importance of Initiating Relationships and Setting Expectations

The Importance of Initiating Relationships and Setting Expectations

This article was guest written by Shohei Narron, Technology Partner Manager at Google Read more about this series in this introduction...

Updated: Mar 30

This article was guest written by Shohei Narron, Technology Partner Manager at Google

Read more about this series in this introduction article.

I had the pleasure of interviewing five partnership leaders to understand their approach to account mapping, as well as best practices and pitfalls. I’ll be posting one conversation per week for the next five weeks in the hopes of elevating partnerships in the minds of sales organizations, if not to just make everyone’s lives a little easier.

Alexander Shyshko

Global Technology and Agency Partnerships, ON24

Background and Context: “I work with over 100 sales people in different roles, from new business acquisitions to expansions, and account managers. We’re experiencing a growth in agency and technology integration partners mostly from event-based spaces. We’ve historically worked with strategic technology partners in marketing automation like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft, as well as agency partners, also mostly in the marketing automation space.”

When to Map Accounts: “Usually, account mapping happens very early in the conversation to understand who our mutual customers are and who we can go after together. It’s a way to size up the business opportunity before we commit to anything. For better or worse, the current environment doesn’t allow me to take this approach. Everyone’s looking for a way to run large events in a programmatic way now by moving physical events to the web. If there’s a customer they think we can work on together, we’re putting on resources regardless of how big the partner is. If they don’t have a customer in mind, we’ll have to push those conversations back by a few months.”

Building Trust Along with Pipeline: “Account mapping isn’t just about figuring out mutual customers, but also an establishment of trust — it might look like we’re just sending CSV files or finding overlaps in Crossbeam, but this is very sensitive data. You need to make sure both parties agree on how introductions will be made (through partner POCs, sales people, etc.), and the rules of engagement. Don’t use partners as SDRs.”

Initiating Relationships: “Account mapping is easy. But what you really need to get into is account planning. Figure out which mutual customers can immediately benefit from your joint service offering, and filter this list on large-enough accounts to align with sales teams. Then use this momentum with existing customers to encourage both the partner rep and your rep to bring their prospects to the table to build new business pipeline.”

Setting Expectations on Motivations: “Account mapping early on is about setting expectations. Some companies are figuring out how to make existing customers successful or just more product stickiness, which doesn’t require too much prioritization or effort since the partner can build and deploy the integration. But if you’re trying to get net-new deals, it’s best to start with account mapping to figure out if there’s a large enough demand or overlap in prospects.”

The Realities of Company Status: “To put it simply, company status is important. The larger you are, the easier it is for you to pick and choose who to prioritize, and say ‘no’ more based on customer segment, industry, and other aspects of your ideal customer profile. But that doesn’t mean that smaller startups won’t get the light of day with larger partners — the initial list of accounts to tackle doesn’t have to be large. Event just a handful of accounts begging to get the integration is good enough to get started.”

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