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A partner ecosystem is a network of businesses who serve similar audiences but are not competitors and may thus benefit from collaborative marketing and sales strategies. For example, a marketing automation platform (MAP), a video marketing platform, and a content management system (CMS) are three businesses who target similar customers and would benefit from joining or creating a network together.
By co-marketing and even co-selling in strategic partnerships, companies can sell more products and support happier customers who have a suite of complementary tools at their disposal. Partner ecosystems help businesses serve their customers’ needs in ways that they can’t necessarily do themselves through their own technology. By recommending trusted products that fill functionality gaps, companies can set their customers up for greater success, and of course, greater retention and customer lifetime value (CLTV.)
Example: The Quickbooks partner ecosystem contains hundreds of companies — mostly technology vendors — who serve small businesses.
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A customer loyalty program is an organized system that allows a company to reward customers for their engagement. The company may offer incentives to customers who promote their brand on social media and in real life, refer business, and perform other activities that are beneficial to the brand. In return, the customers may receive points, swag, conference tickets, gift cards, or other rewards.
Many B2B software vendors understand that their customer base is one of their greatest untapped marketing and sales resources. By encouraging happy customers to share their positive experiences with their peers, vendors can leverage customers as a low-cost, highly effective marketing channel. For example, customers may receive points that can later be redeemed for rewards by referring new business. Or customers may receive cash incentives when they generate new deals that close.
Also known as customer advocacy programs.
Example: As ChamomileCorps’ #1 fan, Refika told all her entrepreneurs friends that the software was a must-have and had saved her a great deal of time and money. Since she received 500 points on ChamomileCorps’ Cham-pions program for every referral, by the end of the year, she had received enough points to redeem them for a brand new iPad.
Revenue that an individual or company receives on a regular basis and at fixed intervals, as opposed to in lump sums. Two common forms of recurring revenue are monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and annual recurring revenue (ARR), depending on the cadence with which funds are distributed. Both are common metrics that SaaS companies use to track how much revenue they’re earning.
In addition, reseller partners will often receive recurring revenue from software vendors if they sell a subscription on their behalf. For example, if a value-added reseller (VAR) partner sells a software subscription to a new customer, the software vendor may reward the partner with a 20% of the MRR the company receives from that customer each month.
This mutually beneficial arrangement also incentivizes the reseller to help keep the customer happy because the longer they keep renewing their subscription, the more passive income the partner will earn. Companies benefit massively from this, as it takes some strain away from their customer support and customer success functions.
Also see: Reseller partners.
Example: The CEO was thrilled to see annual recurring revenue increase nearly 20% after the product marketing team rolled out a pricing update.
Example: As a small agency, X-Factor Marketing was eager to add sources of recurring revenue through partnerships to offset some of the instability of their project-based fee structure.