Change is coming...
I have bad news for C-suite leaders who think that organizations designed with a scarcity mindset and traditional hierarchical command and control structures will thrive. B2B SaaS companies that don’t evolve to incorporate community-oriented, trust-based networks and ecosystems in their business are unsustainable and will face serious growth headwinds.
Such companies will not grow, will not get additional funding, will not attract the best, most creative people, and will shrink away in the next three to five years.
The headwinds of change
Four trends are driving this prediction:
- With the migration to the cloud and its low switching costs, vendor lock-in is a thing of the past, and interoperability is paramount in driving customer relevance and retention. To drive retention, vendors are building integrated multi-tech stacks that create stickiness and deliver profound customer value.
- Beyond pure integrations, companies are creating platforms on which others can innovate while innovating themselves on other platforms. This sharing of IP in an open and trusted way is flipping the script on top-down, command, and control governance models.
- Companies adopting platform models align the entire organization to collaborate with partners and communities in ways that blur organizational boundaries. These companies are building shared ecosystem goals and objectives, segmentation and targeting strategies, customer stories, and messaging, and are engaging the ecosystem in collaboration.
- Market power, expertise, authority, and legitimacy is migrating to organic, self-forming communities. Partnership Leaders and PartnerHacker are examples of communities where expertise is congregating.
Join the revolution
Leaders who join the revolution and establish Ecosystem Businesses will thrive.
Money and other resources will flow to them based on models and processes that deliver more value and are more trusted. Platform-based ecosystems are current examples of this - they have the highest NRR and network effects that drive sustainable and EPS growth.
The competency and organizational change to establish a Go-To-Eco approach have to start at the top and cascade down to and become embedded in strategy, product, marketing, sales, and customer success. If we are courageous and say NO to toxicity and ineffective power structures; e.g, an employer who doesn’t get it, we can start to say YES to better ways of operating.
None of this will be easy. If we are innovative and steadfast, we will land on the right side of history and be proud when our kids ask us, 'What were you doing while the world was falling apart?’ But we mustn’t just hang around and watch the sand shift under our feet.
Lead the way
We must all take action now to:
- Evangelize - Tell the Ecosystem Business and GoToEco story to everyone, they will thank you for showing them the way.
- Connect - Share your ideas with thought leaders who get it and amplify their voices.
- Brand - Build a personal brand around the new way forward.
- Shift - Examine how you operate and your mental models, to ensure that you lead with an abundant mindset, generosity, kindness, inclusion, equity, and sustainability. These are the values that fuel ecosystem businesses and initiatives.
- Move - Look for a new job if your company is too dumb or stuck in the mud.
If you are worried about your career in #partnerships, please remember that you are on the right side of history, and the revolution is coming. I leave you with this wonderful quote from William Gibson:
The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed.