23+% and 2X: That’s the average partnership revenue and total revenue growth advantage companies with mature partner programs have, per a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Impact. The study will be released June 25, 2019 at Impact’s annual thought leadership summit, Impact Growth (ImpactGrowth.com). Are you ready for partnership growth and the Partnership Automation advantage?
Sales and marketing can only take you so far in a new economy where consumers are more connected and empowered than ever. These two channels have long been primary engines for business growth, but with consumer attitudes and behaviors changing, organizations need avenues more aligned with today’s buyer journey.
If you and your enterprise are frustrated by slow growth, increased sales and marketing costs, and are reaching the limits of your conventional sales and marketing programs, you need to seriously consider partnership automation to drive your growth.
The partnership opportunity
The next major surge of enterprise growth will be through partners and alliances. In fact, the same Forrester Consulting study referenced above, shows companies with mature partner programs grow their partner channel revenue more than 2X faster than companies with low partner maturity.
While consumers are increasingly wary of traditional sales messages, they are more than ever open to the opinions and recommendations of third parties whom they see as expert and/or credible. For example, nearly half of consumers say they depend on influencer recommendations, and as a result, influencer marketing is expected to double its 2018 size by 2020.
Influencer marketing is of course just one segment of the growing partnership economy. Companies looking to reinvigorate growth are turning to a wide array of alliances with partners who serve as an indirect sales force to reach new markets, audiences, and channels. Rather than make a direct sale, these referral-based partners introduce, influence, or provide some type of significant and measurable impact on the consumer journey toward purchasing a product or service from the business itself.
Modern, referral-based partnerships can include:
- Strategic B2B partnerships established between companies in complementary industries or with customer needs that align, such as airline and hotel partnership programs or joint grocery/gas loyalty programs.
- Social influencers: individuals and brands with a large following who promote a business on social channels, blogs, and newsletters for compensation.
- Corporate social responsibility partnerships, which include collaborations with charitable organizations that align closely with a business’s goals and audience (e.g., pet product companies and animal shelters that sell products on commission).
- Partnerships with publishers that promote a business natively within their content (not to be confused with native ads) to drive traffic to owned and earned channels—the New York Times’ Wirecutter website is one example or check out the innovations that Buzzfeed has implemented.
- Traditional affiliate partners such as coupon or comparison sites drive traffic to a company’s owned channels for compensation.
The challenges to embracing partnership
“As brands increasingly use channels, partnerships and alliances as a primary vehicle to reach customers, managing these relationships in a consistent, predictable, and productive way is critical.” —Forrester Research
Much like the sales and marketing pipeline is a complex continuum of if/then scenarios and tactics that must be tracked, managed and measured, the partnership lifecycle is not simple.
Managing and measuring strategic partner networks to drive growth is complex, especially if your business is used to managing different partner relationships in different organizational silos.
A survey by Influencer Marketing Hub identified some of the main hurdles to managing influencer campaigns, for example:
Successful partnership programs ditch the spreadsheets
Just as CRM technology helped to turn siloed and disjointed sales efforts into well-oiled pipelines for growth, technology is key to successful partnership management. Partnerships are too complex and important to leave to ad hoc solutions, manual processes, and spreadsheets. Partnership automation oversees the day-to-day operations to keep your programs operating smoothly.
Automation allows organizations to unify their partnership teams and then efficiently and collaboratively forge, deepen, and optimize partnership relationships and ROI. And only with robust partnership automation can organizations truly unify partnership teams and help them optimize the full partner lifecycle to activate rapid enterprise growth.
Learn more about how your business can use partnership automation to accelerate your growth in exciting ways—download our eBook: Partnership Automation Is the Future.
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