How great partnership leaders look like and how to make them successful in your org? Think from a P&L 💰 where they are funded from - this sets the rules.
When there is a senior executive, this person looks and feels like this.
When they're in a room, they are extremely supportive. They say YES to more things than they say NO to, and they work with people and understand perspectives and actually try to move both #partnerships and incubation efforts further.
When you have that type of person, the only person who can empathize with that person is the CEO, because the CEO also has to provide a very calming presence in the room and understand different perspectives and align different resources from multiple programs, which include sales, marketing, customer success, product, engineering, finance, legal, and HR.
📊 Think where they are funded from, especially if you’d like to give this person a broader remit (not just revenue today).
“Wherever you're going to fund this person from, whether it's sales or marketing, R&D, or G&A, is the pressure that person is going to feel, because the keeper of that P&L is actually the CFO. And if the CFO does not do a good job of holding people accountable, then he or she is going to get fired.
What happens is, a new VP of partnerships or a Chief Partnerships Officer is installed and the ecosystem thinking - let's just focus on that piece, which is very cross-functional, even more cross functional than just partnerships - the ecosystem thinking is not fully internalized. And you funded this person from sales and marketing.
😲 The CFO, who is, let's call it the financial orchestrator of the company, basically looks at this person as a lead generation person or a revenue generation person. And now the company is saying, "Hey, let's go do ecosystems," but the person is stuck in sales and marketing.
The CFO is like, "WTF" and you go to a board meeting and they're looking at this person and say, "Wait, wait, what are you doing? Why are you doing this?"
🎯 If you want to incubate the power of the partnership program, I always say pay the person from G&A.
And then if your customers are saying, "We want integrations, because our workflows are not complete without them" or your customers are saying, "We would like to buy your product through another company because we already have an existing relationship and it's easier for us to procure," then you decide whether to fund this person out of R&D or out of sales and marketing.
But not understanding where you're going to fund this person/team from and not understanding the overall company strategy, whether it's just partnerships or ecosystems or biz dev (which is large deals) then you are in a mismatch.