40 minutes | Sep 9th 2020

Michelle Hodges: How to Build a Partner Program for a Remote World

How do you build a partner program that will succeed in our new remote world? Believe it or not, there are many advantages of working 100% remote, as I learned from Michelle Hodges, VP WW Channels at GitLab. This is a company that has been 100% remote since it was founded. They have written over 5000 pages on how to run a company fully remote. And what they’ve learned about executing quickly and iterating continuously translates directly to how they run their partner program. In this episode, Michelle shares her expert insights on how SaaS vendors can restructure their partner program to succeed in a remote world.


Here are the top things I learned from Michelle about building a partner program for the remote age: 

  1. Document everything. GitLab has an over 5000 page Handbook of how they do business remotely.

  2. Rather than being constrained by dates, build a partner program that is continuously evolving and improving. And of course, make sure it is meticulously documented. 

  3. Focus on the strategic objectives of what your company is trying to do, then think about how your partner program can drive that forward behavior.

  4. Take advantage of the new normal to move faster and be more responsive. With Covid you no longer have those excuses to wait for a physical meeting to get things done.

  5. Don’t wait for any process to be perfect. Document where you are and give your partners visibility into where you’re headed.


If you've done any research on GitLab, you'll see that we document everything. We have an over 5000 page Handbook of how we do business - @GlobalHodges
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Whenever we have a partner webinar and 100 folks on the phone, we have a doc up in zoom that everyone opens and they're adding in questions as we go forward. - @GlobalHodges
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We add to our partner program all the time. We don't change the fundamental contractual nature of what we're doing. But we are able to launch quickly and iterate daily. - @GlobalHodges
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When I build partner programs, I tend to look at the forward behavior I want to create as opposed to compensating on past activity. - @GlobalHodges
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LINKS & RESOURCES The post Michelle Hodges: How to Build a Partner Program for a Remote World first appeared on Channel Journeys.
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