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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 131

October 29, 2021

#131 Andrew Massad: Get All The Right People Rowing In The Right Direction

In this episode, Andrew Massad, Vice President, Alliances & Corporate Development at Leanplum joins Ecosystem Aces and shares how he builds trust with internal teams, partners, and customers.

Building an effective ecosystem is extremely difficult. Building an ecosystem for a startup comes with even more challenges.

Whether it’s convincing partners of your value or getting internal teams to buy into your vision of partnerships, the key is to make everything a win-win situation.

In this episode, Andrew Massad, Vice President, Alliances & Corporate Development at Leanplum joins Ecosystem Aces and shares how he builds trust with internal teams, partners, and customers.

Andrew discusses:

  • Getting internal teams on board with partnerships
  • Best practices for building a startup’s ecosystem
  • How Leanplum gets the most from their partnerships

Creating a Win-Win Situation for Internal Teams

Always lead with empathy. Your internal teams might understandably have concerns about moving from direct sales to a co-selling strategy, especially if it affects their bottom line. You can’t tell them to buy into the partnering philosophy -- you have to show them that partnering is in their best interest.

Start small and build early wins with partners. Use these partnering success stories to convince reps of how working with partners can improve their deal velocity, deal size, and propensity to close. By showing how your internal teams can benefit from partnering, you’ll be able to face less resistance as you grow the ecosystem.

When looking for these early wins, don’t try to mobilize every rep at once. While it is important to have constant conversations about your partnering vision with all of the affected internal teams, be deliberate about choosing the right reps to get these first wins. If the first few partnering deals are too bumpy, you risk your company souring on the idea of partnerships.

Best Practices for Building a Startup’s Ecosystem

It might seem counterintuitive but for your startup to get value from partnerships, you first need to find out how your company can add value to a partner. Not having an established brand name means that bigger companies won’t be going out of their way to partner with your company. Therefore, at the start, the majority of your deal flow should be outbound and focused on helping your partner get wins. This might be unpopular within your company but you need to initially prioritize building positive partnering relationships with more established players in the ecosystem.

The right partner for your startup is the partner that you can help the most. Think about how well your capability adds to your partner’s solution and what competitive gap you can help close. You should also choose a partner that is a significant player in your industry. Assisting these companies will not only get you access to their capabilities but also their ecosystem as well.

Getting the Most out of Partnerships

Prioritize quality over quantity. Often, companies make acquiring new partners a goal and try to get as many companies trained on their programs as possible. However, Leanplum understands that training a new partner is costly, and so more strategically selects their partner.

Geography is one criteria that the company uses to determine the value of a prospective partner. If a company is located in a country that Leanplum doesn’t have access to, they are more likely to partner with this company because they are able to gain the trust of the consumers in that region. Similarly, they also choose to partner with companies that have more expertise in a certain vertical to expand the scope of their solutions.

Links & Resources

To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about modern partnering, he can be reached on Twitter, LinkedIn, or send Chip an email at: