PartnerUp The Partnerships Podcast is always a goldmine of insights and ‘Aha!’ moments, and ‘The Future of B2B Partnerships’ with Adam Michalski did not disappoint. While I highly recommend turning in for the entire episode, if you’re short on time, check out my five favorite insights below.

There’s been a tectonic shift in the way B2B partnerships work.

This is especially true since the start of the Covid19 pandemic. Historically, B2B partnerships were largely based on straightforward transaction-oriented reseller agreements. However, as more and more SaaS companies appear, the B2B partnerships model is changing. Today, we see more and more non-transactional partnerships. This is because there’s a growing focus on the need to re-earn the customer every year (or month, based on your subscription model). New forms of partnerships are evolving, particularly around partner marketing.

There’s a new primary driver in B2B.

In the past, companies owned the customer relationship. Customers would have a direct relationship with a brand, or even with a particular salesperson, which motivated sales and loyalty. According to Michalski, however, no one owns the customer anymore; modern customers own themselves. Because customers today are surrounded by a myriad of digital channels and social platforms, they’re hugely influenced by factors ranging from marketing to their peers, to online influencers. In addition, customer success has become an increasingly important piece of the puzzle. It’s no longer enough to simply sign customers up, brands now need to go on to ensure that customers actually experience success as a result of using their product or service. 

The post-pandemic era has precipitated a greater reliance on partnership ecosystems.

Traditional marketing and sales activities, like attending conferences or entertaining customers by ‘wining and dining’ them, have largely been laid to rest by the COVID19 pandemic. To thrive in our new reality, technology companies’ go-to-market strategies need to lean down more than ever on their partnership ecosystems. Brands need to rely on partners to forge relationships and close deals. In addition, they need to learn how to utilize digital channels to achieve partner and customer engagement.

B2B partnerships are driving an outsize return.

Companies that understand the importance of their partner ecosystem, and put the right resources and infrastructure in place, are sourcing around 20-40% more of their overall pipeline, even when their partners form a small part of their overall organization.

Attribution metrics will need to account for a multi-touch, influence-heavy model.

In any given sales process or deal cycle, influence is becoming much more important than source. Attribution models need to deliver a percentage of the attribution to multiple touchpoints across marketing, sales, partnerships, and influencers. This model needs to be capable of analyzing the waiting time on each touchpoint and using tools to pull data and run multi-touch attribution analysis. With this method, the organization should be capable of looking at each deal individually and seeing how each touchpoint influenced the resulting deal.

B2B Partnerships

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