One of the hottest buzz words in B2B tech is “ecosystem.” And the reason is how much the partner ecosystem influences. Kelly Sarabyn at Pandium just created a Playbook about it; Kim Walsh of Hubspot just spoke about its importance in a G2M strategy. And, industry leaders like Jay McBain and Vince Menzione talk to the world about it every day. Every company has an ecosystem, whether they recognize it or not. What also may not be understood is that the success a company achieves reflects if and how it utilizes the partner ecosystem.
Look at the top 15 SaaS companies on the planet. 14/15 have thousands of technology and channel partners in their ecosystems that fuel their revenue strategies. Considering the research we’ve done at Reveal, this makes sense. On average, targeting your ecosystem’s customers will increase your win rate by 43% and your deal size by 41%. These results are reflected in revenue being increased by a remarkable 2X, just from prioritizing ecosystem leads.
To Put it Simply:
Your Company + Your Partner Ecosystem’s Customers = More
We call this Ecosystem Influence. It is the effect of ecosystem influence that companies benefit from. Ecosystem influence doesn’t happen simply by having an ecosystem. As mentioned, every company has one. It’s how the company prioritizes and collaborates within it that generates Ecosystem Influence. We could hand a fishing pole to you, but that doesn’t mean you know how to fish. But, as the expression goes - teach a man to fish, and he’ll never go hungry a day in his life. Welcome to your ecosystem fishing lesson.
So, how does Ecosystem Influence work? Well, it’s a practice that dates back millennia, but we'll use a more relevant example for this specific example. Imagine that you’re selling bike helmets. Your ecosystem is composed, in particular, of bike retailers. They aren’t your competitors, and their product is complementary to yours.
You, as a bike helmet retailer, want to increase your sales. You decide that you want to make an ad and want your sales team to cold-call a list of targets. If you targeted the customers of your bike-selling partners, your chances of converting your audience would be significantly higher. Why? Because they are a pre-vetted audience. You already know that their interest in what you have to sell is more elevated than someone you arbitrarily target. Further, the uncomfortable scenario of “cold-calling” is removed because you can piggyback the trust this audience established with your partner. This is how your ecosystem can influence your revenue; by focusing your time and efforts on an audience that is right for your business and is interested in listening.
That type of Ecosystem Influence is easy to leverage. It is indirect. Your bike-selling partners don’t need to intervene. All you need to do is connect with them and gain access to their audience. It may seem like we’re making Ecosystem Influence too simple for B2B. Still, even in the context of B2B tech it doesn't have to be complicated. Not if you use a Collaborative Growth Platform like Reveal. that is GDPR compliant (oh yeah, we said the G-word).
Reveal's platform gives you instant access to that data. And this is the indirect Ecosystem Influence our community members are leveraging to double their revenue.
There’s another type of Ecosystem Influence. We describe it as being the upgrade or the “next level” of Ecosystem Influence: Version 2.0. It’s even more powerful. Imagine that both you and your bike-selling partners have access to your overlapping audiences in real-time. And imagine that you start directly helping each other convert them. For instance, you and your partner could create a joint offer: one bike sold, a discount offered on helmets, and vice-versa. Or, your partner could give you critical information about your audience. “This customer loves pink helmets; that’s your winning ticket!”. Or even better, your partner could introduce you to your target customer and influence the deal. “Bike Helmets & co are the best bike helmets out there!”.
Understanding how a bike-helmets seller’s partnership with a bike-seller can benefit both partners is common sense. The same logic applies to B2B businesses. Take a look at tech companies like Slack and Salesforce. It is almost common sense that a company that manages contacts partners (and then acquires) a company that lets those contacts communicate. They’re complimentary. Another example is TikTok, a widely popular video social media platform, partnering with Samsung, which makes the technology to view that social media. If you haven’t already, take a look at these transformative partnerships to get a real-world understanding of how impactful direct ecosystem influence can be.
You also should try tapping into your ecosystem to see the opportunities that you are missing. If you’re not tapping into your ecosystem, you’re missing opportunities. The other caveat that we've mentioned slightly is how you’re doing the tapping. Account mapping with Excel, Google sheets, V-Lookup, and all of those messy, time-consuming, inaccurate, options are just that: messy. Try using a free platform that cleans up the mess, presents actionable insights, and opens the benefit of the partner ecosystem to your entire revenue-driving team. There’s only one platform that does that; it’s Reveal. You deserve better than to waste your time spinning your tires. Start benefiting from Ecosystem Influence right now by clicking here to sign up for free.
Learn from the most notable leaders in partnerships and alliances. For example learn how to leverage your ecosystem from Jay Mcbain, how to plan your partner program with Mike Brigman, and what to include in your KPIs with Elliott Smith.