Forrester Research says that B2B companies must consider their traditional transactional channel partners like distributors and resellers as part of a broader partner ecosystem, including services and technical firms, and build a coordinated partner marketing strategy to expand customer value and grow sales.

In B2B commerce, companies can generate new customer value and sales through a partner ecosystem that builds on traditional channel partner networks, Forrester Research says in a new report.


Christina Schmitt, principal analyst, Forrester Research

But companies risk losing out on the opportunity to increase customer value and sales through an interconnected partner ecosystem, including brand influencers, services firms and software partners, as well as traditional transactional partners like distributors and resellers, Forrester says in the report, “B2B CMOs Must Elevate Partner Ecosystem Marketing,” authored principal analyst Christina Schmitt and other Forrester analysts.

Broad partner ecosystems can help a B2B company address more of what customers need, providing a higher level of personalization many B2B buyers demand. But an effective partner ecosystem strategy requires a coordinated marketing strategy, Forrester says.

“If partners are not part of the organization’s brand messaging and go-to-market strategy process, it can lead to partners rolling out their own view of the provider’s brand and joint solution messaging,” Forrester says. “Not only does this result in messaging inconsistency, but it is also a missed opportunity to craft synergistic positioning that more effectively describes the value that the provider and the partner bring to buyers together.”


Forrester adds that a B2B company should also direct “a consistent lead and opportunity management process across all partners.”

In addition, Forrester asserts that CMOs must “ensure partner ecosystem marketing is fully integrated into all marketing areas — from strategy to planning, brand and communications, campaigns, value measurement, as well as the organization and operating model.”

Forrester notes that, for a typical B2B company, “45% of B2B marketing decision-makers say the primary source of the organization’s revenue comes from new or renewed business from ecosystem partners.”


The report lays out the key elements of a company’s partner ecosystem marketing transformation, including:

  • crafting a marketing strategy that aligns with their partners’ growth strategies.
  • developing a consistent communication strategy that strengthens each company’s brands.

Paul Demery is a Digital Commerce 360 contributing editor covering B2B digital commerce technology and strategy. [email protected].

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