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Ecosystem-Led Growth (ELG) for GTM

Hello and welcome to The GTM Newsletter – read by over 50,000 revenue professionals weekly to scale their companies and careers. GTMnow is the media extension of GTMfund – sharing insight on go-to-market from working with hundreds of portfolio companies backed by over 350+ of the best in the game executive operators who have been there, done that at the world’s fastest growing SaaS companies.

You may have heard about a free tool that GTMnow and GTMfund launched with Cabal two weeks ago, called Warm Intro Navigator. If so, you know that we’ve been nerding out on ecosystem-led growth (ELG) for quite a while now.

So this week’s breakdown on ELG has been a longtime coming.

Let’s get into it.

Sponsor love: The ELG Conference.

The smartest companies are embracing Ecosystem-Led Growth, or ELG.

Join us at the gorgeous Proper Hotel in Austin on May 15-16 and hear how the top SaaS companies are leveraging partner ecosystems in their GTM motions aka Ecosystem-Led Growth. Early-bird tickets expire next week.

What you’ll get at ELG Con:

  • Case studies from companies like Data, Cloudera, and more.

  • A chance to tour (and maybe even race on?) Austin’s F1 track.

  • Candid, off-the-record conversations — no recordings here.

  • A highly curated group of 200 GTM leaders, 85% director level and above across Sales, Marketing, and Partnerships.

Claim your tickets today, including a limited number of special two-for-the-price-of-one tickets.

Why Ecosystem-Led Growth for GTM?

Let’s break it down 👇

Why ecosystem-led growth? 4 huge benefits:

  1. Cost-effectiveness. Data from Crossbeam shows that ELG is the third-most cost-effective strategy behind customer referrals and inbound sales.

  2. Support on pipeline movement. Stuck trying to engage a prospect? Partners can facilitate warm intros to their customers so you can move stuck leads through the pipeline. 

  3. Access to more data. Partner data (or second-party data) provides additional intel on customers and prospects, and can also inform your product and feature roadmap. 

  4. Efficiency. ELG puts less strain on your team because partners can provide additional data, resources, and opportunities, meaning less time is spent chasing low-quality leads. 

ELG strategies can increase revenue: Forrester reports that mature partner programs generate revenue for companies at 2x the rate of low maturity partner programs.

How to use ecosystem-led growth in your GTM

ELG can be applied to each function of your go-to-market strategy: sales, marketing, product, and customer success. 

In sales, teams can use partner data to generate higher-quality leads and shorten the sales lifecycle. According to Crossbeam, partners contribute to 58% of the revenue generated by Highspot’s top sales reps, and their deal size was 60% higher when working with partners. 

By partnering with another SaaS company, you can identify opportunities for cross-selling (selling a complementary product to your partner’s customers), or co-selling (teaming up with a partner’s sales team to convert your prospects). 

Sales tactics like cold calls often have a low conversion rate. With an ELG strategy, you can lean on partners to facilitate warm intros between you and their customers, and you can use second-party data to learn more about who you’re selling to. Additionally, agency partners can enable cross-selling—finding opportunities to expand the usage of your products to other departments or branches within an organization.

Using partner data to drive product and feature roadmaps 

Partner ecosystem platforms (PEP) can help you identify where your customers, prospects, and opportunities overlap with your partner’s. You can then combine insights like product usage data and other analytics to drive decision-making. 

For example, the product team can leverage partner data to tailor the product journey and in-app experience for different customers. Partner data can tell you about your prospects’ tech stacks, so your team can identify opportunities for integration. If your users are also customers of your partner, the product team can employ in-app messaging to suggest integrations to users, and understand which types of users adopt and benefit from those integrations. This contributes to overall customer satisfaction and retention.

Ecosystem-led marketing

Marketing has ample opportunities for implementing ecosystem-led growth through partnerships. In last week’s newsletter, we talked about the importance of owned media for better audience insights and building value for your network. By leveraging partnerships in marketing as part of your GTM motions, you combine the networks of you and your partner to reach new markets. This can take the form of joint blog posts, podcasts featuring a member of the partner company, and co-marketing campaigns. 

SaaS companies are also using ecosystem-led approaches to launch integrations. By aligning their GTM strategies, they can drive both the adoption of the integration, and build mutually beneficial partner-sourced pipelines. Google and Hubspot launched their ads integration tool using a GTM strategy that included joint case studies, co-marketed content, and enablement tools for sales and customer success. Five months post-launch, they saw a 232% increase in feature adoption.

Leveraging partnerships in onboarding

Shortening the time to value (TTV) for customers can boost retention and reduce churn. For example, RollWorks uses tech stack insights to identify high-value integrations with Salesforce, Chrome, and Slack during onboarding. This makes adoption of their product easier for customers, and they found that renewal was 30% higher for customers who used at least one integration. Customer success teams can also bring in tech partners during onboarding to educate customers about the integrations and share relevant use cases.

Sourcing partnerships within your network

Partners are not necessarily other SaaS companies. They can also be part of your existing network: executives, VCs, and other employees. If account executives (AEs) are having trouble breaking into target accounts, they can lean on internal partners to gain quicker access. Holding cross-department discussions allows your team to identify connections to prospects that you might already have; maybe one of your executives or board members is connected to the decision maker of a prospect account, for example. Together, you can strategize the best approach to moving those leads through the pipeline.

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🎥 Live events:

Building a Modern Pipe Gen Engine with Kyle Coleman [March 14th at 10am PST] – Register Here.

Using AI to Coach Your Sales Team or Yourself – Watch On-Demand.

👀 More for your eyeballs:

Demandbase launched a new Intent Data Preview. Now you can sample their intent data based on selected filters and see how powerful it is for targeting ads and creating tailored messaging.

Keyplay launched Org Insights. Integrated with Salesforce & HubSpot, you can enrich accounts with the size and density of any persona/role. Fully customized for you. These signals then feed your Keyplay ICP model to score every account.

👂 More for your eardrums:

Stephen Hakami is the Founder and CEO of Wiza – the most accurate way to find verified contact information for B2B prospects. Stephen started the company in 2019 after a sales career of being frustrated with bad data, and set out to build a prospecting tool that’s powered by live LinkedIn data.

In this episode, you’ll learn effective tactics of cold email and deliverability, the journey from sales to CEO, and hard lessons learned in sales.

Listen wherever you get your podcasts by searching “The GTM Podcast.”

🚀 Start-ups to watch: 

ReplayzIQ: The power of its sales coaching software was demonstrated in a live event this week and the results for teams like Owner were impressive. Watch the live event replay on AI sales coaching here.

Testbox: Putting out great educational content around a critical area that is not discussed enough: pre-sales. Read part 4 of a presales redefined series on it here.

🔥 Hottest GTM jobs of the week:

  1. Strategic Sales Engineer at Atlan (SF, CA)

  2. Director of Sales at Spekit (Denver, CO)

  3. Customer Success Manager at Northbeam (Remote – US)

  4. Customer Success Manager at Esper (Remote – US)

  5. Enterprise Customer Success Manager at Atlan (Remote – US)

See more top GTM jobs on the GTMfund Job Board.

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That’s it, that’s all. 

Ecosystem-led growth (ELG) is more than the ‘latest acronym’ — it’s an effective go-to-market (GTM) approach that leverages partnerships and partner data to source new opportunities, increase deal velocity, reduce churn, and expand existing accounts. 

Essentially, ELG means forming strategic partnerships and identifying where your customers, opportunities, and prospects overlap to drive your GTM strategy.

The GTMfund team is heading to Austin next week for SXSW. Part of what we’ll be doing there? Events with our ecosystem!

Barker ✌

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