Folks, in this blog, we are going to talk about what a technology partnerships team does – how it fits in a company, where its efforts are focused and some misconceptions about the role.
Autumn Carter, Manager, Technology Partnerships at Aircall, started by clarifying that partnerships are more often than not about fostering relationships.
Technology partnerships don't just drive revenue for the company, they’re really about relationship management.
Here are other key highlights of our conversation with Autumn:
Where technology partnerships fit in the whole scheme of how a company operates
“In technology partnerships, you really kind of have to be everything and everyone at once.”
- Autumn’s team works really closely with the internal sales team and Aircall’s partners to push deals across the finish line.
- They work with customer success to prevent churns, talk about churn risks and identify customers that they might be able to help by introducing a partner.
- They collaborate with Aircall’s marketing team to make sure that they’re talking about Aircall in the right way. For example, now that they're an integration-first company, it should get brought up every time they do fundraising or any such event.
“What technology partnerships looks like at Aircall is totally different at another SaaS company, even at another telephone company.”
Autumn told us that technology partnerships' role at Aircall today is actually different from what it looked like when she joined the organization. The needs are different and the stakeholders are different.
So, being flexible is the priority and very important for folks that are successful in technology partnerships roles.
Autumn also talked about how the reporting structure for the partnerships team has shifted and changed since she joined Aircall.
She was brought in and hired by the VP of marketing. Then Aircall shifted to having a manager of partnerships, and then they changed the reporting structure entirely. So the team now reports directly to revenue leaders instead of marketing leaders of the organization.
Things people misunderstand about partnerships
“No two partnerships look the same – success for one partnership looks very different from success for another partnership.”
Autumn said that being part of the revenue-driving team and demand gen, sometimes the goal is to find out ways to get more opportunities or introductions from their partners directly to their prospects or customers. Or discovering more co-selling opportunities together.
And while she thinks those are important questions, they don't automatically mean a good partnership or a good relationship.
Autumn thinks that as partners, professionals have to be very intentional about making sure that the leadership always remembers that the number one goal of partnerships is to work with partners, to drive more value to the customers.
People in technology partnerships make customers stay longer than they’re likely to, to scale up and grow with them.
Partnerships never end when there's a closed won opportunity. She said that it's about relationship management.
Citing an example, Autumn explained that if the salesperson that she works with at a partner organization gets an internal question about a mutual customer who has already purchased both their platforms and they're having issues with the integration, they need to be able to count on her.
Or at least count on her to connect them with the right person and help them solve customer problems.
“I think a misunderstood concept about partnerships is that we're just driving revenue, we're just a demand gen engine, but it really does go a lot further than that.”
Autumn said that thinking of partnerships as relationships is helpful in that regard. That puts a lot into perspective in terms of what it really takes to build partnerships.
It helps to understand the fact that it's not just about handing off a partner once, but really sticking along on that partnership and thinking of it for the long-term as well.
If this piqued your interest, listen to the full podcast here to know more about partnerships role.