Farms and Partnerships?

Have you ever seen the documentary  called The Biggest Little Farm?

Two folks from L.A. had big dreams of starting a sustainable farm – a farm that works harmoniously with nature.

They tried their hardest to get everything on the farm to work together.

Then, you know what?

Things failed.

Despite the obvious problems, they persisted. They believed that harmony was both possible and profitable.

And eventually it worked, and their farm thrived.

We can learn from the success of this farm because once a natural equilibrium is achieved, systems maintain themselves.

For many partner professionals, breaking into a well established ecosystem of sales + marketing + product is incredibly difficult and usually depends on demonstrating ROI.

At that point, it can seem like the easiest way to get a partner program established is through brute force tactics: Onboard as many partners as you can in as short amount of time as possible. Stand up a partner portal and send everyone to it. Churn out the one pagers. Cling to metrics like partner influenced revenue. Push your way into the existing silos by begging for resources from one or all of them.

The truth is, brute force is an ineffective strategy. What's more effective is enablement.

Enablement is the best way to start weaving together the traditional silos of business.

Partnership teams should observe the practices around them, then provide meaningful learning infrastructure, tools, and culture toward ecosystem selling, marketing and product.

Weave partnerships into already existing sales motions with bite sized content delivered just in time. Show the value of partner portals and account based networking at the right time in the sales workflow.

Don’t just ask marketers to co-brand something, enable them to understand why time and resources spent on making partners famous is more worthwhile than chasing CAC.

Don’t just request an integration. Ask your product teams why they can’t spend time on an integration. Ask your partner how many resources they might have to build it. Understand the product landscape before onboarding another partner. Bring your product teams to the table before onboarding.  Everyone wants an integration that enhance the product, brings real value to already existing customers, and gives the sales and marketing teams something exciting to talk about. Those successful integrations are not accidental, but the result of many voices, opinions, and desires heard and taken into account.

Curiosity, hard work, and patience pay off in the long run, and the farm is just one example. It takes a second for an ecosystem to find its equilibrium, but when it does, it'll evolve a traditionally siloed business model into a beautiful, highly functional, ever-evolving flywheel.

That is why a partnerships and ecosystem focused go-to-market is worth the initial investment.

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