Partner acquisition refers to growing your partner program by enrolling new partners into your partner program. This involves your partner recruitment strategy and the process it takes to apply to your partner program.
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. In an ecosystem, the involved companies orchestrate all indirect distribution channels to scale and grow. 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.