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There’s no doubt partnership automation helps to unleash the full potential of partnership programs and the professionals who run them. By taking on the heavy lifting of things like contracting, invoicing, and spreadsheet-based tracking, automation frees up the partnership team to build relationships and nurture growth. Plus, it delivers superb ROI. But at eBay, where partnerships have been a vital and mature channel for quite some time, automation is a win for its partners, too.

“Partnerships were invented to drive business outcomes for both parties,” said Kyle Morgan, Partnership Lead at eBay Australia, during a recent webinar chat with Impact’s Adam Furness and Anna Samkova of The PAS Group Limited.“The channel is a wheel that will only turn if everyone is winning.” And at eBay, automation helps that wheel keep turning in a surprising number of ways.

“Partnerships were invented to drive business outcomes for both parties”

Automation strengthens partner relationships

For eBay, a key benefit of automating the technical and operational aspects of partnerships is that it creates more time for relationship building. Time spent establishing trust and personal connections with partners creates room for flexibility and compromise, which has been valuable during the pandemic. eBay has been careful to preserve its partnerships during the crisis, even as many other organizations have unilaterally cut budgets across channels. To Morgan’s mind, the flaw in that approach is that partnerships aren’t like other channels that can be switched on and off easily. Once a partnership is broken, it’s hard to repair, and there’s no guarantee the partner will even be there when you need them again six months down the road. But with mutual trust, there’s space for partnerships to be adapted rather than severed when budgets are tight.

Shared data and insights

“If you want your partners to be effective and efficient, they need access to data”

“If you want your partners to be effective and efficient, they need access to data,” says Morgan. The company sees Impact as a partner-facing portal as much as a partnership program management dashboard — a place where partners can see what’s working and what’s not in order to optimize results. 

Value-based contracting

Ebay’s partnership network is large and diverse, with partners at every part of the buyer journey, from top-of-funnel publishers to last-click partners like Getprice. The Impact platform helps eBay pay each partner for the value they bring, looking beyond the last click to ensure every contribution is rewarded appropriately. Impact’s tracking capabilities allow eBay to measure and reward for KPIs like incrementality and elasticity. 

Morgan’s team needs to know that partnership revenue is incremental and not cannibalizing other channels. And it needs to understand each partner’s elasticity; i.e., will increased rates or commission incentives correlate to higher performance, or is output fixed? According to Morgan, by understanding the different levers available and the different “muscles” its partners can flex, his team can predict if offering an exclusive coupon code or higher rate to a partner will actually pay off.

Listen in or watch the full webinar now for more insights into the partnership channel, including the pros and cons of budget caps, how even small startups can get started with partnership automation, and what’s next in partnership technology.

Or to start your own win/win partnership program, reach out to an Impact growth technologist at grow@impact.com.

Watch the webinar here!

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