Partnership professionals like you need more to brag about.
In fact, if we could draw a map that shows each moment a partnership impacts your business, we would. The map would include markers for each net new lead, each deal that closes 28 days faster (okay, that was a tad specific 😉), and so much more.
Okay, so maybe you can’t bring this ☝️ to your leadership team — but you can use a handful of tactics to capture these wins and share them with your team (Skip ahead to see how!).
How Capturing a Partnership’s Smaller, Immediate Effects Can Impact Your Role
The lack of clarity around a partnership’s immediate effects produces a slew of problems — from lack of buy-in from the sales, product, and leadership teams to the inability to give credit where credit’s due.
Just take a look at these common challenges partnership professionals face, according to our 2021 State of the Partner Ecosystem Report. Pretty much all of these problems can tie back to the “grayness” of partnership results. (Get the 2022 State of the Partner Ecosystem Report here.)
We can see it now:
A sales rep closed a deal at a greater annual contract value (ACV) because of an introduction he received from a partner. You share the story with your entire sales team, and now everyone wants to replicate the success story and leverage partner data in their workflows.
Your sales leadership sees your partner’s name tagged on a high percentage of deals-won this month, and they decide to invest more time into training the sales team to adopt a co-selling workflow.
Your leadership team sees the cumulative impact integration development has on customer retention, so they invest in growing the tech partnerships team (and the engineering team!).
Seeing the ROI of a partnership takes time, but why wait? There are immediate results taking shape from your partnerships everyday — impacting your sales cycle and customer journey.
Let’s quantify that everyday impact.
We spoke with partnership professionals from Sendoso, Conversica, Contentsquare, and Salesforce to learn how they capture the ongoing effects of partnerships.
1. Track Partnership “Keywords” in Sales Calls and Tag the Partners in Your CRM
One way to track partner-influenced deals is by identifying partner “keywords” in sales conversation platforms like Gong or Chorus.
The partnerships team at Sendoso gets notifications when specific partners or integrations are mentioned several times during sales calls.
“A lot of times on these Gong recordings, the prospect will say, ‘Oh, I heard about you guys because of your integration with SalesLoft,’” says Carina Shahin, Partner Account Manager at Sendoso. “And that’s a huge indicator that the account is influenced or generated by SalesLoft.”
Shahin says the KPI she’s held most accountable for is partner-sourced revenue, but it’s not always easy to identify which leads came from which partners. Surfacing clues during the initial sales conversation with a particular account helps her ensure that the partner’s impact doesn’t get lost in the sales cycle.
Shawn Li, Senior Director of Partnerships at Conversica says that if you’re able to tag a sales deal as “partner-influenced,” the partner manager should always receive credit.
When tracing partner-influenced revenue, focus on the partner’s direct impact rather than how much the partner impacts the deal. Don’t worry about splitting up the credit as a percentage between teams. It’s not about competing; the sales team supports the success of partnerships, just as the partnerships team supports the success of sales.
“The team is more focused on the substance and the cumulative impact, how you move the needle, versus how much you move the needle,” says Li.
By tagging the partner in your CRM, your sales reps and leadership team will:
- See the partner’s name throughout the sales cycle and identify more opportunities for leveraging partner data
- Be more likely to reach out to the partner for help with accelerating a particular deal or resurrecting an opportunity gone dark
- Have more clarity around attribution for all parties involved
2. Develop a Formula for Calculating Retention Rates by Number of Integrations
Technology partnerships can inform a variety of metrics (net new leads, partner-sourced revenue, and partner-influenced revenue). Measure your integrations’ adoption rates, and put the data into terms that translate to the whole company (revenue!). But it’s not so easy to measure the impact a single integration has on your company’s bottom line, at least early on.
Analyze the data you have on your existing integrations, and develop a formula to calculate how the amount of integrations you have impacts your company’s revenue. Use the data to forecast results as your integration tech stack grows.
Gilad Zubery, Executive Vice President of Global Business Development and Partnerships at Contentsquare, says his team has developed a formula to calculate the resulting gross revenue retention and upsell opportunities according to the number of integrations they have.
“We capture all of the touchpoints with integrations, so we know how many integrations are deployed, how many accounts, how many API calls,” says Zubery. “We re-slice and dice the data. We’ve done that over the years at Clicktale and now Contentsquare. I can tell you how many integrations and what type of integrations lead to a higher gross retention and increase in upsell opportunities.”
By using data from the digital experience analytics platform’s more than 800 enterprise customers, Zubery and his team are able to determine which integrations combined lead to 90% gross revenue retention (recurring revenue year over year), for example. They can also calculate the gross retention percentage that would result without the integrations.
Developing a formula to calculate the impact your integrations have had so far can help you get more buy-in from leadership to grow your tech partnerships program (meaning more resources, more headcount, and more compensation).
3. Include a “Partner-Influenced” Story at the Top of Your Internal Presentations
Have a partner that accelerated a deal? Don’t keep that information locked away in Slack DMs between you and the account sales rep. Use that story to empower other sales reps.
Carina Shahin at Sendoso likes to celebrate a little win at the start of any presentation she gives to her sales team. These wins include anything from how a partner helped her team revive a lead gone dark to how the partner increased the deal’s contract value.
Start off every sales enablement presentation (from SKO to All Hands) with a recent partnership win. It’ll give your sales team context they can directly apply in their daily workflows and your leadership team clear-cut examples to better train their team in leveraging partner data.
Little win “stories” don’t just apply to co-selling. You can also start small with your co-marketing by using our crawl, walk, run framework. Catching results for your co-marketing motions early on helps you vet your partners and forecast results — bundle the wins into bite-sized stories and put them on the first slide of your next presentation (with a gif!).
4. Connect Your PEP to Your CRM
Your rep closed a deal on Wednesday. On Friday at your Zoom happy hour, that same rep thanks you for your partner’s help closing the deal. Wait, wah? That’s a partner-influenced deal, and you and your partner deserve credit for it.
Track your partner’s influence through every stage of the sales cycle by connecting your partner ecosystem platform (PEP) with your CRM. Crossbeam’s Salesforce push integration enables your reps (and their leadership team) to see partner data directly in their account dashboards.
Using Salesforce’s report builder, you can segment your closed-won deals with your overlapping partners. This can spark a conversation at the final stage of the sales cycle clarifying the exact partners who influenced a deal and how — from accelerating the deal to increasing the deal size.
Salesforce report with Crossbeam Objects incorporated
You can also segment for areas of need — like deals-lost or prospects gone dark — to create win-back target lists. The more your sales team understands when and how to engage your partners, the more proactive they’ll get in leveraging (and vocalizing) the impact of partner data.
5. Track App Marketplace Analytics
The app marketplaces you participate in directly contribute to your partner-sourced and partner-influenced deals.
You can show the impact of your marketplace partners in a fews of ways:
- Direct conversions through your marketplace listing (through demos and purchases)
- Analyzing the analytics of your listing (number of visitors and how they’re finding and interacting with your listing)
- Tracking mentions of your marketplace partner during the sales conversation
Shawn Li at Conversica says that tracking marketplace conversions is one of the easiest ways to track a partner’s impact on the sales funnel — whether the lead is net new or preexisting.
“If I’m taking a hand raiser from a marketplace, that’s clear. The lead is submitting a form, it gets routed to a sales rep. It’s pretty clear the customer saw the listing and wants to find out more,” says Li. “We check if the account is owned by a sales account executive or a partner account manager. If not, I qualify the net new lead as coming in from the partner marketplace.”
Alternatively, if the prospect already exists, that’s partner-influenced. Whew, that was easy!
Marketplace participants also have a wealth of analytics that can show the traction they’re getting from a given marketplace. Marketplaces like Salesforce’s AppExchange display analytics directly in your account dashboard, showing the number of visitors your listing has and how they’re converting. AppExchange partners can also call the API through the AppsAnalyticsQueryRequest object to retrieve more data on the user experience.
Bryan Corcoran, Director of AppExchange and ISV Intelligence at Salesforce, says that many partners build automation integrations to call the API on a recurring basis. This enables them to transfer the data into a visualization dashboard, like Salesforce’s Tableau CRM (previously Einstein Analytics).
While the analytics will only give you a high-level overview (no account names included), you’ll have visibility into Salesforce’s overall influence. If you have a high number of regular visitors to your listing, Salesforce is likely fueling or increasing interest in your product. Conversely, if you have a high bounce rate, it may be time to adjust your messaging, in-platform visuals, and CTAs — in your listing and across your other marketing channels.
Marketplace analytics can quantify the momentum a marketplace partner is building for your pipeline and give you insights on how to maximize your results.
Refer back to tactics one and two from our list for more on tracking your partner’s influence from marketplace visit to deal-won.
Want to learn more about what partner professionals are doing to scale their partner programs? Top partnerships experts will be sharing all sorts of valuable ecosystem insights at Supernode, Crossbeam’s conference for those who build and scale partner ecosystems. Learn more below:
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