Account-Based Networking 101: How to Expand Your Account-Based Network with Partner Ecosystems

Adam Michalski
March 22, 2022
3 minutes

Research shows that poor targeting is one of the biggest issues sales teams have with prospecting. Like it or not, your personal sales network may not be ideal for helping your company hit revenue targets.

Here’s what we mean. As a sales professional, you already have a personal network of people who can introduce you to buyers. But this network you’ve developed won’t necessarily help you connect with high-quality leads who are key decision-makers.

Sure, you’ll have a few wins here and there. But what if we told you there’s a way to connect with target buyers in B2B companies?

Your sales prospecting journey would look quite different! It would be quicker, simpler, and built on a solid foundation of lasting connections. 

The solution? Tap into your company’s network (aka partner ecosystem). 

Each of your company’s partners has sales teams willing to work with you to make the right connections. In fact, this network of sales teams is often 100x the size of your personal sales network and your internal team’s networks combined.

Utilizing your company’s partner ecosystem can get you warm or even hot introductions to the exact person you need to talk to. These referrals can lead to a 70% higher conversion rate.

Let’s dive into what a partner ecosystem really is and how you can use it to expand your account-based network.

What is a Partner Ecosystem?

A partner ecosystem is a network of companies that help each other create sales, innovation, and product development opportunities that solve customers’ problems. Your company’s account-based network is made up of all the partners in your company’s partner ecosystem. These partners have their own spheres of influence that can help you connect with key decision-makers in B2B companies. 

Traditionally, partner relationships have been viewed through only the lenses of transactional reseller relationships, i.e., you find a partner, you tell them about your product, they go out and sell it to their audience. 

But we’re now living in a new era where 69% of partners agree that the power has shifted from vendors selecting partners to partners selecting vendors.  Partners are looking for B2B brands keen on developing strategic relationships. So, partner ecosystems now include tech integrations with complementary, non-competing products, as well as mutually beneficial relationships where you help your partners and your partners help you create sales opportunities.

Here’s a well-known example. Salesforce has 3,249 partners. Many of these partners have collaborated with each other to complement the functionality of their own software through tech integrations.  This is one of several applications of successful partner ecosystems. 

Now that you better understand the definition of a partner ecosystem, let’s discuss the benefits.  

The Benefits of Partner Ecosystems

There are many ways to get the most out of your partner ecosystem. The reality is that all successful partner ecosystems require work, collaboration, consistency, and support. When those key elements are in place, you can experience these four benefits of your partner ecosystem. In fact, Branch saw a 200% increase in pipeline (and a 40% increase in revenue) because of these benefits

Mike Schultz, President of the RAIN Group, identified four key challenges sales professionals have with prospecting:

  • Not dedicating enough time and energy to prospecting
  • Poor targeting (the main issue here being trying to connect with people too low in the organization)
  • Insufficient outreach
  • Lack of research and customization

1. Faster Prospecting That Creates More Qualified Leads:

Mike Schultz, President of the RAIN Group, identified four key challenges sales professionals have with prospecting:

  • Not dedicating enough time and energy to prospecting
  • Poor targeting (the main issue here being trying to connect with people too low in the organization)
  • Insufficient outreach
  • Lack of research and customization

Partner ecosystems solve these four issues (and more). You’ll quickly get introductions to key decision-makers at prospective companies because of the relationships you build with your partners.  Less time. More revenue.

2. Get Key Partner Intel To Inform Business Decisions

Partners who already have relationships with your prospects can provide you with a wealth of information. They can tell you more about your prospect’s tech stack. This key bit of information will help you better understand the problems your prospect is trying to solve and can even give you ideas for your own tech integrations. 

Partners can also provide you with information about how they pitched your prospects in the past. You’ll learn what worked and what didn’t. So, when you’re ready to present your pitch, you’ll stand a better chance of closing a deal. 

3. Surround Sound Allows You To Bring Multiple Voices Into The Mix

One of the perks of watching a movie at a movie theater is the surround sound experience. Picture this. You’re sitting in one of those plush red chairs looking at the big screen. The lights dim as the featured presentation starts rolling and your ears are picking up sounds all around. Far better than the computer speakers you have at home ain’t it? 

Photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

A partner ecosystem can provide you with a similar surround sound experience. Instead of dealing with one partner who brings in okay revenue, you have multiple partners in your network who’re connected with your prospects. They’ll help you reach more than one person in your prospect’s organization. They provide a full, theater-like experience.

4. Multithreading Allows You To Reach A Range Of Connections

Surround sound and multithreading are connected. These multiple voices help you involve many parts of your prospect’s organization in your existing sales process. For example, one of your partners may be able to connect you directly to the Director of Marketing while another may be able to connect you directly with the Director of Product. Two distinct roles. More touchpoints within the organization increase your odds of closing your deal. 

Photo by John Anvik on Unsplash

How To Grow Your Account-Based Network

The below four steps will help you create a thriving partner ecosystem and grow your account-based network. 

1. Create a list of all your prospect’s partners. These are the influencers who, well, influence your prospect.

2. Identify the partners who have the best alignment with your brand.

3. Meet with them to:             

     a. Get more information about your prospective buyer.

     b. Educate them on how your solution fits into the prospect’s goals.

4. Maintain the relationship with these influencers to ensure surround sound on your prospect. This will allow you to become more strategic with your outreach, more specific with your pitch, and ultimately allow you to become a trusted advisor of the prospect significantly faster than you would otherwise - increasing your odds of closing the deal by orders of magnitude.

But you’ll need a platform that helps you do these four things efficiently. Enter account-based partnership platforms. 

Working Smart With Account-Based Partnership Platforms

Partnership platforms provide the technology you need to manage, track, and share data within your partner ecosystem. This technology makes it easier to attribute revenue to both the direct and indirect contributions of partners. So, you’re able to clearly see the ROI. 

Gone are the days when a Partner Manager had to be the “human glue” connecting sales teams. Partnered and other account-based partnership platforms have made the connection easier without the Partner Manager having to be the middle person which allows you to share customer information at scale.


Partner ecosystems help create a simpler sales process, reduce the sales cycle, and bring in better quality leads. Your role in the sales team doesn’t matter. What matters is how well you utilize your company’s partner ecosystem to see these amazing results. 

Tapping into your company partner ecosystem will exponentially grow your network of salespeople that will be a force multiplier for your career. 

What are you waiting for? Get started today. If you’d like to learn how Partnered can help you expand your network, eliminate cold outreach, boost sales, and close more deals, join today


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