The "Land and expand" partnerships strategy

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The "Land and expand" partnerships strategy refers to getting deeper into an ecosystem by partnering with a company, then finding out who they partner with in that ecosystem and trying to align with those companies as well. This tactic allows you to surround the customers needing services or apps within that ecosystem.

As in, if I am partnered with a group of companies who also partner with each other, that web helps ensure when a customer of anyone in that group needs something I provide, one of them remembers me.

Conversely, if I am just partnered with one company over here, and another over there, I am only able to activate that one company, and only if they have a customer in need AND they remember me when that customer has a need.

In this video, I help an agency understand this strategy and leverage it for their ecosystem to get closer to customer targets:

Step 1: Connect with a key partner in the ecosystem. 

Not an ecosystem partner, but a company with a strong partnership with that ecosystem. As in, instead of thinking that you have to get close with the Shopify or HubSpot partner team, you should find a few top-tier Shopify and HubSpot app and solutions partners. 

The reason: Most of you will not get much love or referrals from either ecosystem. Their partner teams support thousands of partners. Very few of those will get direct referrals back. 

But, there is a lot of money to be made by being involved in the tech stacks they support. 

So your strategy should be to develop a few strong relationships with the long-standing partners within those ecosystems first. 

Step 2: Then, "Konnect" to the next layer of partners.

The "K" is there because of a feature inside Partnerhub® called "Konnections

The reason you want to do this is not only to bring your company closer to the ecosystem, but to also surround the customers within that ecosystem by having your partners point one another, and therefore the customer, back to you. 

Step 3: Create co-marketing opportunities to make yourself a more attractive partner.

Keeping within our land and expand strategy, you will need to bring initial value to those ecosystem partners. Having customers to refer is ideal, but most of us will not have that coming in. What we all have is our ability to highlight other experts and technology in our blog, newsletters, social posts, webinars... 

Simply start with an open discussion with the team about what you have coming out you are able to include a _____ ecosystem thought leader (or multiple) in. Use this Partner Content Operations Airtable base as a way to manage your co-marketing content calendar. 

As you do more with the partners in the ecosystem, not only will that allow you to start reciprocal relationships with better people and companies in that ecosystem, you will be top of mind for their next referral during the engagement and after it's published. 

Use the "OpportunitiesLive Offers

Step 4: Finally, form your "Circles" of in-market partners you've met using this strategy

To truly activate your partner networks, finding a partner who is in market with another partner of yours, and then leveraging that group for you next go-to-market, is the best strategy to use. 

An example is not simply "HubSpot users." That's too vague. You will want to drill those Circles all the way down to: 

  • Size of the company
  • Industry
  • Ecosystems they work in
  • Departments you want to target
  • Seniority level

Name your target Circles by focus - i.e. "Mid-Market Manufacturing Marketing Teams on HubSpot."

Then, gather those partners who also sell to that persona, and get onto strategic planning and pipeline review calls with each of them. 

If you are a Partnerhub® user, all of this is done within your "Circles


So to review: 

  1. After choosing ecosystems you want to work in
  2. Find a few key players in that ecosystem to partner with
  3. Gain visibility to their partners (through Konnections) or simply ask
  4. Network deeper through those connections
  5. Create an inbound partnerships strategy by broadcasting co-marketing opportunities to those ecosystems
  6. Consolidate it all into Circles 
  7. Meet with your Circle partners monthly or even weekly to review pipeline and ideate

I hope this helps! 

In partnership,