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Ecosystem Qualified Leads (EQLs) and How to Use Them

Ecosystem qualified leads are net new leads that come directly from partners in your ecosystem, typically through data-sharing. There’s often a revenue-sharing agreement in place to reward partners for providing these coveted leads (e.g. a 60/40 split). 

You can get EQLs through: 

  • Direct referrals (for example, if your partner introduces you to a key contact at a new account) 
  • Data-sharing (for example, your partner could share a list of their customer accounts with you within a partner ecosystem platform, or PEP, or by sending you a csv)
  • Reseller programs (your partner sells your product for you on your behalf, requiring little or no resources from you)

Through EQLs, your partner can: 

  • Introduce” you to new businesses, markets, and verticals by funneling accounts into your pipeline that you hadn’t considered targeting previously
  • Accelerate existing prospects to turn them into opportunities (sparking the sales conversation with those leads) 

Let’s explore both of these types.

The Best EQLs Turn Into Partner-Sourced Deals 

EQLs include several types of leads, but the term most commonly refers to net new leads that can ultimately become partner-sourced deals

EQLs also include partner-influenced deals. In some cases, your partner may provide you with data that fills in gaps for a specific prospect account already existing in your pipeline. Through account mapping in a PEP like Crossbeam, you might learn the name of stakeholders, their budget, context about their tech stack, and so on, which can qualify that prospect account and turn it into an opportunity. 

Partner-sourced EQLs are new leads.
Partner-influenced EQLs are existing leads that are “upgraded.”

crossbeam-EQL-ecosystem-qualified-lead

The data you receive from your partner to fill in the gaps for a particular account can accelerate the sales process but doesn’t have quite the same “umph” as a net new, partner-sourced deal. For partner-influenced deals, the partner typically gets less of a revenue share (for example, a 70/30 split on partner-influenced deals versus a 60/40 split on partner-sourced deals).

EQLs Uncover the “White Space”

White space is data beyond your overlaps. (Think: What markets or verticals are you not seeing in your current business model—and, in turn, what leads are you not seeing?) 

crossbeam-EQL-ecosystem-qualified-lead-white-space

Tapping into white space through a partner is what every partnership and business development leader hopes for and the ultimate sign of trust between partners. Imagine your partner handing you a list of all of their customers. That’s a lot of new business (and—maybe then it’s time to expand your sales team). 

Channel and reseller partnerships help businesses access that “void;” plus, partners essentially do the work for you by selling and marketing through their internal teams. Additionally, you can launch go-to-market (GTM) strategies for reseller programs relatively quickly, there’s little investment needed from your team, and there’s a quick and continuous ROI. That’s why, many mid-market businesses kick off their partnerships team with a focus on sales.

Bonus tip: The likelihood of your EQLs aligning with your ideal customer profile (ICP) is generally high since your customers likely have challenges and traits similar to your partners’ customers. This can help accelerate your EQLs through your standard validation process. Hooray!

Plug Your EQLs Into Your PEP

Once you receive an EQL (partner-sourced lead) from your partner, you can do a few things:

  • Launch a co-marketing campaign with the partner
  • Initiate a co-selling motion with the partner
  • Bring that EQL into your PEP to see what opportunities exist to co-market or co-sell with other partners in your ecosystem 

Launch a Co-Marketing Campaign 

If your new EQL is still in the prospect phase and the account overlaps with a partner’s “prospects list” in your PEP, you may decide to launch a co-marketing campaign. The campaign can include co-branded initiatives and materials, such as co-hosted webinars, guest-written blog posts, a dedicated newsletter, and so on, so that you and your partner can team up to land the account.

Initiate a Co-Selling Motion

If your EQL becomes an opportunity, and that opportunity overlaps with your partner’s opportunities, you may decide to co-sell. You can pull the data directly from your PEP and bring it into your customer relationship manager (CRM). That way, your sales team will see which accounts they share with your partner and can double up on a call or in a meeting with the opportunity. 

Getting EQLs from your partners and maximizing efforts to funnel them through the pipeline is the ultimate power of partnerships.