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The 4 Basics of an Awesome Partnership Program

jonathan engle

Jonathan Engle

Read Time: 2 minutes

Oftentimes awesome companies don’t have an existing startup program when we first meet. They look to us for guidance on how to create a great program. Here are four key elements of a successful partnership, startup-related or not.


Scope out what types of partnerships you entertain. Know who you work with, how you work with them, why you work with each other, and what’s in it for each party involved. Too often partnership programs have a lack of clarity. This leads to ambiguous relationships and calls with no follow ups.


You need to empower your partners with resources. Make it easy for partners to promote you! Have templated resources partners can draw from to co-brand content pieces with you. Have a set process for creating their own links. Have pre-made content for joint-content efforts. Stop blaming your partners for not promoting you when there’s so much more you can do to make your company easy to engage with. With a little work upfront, your program is now scalable. 


Lean into the partnerships that take advantage of these resources. Not all will appreciate your resources, but those hand raisers who take advantage of your resources are the partners who will be the best to work with! Give them what they’re looking for from partners as well. Do joint content together. Refer business to each other. Write a blog post describing their business (the SEO nerd in their business will love you. Get to know the people you work with and check in. Sometimes it can take multiple reengagements before a partnership becomes all it can be.


Any partnership program interested in its own survival needs attribution. If your partner program cannot attribute revenue to its efforts, it will be canceled/downsized. Don’t make it unclear to your leadership why they’re funding your program. Fight hard for attribution. This is why working partnerships is challenging! You’re part salesperson, part marketer, and part financial nerd. You hold the sales conversations, set up tracking and attribution throughout all your assets, and you justify your ROI with data-driven decision making. Fail to do this, and you fail to justify your role’s existence.

If you conquer scope, empowerment, engagement, and attribution with your partner program, you may have created one of the most cost effective revenue streams your organization has ever developed. A great business will always be referable. Make your business referable by creating a wonderful partnership program!

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