6 minutes

The Nearbound Manifesto

Simon Bouchez, CEO
September 1, 2022

Business, like nature, is a story of evolution. And as the grandfather of evolution, Charles Darwin, once famously said, “It’s not the strongest species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

We are in an era of unprecedented change. In the last two decades alone, we’ve seen more evolution in business than we did in the last century. 

This is why even the strongest species—in this case, successful companies—have found themselves clawing to survive. 

Why? Because they have not leaned into the number one rule of evolution: Life is destined to become more complex. 

Instead of embracing this complexity, companies have fought against it by clinging to old-world tactics and strategies that worked once upon a time. 

The complexity of today’s digital market boils down to a few key catalysts: 

  • We are more connected than ever before, and
  • We are more distrustful than ever before 

So how do we, as vendors, use this complexity to our advantage? How do we adapt to the evolution of both the market and the buyer to thrive?

Outbound - Inbound - Nearbound 

To understand Nearbound, you first have to understand where it came from. Nearbound has emerged from the outbound and inbound eras that preceded it. 

The Evolution of Sales, by Scott Leese

The outbound era was born from the digitization of customer data to target customers. Outbound allowed sellers to go direct through email and phones without “hitting the pavement."

Then came the Cloud, which opened customer data to workflows and applications.

The inbound era followed and was born from the automation of information through content creation to attract customers. Inbound allowed sellers to focus on accounts that had an identified challenge and exposure to the brand without targeting them cold.   

But now, the world we live in is no longer a battle of information because there is simply too much. Americans alone are hit with up to 10,000 ad impressions per day (Deloitte). Buyers are bombarded with both cold emails and content on a per-second basis. They are tuning out, and organizations are feeling it: 

  • In 2023, 62% of sellers are missing quota
  • 60% of marketers report that outbound tactics are failing.

Due to this info-pocalypse, buyers don’t trust what companies say—they trust what their network says.

Think about how you buy. If you’re like the rest of society, which I suspect you are, you likely start with a recommendation from a friend, checking social proof, reading reviews, and seeing who your favorite influencers are working with. 

Buyers are proactively seeking out those they know and trust to get the answers. 

In the old world, buyers asked, “How can I solve X?” 

In the Nearbound Era, buyers ask, “Who can help me solve X? Who has been to the promised land I want to reach?”

We call the Who Economy, and Nearbound is the GTM strategy that leverages the who to drive 2-3x more revenue.

From the “How” to the “Who” Economy 

In the How Economy, companies competed to get information in front of the right people at the right time. 

In the Nearbound Era, companies battle for influence. But where does influence come from? It’s certainly not from viral, flash-in-the-pan posts or swanky celebrity sponsorships. 

True influence comes from trust, and trust comes from those who help. 

We don’t have the room or resources to waste on salesy pitches and interruptions. We only have room for proof, and, as the data shows, the best proof comes from those we already have a relationship with: 

  • 91% of B2B purchasers’ buying decisions are influenced by word-of-mouth. (Useful Social Media)
  • Deals that involve one or more partners have a 41% higher win rate and close 35% faster (Reveal) 
  • 82% of B2B sales leaders say referrals are the best leads.
  • 1/3 of total global revenue will be driven by ecosystems by 2030.

We aren’t saying outbound and inbound strategies should be thrown to the wind. They're useful and necessary. The problem is that the How Economy has bombarded people with these strategies. It's an info overload, and because of it, they aren’t effective on their own anymore. 

  • SEO is getting gamed. Every time you Google something the results are less and less helpful. 
  • Buyers are filtering your information. It is now harder for the cold emails you send to get to people. 
  • Blockers are real. There are blockers on tracking, pixels, and all of the methodologies that help you target your audience with ads. 

Buyers are hungry for that human element. They are seeking out people who have been where they want to go, or that they have worked in close proximity with. They are going to sources like LinkedIn, Partnership Leaders, or to find real people like them who have faced the same real problems.

This is what Nearbound leverages; it’s about connecting the right people to people, and should be layered in and on every strategy and department in your organization. 

So, WTF is Nearbound exactly?

Nearbound is a GTM strategy that consists of leveraging the full power of your ecosystem, i.e. the companies near you, to influence your entire revenue funnel from lead acquisition to customer retention.

Words have power. “Nearbound” shifts the focus from the partnerships’ activity—the act of creating business connections—to the partnerships’ impact. And it simultaneously shifts the way partnerships operate within your organization.

Nearbound enables sellers to instantly access intel, intros, and influence (aka the 3 I’s of Nearbound) from the company’s network of partners and trusted relationships. And, just as importantly, Nearbound enables Partner teams to do what they do best:


Partner Managers nurture strong relationships with partners that your prospects already trust. They make “trust deposits” into the partnerships so that your Sales team can then make “trust withdrawals” in the form of the 3 I’s: 

Let’s look at a Nearbound example

Your ecosystem is an amazing source of signals.

As an example, one of Reveal’s users—a Customer Engagement Platform—paid particular attention to signals coming from Customer Data Platforms.

These two categories don’t compete, their value proposition is highly connected and they both target the same personas, but by sharing intelligence they can help each other in a compelling way.

Anytime a company purchased a Customer Data Platform, it would signal they had shifted to buying a best-in-class technology stack, and sorting their data was often the step right before leveraging it, i.e. buying a Customer Engagement Platform.

It gave the user invaluable information about when to start selling to its partner’s clients. As a result, they were able to focus SDRs and AEs on the right leads at the right time, and generate fast growth.

This example embodies the Nearbound channel. To leverage this channel and benefit from Nearbound’s power, all they needed to do was implement these 3 steps: 

How to Systematize Your Nearbound Strategy

Step #1 of Nearbound is identifying your ecosystem.

Think about all the companies that target one or more of your personas. An then think about all the companies that offer a value proposition that complements or connects with yours.

The possibilities are immense. 

Whatever signal matters most to your business—whether it’s identifying when a prospect modernizes their tool stack, when they buy a product that integrates with yours, or when they take a step that often happens right before they buy your product—find which companies can share that signal with you.

These companies are your ecosystem, and they often go far beyond the partners you have identified. 

Through Reveal data, we’ve found that companies that share signals with 10+ partners generate 291% more sales pipeline than companies that share signals with 1 to 3 partners.

‍Considering this increase, imagine how much more impact you can create if you were to share intelligence with hundreds of companies.

As an example, one of Reveal's users is sharing intelligence with more than 200 partners alone. And as a result, they’re generating 40% of their company’s sales pipeline. This is the power of your ecosystem when you scale it.

So, the first Nearbound revolution is a philosophical one. It means you start thinking beyond the traditional concept of partnerships.

In fact, it’s time you start thinking as big as your ecosystem’s size.

Step #2 of Nearbound is Collective Intelligence.

Collective Intelligence is our unique human superpower, and if it has led our species to generate so much progress in a relatively short amount of time. 

Imagine what it can do when applied to your revenue strategy. 

For decades, intelligence was siloed in the B2B industry. But with a Nearbound Revenue Platform like Reveal, those days are behind us. 

Intelligence is increasingly open and collective in B2B as more and more ecosystem technologies now allow you to share unlimited intelligence with unlimited partners safely.

This is the massive opportunity with Nearbound.

It’s even bigger than partnerships at scale. It’s parnterships becoming a cornerstone of every strategy and department in your organization. It’s a game-changer not only for partnership professionals but more broadly for B2B revenue.

As a result, we’re witnessing a growing divide between two types of partnership professionals: those who leverage their ecosystem at scale thanks to technology, and those who limit their impact to what’s within manual reach.

My question to you is: which side of the revolution will you be on?

Step #3 of Nearbound is data activation.

What’s the point of all that data if you’re not leveraging it, right?

This is the step where your skills combined with technology are much needed.

To activate ecosystem data, you need to make sure it is fully integrated.

Firstly, it needs to be deeply integrated into all your Go-to-Market teams’ reflexes and processes. From Business Development to Customer Success, including Marketing, Sales, and Product.

This requires proper training, enablement, and strong alignment. Partnership professionals who achieve this create monumental ROI.

The success formula here lies within incremental ROI. Don’t expect to borrow the time of your fellow Go-to-Market teams’ if you’re not providing tangible ROI in exchange. 

Convince them with results. 

Start with a few internal early adopters. Show your proof of concept. Just like anything else, If the ROI is evident, wide adoption of Nearbound will be organic.

Secondly, ecosystem data needs to be embedded into the rest of your Go-to-Market tech stack: your CRM, your Marketing Automation, Customer Engagement, and Sales Engagement platforms. 

Essentially, it means putting your ecosystem data where it can create the most results.

Embedding your ecosystem data within both your Go-to-Market teams’ processes and their tech stack is critical to delivering Nearbound revenue. Make leveraging the 3 I’s as much a part of your Sales and Marketing teams’ daily workflow as checking their email. 

This is the best use of the extra time you’ve freed up for yourself by automating so many of your partner processes: account mapping, pipeline management, ROI tracking, and more.

Nearbound isn’t partnerships, it’s how you leverage them

To unlock Nearbound’s potential, companies need to scale their partner processes and interlock partnerships’ goals with their Go-to-Market counterparts.

This is how Partnerships will transition from a revenue by-function to becoming a revenue channel in its own right.

Imagine a world where you receive quality insights on thousands of accounts, within and beyond your CRM.

Imagine a world where you drive unquestionable impact for your entire Go-to-Market organization.

Imagine a world where you finally get a seat, the seat, at the table.

It’s the world of Nearbound, and I’m excited to invite you to join in.

Become a member of and join the movement. ‍

Exciting news! Crossbeam and Reveal are joining forces. Finally, one network for all of your partners.
Learn more