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Top 7 Skills You Must Seek in a Partner Manager for Success

Learn about the 7 partner manager skills you should look for when hiring someone to manage your referral, reseller, and affiliate programs.
7 Skills Needed by Partner Managers for Success
Published on
November 23, 2021

One of the most exciting and predominant job positions in the current business world, especially software technology, is that of Partner Manager. While B2B relationships have been around for centuries, how they are managed has changed drastically in the last few years.

As a result, the function of Partner Manager is constantly changing, defined differently from one business to another, especially in this technologically-driven business world.

If you’re considering hiring a partner manager to assist in achieving business growth and development, this article will help you understand the partner manager skills to look for.

7 Top Partner Manager Skills

When choosing a professional to handle your partner programs, check for the top seven skills listed below:

1. Project Management Skills

A partner manager must be able to perform project management activities, using Project Management methodology, for software application and/or infrastructure projects.

Based on the importance of project management, the partner manager should be able to properly conceive, as well as implement, assigned tasks.

There should be no room for laxity when it comes to timelines. Partner Managers should always have the ability to map out and measure accurate timeline estimates.

Since a partner manager deals with the business partner, project management is one of the partner manager skills that must not be compromised.

2. Business Development Skills

Business development refers to a set of activities that deal with finding and executing relevant business growth strategies. 

Sales, marketing, and product development are all crucial aspects of business development. However, steps such as networking, building alliances, and resource conservation should be explored. 

You must ensure that your would-be partner managers have those requisite business skills. A partner manager should be able to supply strategic partners with thorough Partner Business Plans to ensure that the vendor and partner are aligned, which will positively reflect on the outcome.

Also, the candidate should have the ability to support business development managers in stimulating the business growth for new services or products.

3. Building Relationship Skills

Having good relationship skills is a virtue that cannot be underestimated when seeking a reliable and dependable partner manager. Relationship skills are the ability of the partner manager to create, establish, and maintain healthy interactions with diverse individuals. 

A partner manager that is naturally hostile and inhospitable to people has a high tendency of damaging relationships, tarnishing your reputation, and even ruining your business.

Steer clear of partner managers that do not have virtues such as open communication, people skills, trust, respect, and positivity.  

The partner manager should be amiable and friendly. Strong interpersonal communication,  respect, and professionalism will have long-term, positive impacts on your business.

4. Marketing Skills

Bearing in mind that the ultimate reason for hiring a partner manager is to achieve business growth and development, having marketing skills is a crucial criterion to be considered.

Marketing skills include the ability to leverage a partner's network and reach a large audience of potential new customers. This has the capacity to increase your sales and boost revenue.

From design to implementation, a partner manager should be able to recommend or contribute to setting up a best-in-class marketing model that suits your business.

5. Data Analytics Skills

Data is critical in areas like partner programs since it reveals whether or not a partner is on the right track in meeting objectives.

Skilled data analysts aid in shaping and identifying partner personas, and continuously improve them as more data is collected. Over time, they will also help identify the best partners to work with. Finding a partner manager with knowledge on how to collect and assess this type of data can help you and your partners release your full potential.

Data analytics is an important partner account manager skill because it aids in increasing productivity, efficiency, and revenue.

The results of data analysis will show an organization where it can improve, which procedures can be automated, and where it can save cost and other resources.

6. Strategic Thinking Skills

One of the most important roles of a partner manager is to plan and direct your partner programs. The manager must be able to establish an intentional and rational thought process that focuses on the examination of crucial aspects and variables that will affect the business and team’s long-term success.

The partner manager needs to know how to ask hard questions, conduct research, think outside the box, and be decisive to accomplish a higher output.   

7. Problem-Solving Skills

When an issue arises, your partners will generally contact your partner manager first. This is where the ability to problem solve becomes crucial, and why it should not be overlooked during the recruitment.

Your partner manager’s problem-solving skills enable them to recognize a problem, determine the root cause, devise an effective solution, successfully implement it, and measure the results for future improvement.

When confronted with an issue from a partner, a partner manager will be able to recognize and characterize the problem, as well as come up with viable remedies.

Illustration - The 7 skills of a Partner Manager

Successful Partner Management: An Overview

The method (and related structure) through which organizations steer and manage partnerships so that they are effective and profitable is known as partner management.

To achieve long-term success, organizations all around the world are increasingly collaborating with strategic partners.

Successful partner management entails building a systematic framework that aids an organization in selecting and managing partners. With such a structure in place, your company and its partners will see higher earnings and success in the long run.

An organization’s partner management plan must be well-established. Your plan should be based on determining the best way to evaluate potential partners,

the most efficient way to onboard them, and the most mutually-advantageous way to collaborate with them. 

It is, however, important to have a well-defined structure and means of effectively managing partners. If success is the ultimate motive, partner relationship management involving tracking and communication software should be prioritized. 

These frameworks are typically set up by organizations to assess and manage channel partners. They generally assist dedicated managers in tracking the work and sales of their channel partners.

Benefits of Good Partner Management

Effectively managing your partners equates to increasing sales and profitability for both your company and your partners.

The following are some of the specific advantages of effective partner management:

Increased Revenue and Growth

Channel sales can be extremely effective and profitable. For some businesses, channel partners account for 30 percent (or more) of sales. 

Increased Brand Recognition

Having more sales partners in the ecosystem, many of whom have big customer bases and market positions of their own, can significantly boost brand awareness.

Expanded Presence

Working with channel partners allows you to get your products to places where they might not otherwise be available.

The Essence of Partner Relationship Management (PRM) System

Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software, processes, and strategies are tools that businesses employ to automate business activities with partners that sell their products.

Kiflo PRM

PRM systems are generally web- or cloud-based, and include a partner portal, customer database, and other tools, such as managing:

  • Leads
  • Commissions and payouts
  • Revenue and sales
  • KPIs
  • Inventory
  • Products and pricing
  • Deals and discounts
  • Partner operations and onboarding.

Regardless of how skilled your partner manager is, having a PRM software in place helps channel managers streamline partner sales and processes, and reduce duplication within the company.

Partner platforms such as Kiflo provide a range of services that can be taken advantage of to help your partner manager substantially expand alliance programs.

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