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Partner Account Manager: What You Need to Know in 2024

Whether you're looking to break into the field or seeking the best for hire, start with this guide.

An effective way to boost sales and maximize distribution of your product is through channel partners. When you join forces with another company in a partnership arrangement, you can amplify each other’s strengths, minimize weaknesses and work towards a mutually beneficial outcome. To maximize revenue results, you can recruit various partners for different products, services or marketing campaigns. To build a successful channel marketing strategy, there needs someone needs to know who’s responsible for what, especially as your partner network grows. This is where a partner account manager comes in. 

What is a partner account manager? 

A partner account manager (PAM) is the contact between your company and your channel partners. In short, their role is to  recruit new partners and then build, manage and maintain those relationships to drive revenue for their organization.

What does a partner account manager do? 

If you compare a few job listings for partner account managers posted on sites like LinkedIn, you’ll notice that there are slight differences in the job description (and even the job title) from one company to another. This is because in the ever-changing SaaS landscape, the role of the partner account manager constantly evolves, too. Companies with more or less robust partner ecosystems will have differing needs when it comes to their partner account managers. Regardless of changing industries or company size, the partner account manager’s general duties are similar across companies. 

Partner account manager duties

As a partner account manager, you can divide your duties into four broad categories:

  • Recruiting
  • Building relationships
  • Managing relationships
  • Maintaining relationships. 

To recruit new partners, you first identify your ideal partner profile. Then it's a matter of reaching out to your potential partners and the illustrating the ways that a partnership with them can be beneficial to both their company and yours. You need to do a bit of research on these potential partners first, then you need to recruit those partners by contacting them and convincing them that a partnership will be good for their bottom line. In other words, show them what’s in it for them. 

Once you have a new partner on board, you’ll begin to build, manage and maintain the relationship. This involves constantly evaluating the relationship, identifying areas for improvement and devising strategies to strengthen the relationship to benefit everyone involved. Consider the following as a partner account management guide.

See more: The difference between channel and direct sales in 2024.

a blue and yellow graphically treated image of a woman wearing glasses smiling and looking down with the phrases recruiting, building relationships, managing relationships, and maintaining relationships in thought bubbles below her

Daily tasks of a partner account manager

  • Provide partners with product and technical support. 
  • Address concerns and queries the partner might have as soon and as thoroughly as possible. The goal is to keep the partner satisfied with the partnership. 
  • Develop plans to ensure that the partner meets the requirements for competency and qualification that you require. If they fall short, look for ways to help them meet those requirements. After all, it’s not only about what you can do for them, but also what they can do for you. 
  • In collaboration with cross-functional teams, develop business strategies to generate leads.
  • Develop a business plan to boost sales and increase the potential for profits while working with the different teams — including development, marketing and product — to achieve the set revenue goals.
  • Coordinate with the different partners to plan, manage and prioritize different business activities. 
  • Evaluate each partner’s marketing plans and recommend ways to improve them when needed. 
  • Review business plans and revise them according to what the partner’s needs are. 
  • Oversee the partner’s rewards programs. 
  • Take an active role in business review and revenue forecasting, including high-level goal setting and quarterly business reviews.

Throughout the process, you liaise with the partner to ensure you all know what your roles and responsibilities are, stay updated, discuss any issues, and find solutions to any problems that may occur.  

Related: Skills any partner manager should have to succeed.

What makes a good partner account manager? 

Soft skills partner account managers need

As a partner account manager, you’re a combination of a management consultant and a salesperson. You need to be able to see the bigger picture while also being able to take care of the details. You need to be super organized, since you need to manage not only everyone in the channel, but also various channels at the same time. You also need to be able to think strategically, since much of your job is about developing strategies and problem-solving. 

Being a great communicator is essential for the job, and this means that you also need to be an active listener when needed. While it generally isn’t a requirement to be proficient in an additional language, it’s definitely an advantage, especially if you’re going to work for a company that does business internationally and may look for partners based in international markets. 

Of course, you need to have excellent people skills too. You’re going to work with a wide range of people and they need to be able to relate to you if they’re going to trust you. You also need to be able to motivate them to meet targets, so they need to feel comfortable coming to you if any issues arise that they may need help with. 

Being adaptable is essential too, since no two days are the same in the world of B2B SaaS partner account management. You’ll often have to work under pressure too, especially as quarterly sales targets loom.

Hard skills partner account managers need

Most employers looking for a partner account manager require you to be experienced in sales and business management. You’ll need to be computer literate in programs like Microsoft Word and Excel but also proficient in customer relationship management or CRM software like SalesForce. Employers normally also require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field like business administration, business management, or marketing. 

The best partner account managers don’t necessarily know the minutiae of how each of the company’s products and services works from the jump, but are able to quickly grasp the basics. After all, they need to understand the products and services in order to identify suitable channel partners and to support those partners once they’ve come on board. 

It’s quite the wishlist, but the right partner manager can make a major difference in the overall success of a partner program. 

Read more: Partnership secrets from an industry leader — read Cory Snyder's tips.

the phrases management consultant and salesperson separated by an ampersand on a blue and green background

How can SaaS organizations support a partner account manager? 

Good partner account managers are hard to find, so for their success and retention an organization needs to provide a work environment that will make them want to work for your company rather than the competition. Of course, this starts with offering a competitive salary and benefits. According to Glassdoor, the base pay for a partner account manager in the U.S. in 2024 ranges from between a base pay of $65,000 and $114,000 per year, plus benefits.

Certain tools can make their job easier, which can help them stay efficient and happy. For example, PartnerStack makes it easy for them to identify the right partner for each channel, recruit those partners, and manage the partnerships all in one place. 

SaaS leaders should make sure their partner account manager has the training they need to succeed — not just during onboarding, but as products and relationships change, too. This includes reports and data on how the channel is performing. It also includes all the information they need about a new product so that they can use that knowledge to recruit new partners and retain current ones. 

Partners expect their partner account manager to be able to make sound decisions quickly. Facilitate this by avoiding a complicated decision-making chain and setting clear parameters within which they can make decisions on their own.   

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A joint venture is a business collaboration between two parties on a project. Both parties will benefit from bringing their shared resources and knowledge, and neither party will take on the sole burden of the risk.

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