Building an Ecosystem Cluster Strategic Co-Sell Program

Building an Ecosystem Cluster Strategic Co-Sell Program

Allan Adler 5 min

In last month’s column on Leveraging Ecosystem Clusters we discussed the importance of Ecosystem Clusters and how we’re working with clients to leverage them. In that article we defined Ecosystem Clusters, discussed why they’re needed, how they work, and how they form.

 

In today’s article, we dive into the next level of granularity and look at what makes Ecosystem Clusters the fastest way to create scalable, predictable, and sustainable B2B SaaS co-sell revenue growth, and the dimensions of an Ecosystem Cluster strategic co-sell program.

Pre-requisites

Regardless of whether the focus is on clusters, the prerequisite for any strategic co-sell program always begins internally—before it makes sense to talk to partners. The two key areas of internal work include standardizing co-sell processes and aligning your Partner and Revenue teams:

 

 

Key process standardization steps include:

  • Standardizing Processes: Selecting customers and aligning with willing and able partners are important initial steps. They not only provide clarity on exactly which customer segments you wish to co-sell to but also which partners will help you drive your nearbound motion. Not surprisingly, these steps also determine the partners that will make up your Ecosystem Cluster to begin with.

     

  • Aligning Teams:  Next, it is important to choose your nearbound motion. This might be a partner assist play (intel, intro, or influence) that leverages one partner’s customer as the source of value for one of your prospects or opportunities, or it might be a genuine co-sell motion where both you and the partner are seeking a net new account.

 

Team alignment is vital, as it will be the partner leaders, CRO, and CCO that will, with the support of RevOps, drive the strategic co-sell program. Both have to be totally bought into the vision of how all this creates scalable, predictable, and sustainable growth, and how you will execute the overall program and the Ecosystem Cluster.

Three elements in an ecosystem cluster strategic co-sell program 

Ecosystem Clusters incorporate 3 important elements. Let’s dig into each of these and highlight how they contribute to an overall strategic co-sell program.

 

 

Cluster co-selling

Co-selling across a cluster means that, instead of relying on one partner for mapping and overlap analysis, you can leverage multiple partners and access account overlap mapping ‘across the cluster.’ If one partner can’t make an introduction to one of their customers, no problem, the next cluster partner has the overlap as well and can make the introduction. This means that more than 80% of the time (Digital Bridge Partners best practice metric?) when your AE reaches out to the cluster, they will find a partner who is willing and able to make an introduction.

 

This sort of engagement needs to be supported by formalized Service-level Agreements (SLAs) that drive reciprocal assists across the cluster. These require dedicated teams governed by those SLAs working with each partner to ensure that each partner participates and generates the required program ROI.

 

Digital Bridge Partners is currently working with a set of ParTech solutions including Reveal, PartnerFleet, 360insights, and our clients to not only standardize and iterate on these types of co-sell motions, but also to be able to analyze, govern, and action account overlap data at a cluster level. The resulting visibility (seeing prospects, opportunities, and customers across a cluster) is a game changer for each of the partner companies, including prospects who want more value and less outbound harassment, and end customers who want to deploy an integrated tech stack.

 

 

Example Co-Sell Motion: Partner Assist

Cluster marketplace

The cluster marketplace concept relies on integrating partner pages and partner marketplaces across a group of partners to deliver a shared marketplace representing all involved players that each of the partners in the cluster can point their prospects. The marketplace also gives partners full visibility into prospect activity and engagement across the cluster.

 

In a cluster marketplace, each company in the cluster would have their own marketplace, and they would standardize how they promote their bundled offerings from one marketplace to the next to maximize total exposure and demand for the bundled offering. 

 

Any given cluster would have X # of partner listings in a given bundled offering. Intent data and leads generated from each of these listings (proprietary to each brand) would be aggregated and shared with other partners, and then co-sell/co-marketing motions could be constructed collaboratively from there.


 

We are excited to be working with Partner Fleet to drive marketplace solutions across clusters.

Cluster intent and orchestration

In addition to driving the SLAs across a cluster, it is important to have a dedicated program team and set of tools supporting all partners in the cluster, analyzing purchase intent, and tracking which customers have bought which solutions and from whom. This dedicated program team can create optimized sales plays based on the sell-in of use cases.

 

This also requires: 

  • Orchestrating partner activities within a single pane of glass (aligned and integrated)

  • The ability to easily create the workflows required to execute on a nearbound motion

  • Access to all partner content, and

  • The ability to report on the performance of any given partner or the cluster as a whole

We are excited to be partnering with 360insights and their new Experience Platform to facilitate these outcomes.

 

The road to achieving predictable, sustainable nearbound revenue is no longer years away.  B2B SaaS companies with an aligned group of peer tech partners can now monetize these partnerships and deliver superior returns to customers, partners, and their shareholders alike.

 

Reach out to me on LinkedIn if you’d like to discuss how.

Allan Adler 5 min

Building an Ecosystem Cluster Strategic Co-Sell Program


In pt. 2, we dive into why Ecosystem Clusters the fastest way to create scalable, predictable, and sustainable B2B SaaS co-sell revenue growth, and the dimensions of an Ecosystem Cluster strategic co-sell program.


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