Giving-to-Give vs Waiting-to-Get: the DNA of Partner Ecosystems and the Future of Business

November 17, 2022

If you didn’t attend the PLX Summit 2022, you can view the replay to access the best content on how partner ecosystems are becoming instantiated across B2BSaaS Product, Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success teams. Partner Ecosystems are no longer a company department; they are a strategy, they are a business model, and they are the future of SaaS GTMs.

If you study the individuals leading the transformation from GoToMarket to GoToEcosystems, you not only see brilliant strategists and practitioners deploying innovative Co-X motions (Co-build, Co-market, Co-sell, and Co-succeed) between companies and partnerships, but you also see a new DNA that guides the hearts and minds of these leaders.

That DNA is best encapsulated in the mantra of “Giving-to-Give” as a means of building a relationship between a company and prospective partners. This mantra is contrasted by the opposite, all-to-common-in-business tactic: “Waiting-to-Get.”

The Law of Reciprocity

   💡  At the heart of Giving-to-Give is the notion of building reciprocal relationships where one partner gives, which in turn motivates the other partner to give.

Eventually, both partners stop thinking about taking or getting and the relationship becomes a powerful resource that is generative. Giving to a partner is not transactional; it is strategic and, dare I say, joyful.

The giving can take many forms – giving IP, giving a referral into an account that overlaps with a partner prospect or opportunity, committing to fund a marketing campaign, etc. Regardless of the kind of giving, there are three core principles in the Giving-to-Give mantra that guide everything and are at the heart of GoToEco:

-We invest to build long-term relationships in which creating and maintaining trust is the highest priority.

-We lead with an abundance mindset in which we care more about the value the partner ‘gets’ and the relationship ‘growth,’ than we do about what we get back in return.

-We govern through organizational alignment in which the relationship with the partner is not single-threaded and ‘living on an island’ in the partner team, but instead jointly shared through OKRs and KPIs across core depts, specifically, Product, Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success.

Before you start to think that Giving-to-Give is a fast way of going out of business or is completely irrelevant in a down market with layoffs, consider the case of a Customer Success organization with a big NRR (Net Retainer Revenue) problem born out of the twin challenge of too much churn and the difficulty engaging customers in cross-sell and up-sell conversations.

When the CS and partner team co-adopt the Giving-to-Give mantra by delivering integrated joint solutions to customers and giving customer leads to partners, partners will, in turn, refer customers back, which further drives the number of integrated joint solutions and, in turn, sets up cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

The GoToEco Success Flywheel

This can be represented as the GoToEco Success Flywheel:

What are the data points that support this GoToEco Success Flywheel?

-Integrated joint solutions increase retention (lower churn) by 20-50% depending upon how many integrations are deployed (source: Vendasta)

-Integrated joint solutions increase NRR between 10 and 30% depending on how many integrations are deployed (source: ProfitWell)

-Partner referrals (when partners reciprocate) have 70% higher conversion, close 50% faster, and have ⅓ higher ARR (source: various)

More Resources

If you want to see what this looks like, here are some great sources:

  • Peer into the future with our Partner Hacker article on GoToEco in 2025
  • Find out how to Get CS On Board with this great column by Aaron Howerton
  • Learn about the GoToEco Success Framework in slides or our presentation at PLX below: