Key Takeaways: The 2023 State of Partner-Led Growth Report

Key Takeaways: The 2023 State of Partner-Led Growth Report

Multiple Contributors 9 min

In this article you’ll learn: 

  • What is The State of Partner-Led Growth Report?

  • Key takeaways from the report that prove the value of Nearbound

  • How you can action data from the report to get Nearbound buy-in 

Buyers are no longer asking "How can I solve X?" Instead, they are asking, "Who can help me solve X?” At Reveal, we call this the Who Economy, and it has required a major shift in how companies win. 

 

In the How Economy, companies used inbound and outbound to sell. But with the sheer number of information being thrown at buyers daily, we’ve had to adjust. Buyers are now seeking out trusted voices—including service providers, influencers, and the like—to point them towards their next purchase. 

 

Nearbound is the GTM strategy that leverages the shift to the who. 

 

But even though we are seeing Nearbound change the game for hundreds of companies around the world, most B2B companies are still using strategies for the ’How’ economy of yesterday.

 

Need proof? HubSpot and Partnership Leaders just put out an interesting report that drives this home.

 

In The 2023 State of Partner-Led Growth Report, Kathleen Booth, Scott Brinker, Asher Mathew, and Kelly Sarabyn explain that Sales and Marketing leaders report unequivocally that PEOPLE BUYERS TRUST have the biggest impact on purchase decisions. Yet, the percentage of deals coming from the partner network is tiny. 

 

Let’s take a deep dive into the key takeaways of this report, and how you can use the data to finally get buy-in from your organization to shift to a much-needed Nearbound strategy.

What is The 2023 State of Partner-Led Growth Report?

The 73-page report was created by HubSpot in collaboration with Partnership Leaders and Pavilion. It contains insights on how Marketing and Sales leaders leverage partners, the channels they view as important, the key to creating Marketing and Sales alignment with Partnerships, and how metrics are ranked into their KPIs. 

 

To support those numbers, external contributors from companies like Zapier, Semrush, and the Boston Consulting Group shared their perspectives on Partner-Led Growth. 

 

This report derives from a survey of 204 sales and marketing leaders from March 6 to April 10, 2023, and it follows this research methodology: 

  • This survey was conducted online. 

  • Of the 204 professionals surveyed, 37% were Marketing leaders and 63% were Sales leaders.

  • 67% worked at SaaS or technology companies, 19% worked in services and consulting, and the remaining respondents came from a variety of industries, including banking, media, wellness, healthcare, and food and beverage. 

Key Takeaways

“The ecosystem business model will grow to $60 trillion by 2025, representing 30% of the total global economy”—McKinsey

 

This report emphasizes a major dichotomy:

1. A partner ecosystem is a powerful tool for increasing revenue, and

2. While this power is acknowledged by other teams, widespread adoption is lacking.

 

GTM leaders recognize the increasing value of partnerships as a channel. However, many organizations still have less than 10% of their leads coming from partners due to a lack of alignment between partnership and non-partnership roles.

 

Failing to leverage a Nearbound strategy exposes you to the risk of losing to competitors who are operationalizing partnership data. 

 

Partners Have a Huge Impact on Purchase Decisions

In the old world of the How Economy, we relied on inbound and outbound to influence the customer journey. In the Who Economy, the biggest impact on the purchase decision is trust. 

 

Prior to speaking to your Sales team, buyers are seeking the opinions of those in their professional network. They turn to trusted agencies, consultancies, influencers, and tech vendors who can guide them through the purchase process and assist in selecting the right technology. 

 

Basically, they are seeking out the people who have already been to the promised land they want to reach. 

 

Source: HubSpot

 

‍To build and leverage the trust that buyers are seeking, Nearbound is the ideal solution. In many cases, you might not be the one your buyers trust, but you can definitely partner with someone who has already gained their trust. 

 

These partners can surround your sales cycle so that trust becomes transferred to you and your product. 

Getting Nearbound Buy-in 

Here’s how to leverage this data to create a Nearbound strategy that wins the support of your leadership, Marketing, and Sales teams:

 

  1. Find the lowest-hanging fruit: Leverage Account Mapping to work with your partners to identify the businesses they’re currently working with where you’ve got a complimentary product/service that they need.

  2. Quickly identify your key partners: The greater the number of Account and Contact overlaps you have with your partner, the more likely it is that they’ll have a significant influence within your ecosystem.

  3. Research potential partners: Explore their reputation, track record, market presence, and compatibility with your organization. Consider their values, mission, and overall fit with your business.

 

Partner Referrals are One of The Most Valuable Leads 

Leads can be sourced in different ways. However, partner referrals are ranked as the second most valuable (just behind customer referrals) for Marketing and Sales teams. Those teams are aware that partner referrals are more likely to close and increase the Lifetime Value (LTV). 

 

Partner referrals are leads that other companies within your ecosystem send having already made an introduction or a recommendation, a.k.a. Nearbound leads. Since they have already been influenced by the trust factor, you are more likely to see the following results with these deals: 

  • 41% increase in win rates with Nearbound deals

  • 43% increase in deal size with Nearbound deals

  • 2x average revenue increase when selling to partner customers

  • Almost 50% of companies surveyed by Hubspot, Partnership Leaders, and Canalys made at least 26% of their revenues through partners in 2022

 

Source: HubSpot

 

‍To effectively source partner referrals, leverage Nearbound to establish and strengthen your partner program. You need to connect with your ecosystem and align those partnerships with your company’s goals. To obtain buy-in for Nearbound, engage your CRO with tangible figures. For instance, demonstrate how the partnerships you develop will generate a specific amount of revenue ("X").

Getting Nearbound Buy-in

Sourcing partner referrals can be achieved through various strategies and tactics. Here are some effective ways to source partner referrals:

  1. Build strong relationships: Cultivate relationships with existing partners and nurture them to become advocates for your business. 

  2. Leverage online platforms: Utilize online partner directories, platforms, and communities. These platforms often provide opportunities to engage with partners and receive referrals.

  3. Prioritize relationships: Use reveal data to see the partnerships with the highest partner signals and start sending them leads.

 

Partnerships is More than a Department 

Sales and Marketing teams have realized that partnerships isn’t just a department, it is a strategy that should be embedded into all GTM motions. They not only help with intros, but they also collaborate on deals with Marketing and Sales teams, they send new leads, improve brand equity, resell, implement and manage services, create stickiness with existing customers, share intel, find key integrations, and more!

 

Marketing (inbound) and Sales (outbound) teams aren’t alone anymore, they have a third strategy: Nearbound. 

 

They have access to that key person who can influence the account the most to speed up the sales process.

 

Source: HubSpot

 

Picture this: by adding Nearbound to your strategy you will access at least 33% more highly-qualified leads. Plus you will have all the support you need to keep those accounts warm. Partnerships teams aren’t only generating revenue to reach their KPIs, they are helping other teams to exceed theirs.

 

Getting Nearbound Buy-in

Here’s what you need to do to get your team using Nearbound and to get buy-in:

  1. Set up a seamless process for collaboration: You need a tool like Reveal Engage that can help you build a seamless process between Partnerships and Sales that allows Sales to leverage the right ecosystem intelligence at the right time and in the right channels

  2. Identify and nurture internal champions: This report shows us that there are people in Sales and Marketing who want to implement a Nearbound strategy. Find them and nurture that relationship.

 

Marketing and Sales Alignment with Partnerships

Most Marketing and Sales leaders (involved and not involved in partnerships) think that the Nearbound strategy is becoming more effective and valuable. However, the lack of alignment between these three teams has built a perception gap that has generated that less than 10% of the generated leads come from partners. 

 

The disconnect between these crucial departments can hinder collaboration, and effective communication, and lead to missed opportunities.

 

Source: HubSpot

 

If you’re one of those companies that only source 10% of your leads from your partners, keep in mind that you’re missing +90% of business opportunities. Unconsciously you’re hindering your revenue because you’re not properly sourcing highly qualified leads that can have a faster and smoother sales process. 

Getting Nearbound Buy-in 

If you want to get your GTM teams aligned to drive more Nearbound revenue, here’s what you can do:

  1. Establish clear objectives and shared goals: Ensure that all teams have a common understanding of the overall objectives and targets. This alignment will enable them to work towards a unified vision.

  2. Encourage collaboration and cross-functional initiatives: Create opportunities for joint projects and initiatives that involve all three teams. Encouraging collaboration fosters a sense of shared ownership and builds stronger relationships among team members.

  3. Show your success: We know that Nearbound deals close faster. After testing your own Nearbound strategy, track the data and present it to your company.

 

The Reveal of the State of Partner-Led Growth Report

The 2023 State of Partner-Led Growth Report sheds light on the evolving landscape of partnerships and the desperate need for Nearbound strategies. It highlights the importance of alignment and enablement between Sales, Marketing, and Partnerships teams to fully leverage the power of Partnerships. 

 

While the report showcases the positive impact of Partnerships on revenue generation, it also reveals that there is still work to be done in terms of aligning these teams and maximizing the potential of Nearbound.

 

Ready to unlock the true potential of Partnerships and create alignment between your GTM teams?

 

Let’s get started!

Multiple Contributors 9 min

Key Takeaways: The 2023 State of Partner-Led Growth Report


In the 2023 State of Partner-Led Growth Report by Kathleen Booth, Scott Brinker, Asher Mathew, and Kelly Sarabyn. Sales and Marketing leaders report that PEOPLE BUYERS TRUST have the biggest impact on purchase decisions.


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