Want to grow your revenues twice as fast? Mature partnerships are the way forward

By Florian Gramshammer, MD - EMEA, Impact 04 Jul 2019

The rise of the partnership economy has hit the headlines this year and is being hotly debated in CMO’s meetings across all markets. Partnerships are fast becoming a critical lifestream for fast-growing organisations. 

A recent study commissioned by Impact with Forrester noted that “Brands that provide an enhanced partner experience grow faster than their peers, are more profitable, and drive higher customer satisfaction and retention downstream.”

Forrester surveyed decision-makers and practitioners responsible for partnership programs at 454 companies in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific to better understand what separates the best from the rest. The survey investigated how investing in partnerships will drive growth and showed the benefits of the partnership channel with 49% of respondents seeing a boost in revenue and 45% seeing a boost in brand awareness from their partnership program initiatives in the past year. 

A high-maturity partnership channel can contribute up to 28% (on average) of overall corporate revenues.

That’s huge. It’s bigger than what paid search contributes (FYI – that’s about 18% on average). And, for an average company – it’s worth about $162MM more revenue annually versus companies that don’t focus on their partnership channel.

Another output of the research was a partnership “maturity framework” that organised the drivers of partnership growth into four key themes: people, process, technology, and breadth (in terms of partnership models and the number of partners). 

Each respondent was then assigned a maturity score based on their responses to survey questions adjusted for factors like size and region. The results revealed some important insights: 

  • Mature partnership programs yield better business outcomes. Most high-maturity companies exceed stakeholder expectations not only on revenue growth, but also on other key business metrics like stock price, bottom-line profitability, and the growth of their partnership programs. 
  • Companies with high maturity get more of their overall revenue from partnerships. Partnerships contribute an average of 28% of overall company revenue for high-maturity companies, while low-maturity companies receive about 18% of their revenue from partnerships. 
  • Companies with mature partnership programs grow revenue nearly 2X faster than others. Partnership channel revenue growth rates for high-maturity companies outpace low-maturity companies by more than double. 

Automation is key

High-maturity companies get the most from their partnership programmes, but not without investment. Building best-in-class partnership programs requires companies to think outside the box to attract and retain a diverse portfolio of partners, and it requires investments in technologies to support the partner lifecycle.

In fact, 62% of the companies surveyed believe implementing technology to optimise the partnership channel will be high priority or critical to driving success as part of a mature program over the next 12 months.

Partnerships provide a new way of doing business that is challenging the way that businesses have traditionally mapped out their growth strategies, and it is no surprise that partnerships now make up 75% of global commerce.

Novel and innovative partnerships provide sales, marketing and business development leaders with an engine of growth amidst a fast-changing, increasingly competitive landscape.

But, one thing is assured; 2019 will see more and more brands take advantage of these strategies to unearth the power of the partnership.

Learn more about investing in partnerships to drive growth and competitive advantage — access the full research study.

Meet Florian and the Impact crew at MAD//Picnic on 10 July.

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