Running an alliance team is not an easy task. On the one hand, alliance managers have to push sales leaders to make their sales teams work with partners to drive more pipeline. On the other hand, these same managers must spend the majority of their time building relationships and trust with their partners. Alliance teams are tasked with hitting exponential numbers year after year and finding that new pipeline is difficult. Account mapping is a piece of the mundane work that has to be done as alliance teams look for new opportunities in their ecosystem. These teams are often bogged down by the amount of time wasted on the process of comparing partner account lists to their own CRM accounts.
How can alliance teams unearth their highest-earning partners without wasting time? Increasingly, alliance managers are looking to tech for a solution. Many see a Partner Ecosystem Platform (PEP) like PartnerTap as the answer to their question.
Account Mapping and What it Can Do for You
Account mapping is the process of manually combing through a partner’s list of account data to see where your accounts overlap. Once you find the accounts that overlap, account mapping requires even further analysis and action. If this process is done well, you can see which partners you should spend time on and which sales reps and marketing teams you should engage with.
The goal of this process is for alliance teams to identify where the best opportunities lie in their ecosystem. Generally, they are looking for:
- Where can we drive more revenue with this partner?
- Who are our mutual customers?
- What market segments and industries are those common customers in?
- What is the product set of our common customers?
- Which mutual customers have the highest NPS?
- Are our sales reps selling into the same accounts?
- Which accounts should we be running co-marketing campaigns with?
- Should we assign a dedicated resource from our alliances team?
Traditional Account Mapping
Normally, this is done with excel spreadsheets where two partners send the spreadsheets of customer, prospect, pipeline, and leads lists to the other. Each person manually combs through these lists and tries to match these accounts to their own CRM data of customers, prospects, open pipeline, leads, etc.—simply trying to identify matches. This process is time-consuming, tedious, and mentally exhausting. Once the matches are found hours, days, or months later, then the real analysis can be done by filtering the data against your product sets, opportunities, top customer lists, etc. The biggest challenges here are that the data the partner provided constantly changes, both teams are selling new customers, churning customers, and sales teams are changing accounts. Account mapping is constant and it’s almost never up to date. Everyone is always working off of old outdated information.
Account Mapping with a PEP
Thankfully, a PEP can do all of this work for you in a fraction of the time. Account mapping software can do in seconds what humans used to do in hours, days, or weeks. Now alliance teams can focus on what they do best—build and execute a strategic plan with each partner based on real data. Since the data is always changing and a PEP stays in sync with your system of record (the CRM), the plan can freely ebb and flow based on the data changes.
Six Critical Insights–Unlock Hidden Value
1. Winning with Technology Partnerships
Almost every mid sized technology company runs a partner program with technology partnerships at their core. These partnerships are typically designed to integrate with other complementary technology companies. This allows the two companies to expand their market share or build a deeper bond with their existing customer base.
Companies that are interested in forming a tech partnership can use a PEP to quickly find:
- Mutual customer overlap
- Mutual customers with certain product sets
- Mutual customers with high NPS
By identifying the mutual customer overlap, companies can first decide if an integration should even be pursued. Obviously, if the partnership will not lead to fruitful business or help with customer stickiness, you should not invest the resources in costly integrations bogging down your product and R&D teams.
However, if the overlap does produce valuable customer accounts or the type of matches that your team is looking for, you can then leverage that business case to the product team. The data shows them why they should invest resources and prioritize this product integration. It will align with happier customers which creates a stronger ecosystem.
Too often product teams are building integrations based on little to no data and the result is just another integration to add to the website with little to no installs. What is the cost to the business when this happens? What customers are churning as your competitors prioritize the right integrations?
That being said, if you can clearly see potential for marketing your products, bundling services, or you can create a better customer experience, by all means – do it!
Established ecosystem players that utilize a PEP have the winning advantage. A PEP gives them a birds-eye view of multiple partners mapped together across mutual customers.
2. Working with Global Systems Integrators
Global Systems Integrators (GSIs) consult with their clients to help them fulfill their business transformation needs. These large companies like Accenture, Deloitte, PwC, EY and others offer services such as:
- Conducting an analysis of your business needs
- Designing an integration of subsystems that will meet your needs
- Integrating the new subsystems into your existing technology
- Testing the newly implemented system for hiccups or bugs
- Maintaining and updating the new systems
Because GSIs offer such an essential service, companies shell out millions of dollars for their consulting services. Accenture boasts that their “clients span the full range of industries around the world and include 91 of the Fortune Global 100 and more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500.” With companies like Microsoft and Salesforce as clients there is definitely money to be made by partnering with them.
When account mapping with GSI’s we often hear that there are teams that work within GSI’s to support the customer account. Depending on the value your business brings to the GSI, whether it’s net new revenue or upsell revenue, understanding the accounts and the players is critical in working with these large enterprises. So often, partner teams are receiving spreadsheets to match accounts. Having an easy way to upload that data and visualize it across your own customer and prospect database can help you position yourself with each GSI strategically.
Companies that are mapping with GSI’s can quickly find:
- Mutual customers and aligned account teams
- Target prospects that align the GSI’s customers
- Aligned account teams in regions around product sets
- Account mapping in sub verticals with potential cross sell
With PartnerTap’s software you can see where you align with GSI firms, analyze the overlapping data and start the account planning process immediately.
3. Growing a Marketplace?
These days, it is difficult to find someone that doesn’t know what a marketplace is. Amazon always comes to mind whenever someone is discussing a marketplace, especially online marketplaces.
Briefly, a marketplace is an online or physical space where businesses can sell their goods. Whether they are marketing a new SaaS product, a traditional service, or a physical product, many businesses choose to sell exclusively through a marketplace. The advantage being, you don’t have the extra cost of commissions to your direct sales teams or managing a storefront.
Because so many people and B2B buyers use marketplaces, it makes sense to sell and market with them. According to Digital Commerce 360, 97% of online shoppers buy from marketplaces. This is a huge segment of potential buyers that companies can sell to. So, how can you access this potential?
Possibilities for using a Marketplace:
- Listing your products on a marketplace
- Creating a product that is hosted on an online marketplace
- Offering a product bundle with the marketplace
- Bringing your marketplace partner a new customer
- Your marketplace partner brings you a new customer
As a technology partner listed on a marketplace, the idea of a B2B customer buying your services through a marketplace opens up an additional revenue stream; you don’t need the overhead of a sales team. If you have customers or prospects in your pipeline that have a high propensity to buy through your partner’s marketplace, it would be great for your partner to know that and allow them to spend the marketing dollars attracting them.
For teams running marketplaces, account mapping becomes gold as you start to scale. At the point your marketplace has found product market fit, (i.e. buyers are transacting through your marketplace) you can use a PEP to identify mutual customer overlap. To be more specific, you can map to find the partner customer overlaps against the marketplace customers who have the highest propensity to buy through the marketplace. Running targeted marketing to those customers can quickly expand transactions and identify connector sales. At the point your team knows the analytics around which of your customers have the highest propensity to buy through your marketplace, account mapping becomes deadly.
Even before you sign a partner to your marketplace, running a quick account map against mutual customer overlap helps your team understand which accounts to co-market and target. A PEP helps your teams glean Partner2Partner (P2P) data as well. You can then cobuild and co-market marketplace solutions together. If the team knows three marketplace partners who all have the same customer, the customer aligns with the high propensity to buy, and your team has a solution that plugs in – magic!
4. Cashing-in on Referral Partnerships
Referral partnerships are some of the most difficult business relationships to measure. They are great when you are receiving referrals and don’t need to compensate the referring partner, however, it’s hard to align and actually drive to KPI’s. In order for a referral partnership to produce real revenue, you need account mapping to uncover real market opportunity and accountability.
With a PEP you can quickly identify the following:
- Where your key prospects overlap your partner’s top customers
- Where your customers overlap your partner’s prospects (where you can help them because a balanced referral partnership brings more referrals)
- Mutual customers (Where can we find case studies with our top customers and where is the low hanging fruit?)
- Active pipeline where both sales teams are engaged
- Where to align your sales teams for co-sell motions
When you map your accounts, you can quickly see where the revenue opportunities are with each partner.
5. Co-Selling Partnerships
Co-selling partnerships are complex because you are working with your partners to jointly sell together. Either upsell existing customers, cross sell, and/or be referred into new prospect accounts for joint selling. In co-sell relationships, typically, you are aligning accounts and mapping together field teams. This dance of account mapping and field introductions seems easy but it oftentimes is spreadsheet hell as account teams are large and often turn over. By the time you’ve identified the accounts and the teams, their accounts have already changed hands.
Despite the great orchestration it takes to manage co-selling partnerships, they can pay off in great dividends. Make sure it’s worth the time before you agree to co-sell. Understanding the market overlap and the balance in the relationship upfront is key to making these partnerships produce revenue quickly. With a PEP, you can identify the right accounts, verticals, and GTM account teams.
6. Resell Partnerships
Reselling is slightly different from co-selling. In this type of relationship, companies resell your products. Account mapping is also important in this type of partnership. Channel teams in this environment can use mapped accounts to figure out where their resell partners can sell additional services.
All of this can be uncovered by mapping accounts. Once the account has been combed through by the software’s algorithms, the information is at your fingertips. You immediately see where the potential profit is hiding. Naturally, every business wants to access this information but digging it up is the difficult part. With a PEP you can find it quickly and painlessly. It’s also secure because the PEP gives you complete control over the account information you want to share and what you don’t want to share.
If you are not using a PEP, you are leaving money on the table. Come check out PartnerTap’s revolutionary software