The GTM Bowtie: How To Overlay Partners Across the Complete Customer's Journey Part Two

The GTM Bowtie: How To Overlay Partners Across the Complete Customer's Journey Part Two

Ella Richmond & Will Taylor 8 min

In Part One we introduced the Rhythm of Business framework and laid the groundwork for setting up a successful nearbound revenue platform. 

We emphasized the importance of strategic partnerships in driving sustainable growth and creating a cohesive ecosystem that supports every stage of the customer journey. 

Now, in Part Two, we delve deeper into the Bowtie Go-to-Market (GTM) model, focusing on its practical application during the Onboard/Implement, Adopt/Integrate, and Expand/Evangelize stages. 

Each phase presents unique opportunities to leverage partners to enhance customer success and transform satisfied customers into passionate advocates. 

We can unlock new dimensions of customer engagement and loyalty by strategically engaging various partner types and utilizing tools like Reveal. Let’s explore how these stages unfold and the pivotal role partners play in each phase, ensuring that our nearbound revenue platform thrives.


Onboard / Implement

Purpose: To set new customers up for success. 

How partners help:

  • Streamline the onboarding process

  • Gain access to partner expertise

  • Get customers connected to the community

  • Integrate product into existing workflows 

Which department(s) are most involved:

  • Marketing

  • Customer Success 

Partner types:

  • ISV (tech) Integration partners

  • MSPs and other service partners

  • Consultants / Agencies 

Why partners are critical to this phase

 Your technology is NOT the only one in your new customer’s stack.  

So having a partner that is expert in not only your technology, but the others that will impact your overall processes and performance is critical. 

Partners offer:

  • Enhanced Insights and Intel: Partners provide deep insights and intelligence including detailed knowledge of customer environments, decision-making processes, and potential roadblocks.
  • Accelerated Implementation: Partner involvement accelerates the implementation process by leveraging pre-existing relationships and knowledge. They facilitate smoother transitions and minimize implementation challenges by aligning the solution with the customer's existing technology stack and operational workflows.
  • Customer-Centric Approach: Partners help tailor solutions to meet specific customer needs and operational contexts.
  • Continuous Support and Expertise: Partners provide ongoing support and expertise post-implementation, ensuring that customers derive maximum value from the solution over time. This continuous engagement fosters long-term customer relationships and loyalty, positioning partners as trusted advisors beyond the initial sale.
  • Risk Mitigation and Scalability: Partner involvement mitigates implementation risks through their specialized knowledge and experience. This collaboration ensures scalable solutions that evolve with the customer's business needs, maintaining high levels of performance and adaptability.

How to best use Reveal (step-by-step instructions)

  • Use Reveal’s 360 Goals to identify which partners might already be working with my new customer.



    Reveal's 360 Goals dashboard

  • Use the directory to identify partners that work with similar types of companies to my new customer


    Reveal's directory

  • Allow for custom fields to be passed from your partner’s CRM to yours that articulates the stages of the onboarding process 

Onboard play: Partner-led onboarding session 

  1. Identify a client that had a particularly successful onboarding experience and was a strong partner throughout the process

  2. Co-develop a set of “Onboarding Keys to Success”. Including a timeline, milestones and outcomes

  3. Have the client talk about what THEY needed to bring to the table to be successful—something a lot of onboarding documentation overlooks

  4. Record the session to be used as pre-work before and during the onboarding process with new clients

  5. Be sure to finish up the session with action steps. Just because the software is installed, integrated, and stable doesn’t mean the job is done. What can your operations team do to set up the rest of the users of the solution for success? For example:

    • Build enablement (beyond simple features/functions walkthrough)

    • Establish governance of the tool

    • Create a roadmap for rollout of use cases


Adopt / Integrate

Purpose: To increase customer loyalty and value. 

How partners help:

  • Get assistance with unique use cases

  • Deepen platform knowledge

  • Scale operations 

Which department(s) are most involved:

  • Marketing

  • Customer Success 

Partner types: 

  • ISV (tech) Integration partners

  • MSPs and other service partners

  • Consultants / Agencies 

Why partners are critical to this phase 

At the adopt/integrate stage, customers have moved beyond onboarding and are actively incorporating the solution into their workflows. This stage marks a crucial phase where the initial use case begins to solidify into everyday operations.

In the adopt/integrate stage partners:

  • Ensure that customers maximize the ability of a tool.

  • Drive Additional Value through Integrations: Integrations increase stickiness and perceived value. By leveraging partner integrations, customers not only adopt the tool faster but also derive more value from its extended capabilities. 

  • Improve Customer Success and Retention: Partnerships at this stage help predict and prevent churn. By analyzing data and insights gathered through partner collaborations, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) can proactively identify at-risk customers and implement retention strategies. This collaborative approach ensures that customers continue to derive value and are less likely to switch to alternative solutions.

  • Aid with Strategic Enablement and Alignment: Partner managers play a critical role in enabling CS teams to effectively utilize partner integrations. By providing insights into shared customer bases and highlighting joint value propositions, partner managers empower CS teams to align their strategies with customer needs and goals. This alignment not only streamlines operations but also enhances the overall customer experience.

  • Impact KPIs: Partner collaborations impact key metrics such as retention rates, upsell success, and customer satisfaction scores (NPS). These metrics serve as tangible indicators of the value delivered through integrated solutions, reinforcing the strategic importance of partnerships in achieving business objectives.

How to best use Reveal (step-by-step instructions)

  • Share your customer health score (and other related data points)  as custom fields with your partner. This way, you can review on regular intervals and ensure you’re both viewing the customer the same way.  Often times, the data-based approach to health scores doesn’t tell the whole story (e.g. the Health Score doesn’t reflect if the company’s MOP budget is taking a 25% hit for the coming year). 

  • Go to “Retain my Customers” in 360° Goals. Filter the customers by the health score field to identify customers who are a possible churn risks. Create a campaign that sends enablement materials to the customers, or pushes them toward booking meetings with partners and/or your CS teams.

Use Reveal's "Retain my Customers" view

Adopt play: Co-branded enablement materials 

Customers want to see how your software works in the real world.  A slide deck with “use cases” can spark some interest, but they want to know both how to do it and who else has succeeded using the plays. Leverage your existing customer base that has had success with this tool to bring those use cases to life.

  • Start with the results; this is your attention grabber

  • Show a visual of how they got there, including timelines help set realistic expectations 

  • Talk about the tactics the customer used that led to success  at each stage 

  • Be sure to highlight ALL stakeholders involved at each stage,  and what their role was 

  • Point out any pitfalls to avoid or consider along the way 

  • Turn this into a “playbook” for each use case 

  • Consider the best medium; for example, consider doing video interview with the client and the partner so they can bring their own personality and expertise to the conversation.


Expand / Evangelize

Purpose: To turn customers into partners and evangelists 

How partners help:

  • Identify the best customers who are ready to be leveraged as partners

  • Work with customer evangelists to drive further awareness 

Which department(s) are most involved: 

  • Marketing 

  • Customer Success 

  • Sales 

Partner types: 

  • Media partners 

  • Communities 

  • Influencers 

  • Key Opinion Leaders 

  • Content-level co-marketing tech partners

Why partners are critical to this phase

At the expand/evangelization stage, the focus shifts from initial adoption to maximizing customer value and highlighting customer successes.

This phase marks a critical transition from initial conversions and surface-level relationships to long-term success and committed relationships.

Every activity in this stage makes it easier for customers to become evangelists, because as Jill Rowley says, “your customers are your best partners.”

If successful, customers will:

  • Help evangelize your product 

  • Paint a realistic vision of what’s possible

  • Provide the “how to’s” that show your prospects that what your marketing says can be done ACTUALLY can be done 

Customers are the voices your buyers trust most. They are real life practitioners with real successes. They are ambassadors in the field, pushing the boundaries of what is possible with your platform and reaching the promised land your prospects hope to reach.

Partners at this stage:

  • Amplify Customer Success Stories: Partners have the networks and platforms to showcase your customer success stories widely. They help in amplifying these narratives, ensuring that potential customers hear directly from those who have achieved success with your product.
  • Facilitate Upsell and Expansion Opportunities: Partnerships open doors to upsell opportunities by expanding the functionality and use cases of the solution. For example, when partners collaborate on workshops or joint marketing campaigns, they demonstrate to customers how integrated solutions can solve more complex challenges, thereby increasing the likelihood of expanding the partnership.
  • Facilitate Peer-to-Peer Engagement: By organizing and promoting customer events, webinars, and user groups, partners create spaces for peer-to-peer engagement. These interactions foster a community of users who share best practices, thereby increasing product adoption and advocacy.
  • Provide Continuous Education and Training: Through ongoing training sessions, workshops, and certification programs, partners ensure that customers are continually learning and expanding their use of your product. This ongoing education helps in keeping the customers engaged and extracting maximum value from your solution.
  • Offer Strategic Insights and Consultation: Partners bring in industry expertise and strategic insights that can help customers navigate challenges and optimize their usage of your product. Their consultation helps in aligning the product more closely with the customer's evolving business goals, thereby fostering long-term relationships and advocacy.

You can unlock new dimensions of customer engagement and loyalty by strategically engaging various partner types and utilizing tools like Reveal. 

How to best use Reveal

Reveal helps create clarity in the expand/evangelize stage of the bowtie. In a world where there are hundreds of accounts to convert to revenue, Reveal helps you create a priority list of partners to expand based on where you already have leverage in the form of partner presence.

  • Upsell your solution with the help of a partner. Create a list of accounts that are current customers and prospects of your partner. Give that list to your CSM or account management team (whoever is handling upsells) and let them know that this is the list your partner can help upsell.

  • Pull a forecast report. Pull a list of your customers and who owns those accounts at your company. Then look at where partners are already present, but where your company isn’t engaged with that partner. Look for opportunities to co-market, co-sell, and co-service. Then take action on the opportunity.

  • Use Reveal’s CRM Widget to:

    • Get real-time signals to proactively take action on at-risk and strategic accounts

    • Identify synergies with your partners and create business cases for new integrations

    • Uncover your customers’ tech stacks so you can create winning success strategies

  • Use Reveal’s Get Intro and Deal Influencer’s feature to:

    • Increase adoption by identifying mutually beneficial joint contacts

    • Align with your partners to create a winning product offerings

    • Send targeted content to customers based on their tech stack


      Reveal's Get Intro and Deal Influencer feature

  • Use Reveal’s CRM Workflows, Digest, and Alerts to:

    • Automatically flag at-risk accounts or possible upsell opportunities

    • Get the intel, influence, and intros needed to take action on key solutions

    • Leverage partner insights and ecosystem data directly in your CSM tools

Expand play: Co-sell with partners

Co-selling is not one-size-fits-all; every company needs to adapt this motion to its goals. But in general, co-selling is: 

 “A modern partnering process where two or more peer-level partners with complementary offerings come together to provide a holistic solution to a shared customer need and work collaboratively to sell together.”–Workspan 

To build a co-selling motion, you need to leverage the 3 I’s of Nearbound: intel, influence, and intros.

  1. Begin with an internal assessment of your company’s strategy.

  2. Schedule a meeting with the leaders on your Go-To-Market (GTM) teams to evaluate the strategy and determine how a co-selling initiative can align with it. Don’t overlook the desired outcomes you aim to achieve.

  3. During the meeting, present the process and tools you intend to use to attain the promised results. Acknowledge that sales collaboration and account mapping tools are indispensable in this process, and consider developing enablement sessions for your internal teams.

  4. Include a list of accounts from the Sales team that do not currently involve a partner, and integrate your co-selling initiative into these accounts. 

  5. Clearly articulate how collaboration with partners can expedite deal closures on average by 33% on both sides, emphasizing the advantages for both your partner and your company.

Read more about co-selling here.


Conclusion

The Bowtie GTM model is a powerful framework for driving customer success and business growth through strategic partnerships. 

By overlaying partners into each stage, we can create a seamless customer journey that maximizes value at every touchpoint.

In the Onboard/Implement stage, partners streamline the onboarding process, integrate products into existing workflows, and expedite time to value by leveraging their expertise and existing relationships. 

During the Adopt/Integrate phase, partners help deepen platform knowledge, assist with unique use cases, and ensure your solution becomes a critical part of your customer's operations. 

Finally, in the Expand/Evangelize stage, customers are transformed into advocates who evangelize your product, driving further awareness and credibility in the market.

Embrace the Bowtie GTM model along with a tool like Reveal, and watch your partnerships drive unparalleled growth and value.

Get the step-by-step guide to reaching buyers with the voices that surround them to drive more revenue. Read the Nearbound Marketing Blueprint.

Ella Richmond & Will Taylor 8 min

The GTM Bowtie: How To Overlay Partners Across the Complete Customer's Journey Part Two


In this two-part series, we’ll show you exactly how partnerships should overlay across every stage of the buyer journey.


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