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13 Articles Showing the Business Impact of Partnerships (Bring These to Your CEO)

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According to our State of the Partner Ecosystem Report, 60.8% of partnership professionals say that getting buy-in is at least “somewhat challenging. 

If you’re launching a new partner program, you’ve got the biggest challenge of all. No results (yet) means little headcount and resources for partnerships. Without the people and things you need, it’s difficult to drive results. 

… And the cycle continues. No buy-in, no results. No results, no buy-in.

Why not look to other companies’ results to get the wheels turning? They were in your shoes once, and just look at them now (read: 95% of Microsoft’s revenue flows through its partners).

We’ve compiled 13 articles that show the business impact partnerships have had on B2B SaaS companies like yours. Pick your favorites and share them with your CEO (cue the collective nods of approval)

HubSpot and global market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC) published a white paper sharing HubSpot’s revenue gains through its app and solutions partners up until 2021 as well as its projected growth. IDC stated that HubSpot was uniquely positioned to satisfy post-pandemic customers through its all-in-one capabilities combined with its ability to work well with many tech stacks through its extensive tech ecosystem.

IDC predicts HubSpot will bring in more than $18 billion over the next four years as its ecosystem doubles in size. 

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Send this link when… You want to demonstrate how system integrator (SI) and independent software vendor (ISV) partners can be complimentary to your platform and offer customers a better solution. 

Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, and Amy Hood, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft, attribute the company’s $32 billion in revenue during Q2 of 2019 to partnerships. 

In a Microsoft press release, Nadella says: 

“Our strong commercial cloud results reflect our deep and growing partnerships with leading companies in every industry including retail, financial services, and healthcare. We are delivering differentiated value across the cloud and edge as we work to earn customer trust every day.”

Nadella plans to unlock trillions of dollars in partner opportunity. He believes in Microsoft’s partners so much that he’s working on identifying how each major internal business change will affect the company’s partners. 

If only you could bring Nadella to your buy-in meeting! 

Send this link when… You want to share an example of a now supernode that has historically looked to partnerships as its main source of revenue and growth. 

In late 2018 at a Shopify Unite conference, Harvey Finkelstein, President at Shopify, addressed the e-commerce platform’s merchants to advocate for the importance of partnerships — especially in prevailing against Shopify’s all-in-one competitors. 

Shopify’s growth model has relied heavily on integration development and a host of public and private apps built by partners for merchants. With the help of its agency and ISV partners, Shopify has built a community of more than 600,000 businesses on the platform. In 2017, Shopify gained $673 million in revenue, and its partners generated $800 million through the platform.

Send this link when… You want to show the potential revenue impact of investing in agency and ISV partners to improve value for customers. 

Partnerships can benefit every stage of the customer lifecycle. Account mapping at each stage can help you understand which partners to reach out to for help and when to drive the best results. For example: for the “Awareness” stage, you can develop a co-marketing play if there’s a high overlap count between your prospects and your partner’s prospects. In this case, the goal is to generate leads.

Send this link when… You want to develop an account mapping strategy to maximize results at each stage of the customer lifecycle and empower each team with partner data

PayPal partnered with Honey, a coupon browser extension, to drive more conversions in the beginning phases of the buyer journey. Then, in 2019, they bought Honey for $4 billion. 

Through the partnership and ultimate acquisition, Honey gets access to PayPal’s 24 million merchant partners, and PayPal gets a leg up on competitors like Amazon Pay by engaging buyers on e-commerce pages through Honey’s web browser extension. 

An article on Benzinga says PayPal is winning the fintech war for two reasons: 

  • Security
  • Global partnerships 

Send this link when… You’re planning a defensive play to beat out your all-in-one competitors or you’re pitching strategic partnerships as potential acquisition prospects.

By real-time account mapping in Crossbeam, Vidyard 14x’d its partner-sourced revenue in 2020. The video software company increased its quarterly partner-sourced pipeline for its tech partner program from $25K in 2019 to $350K in 2020. 

Additionally, when referencing a piece of the prospect’s tech stack in an outbound message, Vidyard saw a 20% increase in response rates. (Psst! Check out #6 for insights on learning your customer’s tech stack with Crossbeam.)

Send this link when… You want to build the case to adopt a partner ecosystem platform like Crossbeam to save time and operationalize your team with partner data on the fly.

Mike Stocker, VP of Strategic Partnerships at RollWorks, has been using Crossbeam for more than a year to inform the account-based marketing (ABM) platform’s tech ecosystem strategy and co-selling motions. Recently, RollWorks trained its onboarding success managers (OSMs) in using Crossbeam — and Senior Manager of Adoption and Onboarding Erez Suissa was 100% on board. 

“To unlock more value for our customers in the early days makes so much sense,” says Suissa. “I’m a firm believer that customers have a life cycle, and the onboarding role is not to do everything under the sun, but it’s for us to basically help the customer realize the immediate value. We need to unlock that as quickly as possible for them.”

Send this link when… You want to put the dev resources and marketing budget behind your tech ecosystem and use integrations as a growth strategy for driving retention, renewals, and account expansions. 

Rajiv Ramanan, Director of Startup Program and Technology Alliances, at Freshworks developed a three-step co-selling framework with its integration partners to team up in targeting their most strategic accounts. The customer and employee engagement platform has closed deals 50% faster than any other sales channel by getting introductions from partners through this framework. 

Send this link when… You want to double down on a co-selling workflow between your team and your ISV partner’s team to close opportunities. 

(Interested in more co-selling tips like this one from Freshworks? Sign up for our Ecosystem Sales newsletter to get actionable sales tips to your inbox every other week.)

Casey Hill, Head of Growth at personal video platform Bonjoro, believes the SaaS sales cycle relies most heavily on partner referrals or word of mouth. Hill says that Facebook Ads, pay-per-click (PPC), and other traditional marketing tactics lack the power that partners have in establishing personal relationships with prospects on your behalf. 

A partner vouching for you and showing your potential customer how your integration would improve their workflows and their revenue is like hearing good things about a new local restaurant from a trusted friend — you’ve got to go try it for yourself. It could mean all the difference between a lead going dark versus graduating to a qualified opportunity. 

Hill says Bonjoro’s integrations have increased the company’s customer base by the thousands, while improving its customer lifetime value (CLTV), reducing churn, and helping it stand out against its competitors through its best-in-breed service that jives with many of its customers’ tech stacks.

Send this link when… You want to put more budget behind your go-to-market (GTM) strategy with ISV partners and/or develop Ecosystem Ops — or a repeatable, scalable set of partnership practices — for power-boosting your co-selling strategy with ISV partners. 

Chief Enterprise Strategist at Salesforce, Bruce Richardson, writes about how Salesforce filled its product gaps with partners like Vlocity — which helped the customer relationship management (CRM) software enter new industries like communications and media, health insurance, and energy and utilities.

This sounds oddly familiar to a tech ecosystem play Salesforce initiated over 20 years ago… 

On the Partner Up podcast, Bobby Napiltonia, the creator of Salesforce’s Enterprise Channel Partnerships Program in the early 2000s, speaks about how Salesforce expanded into the financial services market. At the time, financial services companies relied on the “black book” for tracking the sales cycle. 

“Your financial advisor would take your book with his book with all of our names and information and get on the train to go home and he might leave it there,” says Napiltonia. 

Napiltonia says that the first financial services firm Salesforce targeted was Merrill Lynch — a deal brought to Salesforce by a partner. 

“I remembered the day we called [the partner] to say, ‘Hey, we have a Publishers Clearing House check for you’ — and it was $543,000, or 10% of the five-million-dollar deal. And we were all happy because I got to show every other partner, ‘Guess what? You, too, can get half-million-dollar checks from us.’”

Did you know: Salesforce’s ecosystem will be 6x the size of Salesforce — That’s $1 trillion in new business between 2019 and 2024. 

Send this link when… You want to invest in a partnership that could open the door to new markets through the partner’s pre-existing network — helping your company outdo the competition. 

That’s right, SignEasy was first-to-market with its strategic partner Apple — meaning the e-signature tool is making its way into the hands of the more than one billion iPhone users before any of its competitors.

It’s no coincidence. SignEasy plans its product roadmap in alignment with Apple’s iOS releases. In the past, they were first-to-market in offering a widget capability — which provided easy access to documents on an iPhone user’s home screen — and Apple pencil functionality — which allowed users to handwrite their signatures on iPads. 

Being first-to-market gives SignEasy a competitive edge by making it easy for Apple to promote SignEasy’s new functionalities in tandem with Apple’s. Meanwhile, other companies are racing to support Apple’s newest features.

Aragon Research named SignEasy an “Innovator” in its 2021 Digital Transaction Management Globe Report for its product innovation. 

Send this link when… You want to align your product roadmap or GTM strategy heavily with your strategic partner’s GTM timeline. You’ll need the dev resources, marketing team buy-in, and more to be first-to-market and come out ahead of your competitors. 

SPH spent just a few months localizing Monday.com’s campaign through its knowledge of South Korean culture and best practices for lead conversion. For example, many of Monday.com’s new South Korean customers favor phone over email and are using the project management software to sort through their overflowing and daunting email inboxes. 

In fact, Monday.com’s fast growth has accelerated the “unprofitable” company’s growth and led to its present initial public offering (IPO) filing

Send this link when… You want to rely on a partner to accelerate your company’s entry into a new market through the partner’s preexisting knowledge. 

Google acquired business intelligence platform Looker just four years after establishing their strategic partnership. Looker continues to operate as an independent business and launched its first round of business intelligence and analytics platform updates in 2020, which included Looker Blocks for Google Marketing Platform.

Google saw the value data governance and management brought its customers throughout their partnership and saw acquiring Looker as an opportunity to standardize data across multiple cloud softwares.

If all these positives don’t do the trick, take a look at Crossbeam CEO Bob Moore’s reaction to the acquisition back when he ran the show at all-in-one BI platform and Looker competitor RJMetrics: 

My $2.6 billion ecosystem fail

Send this link when… You want to dedicate resources and headcount to ensuring your strategic partnership is successful year after year. Or you need to convince your CEO that your product should operate as a best-in-breed offering while relying on partners to fill product gaps and satisfy your customers’ unique tech stacks. 

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Don’t let a lack of buy-in get you down. Use these results from the real world to make the case for your partner program and get your entire team on board.

Want more partnership tactics you can use right now? Check out our Partner Playbook below. 👇

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