Your partner program has reached an inflection point: adding new partners to your program isn’t enough. Now, it’s time to drive revenue. You need to grow up and mature into the partner program you’ve long aspired to be — but you need scalable and predictable practices to get there.
When Vidyard had this realization in 2019, the online video software company adopted Crossbeam’s partner ecosystem platform (PEP) and implemented new processes and workflows (aka Ecosystem Ops) to grow its tech and agency partnerships.
“Before, 5 to 10% of [Vidyard’s] total revenue was touching partners at some point. Now we know that 60% of the entire company’s revenue is touching a partner of some kind,” says Alyshah Walji, Strategic Partnerships Development Manager at Vidyard.
Since adopting Crossbeam, Vidyard’s partnerships program has:
- Increased quarterly partner-sourced pipeline for its tech partner program from $25K in 2019 to $350K in 2020
- Increased close rates for partner-sourced deals from 15-20% to 50-70%
- Increased overall partner program revenue by 25%
- Attributed 30% of its total company revenue in 2020 to partner-sourced deals from the agency and tech partner programs
But getting there took some thoughtful changes to how the Vidyard partnerships team operated. In this post, we’ll explore the challenges many partner programs face in driving revenue and share the workflows, tools, and mindsets Vidyard used to overcome them.
- Challenge #1 - Converting Free Integration Users to Customers
- Challenge #2 - Focusing on the Right Integration Opportunities
- Challenge #3 - Scaling Agency Partnerships
Challenge #1 - Converting Free Integration Users to Customers
Vidyard’s Strategic Partnerships Development Manager Alyshah Walji wanted to help his sales team skip outbound prospecting and instead leverage his tech partners’ help to convert Vidyard’s freemium accounts into customers. However, there wasn’t a simple way for him to know which of Vidyard’s free users were a customer of one or more of his 35 tech partners — so he devised a workaround.
The somewhat cumbersome process went like this:
- Alyshah enlisted the product team’s help to build back-end functionality in Vidyard’s software that tracks which accounts are using Vidyard with another product.
- He exported that data to Google Sheets and then manually validated the accounts according to the pricing tier they belonged to: free, pro, teams, or business.
- Then, he asked his tech partner to share its customer list so he could cross-reference it with the list of freemium accounts he worked so hard to compile. (However, he often hit roadblocks with partners because they were hesitant about sharing their customer lists. A classic case of the Partnership Dilemma.)
Now imagine replicating this manual process for 35 existing integrations on your own. Expect either sifting through a lot of stale spreadsheets or dealing with a string of rejections from partners who don’t want to share customer lists. Whew.
Today, Alyshah uses Crossbeam to automate the account mapping process with partners in real time. Vidyard and its partners share only the data they want from the data sources they choose — helping them securely find mutual opportunities faster. What took days (if it even happened at all) was now completed in real time.
“When I first took over, the program was at about $25K of sourced pipeline a quarter,” says Alyshah. “Now we’re at about $350K of sourced pipeline a quarter. You can create activities around it. You can create a program around it.”
Here’s how you can emulate Alyshah’s process:
Create Onboarding Docs for your PEP
Alyshah noticed most of his partners were already on Crossbeam, making it more convenient for him to start working with partners immediately. For partners new to Crossbeam, Alyshah sends Vidyard’s partner kit along with onboarding videos for getting started on Crossbeam.
Vidyard’s Partner Kit for onboarding new partners. Image courtesy of Vidyard.
The partner kit outlines:
- An explanation of Crossbeam and how the partner can benefit from using it
- What data Vidyard is willing to share and what data they’re requesting from their partners
- The five-step onboarding process for the partner to get up and running
Then, Alyshah schedules a discovery call with the partner to discuss how they can both use Crossbeam and how they can go to market together.
Alyshah says partners are more willing to map accounts in Crossbeam instead of using spreadsheets because it’s more secure, and that makes it easier to get their legal teams on board. “It definitely increases the amount of partners who are willing to share data to create a business case,” he says.
Use Real-Time Data to Surface Easy “Better Together” Opportunities
By segmenting data into “populations” (groups of people or companies) in Crossbeam, Alyshah and his tech partners can surface “overlaps” (the specific people or companies Vidyard has in common with a partner).
For example, he’ll review overlaps between Vidyard’s “freemium accounts” population and his partner’s “customers” or “open opportunities” populations.
“Because you have real-time information that's very accurate. You can actually create predictable and repeatable activities around the program,” says Alyshah.
“We can look at all the new accounts that have just overlapped on a weekly basis rather than having to rely on a quarterly spreadsheet that may or may not be up-to-date, spend the majority the call validating the information, and then, [spend a] very small portion of the call actually doing things that contribute to the business,” he says.
Using reports, Vidyard and its partners will compare populations to determine which motions to run, including:
- Vidyard’s customers + partner’s target accounts (to provide warm intros into a partner’s target accounts or develop upsell/cross-sell sales strategies).
- Vidyard’s customers + partner’s customers (to define and quantify the market for a new integration or identify joint case study opportunities). Skip ahead to learn how Vidyard is prioritizing its integrations.
- Vidyard’s free users + partner’s open opportunities or customers (to explore co-marketing or co-selling motions, request warm intros into target accounts, or gain intel for sales outreach).
“This allows us to pre-determine what technology [the freemium account] is already using, so when we go outbound and we reach out to them or we have the partner reach out on our behalf, we're reaching out with so much context as to what technology they're using and why we fit into that equation really well, and that results in higher response rates,” says Alyshah.
With all of that data flowing to his Crossbeam dashboard, Alyshah can execute the right partnership motions.
Use Crossbeam’s Slack and Salesforce Apps to Action Partner Data
Partner insights are only as valuable as what you, your internal teams, and your partners do with them. Here’s how Alyshah actions Crossbeam overlap data.
- For overlaps including Vidyard’s strategic accounts (accounts that meet Vidyard’s ideal customer profile and have more than three free users), Alyshah works with his partner to connect their respective sales reps and broker warm intros into the account or gain more intel about the account including information about key stakeholders or details about the decision-making process.
- For overlaps including other prospective accounts, Vidyard’s assigned account executives view partner overlap data — including their sales counterpart’s contact information — directly in Crossbeam for Salesforce. From there, both reps chat in a shared Slack channel which includes Alyshah. This way, Alyshah stays aware of partner activity without bottlenecking rep-to-rep communication.
To keep track of partner-sourced opportunities, either Alyshah or the Vidyard account executive will check the “Partner Program” field on the Salesforce opportunity, select the specific partner’s name from a dropdown list, and tag Vidyard’s assigned partner manager. Alyshah and Vidyard’s head of sales regularly review Salesforce “Opportunity” reports to see all the partners attached to opportunities with an associated account record.
Leverage Partner Data for More Targeted Outbound Outreach
Alyshah also gives his business development reps Salesforce reports on Vidyard’s target accounts and the technologies they’re using. By comparing Vidyard’s freemium accounts with a partner’s customers, Vidyard can get a peek into its prospects’ tech stacks.
The reps can use that data to prioritize target accounts for outbound outreach and customize their messaging accordingly. “It goes from just your value prop to a joint value prop between multiple other solutions,” says Alyshah.
Alyshah says Vidyard’s reps saw a ~20% increase in response rates when referencing a piece of a prospect’s tech stack in an outbound message.
Here’s an example of how a Vidyard rep uses their knowledge of a prospect’s tech stack to contextualize an outbound message:
I noticed your team sent out over 150 videos in the last 3 months to prospects!
I made you this quick (~1 min) video to share how your team can include your [Tool Name] directly within video to book more meetings and help you as a manager create a more repeatable, scalable process with team analytics:
Do you have time on Tuesday to do a quick audit of your current video enabled cadences & set you up with some pro tips from other [Tech Partner] customers to take back to your team?
Challenge #2 - Focusing on the Right Integration Opportunities
Before updating his workflow with Crossbeam, Alyshah juggled 10-15 conversations a quarter to find, vet, and prioritize new integration opportunities for Vidyard. “With 10 of those [conversations], you're dealing with a lot of contacts. So if you can eliminate five of those, you're saving a lot of hours,” he says.
Alyshah says some integration conversations used to get delayed until the end of a quarter, in which case he managed 30 integration conversations at a time.
“When you have that high of volume, you want to make sure you can get rid of the tire kickers.”
And for those partners who didn’t want to share customer lists, Alyshah used to repeatedly run into the same scenario. “Their product team comes back and says, “We have our whole roadmap [ahead of us]. Why the hell are we gonna add you to it?” Alyshah struggled to answer this question without the data to back it up.
Flash-forward to today, Alyshah is reducing the time spent on qualifying new integration partners by 30%. Vidyard and its partners are using real-time customer overlap data in Crossbeam to not only vet new integrations, but also to gain internal buy-in from their executives and product teams.
Vet New Integration Opportunities Off of Data (Not a Hunch)
Once a potential tech partner has created a Crossbeam account, connected its preferred data source (e.g. CRM or via a CSV file upload), created its populations, and defined its data sharing rules, Alyshah can view the “overlap count” on the partner’s summary page to understand the number of customers Vidyard and the partner share in common.
It’s the first data point that shows Alyshah and the partner if they should explore an integration conversation or not.
The more overlapping customers, the more users for the integrations. And the more users for an integration, the bigger the impact on the business.
Eliminating Friction in the Joint Case Study Process
Vidyard’s partner marketing and customer success teams create a Salesforce report that includes customer overlap data from Crossbeam and the account’s health status. On just one call, Vidyard and its partner can review that report to prioritize a list of candidates for case studies.
“You can just create a Salesforce report with both of you having the same accounts, filter that through Crossbeam to show only the green [or healthy accounts] and identify the customer success rep at the partner’s company. “And so rather than having to do all this work, you can filter down to 10-15 accounts and create a mutual customer story that's gonna work well on both sides,” says Alyshah.
Challenge #3 - Scaling Agency Partnerships
Ali Hammoud, Partnerships Manager at Vidyard, saw the early days of Vidyard’s agency partner program. At one point, he was the only partner manager and was responsible for 75 agency partners. With that many partners, Ali had to be selective about where he spent his time and who he spent it with.
So, he would conduct account mapping with 5-10 long-term agency partners.
The process went a little like this:
- Ali and his agency partner shared 3-5 of their customers’ names and websites via email so they could determine if those accounts fit each other’s ideal customer profiles.
- Then, Ali would check the accounts’ URLs in its data analytics platform to see if any of his agency’s clients were actively using Vidyard.
- From there, Ali checked Salesforce to validate the account status (i.e. Are they already a customer or is there an open opportunity with the particular account?)
He ran this manual account mapping process for 3-5 accounts with 5-10 agency partners at a time. Everything was done through email and recurring meetings — costing Ali 10-15 hours a week. With that much work crammed into a finite work week, Ali could only move the needle so far with his agency partners.
Thanks to Crossbeam, Ali is collaborating with partners using real-time data — leading to more partner-sourced deals.
Here’s how Ali is driving that pipeline.
Generate Ecosystem Qualified Leads in Minutes Not Hours
In an introductory meeting with a partner, Ali says he can quickly surface between 10-30 "overlaps" or ecosystem qualified leads in Crossbeam.
Getting partners set up is simple: Partners create a Crossbeam account, connect their account to the appropriate data source (either CRM or via CSV file uploads), segment their data into "populations”, define their data sharing rules, and voilà! — they can create and view reports all within 10-20 minutes of joining the platform.
Ali and his partners create reports in Crossbeam to compare different populations, like:
- Vidyard’s open opportunities with an agency partner’s clients or prospects to see where there are co-selling opportunities for both parties.
- Vidyard’s free users with an agency’s clients to surface ecosystem qualified leads and uncover opportunities for warm intros or potential co-selling motions.
For example, Ali might discover an agency’s client overlaps with one of Vidyard’s prospects that has 50 free users — a prime opportunity for Vidyard to convert the account from free to paid and for the agency to sell complementary services like sales and marketing consulting or implementation services. The agency partner may not even know the customer they’ve been working with already uses Vidyard.
Ali also builds Crossbeam reports in Salesforce, slicing data by customer status (e.g. free or paying), company size, or tech stack. For instance, he might create a report using Crossbeam data that includes all of Vidyard’s free accounts with up to 200 employees that are working with a specific CRM tech partner.
“Now my messaging can be crafted specifically for what that population cares about or what they need,” says Ali.
Turn Pipeline Review Meetings into Collaborative, Real-Time Discussions
Ali’s conversations with partners used to be mostly pipeline reviews — but now he’s able to skip directly to a dialogue about how they can work together on particular deals and develop new customer acquisition strategies.
He says Crossbeam’s Threads, its in-app messaging functionality, has made collaboration easier. “Being able to use Threads is good for brainstorming and it opens up new conversations without having us having to formally meet about it. It’s nice and centralized.”
Launch New Co-Selling Motions to Rekindle an Old Partnership
For three years, Ali and one of his agency partners ran regular co-marketing plays like cross-promoting each other’s content and hosting joint webinars. Things were steady, but safe. There was some co-selling happening, but deep down, Ali felt they weren’t truly maximizing the potential of the partnership.
“Then, we looked at Crossbeam and opened up both customer lists to each other,” says Ali. “ We found way more co-selling opportunities than we've ever identified before.”
For example: The agency had no idea one of its clients had a bunch of Vidyard users. Using Crossbeam to surface this insight, the agency got context from Ali about the client and its use cases for Vidyard. This additional context better prepared the agency to pitch the client on additional services.
By working together to turn co-selling opportunities (like the one above) into “won” deals, the Vidyard team doubled its revenue and so did the agency partner.
“Crossbeam was instrumental to that,” says Ali.
After tackling the above challenges, Vidyard elevated its workflows and the importance of the partnerships team within the org.
“In my role, it's allowing me to bring a whole edge of knowledge to the table,” says Ali.
“Crossbeam is free. I mean, the worst thing it's gonna do is create a lot of efficiency for your team. And at no cost,” says Alyshah.