For Partnership Leaders

Partnership Ecosystems: The Future of Collaboration Starts Now

McKinsey predicts ecosystem networks across industries will grow to $60 trillion by 2025. Partnership ecosystems are where we must place our attention.


If there is one phrase that’s been dominating the news in 2021, it’s Partnership Ecosystems.

I don’t know about you, but I find it an inspiring phrase. It expresses an artful synthesis of people working together and living systems. 

It’s not just me. 

A lot of business consultants are emphasizing that this concept will completely transform the landscape of business. Here are three insights that might catch your attention.

    • McKinsey predicts ecosystem networks across industries will grow to $60 trillion by 2025. 
    • IDC predicts that companies implementing an ecosystem model will grow 50% faster than those who don’t use one.
    • Accenture recently surveyed business leaders. 76% of them agreed that ecosystems will be the main change agent, and current business models will be unrecognizable in as little as 5 years.

With this backdrop, it’s increasingly clear that partnership ecosystems are where we must place our attention.

 

Concerns About Partnership Ecosystems

But before I get ahead of myself, a lot of business owners I talk with have shared their concerns about the concept of partnership ecosystems. 

I’ve been gathering the top questions and they seem to fall into a few buckets.

Size

“We’re a small business and I’m concerned that we don’t have the capacity to build a massive infrastructure to fully accommodate partners.”

Competition

“We are in a fiercely competitive market. I can’t imagine that anyone would want to share warm introductions with us—so how can we truly find partners?”

Strapped for Cash

“We are just getting by as it is…all this talk about partner ecosystems is great for global organizations, but we’re just trying to keep the lights on.”

Secret Sauce

“We consider our assets to be our secret sauce. There’s no way we’re about to share company assets or industry secrets with partners.”

Our Model Doesn’t Match

“Our current business model just doesn’t allow us to explore new partnerships. We’re not clear on how to bridge this gap.”

In many ways, these 5 concerns are true whether you’ve been in business for a week or decades. If you’re a tiny mom-and-pop operation or just getting going, size, competition, and being strapped for cash are often the name of the game. If you’re steeped in a way of doing business, your trade secrets and business model may prevent you from seeking partners.

So, it begs the point…these concerns are not new. And, without a change in mindset, they may never truly go away.

That’s why we need to turn our focus somewhere else entirely. To our mindset.

 

The Mindset of Collaborative Partnerships

If you’re thinking about partnerships, partner referral systems, and partnership ecosystems—you’re already ahead of the pack. You may not know all the pieces yet. But you are ahead of the curve.

You know in your gut that working together just makes good common sense. You may have grown up in a family where everyone pitched in and helped. 

My friend Steve just told me about how he grew on a farm. Everyone in the family worked before school and afterward to keep things going. Feeding the chickens, getting the hay, and bringing in the horses were just part of daily life. 

They worked together not only within the family but within their community. People came together to harvest crops, butcher livestock, and help out neighbors in a heavy storm. 

Perhaps you grew up in a more urban setting and came to know the value of partnerships in your neighborhood. 

My best friend grew up in the Midwest. Her family knew everyone on the block. Neighbors were always dropping by, checking in, and making sure that everyone was safe. Whether in a snowstorm, in a tornado, or during a power outage, you always knew that people had your back.

Another close friend grew up in Bavaria, in a small town near Munich. He told me a similar story. “We all knew who needed a hand, and who to check on during a crisis. There was a strong community where people looked after one another. I couldn’t imagine that people would live in any other way than looking out for each other.”

If you’ve experienced the value of community in your life, you are often more tuned in to the concept of partnering. You know that it feels good to give, and good to receive. You’re not keeping score or expecting reciprocity directly. Instead, you’re in the flow of keeping generosity alive and well.

Most likely, you’re doing this without giving it much thought. You naturally think of a neighbor and drop off extra vegetables from your garden. You invite a friend who is living alone over for a cup of tea. You drop off supplies or rake a neighbor’s lawn, without giving it a second thought.

This kind of inclusion sets the stage for warmth, friendliness, and connection. You feel it. Your family feels it. And, everyone in your sphere – at work, in your community, and in your interactions—feels it.

As we’re talking about partnership mindset, let’s look at it from the angle of time. 

 

Managing Your Time for Partner Ecosystems

A lot of professionals are grappling with how to spend their time wisely. In many organizations, the old business model just doesn’t have room for reaching out to potential partners, exploring opportunities, and optimizing working relationships.

If your organization is stuck in an old business model, this can prevent people from taking time and investing in a building, growing, and strengthening partner ecosystems.

Talking with your leadership team, showing the value of partnering, and learning about other business models can go a long way towards opening up your time for productive partnership conversations.

 

Sum Up

Building a partner ecosystem is an investment in collaboration. It is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business, strengthen your network, and create benefits for everyone involved. As you work with your partners, you’ll discover new ways to start, optimize and transform your systems for collaborative success. 

By starting with a partnership mindset, you can join successful businesses that are shaping the market and realizing significant revenue potential. Partnership Co-Selling is how you can virtually qualify B2B sales opportunity. You can use this to boost sales, expand your network, and grow profitability.

Using a platform like CoSell is the simplest way to get your sales team on board. CoSell is a robust platform that makes it easy and fast to automate and scale collaborative co-selling across sales teams. 

If you’d like to explore how partnership co-selling can help you and your team boost sales and win major clients fast - check out our selection of free eBooks.

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