Strategic Partnerships
7 minutes

The Nearbound Strategic Partnerships Playbook

August 24, 2023

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The requirements for building the foundation of your partner program
  • What you need to know to get your intel and influence plays in motion
  • How to scale your strategic partnership

65% of organizations know that partnerships play a crucial role in their business growth (HubSpot). And according to McKinsey & Company, partner ecosystems could drive a $60 trillion economy by 2025. 

This means that companies are starting to realize that, from now on, if they want to grow their revenue they will need more than just cold outreach and handshakes. 

They need to forge powerful connections. 

And the only way to build a relationship is by driving trust and leveraging Nearbound

Nearbound taps into the power of your ecosystem. When you partner with those your buyers already trust, you create relationships that thrive on genuine value and help you close deals 43% faster.

Sam's opinion on building a partner program

To find out how to create a scalable Nearbound strategy within large cloud ecosystems, we recently sat down with Sam Yarborough, SVP of Partnerships at in one of our Nearbound at Work sessions. 

And this is what she shared with us: 

  • How to navigate and build a successful partnership with Salesforce 
  • How to get buy-in with those teams
  • How to build a Nearbound strategy

Let’s get started!

The Foundation 

You can’t expect to build a partner program after just one discussion of your and your partner’s value proposition. You need to build a foundation based on trust and attribution. 

Have you heard your partner saying the name of your colleague or even your name in a positive way? Congrats. You have just added some bucks to your partner’s trust fund. 

When working in the B2B industry we think we need to sell to companies, but just think about this: who’s using the software? People

The key to adding some trust bucks into your “partner’s trust fund” and scaling that partnership is to deliver value to them as individuals. So, even though your company is partnering with another, in reality, it is people partnering with people. 

Enabling your Sales team on a Nearbound strategy

Building a partner program is a Partnership Manager task, however, it doesn’t stop there. You need your GTM teams to leverage that relationship. Don’t keep that Nearbound data hostage. 

Every Salesperson is different, but you have to find that key thing that will make them pay attention. You might not be able to get everyone on board, but what you can do is find the ones who you can lean into, and how to work with them. 

Evangelize that internal person. 

To help your sellers leverage that trust, start doing this

  • Celebrate wins to attract attention to your partner program. 
  • Engage AEs in bi-weekly account reviews, offering support to generate Nearbound leads. Involve partners in every deal to access valuable intel, referrals, and influence over the pipeline. 
  • Demonstrating commitment and providing value strengthens partnerships and drives growth.

Finding the “Who's” That Matter

Start doing business with people, not with companies. Focus on the “who” in your partnership that can be the most influential to your customers in your deals. 

To find the who’s in this partnership equation, you need to align your ICP. Everything gets easier when you have a customer story that you can go to market with. Find that first customer and make a first relationship with the AE who sold that account. Getting along with those people can actually make a difference. 

To make your partnership valuable, you have to speak your ICP’s language. It’s not only a vocabulary you have to use with them but to their customers as well. This will help you understand what they need and how you can help them. 

Now that you have found that person who can help you approach your buyer, don’t be afraid to build a relationship with them. In the end, that will help you to evangelize that customer's story,  build a joint value proposition, and create an exchange of the contacts in their book of business according to your ICP.   

It’s like networking within your partner’s organization.

There’s no trust without reciprocity 

You can’t expect to get anything without giving. Partnerships are based on reciprocity

If you’re going to ask for intel, influence, or intros to your partner, you have to be willing to give at least the same of what you’re asking for. 

Don’t go to your partner’s AE for help, that won’t work. Instead, give that AE on the Salesforce side (or the partner you’re working with) intel to their account that they didn’t have and explain the benefits of that new intel. 

One way to find out what intel your partner needs is by booking 30-minute calls with them. During those meetings, you can ask them directly in which accounts they need intel, influence, or even intros.

Pro tip to navigate conversations with your partner's team

Just think of being reciprocal as the best way to get buy-in. When you talk to your partner’s AEs, CSMs, etc. about what they need to close that deal, to avoid churn, to approach that customer, you’re advocating for your partnership. Step by step you’re getting small wins.

And what better way to convince your C-Suite than to show the results of your Nearbound strategy? 

Leveraging Influence for Impact

If you’re building a partnership with an enterprise like Salesforce and you want to go to market with them, you and your team need to surround your partner and your customers with influence.

Those pockets of influence will help you build a wider network, that later on will help you ease the Influence play. 

Surrounding your partner with influence

It’s not easy going to market with enterprises, because you have to get all your GTM aligned. All of your GTM team needs to build a relationship (or at least have contact with your partner’s GTM teams). 

For example, your marketers should build relationships with Salesforce AEs, Solution Engineers, and RVPs to establish brand recognition. Meanwhile, the Partner team should work in parallel, targeting the same accounts and sharing vital information with the AEs to accelerate deal cycles.

These relationships will help you make your brand a household name, so whenever your partner hears those trigger words related to you, they will automatically bring you into those deals. 

Sometimes all you have to do is be where your partner is and provide value to what they are doing. Think of it as building a one-to-one friendship. 

Surrounding your partner’s customers with influence

The next part of the equation is to surround your customers with influence and value. To do so, you first need a list of target people–your partner’s customers. To leverage that list, this is what your GTM teams should do: 

  • The Partnership team needs to talk with all the AEs that own your target accounts. 
  • The Marketing team goes after these accounts by personalizing outreach sequences or inviting them to key events. 
  • The Sales team is heavily involved in getting intel from your partner to move to fasten the deal cycle. 

Scaling Your Nearbound Strategy

Now that you have identified and leveraged the who’s, and gained all the answers to the test, the next step is to operationalize the partnership, and you can’t do that without Nearbound data

You need to keep track of the relationships formed, the accounts they own, and the stage of the conversations. Instead of using the old method of adding that intel into a spreadsheet and remembering to do a follow-up in three months (that is not scalable), build within Reveal’s Salesforce app a funnel of all your partner relationships and their level of engagement with your company. 

Here’s how it works: 

By having those details of the relationship on the books, your teams can leverage that intel. For example, your Marketing team can identify the type of content each partner needs. 

From that funnel, besides knowing what each partner needs, you can get metrics to build a better Nearbound sales strategy like: 

  • The number of intros that resulted from X number of meetings with Salesforce AEs 
  • X number of Salesforce AEs are move involved with us
  • Who are the leaders within Salesforce you can lean on

To scale your Nearbound strategy Partner teams should focus on building trust with partners and help their sellers leverage that trust. 

If your AEs are leaning into your partner, don’t be the middleman—that will only cause a bottleneck. Instead, connect them. Make sure you have a system to track those interactions and be part of that conversation to make sure things are moving forward.

Don’t Do Nearbound Alone

Nearbound isn't just a strategy—it's a whole new way of thinking. It's about building real connections, giving as much as you take, and using the power of relationships to generate more revenue. 

Experience the future of strategic partnerships firsthand. 

Book a demo now and discover how Nearbound can revolutionize your approach, drive 3x more revenue, and unlock 33% untapped opportunities. Let's transform partnerships together!