Building a direct sales force is like building your own train system – it takes time, resources, and effort.
You need to lay the tracks, buy the locomotives, hire and train the staff, and manage the entire operation. While it grants complete control, it’s also costly and time consuming.
Conversely, a partner ecosystem is like a well-established train system running like clockwork. All you need to do is buy a ticket and hop on board. No wonder it’s the critical business strategy of the world’s most successful big brand manufacturers, accounting for around 75% of their revenue.
According to McKinsey, business ecosystems will play a pivotal role in nearly every facet of the global economy by 2030, propelling around $80 trillion in annual revenue. That’s equivalent to a third of the total global revenue.
All Aboard: The Power of Collaborative Innovation
A partner ecosystem is an avenue for MSPs to explore new markets and access valuable support services, cutting-edge technologies, and resources that may be otherwise elusive.
It fosters a closer, more direct collaboration with partners, enhancing customer outcomes. The emphasis lies on innovative indirect sales strategies, emphasizing the strength of partnership ecosystems to streamline market expansion and reach a broader customer base.
Building a thriving partner ecosystem requires meticulous planning and coordinated efforts. But transformative results can revolutionize a business, pairing sustainable indirect revenue streams with expanding the services, support, and products available to customers.
Streamlining the Journey to Success
Smart, scalable partner ecosystems will be the true competitive differentiator for companies in the future. But moving from a transaction-focused channel strategy to an interconnected ecosystem doesn’t happen overnight.
Here are some tips for getting started:
- Establish an Ecosystem Mindset with Leadership: Secure executive buy-in for a partnership ecosystem framework that guides the evolution from sales-focused partnerships to a comprehensive ecosystem. This should revolve around collaboration, co-innovation, communication, trust, shared values, and customer value.
- Form a Cross-functional Team: Extend partnerships beyond sales by involving key representatives from various departments. Assess the state of your partnerships, identify inefficiencies, and collaboratively develop a roadmap for the ecosystem’s future. It’s important to also address organizational parameters, budgets, metrics, and reports together.
- Define Recruitment and Onboarding Strategies: Identify partners based on the problems your ecosystem aims to solve for customers. Leverage a classification matrix – like the one by Lanzolla and Markides from Harvard Business Review – to categorize partners. Clearly define expectations, roles, and incentives for both parties to establish a foundation for long-term engagement.
- Plan for Ecosystem Efficiency: Efficiency is paramount to success. Address organizational challenges with automation of workflows, channel account manager interactions, and business reviews. Invest in user-friendly technology that seamlessly integrates with existing systems to ensure adoption across your organization.
- Use Data to Optimize Your Ecosystem: Regularly monitor key metrics such as revenue, customer satisfaction, and partner engagement. Leverage data to drive ongoing improvements, fostering adaptability and agility. Make informed decisions based on data insights to enable the ecosystem’s continued success.
Building The Network
The journey from a transaction-focused channel strategy to a connected ecosystem requires dedication, strategic vision, and adaptability.
By establishing a partner ecosystem with a robust foundation, businesses can navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape, tap into new markets, and create lasting customer value. As the business ecosystem evolves, those who build and optimize their partner ecosystems will emerge as leaders, driving innovation, collaboration, and success in the global marketplace.