High-Touch, Low-Touch, and No-Touch Partner Ecosystems

July 6,2021


Creating and managing channels, alliances, and tech partnerships is primarily a people business – expanding an ecosystem means adding headcount or increasing outsourcing investments with distributors.


A highly leveraged, programmatic model for ecosystem expansion is beginning to emerge, leveraging communities, connections, orchestration technologies and next generation business processes that allow for the creation and management of robust, scalable partner networks without headcount or outsourcing burdens.

GTM and Tech partners can be oversimplified to fall in two buckets: Strategic Depth Partners and Programmatic & Opportunistic Breadth Partners. The former represent big ISV, SI and the top-tier channel partners alliances, managed with dedicated, in-house BD and cross-functional supporting teams. The latter are the long tail of partners often managed by distribution or self-service PRM portals. It is this second programmatic category that is ripe for transformation through automation.

Identifying partners and establishing fit has always been a time-consuming challenge that had to be solved by people engaging in multi-staged business development and partner recruiting processes. Partner relationships are complex, and joint planning requires managing at least three points of connection – between the vendor and the partner and with the shared customer. And finally engaging in joint marketing and lead management processes has normally required lots of hand holding across multiple organizations and roles.

Automating those activities is possible today, leveraging a range of new services that allow partner organizations to act outside the box. Examples include:

-Identification:  AI, along with existing communities of tech companies, channels and end users, can be leveraged to identify white-space partners without heavy lifting with BD or recruitment. As we mentioned in the blog Do Tech Vendors Understand Ecosystem Impacts the trick is bringing the partners you don’t yet know about  (who already work with your partners and your customers) into your ecosystem.  That’s what Vation Ventures does with their Innovation platform.

-Planning to drive co-selling:  Cloud technologies like Crossbeam.com can deliver overlapping customer/partner data to justify early partnering activity (think easy integrations) that allow partners to jointly go to market without excessive business planning and partner enablement.  This allows partner organizations to effectively and quickly integrate and  test minimally-viable GTM activities with minimal human intervention.

-Co-Marketing:  For joint solutions shared between you and your partner, demand can be created at scale targeting customers with the highest propensity to buy – with leads routed to the ideal point of partner contact to close the deal.  That’s what EIMS.biz does.

By leveraging communities, connections, and orchestration technologies combined with evolving business processes technology vendors can reimagine their partnering models, grow their ecosystems and do more with less.

Reach out to schedule a free consultation if you’d like to learn how these approaches and processes may benefit your ecosystem strategy.