It's not just an org
Partnerships are (sometimes) an organization within a company. But in the era of ecosystems, they've got to be a lot more than that.
Ecosystem thinking needs to permeate all orgs - product, marketing, sales, and success - otherwise it might end up as lip-service or an afterthought.
An interesting question is what will come first: these other orgs realizing the need and seeking out more partner-led approaches, or partner orgs demonstrating it first and taking the lead?
Partner ecosystems vs traditional channel
People who've been in this business for a long time often seem surprised by the surge in interest in partnerships and words like 'ecosystem' being thrown around.
Isn't this just the same old channel sales stuff that's been around for decades?
Jay McBain has a great little Q&A at Canalys where he touches on some of the changes.
To understand what makes a partner ecosystem different than a traditional channel is to analyze the changes in people, organizations, processes, programs, partners and underlying technology that are fueling the decade of the ecosystem.
Jay points out that the traditional channel model was entirely focused on the sale at the end of the buyer journey, which meant partners who played a pivotal role in earlier steps often went under-appreciated, and those involved with only the last step could be over-appreciated.
The buyer journey (and customer journey) is more complex and involves a lot more players now. The era of ecosystems is all about recognizing, supporting, and measuring these more complex patterns. There are more partner types than ever before along the way.
[T]he average customer prospect will move through many moments before making a vendor selection in a considered purchase....vendors will need to identify and attribute...a partner who has driven that moment.
What was so well-developed in the previous decade - marketing automation and data - is not yet equipped to handle the proliferation of indirect influence in the market.
Whether it be a well-placed eBook, an event, a social media engagement, some expert consulting, design, or architecture work...Partnerships will be needed to replace elements of MarTech and AdTech that were used for this purpose in the past.
Read Jay’s Q&A here.
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