Guest Column | December 15, 2022

How To Maximize A Partner Ecosystem And Reach New Customers

By Eveline Buchatskiy, airSlate

Business Merger GettyImages-1215758851

Consumers are increasingly rejecting traditional advertising because of shrinking attention spans and trending distrust in media. Now more than ever, organizations need to strengthen partner relationships to drive business objectives.

Partnerships are fundamental to business strategy and should be part of a company’s history from day one. The question is what type of partnership, and at what stage. Most service providers and resellers (partners) may choose to work with established brands under a well-structured partner program. However, there are many examples when a company’s success was directly linked to the partnerships it formed early on, which created enormous returns for all involved. For example, UiPath as the RPA public company we know today was born out of an interaction with a partner who was looking for the best RPA tech provider to meet their business needs. Now, a large global network of UiPath-certified partners is bringing automation to the enterprise market.

Whether just starting out or seeking to develop your partnership ecosystem further, it all comes down to having the right people in place. Here’s how you can find value, align around objectives and select the proper partners for your organization.

The Value Of A Partner Ecosystem

A successful partner ecosystem exists when key stakeholders create value for users, vendors, and themselves, that’s significantly greater than if the relationship between these three parties were not in place. Take the highly successful Salesforce partnership ecosystem as another example. An IDC study revealed that by 2026, this network will make roughly $6 for every $1 Salesforce generates – a tremendous driver of Salesforce’s profit.

This value creation happens when a combination of partners, business models, and services come together around a common goal of helping companies achieve better business outcomes. The digital transformation companies witnessed across all departments within the last decade have left a need for trusted advisors to sort through the many tech and application options. Enter: partners. They have domain and tech expertise to deliver the best tech stack at the right price and with proper implementation for companies and end users.

Today, these key drivers of tech adoption continue to be Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that are an excellent alternative to an in-house IT team, solution integrators (SIs) that can go the extra mile and customize solutions, and resellers with broad knowledge of the latest tech in the market. Each one of these partner groups can serve to spread your product awareness and help with implementation for new users. Do not overlook how your existing relationships can advance your overall business objectives.

Affiliate Programs

When developing a partner ecosystem, it’s worthwhile to think beyond the typical partners and audience your organization reaches. Consider how people discover new tech and apps. Where do they conduct their research? Whose reviews are they listening to? Affiliates are an important component of new tech adoption. They amplify their experience when speaking to their audience about products and services in a language those listeners can relate to and trust. They independently build trust with their audience by recommending and giving voice to products they believe will serve their viewers. Affiliates also help their audience keep up with the pace of innovation, choose between endless tech options and deploy tech innovations to make life and work-related tasks more manageable.

The benefits of affiliate programs are two-fold: companies can expand their reach by working with entities that have a large audience, while the content owners (affiliates) can monetize their audience. This arrangement also helps reach the long-tail audience because an affiliate may have a niche product that’s beloved by their followers. On the other hand, it’s paramount that organizations properly vet potential affiliates before agreeing to a partnership because trust is easily broken when product messaging or user experience goes wrong.

Final Thoughts

All partners have to choose between hundreds of technologies they can specialize in and bring to their customer base. It’s important to partner with vendors that consider the channel partner to be a strategic go-to-market and invest in the market development alongside the MSP. The right partner is the one who believes in your company’s vision and uses that as the main driver of future success, right alongside you.

Developing a well-rounded partnership ecosystem with vendors, investors, and affiliates working around the same vision your company holds will help break through the noise and reach an audience in need of your services.

About The Author

Eveline Buchatskiy is VP of Special Projects at airSlate, a leading document workflow automation platform. She manages the partner go-to-market programs, as well as corporate and content marketing initiatives. She has worked with startups for over 10 years. Eveline received a BS in Chemical Engineering from UC Berkeley, a master’s in engineering from University at Buffalo, and an Executive MBA from INSEAD.