Project Description

Coterie’s unique approach to developing partner programmes based on genuine partner insight, supported by scalable processes, helped CityFibre launch their successful Partner First Programme.

Accelerating partner growth:

The Partner First Programme provides CityFibre with a clear differentiator in the market to attract new partners and manage rapid growth through a standardised and systematic approach to joint marketing which goes far beyond traditional MDF and ‘campaign-in-a-box’-type offerings.

Their approach to Partners, which is individually tailored and includes the creation of compelling joint value propositions and 12 week go-to-market campaigns (supported by Coterie’s Partner Activate methodology and frameworks) helps secure buy-in and commitment. As a result, CityFibre are able to build long-term committed relationships that deliver real business growth both to them, and their partners.

CityFibre’s internal marketing team is now fully empowered to deliver partner marketing consistently both now, and as the organisation grows supported by repeatable tools and templates based on best practice.

Who is CityFibre?  

CityFibre is the UK’s builder of Gigabit Cities and the national alternative provider of wholesale fibre network infrastructure. It has major metro duct and fibre footprints in 42 cities across the UK.
The company has an extensive customer base spanning service integrators, enterprise and consumer service providers and mobile operators. Providing a portfolio of active and dark fibre services, CityFibres networks address 28,000 public sites, 7,800 mobile masts, 280,000 businesses and 4 million homes.
In August 2017 CityFibre purchased Entanet, a wholesaler with approximately 1,500 channel partners. This has substantially increased CityFibre’s wholesale capabilities and its relationships with service providers, thereby extending their channels to market.

What was CityFibre’s challenge?

As a result of a major acquisition of network asset, almost over-night CityFibre went from building and maintaining a handful of Gigabit Cities to over 40. To take advantage of this rapid growth, the company set out to grow its partner base and recruit internally for a team to support this.
CityFibre wanted a formalised partner programme that was an intrinsic part of the company and could easily scale as it grew and stimulate sales. They approached Coterie Marketing to support them.

Understanding CityFibre’s need:

CityFibre knew it would pay to go back to partnering basics and prioritise where to spend its collective time, and where support was needed most to grow revenues. They needed the programme, and the systems behind it, to deliver a consistently good partner experience.
With a growing marketing team, the ability to work smarter was critical. Everyday tasks would need to become low-touch so that the new team could invest their time on on the activities which would deliver the best return for the business.

Our solution:

To engage with existing partners as well as recruit new ones, CityFibre wanted to offer a differentiated programme that delivered business outcome-based value to its partners – rather than a ‘carbon-copy’ partner programme.
With smaller regional partners, the biggest challenges are time and resources to run joint campaigns. The Activate element of this campaign provided a simple, low maintenance way to engage and get commitment from partners to work together. The joint value propositions allowed CityFibre to take a clearly differentiated offer to market, backed up by achievable GTM actions, delivering leads and pipeline growth.
We used our proven methodology: Discover, Build, Activate and Share, to reinforce engagement, buy-in and open communications both internally and with partners throughout the whole process.


  • We interviewed CityFibre’s partners independently to find out what they needed and what they valued most from the partnership, in an unbiased way.
  • From this we were able to provide evidence-based recommendations on the areas for CityFibre’s marketing team to prioritise.
  • We consolidated all the data from the Discover stage into one, easy-to-digest document, presenting it back to CityFibre and using the findings to help them create a scalable programme structure and three month rolling plan that included:
    • Onboarding process and documentation
    • Audit collateral
    • Partner-facing brand guidelines
    • Partner tiering
  • Our recommended structure, and the associated processes were designed not only to manage the existing partners, but also accommodate rapid expansion of the partner community, setting the team up for long-term growth.
  • The CityFibre team took the structure and created a cross functional Partner-Team that ran seven concurrent work streams e.g. portal, funds, product. Leading to an industrialised set of processes which they continue to build upon, with input and engagement from their channel partners.


  • With the framework of a flexible, scalable partner programme in place, backed up by repeatable processes, we helped CityFibre develop the tools to enhance the rapport and buy-in needed to make their partnerships really fly.
  • Working hand-in-hand with CityFibre’s marketing team and its partners, we used our collective insight and knowledge to create tailored value propositions and GTM campaigns in an informed way.


  • One of the key needs was to quickly up-skill CityFibre’s internal Partner Marketing teams, including new recruits to manage the new programme effectively and efficiently.
  • We ran several training sessions from back-to-basics partner marketing through to value proposition and GTM development.
  • Our years of experience, backed up by independent research carried out with The University of Huddersfield (The Seven Success Factors of Partner Marketing) proved invaluable in helping CityFibre develop its strategy for engaging and developing long term partnerships.

The business impact:
Virtually overnight, CityFibre took on a new, expert advisory role, guiding and supporting its partners in the best way to deliver growth.
With new knowledge, tools and confidence, the CityFibre Partner Marketing team now work consistently across the business, creating stronger, more effective partnerships – wholly reflected with an extremely impressive NPS score.
The company’s partners claim that CityFibre is the best vendor they’ve ever worked with, and are quick to ask that they keep doing what they’re doing.

coterie’s value-adds

  • Helping CityFibre create repeatable processes and scalable programme structures
  • Bringing in best practice knowledge and insight from outside of the business and applying it to CityFibre’s challenges and needs
  • Creating clear action plans that support governance and open communications
    Training and development of the internal CityFibre team
  • Providing tools and templates for every stage, which can then be re-used by the internal team – for example the Partner Activate questionnaire and Value Proposition template
  • Willingness to go above and beyond to deliver the very best results