Amit Sinha
Chief Customer Officer at WorkSpan, Go-To-Market with Partners Specialist. Previously was SVP of Marketing at SAP, led GTM for HANA since the start.
Chief Customer Officer at WorkSpan, Go-To-Market with Partners Specialist. Previously was SVP of Marketing at SAP, led GTM for HANA since the start.
Chief Customer Officer at WorkSpan, Go-To-Market with Partners Specialist. Previously was SVP of Marketing at SAP, led GTM for HANA since the start.

It’s Time Ecosystem Builders Got their Due

The Demand Network Summit organized by WorkSpan andMayfield was a gathering of ecosystem builders — top 25 partner marketing and strategic alliances professionals, industry analysts and thought leaders gathered on the topic of driving marketing across company boundaries. The session was full of learnings that we would love to share with you.

An Emerging Category: Marketing Networks

Navin Chaddha, General Partner at Mayfield saw a new category emerge around modern Go To Market where companies orchestrate an ecosystem to win together. Navin foresees coordinating your marketing network as a simpler and more powerful way to generate demand and rapid growth for companies. Well — he is in a good position to say this with Mayfield’s prior investments in marketing (Marketo, Moat, NewsCred) and in networks companies (Lyft, Alignable, Poshmark). And thank you Navin and Mayfield for the trust in WorkSpan and your Series A investment announcement at the event.

“We see a category emerge in marketing networks” — Navin Chaddha, Mayfield

WorkSpan: Imagining a New Way to Work with your partners

Next Mayank and I took the stage to imagine how companies can work over a boundaryless network. Marketing can be more visible, accountable and have velocity to execute on aggressive growth goals. We announced general availability of WorkSpan with many companies already on the network and shared the best practices observed from them.

They include:

  • Imagine how modern marketing with your ecosystem needs a different mindset.
  • Strategic Partnerships give you access to new audiences for growth plays.
  • Win rates improves if you are marketing a solution jointly with partners.
  • Pull from field marketing more important than push from central marketing teams.
  • Just like sales / marketing collaboration, Alliances / Marketing collaboration is emerging as a way to grow rapidly.
“If we can imagine it, we can build it” — Mayank Bawa, WorkSpan
WorkSpan: Imagining a New Way to Work with your partners

Intel & SAP: Breaking silos as a Marketing Network

Kathy Barboza and Steve Asche took the stage with Moderator Andrew Higashi to talk about the Intel and SAP partnership and joint go to market. While the Intel-SAP partnership has existed for 20+ years, the move to establishing a deep marketing network across two companies (200+ SAP and 50+ Intel marketers on the network working across products, regions and industry teams!) to do joint marketing has led to doubling revenue impact and number of campaigns run in FY 2016.

Key takeaways:

Steve and Kathy see the value of marketing network approach in coordinating deeply across Intel and SAP across each market unit around the world locally, close to where their shared customers are. As global program owners, their mission is to enable people to achieve goals in the field and the program philosophy is to crowdsource ideas from the field, but hold them accountable to goals and results (important metrics such as Marketing Generated Opportunities and Revenue are tracked for each campaign) in a dynamic way.

  • For Kathy, the circles of trust are important where people can invite directly or people can knock on the door to join.
  • An upcoming area of focus is working on keeping content fresh specially for joint solution launches such as the upcoming Persistent Memory, Big Data, Cloud and SAP Leonardo launches between SAP and Intel.
“We go to market with people in a circle of trust not just companies “— Kathy Barboza, Intel
“Everything happens at the field level, that’s were the sausage is made” — Steve Asche, SAP

Partnering in CPG-Retail and Financial Services Industry Clusters

Next Gamiel Gran moderated a session with Damian Marano (National VP Coca Cola) and Ramesh Subramaniam (Head of Marketing and Strategy, Direct & Indirect Sales Channels at Equifax) on ecosystems in CPG-Retail cluster and Financial Services cluster. Net net, principles of strategic partnering and opportunities are same, vocabulary and metrics are different across industries.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consumer expectations are evolving rapidly and strategic partnerships are driven by the need to meet consumer segment expectations.
  • Partnerships is a people (coordinate, collaborate, influence) problem at its base. Any tool that can help reduce time is immensely useful.
  • Good partners help companies innovate better, faster together. Coca Cola and Subway innovate on new menu items together for the right consumer segments for example.
  • Partnerships are the art and science of making good programs happen at scale
  • Entering new markets with new products requires establishing new partners. Tracking efficiency with which funds invested result in revenues decides which partners and strategies to keep, which to cut
  • There are important adjacent roles to marketing that influence whether partnerships succeed or not. CPG-Restaurants are witnessing the rise in importance of Supply Chain professionals who can influence outcomes.
Our success is predicated on coordination with our customers such as Subway on innovation, marketing, supply chain and store execution” — Damian Marano, The Coca Cola Company
“Ecosystems are not silos anymore. They are across industries now ”— Ramesh Subramaniam, Equifax

Circle of Trust led by Henry Chesbrough ,UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business

Henry Chesbrough, professor at Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and author of popular books such as Open Innovation and Open Business Models has been a thought leader on the topic of open innovation in R&D. He was excited to see how the theory can developed for marketing projects.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ecosystems are more powerful than exponential technologies due to combinatorial expansions of partners of partners in networks.
  • Coordination complexity increases rapidly in an ecosystem and manual ability to manage coordination proves to be limiting very quickly. Need to a robust tool to manage this.
  • On the soft side, governance, openness and transparency is needed as command and control will bog people down.
“No company, no matter how big you are, how good you are, how old you are, you cannot do it all alone”— Prof. Henry Chesbrough, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

Next leading minds in partner marketing and alliances shared their best practices and challenge for the group to solve.

Kathy Contreras (SiriusDecisions)

Best Practice: Bidirectional collaboration helps in ideation, development and execution of programs as compared to one way flows.

Challenge: How do we structure work teams in the right workflows across companies?


Bertrand Cariou (Trifacta)

Best Practice: Establishing processes is a best practice that help achieve scalability via repeatability.

Challenge: Coordination across internal and external teams to launch new solution plays is a challenge.


Madhav Ranganathan (Hitachi Data Systems)

Best Practice: Establishing objective metrics for success is a best practice that allows partner teams to quantify and showcase value

Challenge: Getting those metrics.


Roland Wartenberg (NetApp)

Best Practice: Establishing repeatable process is a best practice that help achieve scalability.

Challenge: How do we tap into the enormous potential for establishing a network of partners that could recommend partners to work with based on region, industry and past performance?


Jade Vachon (SAP)

Best Practice: Scaling collaboration via WorkSpan to regions

Challenge: Ensuring consistency (per corporate HQ rules) has to compete with the reality of localized processes (per region’s rule or culture)


Dennis Deanne (HPE)

Best Practice: Tracking clear revenue metrics is a best practice — it clarifies investment decisions

Challenge: Ecosystems are getting complex — they are multidimensional and tracking them in a spreadsheet is getting difficult very quickly leading to higher costs and lead times.


John Knightly (HPE)

Best Practice: Leveraging SiriusDecisions best practices is a best practice and utilizing Marketing Engineering to make data-driven decisions is a best practice

Challenge: Logging into other people’s portals is a big challenge


Gamiel Gran (Mayfield)

Best Practice: Get a strategic sponsor, go for a quick win

Challenge: New partner programs have a risk of blowing up at field level due to lack of visibility and tracking. Combinatorial complexity causes people to self-limit partnership opportunities.


Aiaz Kazi (Google)

Best Practice: To succeed in the long term, products have to become platforms. At some time, you have to let go of your platform to a partner’s imagination of how to use it

Challenge: Dealing with partner’s partner is a challenge today — what value will a partner’s partner get? If this question is not answered correctly, our partner programs can stall because the partner’s ecosystem is not aligned


Ray Homan (SAP)

Best Practice: A best practice is to focus on velocity of execution — how long does it take to define goals and then execute to achieve those goals

Challenge: A challenge is that spinning up a team across partners takes time


Heidi Larsen (Consultant)

Best Practice: Best practice was to meet the partner CEO and ask for his top 3 priorities for the next 90 days and then work hard to make those priorities happen

Challenge: Finite resources really hamper partner network development: get out of the way and let internal and external teams self-collaborate


Dave Miller (Intel)

Best Practice: Let the partners communicate and collaborate without the center being the bottleneck. Intel Developer Community is a great example.

Challenge: Challenge is in running the program via a 3-tier resource model of employees, partners and contractors / agencies.


Laurie Depaulo (Coca-Cola)

Best Practice: Striving for 360-degree value for each relationship to grow each other.

Challenge: International working times make it hard to answer phone calls at 2am — opportunity is to have an asynchronous shared system of work that allows people to work in their local working hours.


Harry Gould (Sailpoint)

Challenge: A challenge is to get company to buy into their partner programs meaningfully — set up compensation metrics such that internal and external teams are not competing

Best Practices: A best practice is to show the company that partner collaboration results in opportunities that close faster and higher than without partner collaboration. Another best practice is to involve external partner teams in all the company’s processes and systems as if they were internal teams: “make them part of the fabric of the company”


Claire Hockin (Infosys)

Best Practice: Marketing Network can be a source for resources / skills that are needed for marketing projects (e.g., get copywriting contractor)

Challenge: Challenge is how do you get people to think differently now that a marketing network exists? It can do more things than just support collaboration


Suresh Ramakrishnan (Delphix)

Best Practice: Marketing portfolio planning that spans global and regional marketing teams and partners.

Challenge: Challenge is for small companies to scale with velocity while having limited resources


Prof. Henry Chesbrough (Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley)

Best practice: Best Practice for small companies is to scale with partner’s money and get wider reach sooner via partner’s audiences

Challenge: We see a dichotomy of centralization and decentralization: money is allocated at corporate, campaigns are executed in regions


Next meeting of ecosystem builders will take place on Dec 6th 2017 from 1–4 pm at Mayfield Headquarters. We look forward to current members meeting again. If you want to be invited to this circle of trust, please ask an existing ecosystem builder to extend an invitation.

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Amit Sinha
Chief Customer Officer at WorkSpan, Go-To-Market with Partners Specialist. Previously was SVP of Marketing at SAP, led GTM for HANA since the start.
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