All the typical growth strategies for startups are still useful. But not as stand-alone activities.
For maximum effectiveness, they are nested activities.
First, they are nested within a cluster of partners. Each strategy gains leverage when done together with partner companies – complimentary tech, service agencies, affiliates, and alliances.
Next, they are nested within a community or ecosystem. This is where customers, partners, and individuals trusted by both live and interact.
While recording the next PartnerUp Podcast episode yesterday, Airmeet CMO Mark Kilens laid out the six basic growth approaches:
- Sales led/outbound
- Content led/inbound
- Events led
- Product led
- Partner led
- Community led
These are all valid, but listing them on the same level felt off. As we talked, I sketched out on MS Paint (my favorite design program) the way I think these are layered for maximum effectiveness.
To win big, you need several things.
- Live in the community/ecosystem where your customers, partners, and those they trust live
- Create and maintain partnerships with the complimentary companies in that ecosystem
- Build a sales process that co-sells with partners in that ecosystem
- Build content with your partners (Mark’s rule: “60% of our content should be created by someone other than us”)
- Host events with your partners (Tyler Calder, CMO of PartnerStack: “We’ll never do another event alone”)
- Co-innovate with partners on your product – involve them in the process, make integrations core to the roadmap
Of course to really get the flywheel going, you’ve got to think about how your customer success strategy is nested in partner relationships which are themselves nested in an ecosystem.
Turn those customer service requests into referrals for service partners. Turn help documentation into partner education content.
The efficiency and effectiveness gained by living in market and partnering on every action, vs going to market with siloed strategies is immense.
PS – a 5-day deep dive into what this approach really looks like for each department is happening November 7-11. Join us at the PL[X] Summit!