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Spotlight on Lisa Farmer

Updated: Feb 27

Lisa Farmer

How did you get into partnerships?

By accident, really. In my direct sales role, I was approached on many occasions by Fintech vendors, system integrators, and banks to collaborate. However, it was clear from the start that partnerships offer a huge opportunity for growth and in offering joint propositions to meet client needs. Therefore, I was excited about pursuing these relationships.

What do you love the most about it?

The people working in our industry, the knowledge they are willing to impart, and how partnering is becoming the 'new normal'. We are seeing that cooperation, coexistence, and collaboration are now widely accepted as the future rather than viewing potential partners as competitors. There is no cannibalisation, and there is plenty of opportunity for everyone in the space. The priority is solving the pain point of clients, and if that takes a hybrid of two or three solutions, then that is what should happen. 

What are the biggest challenges?

Ensuring you have top-down buy-in from your company in supporting and championing partnerships. Partnerships need commitment and drive to succeed, so a formal partner program is a must-have.

What advice would you give someone wanting to shift from a typical sales role into partnerships?

Have a clear strategy, know your target audience, and have a direct steer from the CEO on their view/intentions for partners. Do they see partners as an area of growth for the business? If so, in what solution areas, geographies, and within what time scales?

What attributes make you good at your job as head of partnerships?

I am able to develop relationships at all levels of the partnership and have the ability to navigate the partner's organisation under my own initiative. Empathy, understanding, and, most of all, patience is vital. It is also important to be able to ‘think outside of the box.’ Genuine partnerships take time to develop, so you have to be resilient, persistent, and remain focused.

How do partnerships vary according to the industry you are in e.g. financial services vs. oil and gas, vs pharmaceuticals etc?

I am not sure they do; the technology and the requirements for the various sectors may be different, but the fundamentals are the same.

How important is networking and face-to-face in your role?

Very important. However, there is still room to do more of it and leverage communities such as Women in Alliances!

Who are your key stakeholders within your company and at your partner companies?

In my own company, it would be the CEO, Head of Product, my CRO, and Head of Marketing. Within my partner organisations, the Head of Alliances, Head of Bank Channels, and very frequently the whole of the partner's product and sales teams

How important do you think partnerships will be in the next five years?

I am still reviewing all the potential opportunities, but so far, I believe finding the right partners can increase revenue very quickly and allow your company to scale into previously untapped geographies. As I have already state, there is so much more collaboration now in the fintech space; partnering up provides the end client greater flexibility and choice. This equals more cost-effective ways to implement solutions and quicker speed to market.  

How do you see the number of women in partnerships evolving?

Tough question; my hope is that we see an increase of women in partnerships. I have worked in the payments fintech space for 25 years, and it is only recently that I am starting to see healthy signs of progress for women in senior leadership roles.

What are you personally planning to do to help raise the profile of women in partnerships?

I am working with Women in Fintech and Women in Alliances, so I hope to support further initiatives in parallel with my colleague Zhenya Winter.

What question do you wish you had been asked?

Would you benefit from having a mentor?

What would your answer have been?

Absolutely, yes. I guess it’s never too late, and there are more opportunities that are now available via communities such as Women of Fintech, Women in Alliances, and my company itself.

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