How To Transition From An Anti-Partner Culture To A Partner-Centric Culture

Adam Michalski
September 29, 2021

“About twenty percent of the people are against any change.” – Robert F. Kennedy

You said it, Mr. Kennedy! 

A company’s culture is not just the values and beliefs on its About Us page. It’s a reflection of how its employees act and are expected to act.

So to be partner-centric, your team needs to walk the walk. 

Having a partner-centric culture means your sales team lives and breathes it.

They want to live in it. 

You need your team to want to actively build partnerships — not be told to.

So how do you flip the non-believers?

Let’s dive in and take it step by step.

Find an Executive Cheerleader. 

While employees need to be on board for a cultural change to work, William Craig, founder of WebFX, points out that it’s leaders who can have the most impact.

You need to have a strong executive leader or CEO who is dedicated to building out the partner program, ensuring the resources are there, and will make sure there is buy-in.

When executives lead by example, it gives employees the confidence to get on board. 

Salesforce is one of the top companies when it comes to partnerships, and CEO Marc Benioff is at the forefront of that movement.

When interviewed about the Salesforce Apple partnership, he says, “I have Apple in my veins.” He makes it clear that he believes in the value of partnerships and the power they have for growth. 

He also doesn’t see the Apple partnership as the end of Salesforce’s partnership journey. 

“We’re going to get Google too, I’m sure,” he says.

He truly believes that when it comes to partnerships, there’s always an opportunity to keep growing. 

Now go out there, and find that executive cheerleader who is going to live and die by partnerships the way Marc does.

Walk the Walk and Share Partner Ecosystem Success Stories.

“Culture change is not for sissies” — Norma Watenpaugh

Norma Watenpaugh, CEO and Founding Principal of Phoenix Consulting Group explains in the Partnered Podcast how the company addressed culture change.

She explains that once you have an executive cheerleader, it’s all about following by example. That one moment where a partnership saves or grows a deal can be the spark to start the flame. 

This can be the most time-consuming stage in the culture change process. But have patience, because once your sales team catches a whiff of a success story, they’ll want to be part of that. 

Momentum is a powerful thing.

Here’s an example: 

Start-up Ringadoc saw a nearly 2000% increase in annual revenue and 1000% user growth within six months of starting a partner program.

Imagine being able to show the non-believers that sort of result from partnerships.

You better believe they would want in on the action. 

Once you have success stories rolling in, what do you do with all that information? 

Track EVERYTHING In Your Partner Program

When your sales team is starting to build a partner ecosystem, track everything!

You might be asking, What should I track?.

We have a whole blog dedicated to that here.

TLDR: Track these KPIs (at the very least) to ensure your partner program is seeing ROI.

  • Partner-Sourced Revenue - deals that your partner brought into the pipeline. 
  • Partner-Influenced Revenue - deals that your partner helped get across the finish line.
  • Number of New Partnerships
  • The number of New Leads Generated - Track what leads your partners are bringing in.

In order for your partner ecosystem to thrive, you need to stay on top of it.

Know what’s working — and more importantly what isn’t — and pivot!

Take this example from IBM: After evaluating the success of its partner ecosystem, IBM is pivoting and investing more resources into developing their ecosystem further. They recently announced they were investing $1B into their partner ecosystem. 

Now that’s one heck of an endorsement.

So what is the best way to track all these KPIs so you can know what’s working?

Let’s look at a real-life example of how Partnered customer Branch did it.

Using Partnered’s Account-Based Partnership platform to easily map accounts and discover customer overlap, Branch was able to increase productivity by 50% and the platform helped to unite the partnership and sales teams — all due to the fact they could track everything and be efficient when it came to their partner ecosystem: GET THE CASE STUDY HERE


Changing company culture is no easy task. But when growth and money are on the line, it’s worth it.

A company’s culture is reflected top-down at all levels. A culture change must be reflected in the employees and the executives. 

Let those naysayers feel the FOMO by showing them leadership buy-in, by sharing success stories, and by using a great tool like Partnered to track all your data seamlessly. 

Once they see what they’re missing out on, they’ll come around. 

Now, over to you!

We would love to hear what is holding your partner program back and how we can be of help. 

Let us know in the comments below!

Get started with Partnered today!

Using a network like Partnered is the simplest and most effective way to allow your sales team to reap the rewards of a partnership ecosystem. Partnered is a fully automated platform that crunches partner data and pushes key insights into the laps of your sales team, allowing your team to save time prospecting and use powerful insights to close more deals.

If you’d like to check out how Partnered can help you and your team track your partnership data, boost sales, and close more deals, join our waitlist to get started.


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