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Partner Program Design

How to Make Your First Tech (ISV, Integration, API, Product, Platform) Partnerships Hire

By 
Hugh Durkin
Feature image

Yes, I know the title isn’t elegant. But the complexity of it reflects a real challenge for SaaS leaders: where to start when hiring someone to manage integration-focused partnerships.

It’s a tough challenge to address, because these types of partnerships are different from most others.

Go-To-Market partnerships - including affiliate, startup, and agency - are usually focused on driving distribution of existing products, and incentivizing service and solutions providers to increase adoption and retention.

”Existing products” is key here. Most GTM partnerships do not focus on product innovation outcomes.

Technology (or, ISV/Integration/API/Product/Platform) partnerships do focus on product innovation outcomes.

Whether the innovation goal is to build an integration between two products, add new capabilities to existing integrations, or create entirely new products atop technology platforms, product innovation is a non-negotiable in most of these conversations.

Engineering, product, marketing, partnerships, legal - and more - all have a seat around the table.

A cross-functional cocktail

These types of partnerships unlock immense value across the board - utility value for customers, distribution value for ISVs/platforms, and - of course - revenue value. But they pose tricky cross-functional challenges:

  • Syncing data across systems can introduce data privacy/compliance risks without the right approach
  • Integration support can be hard to communicate to customers, and hard to manage across partners
  • Product/feature deprecation can pose engineering, product marketing and support challenges
  • Adherence to developer/platform policies can create awkward situations if compliance is not a partner focus

That’s just the beginning. Add sales, support, and services teams to the mix and you have a cross-functional cocktail that’s a challenge to mix and serve in the right way.

I know how complex it can be - I’ve worn this partnerships hat many times during my career at Facebook, Intercom, and HubSpot. I’ve also interviewed and hired many candidates into these roles.

Generalists for the win

Now for the good news - there is no single “qualification” to look out for when hiring for these roles. They are generalist roles.

That’s good news because the talent pool for these roles is larger than you may initially think. I’ve seen many people from product, sales, account management, consulting, and legal backgrounds all have successful careers in technoloy partnerships.

How can you capture all of this in a job description that will attract the right candidates? You could start with the job description I’ve repurposed and customized to hire many great people over the years. It’s the most compelling, succinct, and accurate description I’ve seen of what a first technology partnerships hire should be.

Why? Because it’s the exact job description that led to my first API Partnerships role at Facebook in 2012.

It was written by John Yi, the mastermind behind early Technology and Developer Partnerships Programs at Facebook, Pinterest, and Coinbase. It led to me managing complex relationships with companies like Salesforce, Experian, and PayPal. I’m eternally thankful he wrote it, and you should thank him - not me - if you use it.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what the photograph above is - it’s two-thirds of the EMEA Facebook Marketing API Partnerships team in late 2012.


Partner Manager, Marketing API (Dublin)

Facebook’s API program for marketers serves to accelerate advertiser growth, satisfaction and value by guiding tool developers to build value-added third-party applications that support Facebook’s social marketing vision. The Partner Manager, Marketing API Program, reporting to the PDC Program Manager will provide ongoing consultative support to developers and also drive special projects that influence the overall direction of various marketer-focused APIs. The Partner Manager may serve to facilitate developers across various Facebook APIs (Open Graph, Ads, Insights, Pages, etc.) that help marketers to achieve their objectives on Facebook. This position is based in our Dublin Office.

Responsibilities

  • Serve as primary point of contact to high priority technology partner developers
  • Monitor and manage developer compliance with program requirements and policies
  • Provide ongoing education about new and existing API methods and Facebook’s marketing products
  • Help API developers understand Facebook’s holistic marketing approach
  • Work cross-functionally with Facebook partner engineers, product marketers, product managers and others to achieve quarterly and yearly goals
  • Track, analyze, and report key quantitative metrics
  • Proactively resolve business and technical issues with partners
  • Identify trends and evolving needs, develop programmatic tools and resources to improve efficiency.
  • Gather partner feedback (feature requests, common technical issues, etc.) to enhance the Marketing API program and the developer experience.
  • Provide consultative services to Facebook sales and account management teams whose clients are implementing Marketing API solutions/tools.

Desired Skills and Experience

Requirements

  • BA/BS with outstanding academic performance
  • advanced degree a plus
  • 5+ years of client facing experience in partner management, technical account management, or technical sales
  • Deep passion for Facebook products, technology, and online advertising
  • Excellent technical and non-technical project management experience, with the ability to lead and execute multiple time-sensitive projects at once
  • Exceptional ability to communicate complex quantitative concepts
  • Ability to work effectively and cross-functionally with peers and managers, both internally and externally
  • Rapid learner who thrives in a fast-paced and collaborative environment
  • High comfort level with technically challenging assignments (experience working on other APIs and/or technical knowledge is a strong plus)

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