Optimizing your partnerships at scale: an interview with Nikita Zhitkevich

By Kelly Sarabyn

Nikita Zhitkevich lives in the world of partnerships. He leads partnerships and alliances for PartnerStack, which is a leading PRM and partner marketplace.

Nikita shared his insights on when you need a PRM, identifying your ideal partners, strategies to avoid channel conflict, and how he sees the partnership landscape evolving over the next 5 years.

Can you tell me about PartnerStack and what makes it different from other PRMs?

As a graduate of Y-Combinator, PartnerStack has been rooted in helping some of the world’s fastest growing SaaS companies scale. Companies like Asana, Monday.com, Unbounce, Intercom, and Intuit all use PartnerStack to manage and scale their partner programs, and onboard thousands of partners into our platform.

There are a few unique aspects to PartnerStack, which has led us to becoming the #1 platform on G2.

PartnerStack is the only solution that has both the PRM and a B2B focused marketplace that connects vendors with partners. On average, our marketplace drives a 30%+ lift in revenue for customers.

We are extremely focused on partner experience, which is a big distinction for us. Most PRMs are focused solely on the vendor experience. But if both sides of this equation are not having a good experience, then it becomes a problem.

And with PartnerStack, all of your channels can be managed from a single platform - affiliate, referral, reseller and ambassador. We see a lot of companies, agencies, and resellers choosing our platform to help them consolidate their channels into a single view.

How is your partnership team structured at PartnerStack?

Our team is still relatively young, as we launched it in April. The majority of this year has been building relationships and working with both agencies and resellers.

I lead the team, and we have an incredible Account Manager that works closely with our partners, as well as a partner marketing manager that works on any co-marketing efforts we run with partners.  

Our partnership team is currently focused on two core areas:

  • First, working with agencies and resellers that are currently reselling SaaS vendors, bringing those vendors onto PartnerStack.
  • Secondly, working with agencies and resellers that are looking to shift their existing customers onto a modern partner management solution.

We often work with sales when one of their SaaS prospects wants to launch PartnerStack right away but doesn’t have the internal bandwidth. In those cases, we connect them with an agency partner who we know can do it right away and do it well.

Technology partnerships are also on our radar. We have recently built a number of integrations. One of our goals in 2021 and going into 2022 will be to further build out our technology partner program and our own integration marketplace.

Nikita Zhitkevich

We also plan to enter the app marketplaces of other SaaS vendors, especially CRMs like SugarCRM or Hubspot. CRMs are good partners for us because, with the exception of Salesforce, no CRM has a PRM as part of their product offering. So our software is complementary rather than competitive. And it benefits our customers to have those systems integrated.

“If you’re planning to scale your partnerships at all, you need the infrastructure in place to do this.”

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What advice would you give for organizations trying to think through who their ideal partners are?

Ultimately, everything has to come down to revenue. Whether you’re pursuing referral, reseller, or technology partnerships, you have to tie them back to driving revenue.

Especially since you need the support of other departments in your organization, whether it is collaboration with the sales team or the product team to help build integrations, the benefit to the business needs to be very clear.

For agency and reseller partners, I would advise looking to see if they power similar products to yours. I’d also think about whether the partner will continue to evolve over time in the direction you are going and whether they truly understand your product and space.

See how Pandium will work for you

Learn more about how Pandium can help you drive more revenue with your technology partnerships.