Creating a Partnering ‘Farm System’

As I work with partnering team leaders across the globe, I can confidently say the pool of seasoned partnering professionals is completely tapped out and it has been for years. LinkedIn stated the number of Partnership Manager positions created over the past five years has increased by 360% in the US and industry research organizations suggest the current level of partnering professionals needs to grow by 10x over the next five years. So, this begs the question, where will all of these partnering professionals come from?

I believe the Fortune 1,000 companies have a great opportunity on this topic. Rather than attempt to outbid your competitors or other industries on talent, you should consider creating a talent farm system similar to professional sports. One of our Fortune 50 clients stated they waste millions of dollars each year by accepting employees into partnership manager roles, only to find out the person does not have the aptitude or the desire to fill the role. 

When these employees are eventually sent back to their prior sales, marketing, or other departments, the company has lost between 6-12 months trying to onboard the new employee, the 6-12 months it will take to onboard a successful candidate, the salaries and benefits associated with the two professionals, and the lost productivity of your partnership programs. The cost of a failed partnering professional’s onboarding can easily exceed $200,000 per person.

What is a better alternative to this challenge? Build a Partnering Farm System! That’s right. Give your employees an opportunity to more fully understand the vast responsibilities a partnering professional leads. Allow your program’s candidates to understand your partnering processes, see what it’s like to recruit and vet new partners, negotiate and write agreements, and ultimately lead your partnerships to success. Your employees already understand your company, your industry, and your corporate strategy. Rather than get into an endless bidding war for talent, why not offer your loyal employees an opportunity to upskill and transition into the exciting and high-demand world of partner leadership!

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