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Growing GSI Partnerships Requires a Uniquely Different Approach

Pascale Smith
by Pascale Smith - August 12, 2020

Global Systems Integrators – or any very large, strategic partner – often represent the type of channel Partner who can significantly impact channel revenue with only a few deals. We see that looking at growing and nurturing these relationships is climbing to the top of the priority list for many of the channel vendors we talk to and work with.

Our thoughts

Whether the objective is to grow revenue through these types of partners through recruiting new GSIs; expanding out into existing partners (to Partner); or creating bigger and more deals through a joint go-to market with Partner – the approach that sits at the heart of all of these is account-based marketing (ABM).

ABM involves a combined marketing and sales process to activate more engagement in accounts by creating very specific, highly-bespoke messaging, content and interaction for each account. It is a resource-intensive activity but can deliver better ROI than any other type of marketing.

Can you lift your existing to-customer ABM and use this for GSI targeting?

Rarely. There are enough differences in using ABM to grow GSI accounts compared to growing client accounts that you can’t assume that the internal processes and platforms you have in place are fit for purpose. Some of these differences include:

  • Type of approach

For example, many organisations using ABM for end-customers at scale will be using one-to-few account-based marketing, whereas growing GSI partners requires a one-to-one approach. Measuring success will be hugely different.

  • Account data and insight

There may also be differences in the data collected for Partner accounts versus client accounts. A lot of the success in account-based marketing comes from who you know within the target accounts – who you don’t know (the whitespace) – and what you know about them. Often, there has been a different approach to how this information is stored and shared for clients versus Partners.   Client data and insight might be in a sales CRM for clients but might exist in a PRM for Partners and insight not collected but rather knowledge held by account managers.

  • Sales and marketing messages

The largest difference in marketing to GSIs compared to ABM to key client accounts is the messaging and type of content you need to land in the accounts. This messaging needs to create cut-through and speak to the joint value of the partnership. Normally, vendor interaction with Partners has been very much at the solution-level. Here, by demonstrating how the vendor’s propositions can work WITH GSI partners’ mission to create more value to the end user you can start to create the type of awareness and strength of relationships that extend over the whole of the GSI account and isn’t limited to one practice area or geography.

A pilot then scale approach

Uncovering how to make to Partner ABM success within your organisations requires you to uncover what will drive success and what may need to change to not hinder the processes. ABM at scale is a resource-heavy activity and a pilot should generate a blue-print for you to map out what a scaled-up ABM approach should include.


Find out more about growing GSI partnerships and how to widen existing relationships in our webinar on-demand:

'Growing and Scaling Your GSI Partnerships'

Watch Now


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