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Learn the BD & Partnerships playbook that gets you promoted

An 8-week certification program for creating game-changing partnerships that accelerate your company and your career

Next cohort: January 2023

You just “fell into” a BD & Partnerships role - congrats! But now: 

  •  Your point of contact stopped responding to your emails. 
  • ​ The VP of Product won’t prioritize your integration on the roadmap.
  • ​The deal you closed last quarter isn’t generating the traction that you’d expected
  • And your CEO just sent you another email asking for a progress report from the Partnerships team.

Relax - you’re not alone.

It’s rare to have a boss who understands what you do, or a team of peers that you can rely on for guidance. Nobody studies this job in school, so even the most experienced Business Development & Partnerships leaders have had to “figure things out as they go along” in their career.

The good news is that you’ll probably figure things out over the next decade or so.


But you don’t have time for that. 

You want to have an impact immediately. Your CEO expects you to start showing results now.  

You got the job, and you have what it takes to reach the next level in your BD & Partnerships career – all you need are the playbooks and tools to succeed.

What if you had a clear playbook of frameworks and tactics to help you:

  • Have a clear process for building scalable strategic partnership deals
  • Build and prioritize a pipeline of the highest-impact deals
  • Overcome roadblocks to close partnership deals quickly
  • ​Align with internal stakeholders in Product, Marketing, Legal, and Finance to gain buy-in and secure resources
  • ​Demonstrate the value of partnerships (and your role) to your execs
  • ​Build an incredible network of peers that opens doors
  • ​Influence company-wide strategy and maintain a seat at the table
  • ​Deliver continuous results to make decisions and secure resources

You just “fell into” a BD & Partnerships role - congrats! But now: 

 Your point of contact stopped responding to your emails. 
 The VP of Product won’t prioritize your integration on the roadmap.
 The deal you closed last quarter isn’t generating the traction that you’d expected
 And your CEO just sent you another email asking for a progress report from the Partnerships team.

Relax - you’re not alone.

It’s rare to have a boss who understands what you do, or a team of peers that you can rely on for guidance. Nobody studies this job in school, so even the most experienced Business Development & Partnerships leaders have had to “figure things out as they go along” in their career.

The good news is that you’ll probably figure things out over the next decade or so.

But you don’t have time for that. 

You want to have an impact immediately. Your CEO expects you to start showing results now.  

You got the job, and you have what it takes to reach the next level in your BD & Partnerships career – all you need are the playbooks and tools to succeed.

What if you had a clear playbook of frameworks and tactics to help you:

  Have a clear process for building scalable strategic partnership deals
  Build and prioritize a pipeline of the highest-impact deals
  Overcome roadblocks to close partnership deals quickly
  Align with internal stakeholders in Product, Marketing, Legal, and Finance to gain buy-in and secure resources
  Gain the respect of peers, colleagues, and senior management
  Build an incredible network of peers that opens doors
  Influence company-wide strategy and maintain a seat at the table
  Deliver continuous results to make decisions and secure resources

What if you could skip past the learning curve, and immediately start doing BD & Partnership deals that create meaningful impact for your company’s growth and help you get promoted? 

You could help your company become the next Hubspot, Salesforce, or Microsoft – which drive upwards of 95% of company revenue from their partner ecosystems.

And you’ll be the driving force behind your company’s success on a clear path to VP.

The challenge is: You didn’t learn this stuff in school

BD & Partnerships jobs aren’t like traditional roles, like Accounting or Finance - it’s not a single discipline that you can learn in a textbook. There’s a complex web of skills that you need to weave together in order to be successful in this job.

The problem is that no one studies BD & Partnerships in college, and even the top MBA programs don’t teach you all of the skills you need in the role. 

And it’s not enough to just have the knowledge and skills - you need to know how to “connect the dots” between them and apply them to the job.

How many of these critical BD & Partnerships
skills did you learn in school?


Behavioral psychology

Negotiations

Financial modeling

Marketing

Distribution strategy

Strategic planning

Competitive intelligence

Change management

Research and analysis




Persuasive writing

Relationship management

Organizational behavior

Enterprise sales

Stakeholder management

Project management

Go-to-market strategy

Networking

Storytelling

Process management

So how do most people learn how to succeed
as a BD & Partnerships professional?

Slowly… and painfully. It can take years of trial and error – often very expensive, career-limiting error – to get your bearings in a BD & Partnerships role.  

You don’t get many chances to forge partnerships with the biggest and most successful companies in the world, so you’d better make each one count.

The good news is: You don’t need to get an MBA or spend years learning on the job to learn how to apply these skills in your Business Development & Partnerships role. 

You can accelerate your professional development, while creating massive impact for your company, by learning how to piece these lessons together in just 8 weeks by becoming a Firneo Certified Partnerships Professional.

Become a Certified Partnerships Professional

An 8-week interactive cohort program for BD & Partnerships professionals

During the program, you’ll compress 10 years of on-the-job learning into an immersive 8-week experience that turns you into a confident and successful strategic BD & Partnerships leader.

You’ll learn an actionable system with concrete steps for repeatedly building transformational high-impact partnerships - ones that truly “move the needle” and help you stand out in your career.

Those who successfully complete the program will be recognized as a Certified Partnerships Professional, armed with the frameworks and tactics that have helped BD & Partnerships leaders from Amazon, Google, Facebook, Greenhouse, Justworks, TikTok, and more to build an engine that fuels their company’s growth.

Learn from partnerships experts at companies like these





After completing the program, I feel much more confident in my role and feel that I am truly equipped and have the proper skillsets to take control of my career and really elevate it to a new level, and build highly successful partnerships.

— Michael Robledo Partner Management

Leverage a repeatable system for closing bigger
partnership deals faster

As a Certified Partnerships Professional, you’ll not only learn practical tactics to open doors, negotiate like a CEO, and close deals faster – you’ll understand the why behind every step in a proven playbook for creating highly impactful partnerships.  

Go under the hood and explore every topic in detail so that you’ll be able to confidently construct a BD & Partnerships plan for any company with a clear perspective on how to get things done – from closing deals to selling your boss on the idea.

As a Certified Partnerships Professional, you’ll have a clear system to follow, with a deep understanding of what goes into making the most out of every opportunity, every meeting, every negotiation, and every deal that you close.

Let’s be clear - there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for creating impactful partnerships - each situation is different. But as a Certified Partnerships Professional, you’ll know exactly how to handle every twist and turn in the complex process of identifying and pursuing partnership opportunities for your company. 


I can't even list all of the benefits because I think there was so much value in this program

— Paula Odysseos VP of Partnerships

The Value Alignment Framework:
A step-by-step blueprint for building a BD & Partnerships engine

During the program, you’ll learn how to apply the Value Alignment Framework to every BD & Partnerships activity you do, from identifying opportunities to launching partnerships into market.

Based on the original thought leadership of Firneo founder & CEO (and best-selling author of What, Exactly, Is Business Development) Scott Pollack, the Value Alignment framework provides a clear gameplan for BD & Partnerships leaders to excel in their role and career.

As a Certified Partnerships Professional, you will know how to:

Have a seat at the table with senior leadership
Be a hero to marketing and sales teams
Negotiate like an absolute boss
Close deals consistently and efficiently
Overcome obstacles
that stall deals
Be best friends with your product team
Structure deals that impress even your lawyers
Confidently update
your CEO on your roadmap
Run multiple complex deal processes at one time
Navigate org charts like Neo sees the matrix

What will you learn
in the program?

Over 8 weeks, you’ll learn everything you need to succeed
in a BD & Partnerships role

Week One

In week 1, we’ll explore what BD & Partnerships really means to you -- and to everyone else at your company. You’ll build a strong foundation for the rest of the program, meet your fellow students, and start applying what you learn to your own company.
  • ​The Opportunity for Partnerships
  • ​The Many Faces of Value
  • ​Determining what is “Long-Term”
  • ​Exploring Sources of Value
  • ​Understanding stakeholders within your own organization and what they care about

Week Two

In week 2, we’ll start the process of identifying and prioritizing BD & Partnerships opportunities that not only get results, but get buy-in.
  • ​Identifying what matters to your company
  • ​The #1 Killer of Deals (and Careers)
  • ​How BD & Partnerships looks across different companies and organizations
  • ​The Value Alignment Framework
  • ​How Companies Think​
  • ​Net Perceived Value
  • ​The Having Value Phase
  • ​Identifying Opportunities
  • ​Reactive vs. Proactive Opportunities
  • ​Reporting Lines and the impact on opportunities

Week Three

In week 3, you’ll start building a business case to size opportunities, align with stakeholders, and get resources
  • ​Assessing Opportunities 
  • Finding Best-Fit Opportunities
  • Building a Business Case
  • Identifying your organization’s power centers
  • Stakeholder management
  • Sizing Opportunities
  • Financial modeling for BD & Partnerships
  • Assessing Resource Constraints
  • Securing Resources and Internal Alignment

Week Four

In week 4, we’ll explore how partnerships compare to other go-to-market strategies so that you can do deals with the full support of internal stakeholders.
  • Go-to-market Strategy
  • Evaluating Build vs. Buy vs. Partner
  • The Pros and Cons of Partnership
  • Types of Partnerships
  • Storytelling & Business Cases
  • Driving Internal Decisions
  • KPIs and setting expectations
  • Leading without positional authority
  • Short-term wins vs Long-term wins

Week Five

In week 5, you’ll start identifying prospective partners and building a killer deal pipeline. You’ll learn how to craft a winning pitch that can help open doors and set you up to quickly win deals.
  • The Communicating Value Phase 
  • Recognizing Vanity Partnerships
  • What Prospective Partners Are Thinking About You
  • Defining your ideal partner profile
  • Crafting a Value Hypothesis
  • Identifying Prospective Partners
  • Validating Partner Interest
  • Building and Prioritizing a Partner Pipeline

Week Six

In week 6, you’ll “get in the door” with prospective partners, and learn how to leverage different types of champions within their companies to drive deals to close.
  • Prospecting Ideal Contacts
  • Deciphering Org Structures
  • How Org Structures Impact Perceived Value
  • Understanding Organizations from the Outside
  • Deciding on Seniority Levels for Ideal Contacts
  • Nurturing Champions
  • The Psychology of Motivating Champions
  • The 5 Types of Champions
  • Tactics for Getting in the Door
  • ​Finding Connectors
  • ​When to Use Warm vs. Cold Intros
  • ​Leveraging Navigators
  • ​Writing Effective Intro Emails​

Week Seven

In week 7, you’ll learn how to structure and negotiate partnerships. You’ll learn how to overcome roadblocks that can sink your deals, and bring a deal past the finish line
  • The First Partner Meeting
  • Testing Value Hypotheses
  • Interest-Building Meetings
  • Deal Structures
  • Key Deal Terms
  • Incentives and Deal Performance
  • A Tale of Two Sales Forces
  • ​Drafting a Term Sheet
  • Overcoming Roadblocks to Closing
  • ​The Impact of Company Culture and Processes on Closing
  • Fundamentals of Negotiation
  • When and How to Work with Lawyers
  • ​Legal Risk vs. Business Risk
  • ​Closing Deals

Week Eight

In week 8, you’ll bring your partnership to market. You’ll create a plan to launch, manage, and scale your partnerships so that you can create the maximum impact.
  • The Delivering Value Phase
  • Preparing for Partner Launch
  • Engaging Key Teams
  • Creating a Launch Plan
  • Aligning on KPIs
  • Building a Partner KPI Dashboard
  • Partner Management
  • Establishing Feedback Loops
  • Expanding Partner Relationships
  • The Evolution of Partnerships
  • Detecting Issues in Partnerships
  • Terminating Partnerships
  • Building Partner Programs
  • Ecosystems and Platforms
  • What Comes Next

You’ll get more deal experience in weeks 
during this program than you will in years on the job.

It's more than a training course - it's an immersive learning experience

Get hands-on, real-world practice - without risking blowing up the deal

During the 8-week Firneo Certified Partnerships Professional program, you’ll engage in interactive role-play simulations that provide hands-on practice with all aspects of the BD & Partnerships lifecycle, from opening doors to closing deals.
We pair a proven curriculum with opportunities to engage in real-life scenarios that you’ll encounter in your BD & Partnerships career. From crafting effective partner communications to engaging in live-action negotiation role playing games, you’ll get opportunities to practice, learn from mistakes, and get hands-on experience in a low-risk learning environment.  

Build an incredible network for feedback and support

During the program, you’ll join weekly group discussions and activities with other BD & Partnership leaders in your cohort. You’ll get build the skills and confidence to break through your most difficult on-the-job challenges, and build a strong support network of peers and mentors to last your whole career.

Apply what you learn immediately to your job

During the program, you’ll apply what you learn to the actual work you’re doing at your job. You’ll develop your partner strategy, build a pipeline, and negotiate deals – everything you learn will be immediately actionable in your job.

You’ll build deeper relationships, get stronger alignment with your internal colleagues, and finish the course with your BD & Partnerships strategy already in motion.

Applications are closed for our
October 2022 cohort


The course had a systematic approach to obtaining the knowledge and confidence to be successful. I'd highly recommend taking this course for anyone looking to upskill and advance their career.

— Jon Muglie Senior BD & and Partnerships Manager

How does the program work?

The 8-week program combines on-demand learning with interactive experiences

Weekly lessons to learn at your own pace

Each week's learning modules lessons will be made available on Sundays at 12pm ET.

You'll be able to review the material in accordance with your schedule, and will have lifetime access to the content, including future updates and additions.


Weekly cohort meetings to connect with peers

The entire cohort will gather virtually each week for moderated discussions, networking, and to hear insights from seasoned partnerships leaders.

Each meeting will be hosted from 6:00pm to 7:30pm ET on Wednesdays.

Practice in our "partnership simulator"

Get hands-on experience with all aspects of sculpting, negotiating, and managing a partnership in the "Partnership Simulator".

Work with a team of peers to apply what you've learned to an interactive game-based case study that lets you bring a deal to life in a risk-free environment.


Plus, you'll get these bonuses:

Get access to tools, templates, and resources to help you get more done at work

Deal-winning templates used by the best practitioners

As a Certified Partnerships Professional, you’ll get a head start on every deal by leveraging templates, swipe files, and tools designed and used by seasoned BD & Partnerships professionals. 

You’ll open doors, get buy-in, close deals, and launch partnerships faster than ever before. 
  • Value Hypothesis Builder
  • Partner CRM Templates
  • Email Templates Swipe File
  • Business Case Template
  • Partner Launch Plan Template
  • BD & Partnerships Deal Canvas
  • ​Terms Sheet Samples
  • ​Partner Meeting Agenda Template

Ongoing access to a community of peers and mentors

All Certified Partnerships Professionals get continuing access to the Firneo community, a community for BD & Partnerships professionals.

As a member, you'll be connected to a global network of peers and mentors who are there to learn from one another, support each other, and collaborate together.

Get access to 60+ hours of insights 
and insider stories from seasoned BD & Partnerships leaders

What you’ll learn as a Certified Partnerships Professional isn’t the product of some B-school professor’s doctoral research: it’s battle-tested, real-world strategies and tactics that have been used by seasoned experts to do deals for the top companies in the world. 

You’ll get insights from experienced and seasoned experts who’ve done deals for the top companies in the world on topics like:

Tim Buckley, Head of New Business

Sam Lee, SVP of Growth

Cristina Cordova, Head of Platform

Diego Szteinhendler, SVP of BD

Accelerate your growth and get more done 
with the Coaching & Mentoring Program

Limited Availability

Coaching & Mentoring Program
Add-On

Level-up even faster with hands-on support and personalized attention - reserved exclusively for those in our Certified Partnerships Professional Coaching & Mentoring add-on program.

Get 1:1 coaching from expert mentors to help you overcome obstacles and break through your biggest challenges. Get personalized feedback and compare your real-world experiences with others in your shoes. Build your skills even faster and create even more impact at work by avoiding pitfalls and putting your learning into action faster than you imagined possible.

Get 1:1 guidance with private coaching 

Pair up with a highly-experienced partnership leader who will coach you to achieve your goals.

Join bi-weekly 1:1 sessions to get career guidance, talk through work challenges, and get personalized guidance to help you excel.

Build a support system with peer masterminds

Join weekly group coaching "mastermind" sessions facilitated by an experienced partnership leader.

Give and get feedback from other emerging partnership leaders while dissecting the real-world challenges you're currently facing at work.

Group sessions will be held Fridays at 1:00pm ET.

Foster relationships with expert mentors

Get access to exclusive sessions with the top partnerships mentors.

Join group mentor sessions with seasoned BD & Partnerships leaders who can offer tactical feedback, career advice, and everything in between.

The Coaching & Mentoring program is only available
during the Certified Partnerships Professional program


I found that the program was most helpful in that you get to learn and hear from so many different people and different industries from from all different backgrounds. It was an amazing experience and a great program, and I highly recommend it to anybody.

— Brian Brinker Senior Manager, Strategy & Partnerships

Applications are closed for our October 2022 cohort

Learn from partnerships experts at companies like these

Since 2018, Firneo has helped thousands of Partnerships leaders to learn, grow, and accelerate their careers


I miraculously fell into a Partnerships/BD
role, and as I was navigating my career path, being a part of the Firneo community proved to be invaluable to me. Through Firneo, I've been able to get access to resources, events, and incredible people that have been instrumental to the success I've found on the Partnerships team at my company.”

— Jillian Trubee Partnerships Manager



I've really enjoyed connecting with like-
minded peers through Firneo. The collective
knowledge, experience, and openness of the
community is an incredible resource to
leverage and contribute to.

— Alex Reynolds, VP & GM, Platform Solutions

Firneo has played a key role in my career
journey, and is the place I go to find the best
community of BD and Partnerships people
that exists anywhere today.

— Greg Hockenbrocht Head of BD & Partnerships

Who leads the program?

The Certified Partnerships Professional program is led by Scott Pollack, CEO of Firneo, former BD & Partnerships leader at American Express, WeWork, and Dow Chemical, and best-selling author of What, Exactly, Is Business Development?: A Primer on How Deals Get Done

Since 2011, Scott has taught classes and workshops on Business Development and Partnerships at top business schools like Wharton, UC Berkeley, and NYU Stern. He also sold out every class as a Skillshare Master Teacher and designed the first courses on Business Development at General Assembly.

The Certified Partnerships Professional program also features speakers and mentors from the Firneo community, which includes senior BD leaders from companies like Lyft, American Express, Quora, Facebook, and more.

  As taught at:

Praise for Scott Pollack’s book, What, Exactly, Is Business Development?: A Primer on Getting Deals Get Done

"Whether you've been working in business development for years or are just starting out, this book is a blueprint that will ensure you maximize growth"

FRANCIS LOBO
Chief Revenue Officer, WeWork

"Scott's work is an essential read for those in, looking to break into, or have a better understanding of Business Development."

KENNY HERMAN
Vice President, Business Development, Shutterstock

"It's great to see Scott sharing
what he's learned in this excellent primer on modern Business Development"

CHRIS FRALIC
Partner, First Round Capital

What's Included in the Program

Choose from two ways to join

Option 1:

8-Week Cohort Program

  • 8-week cohort program
  • Lifetime access to the 50+ learning modules
  • Project-based learning to apply what you learn to real-world challenges
  • Weekly group discussions to get feedback, and support
  • ​Designation as a Certified Partnerships Professional (upon successful completion of the program)
  • ​Bonus materials including tools, templates, and resources
  • ​Ongoing membership in the Firneo community
  • ​Interactive role-play games to help cement what you learn
  • ​Access to an incredible network of BD & Partnerships leaders

Program Tuition

$3,497

Option 2:

8-Week Cohort Program with Coaching & Mentoring

Everything in the Cohort program, plus:

  • Bi-weekly private 1:1 coaching sessions
  • ​Weekly group coaching masterminds facilitated by an experienced partnerships leader
  • ​Access to exclusive private sessions with the top partnerships mentors

Program Tuition

$4,997

Looking to upskill and support your entire BD & partnerships team?

Contact us to learn more about Enterprise packages

Applications are closed for our October 2022 cohort


An excellent foundation for building your partnerships skillset and building up your career

— Michael Felsman Senior Director, Partnerships

What would you do with an extra $30K, $50K - even $70K per year?

As a Certified Partnerships Professional, you’ll be able to have a greater impact at your company and be a shoe-in for promotion.

Did you know that the average jump in salary from Partnerships Manager to Director is an additional $70K, and the average salary jump from Director to VP is an additional $50K?

Every minute that you’re not focused on leveling up your career is time you’re wasting and money you’re leaving on the table.

Applications are closed for our October 2022 cohort

Frequently Asked Questions


1. Who is this program for?

This program is ideal for:

1. Current BD & Partnerships professionals who want to accelerate their on-the-job learning, operate with more confidence, and create more impact in their companies.

2. ​Experienced professionals from adjacent fields (such as sales, consulting, lawyer, customer success, product management) who are looking to transition into BD & Partnerships and want to build a strong foundation in the role.

2. What is the time commitment? Will I have time for this with a full-time job?

This program is designed for busy working professionals. You should expect to spend 3 to 5 hours per week in total, between reviewing course materials, applying your knowledge to assignments, and participating in group discussions & events.

It’s an intense program, but consider it as an 8-week investment that compounds over the next several decades of your career.

3. Do I need to attend classes live?

The course materials are pre-recorded and will be released each week on Sunday so that you’ll be able to review it on your own schedule (plus, you’ll get lifetime access so that you can always refresh yourself). 

In addition, throughout each week there’ll be opportunities to engage in live cohort discussions, peer 1:1s, and other events with your fellow students. It is strongly recommended that you attend each cohort discussion in order to maximize your learning, though other events are optional.

4. Is this in-person or virtual?

The entire program is virtual.  You can review the materials, engage with the community, use the templates and tools, and participate in the cohort experiences from anywhere in the world.

5. What will this cost?

 There are two options for joining the program: the core 8-week program costs $3,497.  We also offer the option to add individual and group coaching for a total cost of $4,997. 

We have payment plans available.

6. Will my company pay for it?

Quite possibly. Many companies designated “Professional Development” or “Learning & Development” (L&D) budgets for these types of programs.

If you are accepted into the program, we can help you talk to your manager or HR team.

7. Can I still participate if I’m not currently working in BD & Partnerships at a company?

Absolutely. While the program is designed to help BD & Partnerships professionals create an immediate impact at work, you will gain knowledge and skills that you will carry into your next job and for your whole career. 

8. Why is there an application process?

We limit the number of participants in each cohort so you can get personalized attention and build relationships with a tight-knit group of peers. This requires us to have an application process so that we can ensure the right mix of participants in each cohort.

9. What is Firneo?

Firneo is a community for BD & Partnerships professionals. Since 2018, Firneo has brought together the top minds in Business Development & Partnerships to learn and support one another in their career journeys.

The Certified Partnerships Professional program is the flagship course designed by Firneo to provide a strong foundation for every BD & Partnership career.

Applications are closed for our October 2022 cohort

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