What to Look for When Hiring a Technology Partnerships Manager

Discover essential qualities for a Technology Partnerships Manager. Learn to assess candidates through interviews, questions, responses, and job descriptions.
Written by
Elizabeth Garcia
Published on
August 8, 2023

If you are looking to expand your tech ecosystem, then you’re likely in need of a Technology Partnerships Manager. 

A good Technology Partnerships Manager can be a strong advocate for your product and successfully identify the tech partnerships that will drive the most revenue and retention.  

But this role requires a different skill set than a channel partner manager, whose responsibilities overlap more heavily with sales.

We have identified 5 key qualities that we believe to be especially important to look for when hiring a Technology Partnerships Manager. 

We also provide potential interview questions and answers that you can use during the interview process to assess candidates’ level of skill and experience in these areas.   

1. Strategic Thinking Around Partnerships 

Your Technology Partnerships Manager will be responsible for identifying and acquiring new integration partnerships that align with your company’s mission and product strategy. To be successful in this area they should have a systemic process and approach to partnerships and relationship management. 

This includes the ability to develop a strong understanding of your product’s functionality, customers, and roadmap to identify opportunities. 

You’ll want someone who knows that conducting market research and staying current on product developments and releases is key to identifying these opportunities. All in all, they should be able to describe a framework for finding new partners, and identifying whether a potential partner’s product solution and integrations align with your SaaS product in a way that meets your strategic objectives. 

When it comes to systemic processes for relationship management, they’ll need to know how important leveraging existing partner and customer resources are when it comes to targeting new clients and opportunities. You’ll want someone who understands that providing value to your customers and existing partners can help drive new opportunities and referrals, and they’ll have processes in mind for leveraging and nurturing these relationships. 

Related Content: Advice for How to Tackle Technology Partner Operations

Questions to ask in the interview to assess strategic thinking around partnerships: 

  • What would you do to identify a new integration partner for (company name)? 
  • What do you think are the most important qualities to look for when considering an integration partner?
  • What is the connection between ideal tech partner qualities and meeting strategic objectives? 
  • What ideas do you have (or have you used in the past) for leveraging existing customers and partners to help grow our ecosystem? 

What to look for in interviewee responses: 

  • They describe a systemic approach for identifying new integration partners that involves using market research, customer feedback, user journey, customer success input, and speaking with existing partners. 
  • Response puts an emphasis on providing a quality product and customer experience, and being a strong advocate for their existing partners and customers. They see this as a way to gain insights into future potential integrations, warm introductions, and new opportunities. 
  • They display an understanding of how to identify tech partners that drive retention and customers satisfaction and how to identify tech partners that drive leads and revenue.

2. Data Analytics 

Your Tech Partnership Manager should have strong data analysis skills. They should be keen on determining and understanding the type of data that is needed to analyze the success of product integrations and partnerships. 

They will ultimately be responsible for analyzing the performance of your tech partnerships, and this will include tracking goals and data such as the number of leads registered, conversion rates, partner performance analytics, app analytics, cost per lead, CLV, churn rate etc. 

From this information, they should be able to identify useful insights that can further guide business and product strategy. 

Additionally, your technology partnerships manager should be skilled at storytelling around the impact of your product, and this requires a foundation in not only qualitative examples, but having a close pulse on quantitative data around program success. 

You’ll want someone who has clear processes and software in mind that they can use to track and analyze this performance. In the interview, you could have the candidate speak to a time they tracked and measured against a goal, or have them speak to a time where they performed a data analysis and had to iterate their business or product strategy according to the results. 

Questions to ask in the interview to assess data analysis skills:

  • What KPIs would you create to identify the success of a new partner integration? 
  • What KPIs would you create to identify the success of lead and new customer generation? 
  • How would you track the success of this/these KPI/s?
  • What data would you collect to assess customer interest in a new integration? 
  • Can you speak to a specific KPI you had for your tech partnerships in your previous role and how you tracked success against that KPI? 

What to look for in responses:

  • They describe KPI’s that align to assessing customer interest in an integration (installs, integration page views, etc.), and integration usage (number of syncs, configurations, and deletes). 
  • They describe an understanding of technology that can be used to track results, whether it be partner specific tech like PRMs and account mapping software, or more general tech like CRMs and spreadsheets. They should show they are capable of understanding tracking links, creating CRM campaigns, customer surveys, using excel analysis, creating forms to assess integration interest, and use of data analytics software like Google Analytics to track how customers are using the integration and navigating the app marketplace, etc. 

3. Some Technical Knowledge Around APIs and Integrations 

Having a Tech Partnerships Manager with some technical knowledge will help ensure your organization is wisely spending their engineering resources, and building an infrastructure that allows you to drive more revenue from your partnerships. 

When it comes to APIs, they should know about the different types of APIs (private, partner, and open) and the general protocols and architecture of APIs that are most commonly used to build SaaS integrations. 

They should also understand at minimum what a product integration is, how it’s different from an API, the important components for a product integration, and different tools available for creating SaaS product integrations. (If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into the technical knowledge useful for someone in this position, consult our Integration Handbook for Partnerships Leaders.) 

Related Content: SaaS Integrations 101: Advice and Best Practices From a Sr. Engineer

Questions to ask in the interview to assess technical knowledge: 

  • What's your technical understanding of what goes into creating a product integration? 
  • What’s your familiarity with some of the tools on the market used for building product integrations? 
  • What role do you think an API has on the ability to run a successful partner program?
  • If you could require your product and engineering team to do one thing when it comes to external APIs, what would it be and why? 

What to look for in responses:

  • Describes a product integration as an app that enables customers of a SaaS company to move data from their account to another one of their accounts on a different SaaS application, without consulting a developer. 
  • Mentions these components of creating a product integration: authorization and authentication, the configurations, the UI/UX,  monitoring, scheduling, data management and performance, and maintenance.
  • Shows some familiarity with tools for building integrations such as iPaaS tools and product analytics tools.
  • Response demonstrates an understanding that a poorly designed API is worse than no API at all, and that if it provides a poor user experience this will likely result in not meeting business goals.
  • Understands REST is the most commonly used SaaS protocol, and that OAuth 2 should be used for authorization, barring a compelling reason not to. 

4. Demonstrates Product Sense and is a Strong Customer Advocate 

Because your Technology Partnerships Manager will be someone tasked with identifying new integration partners, they should be able to explain the rationale of product decisions. You’ll want someone who can demonstrate that when making product partnership decisions, they keep the business objectives, user problems, and solutions to those problems at the forefront. 

This includes, but is not limited to, the ability to use your company’s business objectives and integration strategy to identify potential partners and create joint use case stories. You’ll also want someone who can use internal and external resources to better understand the customer journey and identify customer problems that could be solved with a partner solution. 

An ideal Tech Partnerships Manager will use these skills to be a strong customer advocate. They will understand that it can really make or break your reputation with customers if they feel like their needs aren’t being met, or if there isn’t clear communication about issues or delays. You’ll want someone who is dedicated to balancing business objectives with the desire to give the best customer experience.

Having a background in a customer success role working with integrations can potentially signal strong skills in this area, as individuals with this experience will have been involved in the product, understand what it takes to execute on integrations, and have experience working 1:1 with integration customers.

Questions to ask in the interview to assess product sense and customer advocacy:

  • What framework would you follow to improve on an integration that our customers are currently having issues with?
  • What framework would you follow to identify a new integration partner for (company name)?
  • In this role, how do you plan to balance meeting business needs with customer needs?
  • What are some qualities that you find important for maintaining positive relationships with partners?

What to look for in responses:

  • Response includes gaining more information about customer frustrations through methods like user interviews, conversations with customer success, looking at data on the integrations usage, etc. All in all, their answer should signal that they are working to identify the major customer pain points, and that they are looking for data to help support that this issue is affecting business goals. 
  • They describe a systemic approach for identifying new integration partners that involves using market research, customer feedback, user journey, customer success input, and speaking with existing partners. 
  • Response demonstrates that they prioritize both, and believe both go hand in hand. They have a methodological approach to determining which customer needs to prioritize based on their relation to key performance indicators and business goals. 
  • Response has an emphasis on transparency, clarity of expectations, and systems for communication.  

5. Track Record of Cross-Functional Collaboration and Goal Setting 

A Technology Partnerships Manager is a highly collaborative role. This person will have to work closely and communicate with many departments and teams internally and externally. They should be someone who understands how to not only communicate clearly but has the ability to create elaborate and effective processes and systems for communication. 

This person will have to communicate with multiple teams about what your partnerships entail, and goals aligned to these partnerships, across teams like sales, marketing, demand generation, product, legal, and customer success. They’ll also be expected to utilize these skills to mediate between external and internal stakeholders. 

The success of a tech partnerships program relies on alignment around goals and objectives for all of these departments, and so you’ll want to get a sense of how methodological your potential Tech Partnerships Manager is when it comes to creating clear systems for communicating items like this across multiple teams and stakeholders. 

Questions to ask in the interview to assess ability to collaborate and goal set cross-functionally:  

  • What are some strategies you find effective when it comes to aligning multiple teams across a common goal?
  • Describe a time you had to lead a team of different departments towards a common goal. How did you do this successfully? If unsuccessful, what did you learn from the experience that you would do differently? 
  • In this role, you’ll have to work with multiple teams in order to execute effectively. What are some systems or processes you’ve used in the past to ensure cross-collaboration between different teams was successful? 

What to look for in responses:

  • Emphasizes the importance of communicating overarching strategic goals to all teams, while also specifying what those goals will look like for different departments.
  • They mention the importance of clearly explaining the rationale of decisions at regular intervals and inviting team feedback on goals and methods. 
  • Their response demonstrates that they understand how to create systematic processes for communication around goals, action items, and challenges with individual teams and as a collective.

Ultimately, good Technology Partnerships Managers possess a strong cross-functional skillset, from a keen product sense to the ability to effectively manage external and internal relationships.

Interview questions should help determine whether the potential candidate possesses this breadth of skills and is a process-driven problem solver. Having candidates describe specific examples from their own career, give their thoughts on potential scenarios, and asking them how they would tackle trade offs you're currently facing will further demonstrate their skillset.

To get more information on different roles involved in Technology Partnerships and the responsibilities associated, check out our “Sample Job Descriptions” page here.

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