Why partnerships fail: you’re recruiting the wrong type of partners

4 min read By November 20, 2022 November 23rd, 2022 No Comments

Hard truth: 80% of partnerships fail after 2 years. They stop generating revenue, doze off, or simply leave for a better offer. There are dozens of red flags you could recognize that will lead to your partnerships failing. Let’s start right at the beginning, recruitment.

If you’re recruiting partners that don’t interact with your ICP, resellers to integrate SaaS products, or broad-spectrum partners to go to a hyper-niche market, it’s just not going to work. What do vendors tend to get wrong when it comes to partner recruitment?

Stop recruiting the same partners as everyone else 

If you were to ask channel organizations who their favorite partners are, most will give a general, scarily similar list. Ask the partners on that list who their favorite vendors are and guess what? Not these organizations…

Know what to look for in a channel partner

Often partners will try to work with specialized facilitation partners because they have a strong revenue stream. The problem here is that these partners don’t inherently have strong revenue streams. The revenue stream is a direct consequence from a level of support from vendors that make it easy for them to drive their products. The mistake that’s often made is recruiting these highly-specialized partners then expecting new deals to magically materialize.

Nope. Not gonna happen.

Instead, break down your recruitment strategy in a way that will facilitate the type of business that you need. You need to start with a good overview of the type of partners you need to scale your revenue.

Should partners help you get new customers or help you provide value after sale? Implementation partners or consultants. Basically, you need to set your Ideal Partner Profile, then go recruit the partners that fit.

What is an Ideal Partner Profile and how to implement one? Read this article first. 

Are you attacking or defending your market?

If you want to attack the market with proactive partners, hire specialist resellers. If you are defending the market, looking at how to grow margin, how to grow reach, how to grow penetration, and recruit big resellers.

Often, organizations immediately look at GSIs (global system integrators) such as Deloitte, Accenture, PWC. However, it’s difficult to get their attention. These partners will require proof of end-user demand before helping you.

If you are entering the market, you are better off looking towards small, boutique partnerships that are specialized in one particular vertical. Prove that you have a working product, get a good amount of revenue and you’ll be attractive to larger partners.

High end-user awareness vs low end-user awareness

Let’s take Logitech as an example. It’s a company that sells a huge amount of consumer and business products. Their products are available everywhere, including on Amazon. Their end-user brand is synonymous with computer peripherals. They want mass coverage, and mass-market facilitation, so major partners.

On the other hand is a specialist, high-value projector made for the art space. The product is specialized and unique, their customers are specialized and highly niche. They will need the exact opposite type of partner. These partners will be extremely hands-on from A-Z. The sales process will be long, intricate, and much more high-value.

Successful partnerships start at recruitment

If you have a brand that has very high end-user awareness, then it may work very well for you to aim at the highest or the most successful partners such as Insight Enterprises and Dustin, or the GSIs, Deloitte, Accenture, etc.
Once there is proven demand you can tap into their skill or their end-user base and their resources that they can actually implement your products as well.

But if you have more of a specialized product with a bit less end-users awareness, you’ll do better to focus on the smaller partners, the more boutique partners that are very focused on specific verticals, in specific areas. This will allow you to build a more personal relationship with them as they are a lot smaller.

From there on really scale that with more and more partners.

More information about recruiting partners best practices? Check out these blog posts 

Want to find out more reasons that partnerships fail – and what you can do to stop that happening? Listen to episode 7 of Partnerships Unraveled below or visit the podcast page to listen via your preferred streaming service.


Cassandra Pizzey

Cassandra Pizzey

A Channexteer since 2021, Cassandra has been copywriting for the past 10-years, broadening her horizon as content marketer since entering the B2B SaaS industry. Connect with Cassandra on LinkedIn for more.

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