How to Find Your Partnerships Role
The partnerships industry has never been more exciting—or more competitive—than it is today. Here’s how you can find the partnerships role that’s right for you.
Are you interested in entering the partnerships industry? If so, you’re not alone. Partnerships are a massive deal in the corporate world right now, and that’s not surprising when you think about the returns they can deliver. In 2022, 96 percent of B2B leaders expected to see revenue increases directly related to their partner ecosystems.
And it’s only getting bigger.
Undoubtedly, partnerships is an exciting and rich field to be entering, but it’s also extremely diverse. There’s a kaleidoscope of positions that can tap a variety of skill sets and engage different industries in myriad ways, and finding your place can be a daunting task. Also, because partnerships are attracting this much attention, you’ll find no shortage of competition if you want to make a name for yourself in the field. To even the odds and discover the partnerships role that’s perfect for you, you’ll need to know the tools and tricks it takes to get ahead.
What Makes Partnerships People Pros?
To succeed in the partnerships world you’ll need a very particular set of skills, and it’s why a lot of professional ugly ducklings with diverse backgrounds often find their way into the industry. It’s part sales, part marketing, part being a natural communicator, and many other things besides. If you have some foundational talent in the following areas, you’ll be well on your way to success.
Since partnerships are ultimately relationships, people skills are perhaps the most critical factor behind the success or failure of any partnerships career. If you can’t build meaningful connections with other people, you’re probably going to struggle until you develop them.
By their very nature, partnerships involve multiple stakeholders. You’ll inevitably find yourself dealing with situations where the interests of different people or organizations connected to your partnerships clash. When that happens it’s up to you to negotiate a deal, manage problems, and maintain internal and external alignment.
Success in the partnerships industry is all about finding new and exciting opportunities. Even if a business doesn’t seem like an obvious partner for your organization, you might share some overlooked common ground that could inspire a surprisingly successful integration or marketing partnership.
Learning on the Job
While partnerships are a hot topic across countless industries today, it’s still surprisingly hard to find reliable guidance when you’re just getting started in the field. Because of that, the ability to think fast and figure out what works and what doesn’t is indispensable.
Know Where to Get Started
Even if you’ve already mastered all the skills listed above, that alone isn’t enough to secure your first partnerships role. You’ll need to figure out how to get your foot in the door, and depending on your situation, there are a few different ways to accomplish that.
If your current company has a partnerships program, trying to find a partnerships role there could be a good first move. Assuming your employer is like most companies with a partnerships program, however, you won’t exactly be handed a partnerships playbook along with the job. You’ll still need to know a thing or two about the partnerships field in advance, and having a network of contacts for guidance and insider info can be a lifesaver when you’re just starting out.
Otherwise, you’ll have to look elsewhere to kick off your partnerships career. Naturally, that same network can be a source of leads for partnerships-related roles, and a key mentor here or there can help point you in directions that will play to your strengths. Remember: even though partnerships are extremely popular in the technology industry, don’t make the mistake of limiting your search to that field. These days, companies in just about any industry imaginable are looking for partnerships pros.
Decide What Partnerships You’re Interested In
While “partnerships” are often discussed as a monolithic topic, the truth is a bit more complicated than that. In reality, there are many different types of partnerships. Your focus will depend on the industry you’re working in, what your employer hopes to get from its partnerships, and a few other factors.
Some of the most prominent types of partnerships include:
- Integration partnerships. These partnerships focus on creating compatibility between software and hardware. Companies that establish these partnerships can help each other increase the value of their respective products.
- Sales partnerships. Sales partnerships (aka channel partnerships) are easy enough to understand. They involve two organizations working together to boost their shared sales. For example, if you’re a well-known coffee company hoping to sell K-Cups, it’s in your best interest to ensure that sales of Keurig’s coffee makers are as high as possible.
- Brand partnerships. In brand partnerships, multiple brands work together to mutually increase their value. There are many different tactics in brand partnerships, and how and when they are deployed requires creativity and planning.
- Marketing partnerships. A marketing partnership involves two or more organizations collaborating to promote something. Since these efforts often involve co-branding, it’s safe to say there’s a significant amount of overlap between marketing and brand partnerships.
Do any of these partnership varieties sound particularly appealing to you? If so, look for roles that will allow you to focus on your ideal type of partnership.
Don’t Get Started Alone
If you follow the advice included in this article, you’ll be well on your way to finding your ideal partnerships role. But even after you find a partnerships job, there’s a good chance you’ll need help figuring out what to do in your new position. As we said earlier, the partnerships industry can be notoriously opaque to newcomers—but that doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong track!
Instead, you’ll simply need to look elsewhere to get a partnerships playbook. Firneo is all about giving new partnerships pros the resources they need to succeed in this field. Our Certified Partnerships Professional program lasts just eight weeks, but it will provide you with the knowledge and skills you’ll rely on for the rest of your career. Get started by signing up today!
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