PartnerHacker Weekend 11/05: Don't Feed the Funnel, Seed the Ecosystem

PL[X] starts next week!

The biggest partner event ever. A one-of-a-kind remote experience. For every department. The future of Go-To-Market is in your hands.

Be there.

Bring a friend.

A quick recap of the PhD from this week:

Recently published:


  • November 7 -11, 2022 - PL[X] Summit, the world’s largest B2B SaaS partnerships event ever!

Feed the funnel < seed the ecosystem

Learn from others, but keep an open mind

When you inherit a job, title, department, duties, and KPIs, you assume the way to do it is by following the playbook you were handed.

This is not all bad. There's a lot to do and a lot to learn, so any way in which you can tap into accumulated knowledge about how to do it helps.

But it is dangerous.

Keep abreast of the market

The market is not stagnant. It changes. Fast.

The list of expected activities for a marketer, salesperson, product person, success person, or partner person is always behind the market. If you only ever follow it, you will keep slipping behind too.

The dominant playbooks today are still all about funnels. You've got to do all the activities that widen them, keep them from leaking, keep them moving fast, and convert and retain customers.

Customers are people, don't shove them into funnels

This mental model and the associated activities put all the focus on YOU, the company. Customers didn't ask to be put into funnels. They don't want to be "fed" into something. (Sounds kinda disturbing actually.)

If you're focused on the playbook you inherited, and thinking about feeding the funnel, you'll start to scrounge everything around you to throw in it. Including your seed corn. (Yes, I have a metaphor-mixing problem.)

"Feed the funnel" is short-term. Seed the ecosystem is long-term.

The goal is for your company and product to live in such a healthy, vibrant ecosystem around your category, that the funnel feeds itself.

Till the soil

People, companies, and products that live in the ecosystem with you are all connected - to you and to each other - and growing. You are helping them to do so. Their growth and connection and the strong bonds built through your help mean when they understand the problems in the category (thanks to you and your partner's content, community, and events), they will automatically seek your solution.

Why wouldn't they? Who else would they go to but the person living in their network, helping to define the category, and creating value for them - the person they trust?

When you only think about feeding the funnel, you neglect the act of seeding the ecosystem.

The ecosystem is continuous, not discrete

The funnel is finite and binary - you're in or you're out. The ecosystem is near-infinite and multidirectional - you're more connected or less. The ecosystem has orders of magnitude more scaling potential, and the many strong and weak ties between many nodes in the network are far more resilient and defensible than the rigid walls of the funnel.

Look for opportunities to grow

So don't just assume the activities associated with your role are the right ones. Step back and observe your ecosystem. Can you seed further growth there, instead of just looking to harvest more stuff you can shove in the funnel?

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