“I’ve been in roles where I did everything manually. Seeing how PartnerStack solves everything I was doing manually is very valuable."
Apollo.io considered leaving PartnerStack twice due to the fact that they didn’t have a dedicated person to run its partnership program, resulting in suboptimal leveraging of PartnerStack’s capabilities and a slow increase in partnerships revenue.
A dedicated partnerships hire was able to use PartnerStack’s onboarding tools, lead attribution tracking, automated payouts, and Learning Management System (LMS) to drive a 432% increase in average partnerships revenue in just three months.
Meet Apollo.io, an all-in-one sales intelligence platform with tools to help you prospect, engage, and drive more revenue. The comprehensive platform enables sellers to build out contacts data, engage prospects, and close sales with intelligent features that cover segmentation, databasing, and more. Seamless integrations, custom API workflows, highly compliant security features, and even handy tools like prospect job change alerts allow for an effective and efficient sales process on this lead intelligence and sales engagement platform.
At Apollo, partnerships are driven by a one-person team: Jennifer Rhima, Director of Partnerships at Apollo. Before Jennifer joined the company, a well-intentioned but under-resourced attempt at launching a partner program was saddled with setbacks. Because there was no dedicated program manager, it was challenging to take full advantage of PartnerStack’s features.
Unsure of how to unlock the value and power of PartnerStack without anyone on the team who could fully devote themselves to learning how, Apollo considered abandoning their partnerships program altogether — twice. It wasn’t for lack of interest in partnerships or capable team members that the program wasn’t reaching its potential, but with nobody devoted to its growth, it simply couldn’t flourish.
“We weren’t leveraging the platform enough, we never had anyone dedicated to partnerships. There were no allocated resources,” says Rhima of the program before she stepped in. Apollo, understanding the potential of partnerships, decided to pursue a restart — this time with the right resources to support a proper implementation. They brought Rhima in as their first partnerships hire.
Joining Apollo in April 2022, Rhima was no stranger to PartnerStack’s potential, having utilized the platform successfully in previous roles. “I love PartnerStack. I’m a huge ambassador for PartnerStack,” she laughs. Coming into the role with agency to change platforms if needed, she never considered using another partnerships platform, knowing PartnerStack’s all-encompassing set of features just needed some elbow grease from a dedicated partnerships team.
Well, a team of one. “It’s a one-woman show at the moment,” Rhima remarks, acknowledging that a successful program sometimes only needs a single dedicated person to bring it off the ground. Off the ground was where she was headed — perhaps not yet knowing just how steep the program’s upward trajectory would be.
After an initial organizational period, it was time to grow, with partner recruitment and onboarding within Apollo’s affiliate program a priority. Rhima set out prospecting for two months with a set number of new affiliate partners in mind. She acknowledges her success, saying,
“My goal was to bring 75 new partners, and I brought in 105.”
Onboarding 105 new affiliates would be a daunting task without the right capabilities, but Rhima was able to lean on PartnerStack’s all-in-one platform, noting that new partners being able to access helpful resources on their own from their PartnerStack dashboards helped to set them up for success from the start. They were able to independently refer to Apollo’s onboarding materials, review their reports, check their payout status, and more from day one.
Already getting back into a familiar workflow with PartnerStack’s features, Rhima’s next focus was on making the platform work for Apollo. One of the program’s main needs was ease and functionality in regards to rewards for new leads. The good news? PartnerStack’s lead submission form and tracking were the silver bullets, allowing Apollo’s affiliates to be rewarded for their leads without the manual tracking and payout Rhima had been required to do before.
“I’ve been in roles where I did everything manually. Seeing how PartnerStack solves everything I was doing manually is very valuable,” Rhima says.
Partners were able to submit qualified leads as they found them and the correct attribution and rewards payout followed in an automated flow. With the lead attribution form launched in July 2022, affiliates were finally able to submit their own high-quality leads (and be rewarded — without high-touch work), a major milestone for Apollo’s affiliate program.
In just a few short months, Rhima had onboarded 105 new partners and set up a new process for Apollo as she automated lead attribution workflow. Thanks to her diligence in leveraging PartnerStack’s capabilities paired with her savvy recruitment and management skills, the results were unignorable and almost immediate:
From Apollo’s first six months with PartnerStack to the most recent six months, they saw an incredible 1,641% increase in average partnership revenue.
Comparing Apollo’s least lucrative month, October 2020, with their most recent month, August 2022, partnership revenue is a jaw-dropping 48,925% higher. No typos or extra digits there, just proof of how strong a (re)start Apollo is experiencing with a thoughtful implementation of PartnerStack’s platform.
And what if we zoom in on the relaunch itself? Things are looking bright. Since Rhima took over the operation of PartnerStack in April 2022 to the end of August 2022, Apollo is seeing a 432% increase in average monthly partnerships revenue, with a steep upward track predicting an even brighter future.
Jennifer proves the value of a dedicated partnerships team committed to leveraging what PartnerStack can offer, even if it’s only one person.
"I’ve taken the initiative to learn about what all PartnerStack has to offer. I’ll attend the webinars, I’ll read a lot of the resources PartnerStack has,” Rhima says.
She recognizes that a successful program begins with a commitment to learning, especially when it comes to keeping up with new capabilities and features.
What’s next for this standout program? Looking forward, Rhima says, “My focus is on enablement. So what do our partners need to succeed, that’s where I’m focusing.” She continues, “My focus for this quarter is bringing in 200 new partners while I also focus on enablement: how can I grow existing partner’s revenue by a specified percentage?”
PartnerStack is prepared to enable her next steps, offering a Learning Management Software (LMS) application where she can store educational content and develop certifications and courses for Apollo’s partners, ultimately better preparing and motivating them to market and sell Apollo more effectively.
Already planning to dive deeper into PartnerStack’s LMS offerings to support her enablement goals, Rhima’s got a clear north star guiding her work with Apollo and PartnerStack: “I would eventually love partnerships to bring in 20% of Apollo’s revenue. I know it’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re working on gradually growing each quarter.”
Now, the value they place on partnerships is evident to anyone who peruses Apollo’s website, with a thoughtful and colorfully engaging Partners page extolling the power of partnering up. With confident language around recurring revenue, exclusive rewards, and mutual wins, anyone who knew where the program started could see how it matured into something of highly tangible value in just a few short months.
A proud blockquote from Jennifer stands above the final call-to-action:
“I love to see our partners expand into new opportunities through our uniquely-crafted partnership program. Apollo partners consist of professionals and platforms who share our mission to help the business world go to market faster and easier.”
PartnerStack is proud to be at the heart of this success story, enabling Jennifer to meet her goals for the affiliate program from onboarding to scaling.
If Apollo.io and PartnerStack have proven anything, it’s that with the right person at the helm and the right tools available, a partner program can exceed every goal set for it.