What Are Partnership OKRs?

Updated July 10, 2024
Published in Channel Management, Channel Marketing, Channel Ops

If you’re like most tech companies, there’s a dedicated quarter when annual planning begins. Leadership gets pulled into long meetings, evaluating how things went last year, how things are going this year, and what they can commit to the following year.

Partner OKRs

Quite often, the outcome of these meetings is a set of company Objectives and Key Results, or OKRs. But it’s tougher for some departments to set OKRs than others. One of those departments is partnerships.

Partnership teams are cross-functional, meaning that a lot of what they do depends on the success of other teams. And since partnerships is a relatively new field, it’s also difficult to know what goals are or are not realistic.

So in this post, we’ll:

  • Describe what OKRs are in more detail
  • Provide 5 tips for setting OKRs
  • Offer a few partner OKR examples for inspiration

What Are OKRs?

Objectives and Key Results is a popular goal-setting framework that forces companies to communicate, prioritize, and measure their progress. 

Objectives are the “what.” Objectives lay out what you want to accomplish and why that goal is necessary. Objectives are like mission statements – they are high-level and audacious, meant to motivate employees.

Key Results are the “how.” Key results are tangible metrics companies or teams must need to hit in order to achieve their objectives. Typically, 2 – 5 key results correspond to each objective.

Once a company’s overall OKRs are set, each department forms its own sub-OKRs for the year. In this way, everyone gets on the same page and works toward common goals.

5 Tips For Crafting Partnership OKRs

Setting practical yet ambitious objectives that have truly measurable results is challenging. So before you start whiteboarding or discussing, make sure that everyone on your team and in upper management:

  1. Understands how any business transformation could affect your team – As mentioned, partnership folks interface with nearly every other team in a company, and that means they are most likely to be impacted by major system or organizational changes. Implementing a new PRM or even switching up your GTM strategy could affect how you think about OKRs. Being aware of any projects related or tangential to your team will help you adjust your goals accordingly.
  1. Embraces OKR methodology – OKRs are a team-focused, collaborative effort, and are quite different from the way typical goal setting works. They aren’t a mechanism for micromanagement, nor are they meant to reward or punish people based on performance. So to make sure you get OKRs right, hiring an expert to educate people on what makes great OKRs can ensure change management runs smoothly.
  1. Is considering dependencies – Most desired partner outcomes are tied to the success of other teams, like sales and marketing. Ask to be looped into their OKR conversations and loop them into yours. By working together, you can understand their goals and how partnerships fit in. But most importantly, you can pinpoint any dependencies you need to monitor regularly.
  1. Are thinking realistically – You want to be ambitious, but not so much so that they are impossible. Think about what innovation and growth you’re aiming for. Run your draft OKRs by your team as well. They likely have valuable feedback you can incorporate and serve as a good gut check. Have company OKRs handy while you ask questions like:
    1. Should we increase our partner Rolodex or get more out of the partners we already have?
    2. Are we planning to enter a new market?
    3. Are we getting enough referrals?
    4. Can partners help us with brand recognition?
  1. Knows how OKRs will be tracked – You are probably already tracking specific KPIs in status reports or all-hands meetings, so replace those with Key Results. Infusing OKRS into business patterns everyone is already familiar with makes them more likely to stick.

3 Examples of Partnership OKRs

Although the concept of OKRs makes sense in theory, forming and tracking them can be tricky in practice. Below, we share 3 OKR examples to get you started.

Example 1: New Market

Partners can be a fantastic way to gain a foothold if your company expands into a new market. Concrete numbers might be hard to determine in these cases, so focus on what you want to accomplish more broadly.

Objective: Grow sales in X region via channel partners

Key Results:

  • Recruit X new partners every quarter
  • Set and drive toward a channel sales promotion in the new region for the next year
  • Add all new partners to the partner directory
  • Feature X new partners in LinkedIn, email marketing, PPC, and retargeting campaigns in the region
  • Translate and improve all partner onboarding training, processes, and documents

Example 2: Increase Revenue

Revenue is probably the most important reason for having a partnership team. Revenue-focused OKRs require an analysis of current performance to ensure the Key Results are feasible.

Objective: Make partnerships 20% of the company’s ARR

Key Results:

  • Maintain pipeline above X of partner quota to ensure an X% win rate
  • $X or X number of partner-influenced deals
  • $X or X number of partner-sourced deals

Example 3: Boost Brand Awareness

Partners can be an excellent way to extend your reach. Some partners already have clout among the types of customers and other partners you want to target, so getting their seal of approval can take your marketing to the next level. Here’s a sample objective with key results to back it up.

Objective: Establish a well-known, partner-led community

Key Results:

  • Publish X jointly written blog posts (you could take this further and specify a number of backlinks)
  • Publish X joint case studies about a mutual customer
  • Host X regional partner-led in-person events with at least 15 prospects or customers in attendance
  • Host X AMAs or webinars on partner-related topics

Hit Your OKRs With a Trusted PRM

As more and more companies adopt OKRs, partnership teams must learn to craft and use them to their advantage. Developing the right OKRs can lead to greater alignment and transparency between partnerships and other areas of the organization – two pain points partnership teams often struggle to overcome.

But that doesn’t happen unless you hit the OKRs you set for your team. To achieve those goals, you need a PRM that supports your efforts, improving and deepening relationships with partners you already have and helping you onboard and recruit new ones.
Channeltivity’s Partner Portal is your one-stop shop for partnership activity. Within the Portal, partners can download sales materials, take training courses, benefit from marketing development funds, and submit leads – all in a matter of minutes. On the back end, Portal admins can track OKR progress in terms of partner engagement and deal flow. See how by requesting a Channeltivity demo today.


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