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Aaron Howerton

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The future of SaaS will be built around Ecosystems. Companies will find it more difficult to reach $100m ARR, if not impossible, without Partnerships to help them along. $500m will be a pipe dream without it. The most successful companies will start with Partnerships baked into their DNA with Leaders thinking about Partner Lead growth and accommodation in every department. Partnerships (i.e. Ecosystem) should be built into the core architecture of every system - "How will this eventually impact our ability to work with and include Partners?" - and systems that can't support that collaboration should be de-prioritized or just plan avoided. Successful Ecosystems require Company Wide Initiatives and Investment! This includes: ✅ Board level awareness of Partnership trends and the long-tail value of early Partnership investment with returns typically 12-24 months out ✅ Top level buy-in from Executive Leadership that knows the path to and beyond $100m is paved with a vibrant ecosystem ✅ Partner Managers that can focus on building relationships and not on daily administrative tasks ✅ Customer Success and Professional Service leaders that see Partnerships as the path toward scale and increased professionalism for their own teams ✅ Marketing teams that understand and invest in the power of joint solution marketing across shared customer bases, open opportunities, and prospects as well as the value of definitive inbound and outbound referral rhythms ✅ Product Teams that see Partnerships as the path toward collaborative feature delivery, limit obstacles to engagement with open API, 'semi-open source' values, and early consideration for Partner license management if/when some form of reseller shows up ✅ RevOps support from day 1 to capture key metrics (Sourced/Influenced/Attached, Recruitiment, Inbound/Outbound referrals, Compensation, etc) and reduce ongoing band-aids and technical debt . ✅ Desk Desk/Finance teams that proactively consider partner quotes, payments, and other financial ✅ Enablement support in delivering a world class partner experience for onboarding, alignment, certification, and continued education ✅ IT/Systems support in developing SSO and maintaining system alignment and architecture for an evolving program with shifting needs ✅ Legal alignment for contract management and quick turn arounds on redlines and program alignment More than 15 years in and around SaaS solutions working across multiple departments and teams to solve complex organizational problems, especially around Partnerships, has me convinced... This is the way!

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