Expanding Customer Success Through Partners Image

Expanding Customer Success Through Partners

When it comes to building long-term scalability and efficiency for their businesses, more and more SaaS companies are turning to channel and ecosystem partners as a critical strategy within their go-to-market programs. Partner Success has been long talked about in Customer Success programs, but it’s had limitations in practice due to technology constraints like data security requirements and lack of Customer Success capabilities among partners. 

Today, the sophistication of Customer Success strategies and supporting technologies are putting through-partner Customer Success to work in entirely new ways. 

That topic was the focus of Gainsight’s recent webinar with partnership experts Jay McBain from Canalys and Jane Bossert from IBM.  

The Power of Partnerships

The biggest asset partners bring to SaaS vendors is trust. The average customer maintains seven trusted partnerships according to McBain. Each of those partners represents an opening for a software provider to get their solutions to the top of the consideration set when their customer is in search of a technology solution.  Knowing which of those organizations to partner with (and how) is the focus of partner programs globally, where trillions of dollars are transacted through indirect channels and ecosystems each year. 

For IBM, its partner ecosystem is responsible for contributing over 40% of its software revenue. The significance of this contribution underscores the increasing importance of emphasizing the role those trusted partners play in the post-sales customer experience. The value of the partnership no longer stops at the initial transaction. MSP, ISV, and other strategic partners are being embedded deeper and deeper in the customer journey to provide sustained value, support, and retention. 

Overcoming Through-Partner Customer Success Barriers With Technology

Communication stands at the center of effectively managing the intricacies of channel partnerships and partner ecosystems. Ensuring clear and effective communication pathways between partners, vendors, and customers is paramount. Until recently, most Customer Success platforms didn’t offer a clear path to integrating partners into a vendor’s Customer Success strategy. 

Managing permissions, limiting access to specific customer data and controlling which CSP features a partner can use have been a high barrier to overcome. Now, with Through-Partner Customer Success from Gainsight, SaaS companies can readily meet the stringent security requirements of enterprise organizations who rely on partner programs to drive growth. Securely allowing partner users inside of your CSP opens up boundless opportunities for expansion, retention, and scale.  

Keys to Making Through-Partner Customer Success Effective

Partner ecosystems can play an integral role in strategic growth both pre- and post-sales. While co-marketing and co-selling have been central to partner programs, the experts from Canalys and IBM discussed specific considerations for a vendor that wants to integrate partners into their Customer Success motions, including: 

  • Identify Customer Success capabilities among partners, and use collaboration and access within the Customer Success platform as an incentive for your top partners. 
  • Prioritize sharing customer engagement and health score data wherever you engage with partners. While not everyone can provide direct access to their CSP, providing data visibility is the first step to determining how you and your partners can best collaborate for Customer Success. 
  • Acknowledge that different partners have a different strategic focus and technical specialties. When you make your Customer Success calls-to-action and playbooks known, those partners can help determine where it makes the most sense for them to intervene. Just make sure they work those activities and communicate back results. 

The Future of Partner Ecosystems

The integration of partners into Customer Success initiatives is not just a trend. Through-partner Customer Success represents a fundamental shift in how businesses will seek to deliver value and drive growth as part of its expansion and retention efforts. And, high-tech and SaaS companies like IBM are charting a clear roadmap for leveraging partnerships to enhance Customer Success, drive adoption, and ultimately, secure sustainable growth.

Learn More

Learn more about Through-Partner Customer Success by watching the full on-demand webinar: Unleash The Potential of Through-Partner Customer Success.