Yours truly delivered the ImpartnerCon 2022 keynote. I shared the 10 skills that all partner ecosystem leaders need to possess while preserving partner and customer experience. These skills are critical in an ecosystem-led world. In the past, 75% of sales went through an indirect seller, and, in the future, more than 90% will be touched by an indirect seller (but may not be ultimately sold or serviced by that very same partner). This is the world of an ecosystem, where, depending on the client’s life cycle, different people and firms serve different roles in an account.
The 10 Skills for Ecosystem Leaders
- Understand how to redefine your partner program to meet ecosystem realities versus just recreating legacy-partner programs seen elsewhere.
- An enhanced strategic focus that looks at the entire route-to-market gamut versus just channel sales slides.
- Enabling a management cadence that looks not at rear-view metrics (like revenue and certs) but at front-windshield metrics like influence, demand, usage, and digital worth.
- Technology expertise: Know how to use the available technology to drive better ecosystem experiences.
- Financial acumen: Move beyond cost-of-channel to lifetime ecosystem and customer value.
- Demand to quote-to-close: Understand how digital journeys by end users and ecosystem practices have changed demand-to-close and know how to address this for your firm’s ecosystem.
- Targeted connections: Who you know isn’t as critical as who knows you in the new world, so understanding how to target the right connections and be known by them is the needed next-gen skill.
- Proactive listening in the right watering holes for insights and priorities: Ditch listening to the same 10 people all the time, and instead start following some related Reddit topics; listen in on LinkedIn, and use digital surveys and other tools to listen, learn, and address partner issues.
- Building communities outside the biggest partnerships; too often we get waylaid by focusing on the partners everyone else has when they may not be right for us. Focus on the right partner profiles and work in the middle of the pack versus only focusing on the top revenue partners to win.
- Developing and enhancing your influence sphere: The world has changed and influence is the most important currency in an ecosystem-led everything. Invest in your brand both on social media and at the right events to ensure you are casting the right shadow to both attract the ecosystem and be part of the discussions about how to improve it.
These leadership skills will form the basis of the next generation of the ecosystem. Leaders who work on and hone these skills will drive profitable new growth, retain more customers, and expand their influence in their industry and with their clients. Those who do not make these changes in skill levels will falter and find themselves behind with a limited ability to recover. Invest in the skills, invest in the right people, and focus on the right metrics, and you will experience the right growth.
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