Realize the Full Value of Your Software and Service Partner Marketplace with Integrated Ecosystem Clusters

Realize the Full Value of Your Software and Service Partner Marketplace with Integrated Ecosystem Clusters

Allan Adler 5 min

At Digital Bridge, we see many of our clients turning to an integrated GTM, that aligns ISV and services partners, as a powerful way to unlock ecosystem potential. Clusters are an essential add to underlying partner marketplace listings. Without a roadmap of integrated solutions, full customer value can’t be realized. 


B2B Marketplaces play an important role, including providing access to a broad pool of potential vendors, and high-quality, prescreened ones. And their value extends beyond vendor selection to customization, dynamic pricing, and indirect-spend management. Marketplaces also free up procurement teams from repetitive transactional work, allowing them to focus on strategic activities like innovation and sustainability.  


But marketplaces don’t go far enough. 


Customer needs  

Customers are pretty clear that they expect B2B vendors to do more than provide a menu of potential integration partners - they want to understand the relationship between the vendor offering and the array of software and services offerings that surround it. In short, they want an integrated tech stack: 

Customers look to their vendors to enable them to deliver personalized and seamless customer journeys across multiple touchpoints and channels. They seek the operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness of managing and maintaining a unified tech infrastructure. They demand the data-driven insights and decision-making capabilities enabled by a harmonized and centralized data ecosystem. 


The channel to the rescue 

Last month we published a related article on the role of services partners in bringing Ecosystem Clusters to market. We highlighted that even though the preference for integrated suites began to soar (from 29% to 59% from 2019 to 2020), few vendors responded with an integrated GTM. 


Most vendor partner programs today have a silo’d program model that doesn’t unify or harmonize tech partners with services partners even if both are listed in the vendor marketplaces. And the two isolated programs fail to facilitate an integrated GTM experience for either partners or end customers. 


An integrated GTM, leveraging Ecosystem Orchestration best practices, enables services partners to more efficiently market, sell, and implement more than one tech partner solution, ironically doing what the channel has always done—unifying siloed vendor programs. 


Better together unifies solution and partner management 

To make this work, vendors need to bring together their solution and GTM efforts with their work with both ISV and services partners with an Ecosystem Orchestration strategy that aligns the vectors. 




Vector 1 is the Vendor GTM with respect to Clusters. 

Here, the vendor solution team needs to awaken to the opportunity to present every customer with a set of solutions that complete, complement, and extend their core solutions with their top ISV partners. They also need to strongly encourage their SI partners to position the ecosystem customers which already aligns with the SI (multi-vendor) business model.  


This decision can be justified based on a host of vendor benefits which include: 

  • Increased revenue based on ISV contribution 

  • Additional GTM capacity 

  • Increased vendor’s customer share of wallet 

  • ISV attach, increasing value realization, LTV, and revenue retention 


Vector 2 is the ISV Partner Engagement in the Better Together Trifecta 

Here ISVs will quickly realize that they are sitting on a huge potential pipeline of leads that services partners can plant into existing vendor customers. One data point we’ve observed is that when a trusted sales rep (AE or Channel Partner) recommended an ISV solution to an existing vendor customer, these referrals have a 75% close rate. This is proverbial money in the bank if ISVs get an introduction from of the SIs positioning them in an Ecosystem Cluster. 


This decision can be justified based on a host of ISV benefits which include: 

  • Increased revenue, ACV and retention 

  • Time to value 

  • Industry, GEO, and market penetration 

  • A position on vendor’s value roadmap  

  • Brand recognition and valuation 


Vector 3 is the SI Partner as the Ecosystem Ring Master 

Getting services partners to play a part in positioning a value roadmap will be challenging because SIs like to retain independence and don’t want to be perceived as VARs who  “sell products.” As with most channel engagement, overcoming this resistance comes down to the value proposition, and here there is a carrot and a stick: 


The carrot is more revenue, sticker customer relationships, more ability to influence the direction the act goes in expanding their existing solutions, etc.  


An important stick comes when the SI realizes that if they don’t position the Ecosystem Cluster, another SI may likely do so and create conflict and confusion at the customer—that ultimately means lost business which the cluster positioning helps to avoid. 


Keep your eyes peeled throughout ‘24 and ‘25 for programs that align the ISV and services provider GTMs. The best of them will start with an aligned vendor GTM that creates and rolls-out ISV Ecosystem clusters allowing SIs to present customers with a more integrated and compelling tech stack. 


Allan Adler 5 min

Realize the Full Value of Your Software and Service Partner Marketplace with Integrated Ecosystem Clusters

Explore the power of integrated GTM strategies aligning ISV and services partners. Learn how ecosystem clusters elevate customer value beyond traditional marketplaces.

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