How To Effectively Educate Executives On The Value Of Partnerships (2021)

Adam Michalski
5 MIN

By the year 2025, it’s projected that a third of global sales will come from partner ecosystems.

 

That’s no joke. 

 

If your company is great at selling direct, fantastic — but you could be leaving money on the table.

 

Are you wondering what’s next? You’ve come to the right place. 

 

A crucial step in partnership selling is getting your sales leaders on board. You will need at least one executive to champion the movement and get the ball rolling. 

 

So how do you convince sales leaders that partnerships are vital for growth?

 

Let’s get into it. 

 

Paint the Picture of What a Partner Ecosystem Will Look Like (And How It Will Improve Their Lives)

 

Partnerships just make sense.

 

As Marketo explains, it’s something Amazon, Apple, and Facebook use to help extend their digital footprints. By implementing a strong partnership ecosystem, they have a competitive edge.

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So how do we grow like those tech giants?

 

Show how partnerships will fit into the company’s strategies and goals.

 

Let’s say you sell pizza sauce, and one of the company goals is to gain market share with vegans. Explain how a strategic partnership with a vegan pizza topping supplier can help achieve that. 🍕

 

You can also show executives case studies, like this one breaking down the Salesforce partner ecosystem. Or go straight to the source and show how Salesforce describes its partner ecosystem and how it’s led to big-time results.

 

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to dig into more data. 

  

Gather Insightful Data on Partnerships To Share With Your Executives

 

A picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case, the picture is data.

 

Executives need to see the data if you are proposing a new initiative.

 

Nancy Ridge, Founder at Ridge Innovative, stresses that data is incredibly important when you're having a discussion (particularly with the C-suite) about why they should be investing in the ecosystem. 

 

Nancy suggests a few things when looking for data to show to the C-suite:

  • Are companies in your industry adopting a partner ecosystem? 
  • What other industries have benefited from it? 
  • Lean on the analyst firms like Forrester, Accenture, and Gartner.

 

The tech giants aren’t slowing down their partnerships. Consider Apple & IBM, and Amazon AWS Partners, just to name a few.

 

Here are some data points to help you convince executives in your organization on the merit of partnerships:

  • Forbes points out that nearly two-thirds of salespeople’s time is spent not selling. You can cut down on prospecting by integrating partnerships into the sales process.
  • A study from Concur found that 77% of companies that engage in sales partnerships saw an increase in sales. Among the companies surveyed, 63% listed time saved (on tasks such as prospecting) as the main reason for adopting a partner ecosystem. 

 

If your competitors are taking advantage of partnerships, dig into that. Is it working for them? If yes, it can certainly work for you. 

 

Take Salesforce AppExchange, for example. Salesforce partners with thousands of apps to allow easy integration into its platform. These partnerships allow a seamless experience for the customer.

  

Once you have a solid backing of data, it’s time for a plan.

 

Come With Solutions, Not Problems

 

Executives will want to know what the next steps are, so it’s up to you to show them the game plan.

 

So, where do you start? Step one: Map out your customer journey. 

 

This will help you find potential partners to pitch by analyzing their tech stacks. Find what integrations can be made to create a better experience for your shared customers. If you want to learn more, we dove further into how to do that here: How To Find New Customers and Increase Sales Using Strategic Partnerships

 

You’ll also want to let them know what technology is needed. (Using an account-based partnership platform like Partnered can remove manual busywork, allowing you to effectively leverage your partner ecosystem.)

Show how easy it is to track all this in Partnered.

 

Showing executives exactly how this can look will help them get on board and begin to see the value partnerships can have in helping reach organizational goals. 

 

Conclusion:

 

You know your team is leaving money on the table by only selling direct. Creating a partner ecosystem is going to change that—now it’s just time to get the execs on board.

 

  • Show executives that partnerships are the way of the future. (And something Apple, Amazon, and Facebook have been doing for years.)
  • Dig into the data and show the benefits of sales partnerships.
  • Show them how companies like IBM and Amazon have made partnerships a priority. 
  • Stress the productivity benefits that partnerships provide  Like minimizing the time spent prospecting)
  • Let them know what the next steps are by going through your customer’s journey and picking out some initial partners. 
  • Show what tools will make it a success for example, an account-based partnership platform like Partnered).

 

With all these things in your back pocket, executives will have to agree that partnerships are the way forward.

 

Now, take what you’ve learned here and go make partnerships happen!

 

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