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Ecosystem-Led Growth in Software Enterprise

Partner network in the software startup – tips & best practices

Partner-Led Growth: The New Sales?

Partner-led growth, ecosystem-led growth or even partner-led revolution: building a partner network is neither a reinvention of the wheel nor an innovation in our industry – it’s talked about on every (virtual) corner. And even apart from theoretical growth theories and fancy sales webinars, the realization that it is easier to live and work together is really not something that our generation or even the tech industry could claim for itself.
But we can learn from it. The fact that classic sales structures such as cold calls and floods of e-mails have lost their appeal is perhaps due on the one hand to the lack of attractiveness, but also to alternatives that can deliver far more advantages and security. This article explains why we, as a young software company, rely on these alternatives, what principles we adhere to, and what tips we have been able to extract for our go-to-market strategy for partners.

Reasons for Integration Platform Partners

The theory that we, as a provider of an integration platform, benefit more from a well-curated partner system than from classic sales (keyword: nearbound sales) is based, on the one hand, on the fact that we operate in the B2B market. On the other hand, our solution, this very integration platform, is relatively meaningless on its own: without software, there is no need for interface integrations. The third assumption is that, in order to be able to set up connectors at all, we are dependent on an open API documentation on the one hand, but better still have direct contact with the people responsible in the respective companies. If a company wants to connect two IT solutions with each other and our connector library does not yet cover these companies, then we start tinkering: Where contacts exist, things run better, faster and easier. We learn about further developments of the connected products and systems more quickly if we are in contact with the developers there – and vice versa. The joint marketing and mutual pushing is not insignificant, but in comparison it is the cherry on top of the icing on the cake.

Foundations for a Partnership

So what is important to us in building a partner network? The basics for good collaboration are rules that closely resemble those of their interpersonal counterparts. What may sound superfluous can quickly become fuzzy in day-to-day work if these and similar basics are not established and constantly reviewed.

  • Transparency. We are open and say exactly what we want from each other. Is it about an exchange? Do we want to learn from each other? Or is it exclusively about leads, leads, leads? Then that should be addressed.
  • Flexibility. While one partnership goes more in the classic sales partnership direction, another can focus on co-development or joint marketing. The important thing is that both companies go in the same direction here.
  • Commitment. A good partnership needs a framework, and a contract can be helpful here. At the very least, it provides a basis for a conversation about what both partners expect from each other and what commitments they are making.
  • Check-ins. Just wait and see? You can do that, but it rarely leads anywhere. Regular contact, whether in person or via newsletters, etc., is important for good communication.
  • Selection. Quality before quantity! The network should be well-built. A partnership that does not offer the customer any added value, either because it is not requested or because the communication does not work, does not look good either internally or externally. And we only partner with companies/solutions that we believe in.
  • It’s better to make a painful break than draw out the agony. Even companies have to decide and position themselves sometimes. Especially with well-selected and growing partner systems, an eye for synergies is crucial.

Advantages of Our Partner Network

But what do you mean by a partnership in a software company like ours? We don’t have any classic sales partnerships, which means we don’t have sales structures in which we can actively involve our partner companies.
Instead, we maintain close contact with both ERP systems and various SaaS products to be able to provide uncomplicated and direct support to their customers in the event of integration requirements. In short: Our partner can sell more easily because he can offer the “total package”, we come across joint projects – and the customer is taken care of and can get the best out of the respective IT landscape.
The additional advantages are so manifold that they cannot be listed. In addition to the partner-led growth so often described, we benefit as a whole company from the contacts, the further developments in sales, marketing and product development and, finally, from the human contact within our industry.

A more productive, efficient and faster way to work together.

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