In today’s world of ecosystem partnering, all of your partners — strategic, technology, systems integrator, services, cloud, communications, and channel — need to be aligned and working as one to co-sell your joint solutions. The days of different systems for different “partner types” are over.
Partner business models are morphing, and successful co-selling with partners is dependent on being flexible. Adopt modern tools and processes to empower and enable multi-partner sales business models — co-sell, re-sell, cross-sell, renewals, referrals, etc. — with shared views of joint opportunities and pipeline to fuel higher win rates, shorter sales cycles, and increased revenue.
For example, a software company is fighting an uphill battle managing joint sales opportunities with its various other ISV partners. With an ecosystem mindset, they move away from the constraints of their old partner relationship management tools and collaborate with their partners on a shared system for status tracking, which quantifies and accounts for partner influence and contributions to revenue.
Most partnerships fail within the first year — yes, that scary statistic is worth acknowledging. It makes sense considering building, approving, certifying, and deploying new shared solutions to the market is inefficient, prone to process breakdowns, and cripples speed to market.
Another scary statistic? Market development (MDF) programs typically leave 40% of funds unused.
The reasons behind troubles with launching joint solutions or managing MDF funds often boil down to a lack of consistent and standard processes across company boundaries. This concept applies to every partnering motion, including co-sell, co-build, OEM, and channel.
Digitized partner program workflows resolve many of these challenges. Imagine if you can run every MDF motion — proposals, proof of performance, reimbursements, compliance, reporting, etc. — all in a single collaboration space, visible and accessible to partners and stakeholders at all times.
With shared cross-company workflows, everyone knows and agrees on where things stand, what’s next, and who’s accountable. Connecting disparate program activities across partners becomes orderly, simple, and scales across your partner ecosystem.
If a partner-influenced deal closes and no one hears about it (or sees it tagged in the CRM), does it make a sound?
More than 60% of partner professionals see the evaluation of their success as a top concern. Not receiving credit for partner-generated opportunities is only one of the blind spots created by poor visibility.
An organization and its partners will also struggle to make informed decisions because they’re routinely working with old data. Lack of coordination on this front will lead to issues like metrics being optimized for a particular region but not for the overall campaign’s success.
End-to-end reporting spanning your entire partner ecosystem makes your partner collaborations really shine. Timely, trusted reporting delivers detailed looks at what does and doesn’t work, and supports comprehensive KPI frameworks for your ecosystem business.
Place KPI metrics on your partner managers and partners — (a) partner manager and partner productivity, (b) partner sourced leads, pipeline, revenue, (c) partner influenced leads, pipeline, revenue, (d) win ratios, (e) average deal sizes, and (f) profitability
Partnering is no longer a 1-on-1 relationship with a single partner. Today, you’re managing go-to-market activities with 2, 3, or more, partners on a single large opportunity.
Traditionally, it is the channel partner’s burden to facilitate partners to “meet in the channel.” But as channel partners are getting disintermediated, or as SI partners and MSP partners gain control of the buying process for end customers, you have to control where you meet which partner in the customer’s buying process. Delegating this important control point to your channel partner is not a sustainable strategy anymore.
Harness your entire partner ecosystem’s influence and expertise — including cloud, ISV, IHV, SI, channel, and distributors — to close business faster. Today, trying to classify partners into types only slows down business by building artificial barriers between partners.
For example, an ISV company partners with an SI company to offer cloud software and services together as a single solution to their shared customers. Including a hyperscale cloud partner in a 3-way joint sales and solution collaboration adds not just technology and expertise, but can also add to the number of potential customers and increase the size of the addressable market.
With multi-way partnering, you can significantly expand your collective reach and seize many additional business opportunities. Make facilitating these kinds of multi-partner collaborations simple and easy for everyone, including yourself.
A strong pipeline requires an even stronger pre-pipeline of partner-qualified leads. However, partner managers usually have many different ways of managing and tracking their joint business.
Fragmented spreadsheets and methodologies make partner contributions virtually invisible at the pre-pipeline stage. Silos across different systems, solutions, and KPIs are a nightmare to reconcile across disparate spreadsheets. Once leads become actual pipeline opportunities, how is the information aligned across each partners’ respective CRM systems?
A complete, accurate, and timely pre-pipeline is a powerful catalyst for sales growth. Healthy pre-pipeline processes engage partners in collaborative joint account planning, and focus energy on joint account nomination. With an aligned approach to pre-pipeline, you can share sales plays with your partners and get a headstart on attributing partner contributions to deals and revenue.
For example, with a proper foundation for pre-pipeline, a systems integrator aligns its prepipeline opportunities with its partners. Now, the SI has access to new deals it otherwise would never have been involved in and can truly influence and accelerate pipeline, sales, and ultimately, revenue.
Ecosystem innovation can be found among your partner companies but also thrives within your own. Have a process to receive and vet those innovative ideas!
Here’s the truth: your field teams are your most vital innovation partner. The ideas that really stick come from field teams working with customers.
You can solicit outside-in ideas for joint solutions and even marketing campaign ideas directly from teams in the field in addition to your partners. This approach ensures an influx of new and innovative ideas to sustain your customer solution and marketing campaign engine.
For example, one Fortune 50 software company saw dividends using a recommendation engine across its partner’s certified solutions, which identified the right solutions for each customer’s business requirements. Less guesswork, reduced legwork, and more teamwork — going outside-in is the inside track to working smarter.
Creating and launching joint solutions with your partners can sometimes feel like watching a TV series where every episode ends in a cliffhanger ― “what happens next?!” is all anyone can think. Relieve the anxiety by bringing order to the chaos of creating and launching joint solutions with your partners.
Joint solution development is complicated, with processes crossing back and forth across companies. To stay aligned and on-track, cross-company workflows with built-in steps, owners, approvals, etc., are essential, especially when joint solution innovation is a frequently repeated motion. Too often, we reinvent processes for each new codevelopment project.
Circumvent disjointed processes for packaging and publishing joint solutions and prioritize aligning shared business processes that are well-designed and broadly understood, so the next steps and owners are clear.
For example, an ISV builds and launches joint solutions with its SI partners across its entire solution portfolio globally. They receive over 150 joint solution ideas from their partners, along with over 1,000 prospective customers for those solutions. So, not only are they getting new ideas, they are now engaged in joint sales cycles with their partners to drive revenue at scale!
Security is an afterthought in most partnering teams in their day-to-day execution. Spreadsheets and email are insecure ― simple errors can have sensitive sales data accidentally in a competitor’s hand and risk compliance violations, so security around data is critical to modern partnering.
Fine-grained security controls are essential when working with partner ecosystems where partner roles, contributions, and values delivered can be diverse and nuanced. Your data security policies must be simple to scale, or securely managing joint opportunities, sales plans, and solutions across your ecosystem become not just unwieldy, but impossible.
When working with data from critical business systems, such as CRMs, data access must be carefully segmented to share only what’s relevant to each specific partner and each individual opportunity. Data access also becomes much more important and complex when partnering with not just one partner, but two or more, on a single opportunity.
Partner teams regularly drive one-third of all revenue and company valuation. Despite helping bring in major deals, partnering organizations are usually left under-appreciated and underfunded compared to sales, marketing, and business teams. Why?
The answer is partner teams don’t have a system to consistently execute on their partnering processes and quantify their impact to prove their value. Managing partnering activities with endless spreadsheets doesn’t compare to how CRMs professionalize sales management, how marketing automation software systematically drives measurable MQLs, and how ERPs lock down business functions.
Senior leaders of partner organizations must have a way to represent the business’ impact with the same accuracy and credibility as the direct sales force. Compared to direct sales, modern partnering is more diverse, more complex, and requires a unified system of record spanning across companies from which to manage everything from end to end.
With a single system of record, organizations have one go-to place for all their partnering motions — a dependable platform for collaborating with partners and reporting reliably, accurately, and comprehensively.
For example, an ISV works with all its SI partners on their joint sales initiatives from a single, shared platform. The outcome? Together, they are all transformed into a performance-driven organization growing pipeline, driving revenue, and clearly demonstrating the value of the partnership