Nearbound is a new concept that gives B2B companies a new revenue channel for their sales funnel.
To find leads, Nearbound taps into a company's partner ecosystem. Reveal's platform allows B2B companies to securely share customer data so they can search for and work on prospects together.
But what you may not know is how it works, and how it differs from inbound and outbound sales. In this article, we will look at just that.
- 1. What is Nearbound?
- 2. Nearbound vs. Inbound vs. Outbound
- 2.1. Inbound Strategy Pros and Cons
- 2.2. Outbound Strategy Pros and Cons
- 2.3. Enter Nearbound
- 3. How Nearbound Will Change the Partnerships Game
- 3.1. What Nearbound Means for Partner Teams
- 3.2. What Nearbound Means for Sales Teams
- 3.3. What Nearbound Means for Marketing Teams
- 3.4. What Nearbound Means for Leadership
- 4. The Nearbound Tech Stack
- 5. Conclusion
Table of contents
Reveal founded the concept in 2020 with the intention of revolutionizing B2B partnerships and creating a new revenue channel.
The term coined by Reveal is defined as:
“Nearbound Go-to-Market (Nearbound GTM) is the operationalization of product, marketing, sales, success, and partnerships to generate revenue by partnering with organizations or individuals who already enjoy respect and influence in your target market.”
This is especially relevant now given the current economic situation. Companies are looking for new strategies to increase their revenues. To survive, they need to tap into the potential of the partnership ecosystem.
We are seeing Nearbound come to life with the merger of PartnerHacker and Reveal. This venture will increase their authority in the partnership space and help them bring the nearbound idea into the mainstream.
Although Reveal has a significant presence in Europe, the acquisition will help capitalize on the connections PartnerHacker has built in the U.S. market. PartnerHacker will take the lead in educating the B2B industry on the value of nearbound for Reveal.
The main difference between nearbound, inbound, and outbound sales is the origin of the lead. Inbound sales begin when a lead comes from a potential customer who has seen your content and contacts your company to inquire about a product or service.
Outbound sales are the result of contacting potential customers who have not yet shown interest in a product or service your company offers. This is usually done with what we call targeted cold emails or phone calls.
Nearbound is about identifying opportunities within your current ecosystem by evaluating overlaps in audiences between you, your customers, and your partners. The argument is that because those leads already trust the service provider you're connected with, they will be more likely to purchase your products or services.
Although inbound marketing strategies seem sensible and successful, it also has a number of advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that prospects contact you immediately and become your customers as soon as you solve their problems. Such prospects are already your hot leads; they just need to be nurtured effectively before they become paying customers.
You build brand awareness in your sector and generate leads when you offer quality content to your audience. Over time, your brand helps drive customer loyalty and build a special connection with your audience.
The downside to inbound methodology is that there is an abundance of content everywhere due to increasing competition in the industry. You need to create the ideal website content if you want to get the right inbound sales for your business.
The target audience should receive the content at the right time. Your inbound sales will suffer if the audience does not access your scattered material at the right time.
Another limitation is that because everything is so automated inbound, it leads to information overload. It turns out that no matter how high-quality or relevant the content is, consumers have a limited attention span.
Outbound sales processes have several advantages, especially when targeting buyer personas. Generally, the main limitation in any industry is ROI. The salesperson uses outbound sales strategies to contact their prospects directly, nurture them, and close the deal.
Outbound sales typically involve initiating contact via a person-to-person connection, which increases the likelihood of closing a deal and providing a quick return on investment.
In addition, all sales activities—including emails, cold calls, and social media messages—can be quantified down to the decimal point thanks to digitization.
But as outbound developed, it became more difficult to get better each year as everyone got better.
The cycle continued. More technology, more information, better messaging, and more targeting led to more interruptions.
But the human brain is limited. No matter how well-intentioned, interruptions can only happen so often. The market is changing and people won't buy products/services unless someone they trust is telling them it's worth it.
You can learn about people you know from people you know. You work with others to find solutions to their challenges. The technology and data needed to do this on a large scale have changed.
Software for account mapping, such as Reveal, has recently produced a new type of data. This enables users of inbound and outbound motions to partner with people who their prospects already trust and stack Nearbound information on top of their actions.
As Jill Rowley stated in the Nearbound x PartnerHacker merger announcement:
“Nearbound: Your next customer is just a partner away.”
The buyer journey is improved at every stage thanks to the knowledge of the nodes of trust that each account is linked to. This information creates a myriad of opportunities.
A similar notion was expressed by Madison Perry in her Greatest Minds in Partnerships article:
“Truth is, People aren’t opening emails anymore... They're turning to their trusted service providers that they already have a relationship with to get feedback and input.”
Indeed, trust is king in both channel partnerships and GTM motions. The lack of it is usually the underlying reason when things go wrong.
To be clear, inbound and outbound strategies will be used within the nearbound framework, but nearbound will help direct those motions toward success.
So, for Nearbound to be successful with your partners, you need to build a strong foundation of trust. Nearbound then leverages that trust so that both inbound and outbound motions are more successful.
Nearbound is a tried and tested concept that is backed by data. The adopters of Nearbound have revealed that:
Nearbound increases your win rates by 41% and your deal sizes by 43%. It’s so efficient that it generates on average $56M sales pipeline and gives you access to 14,000 qualified prospects.
Reveal data shows that companies that share signals with 10+ partners generate 291% more sales pipeline than companies that share signals with 1 to 3 partners.
This decade’s winners are driving revenue together with a Nearbound GTM motion. They are leveraging this ecosystem information to enhance win rates by 41%, and grow deal size by 43% by involving partners and partner data.
For a successful Nearbound experience, adoption can’t be siloed. That’s because every department and team in the organization has its own role in making Nearbound a success.
The first task of partnership teams in Nearbound is to make sure your partners are sharing data with you. You need to make sure you establish data sharing rules, that your company's qualified leads and customer segments are accessible through the account mapping solution, and that you integrate CRM to ensure the most relevant and accurate data is accessible.
Always remember that data sharing is done in good faith and is backed by trust, which is a valuable commodity in partnerships.
It's also important to go through the data to provide insight. Here, you need to ensure that you provide certain partners with sufficient information to take certain actions. Then, make sure the data is available to sales, customer service, and partner teams, and help compile the insights so the rest of the company can understand them.
Once you have an agreement with your partner managers and salespeople on what success looks like and how to do it better, you can move towards informed action.
Sales professionals must assume positive intent. If you want your company's ecosystem plan to succeed, you and the partner managers must be able to work together effectively.
You must be willing to divulge all the information you already have about specific accounts. Relationships are a two-way trade that you are certainly involved in. It is your responsibility to hold partner managers accountable to this end. They must always be prepared to respond to your inquiries about the partner or account, and you must set your expectations for subsequent encounters.
The key to success is preparation. You will need to prepare for the call and execute it. Even if your prospect is not present, it is important to be prepared for the scheduled calls between you and a partner.
A good meeting can pave the way for a successful relationship in the future.
As Shawn Li put it in the Roundtable with Kiflo:
“Partnerships are less transactional than a pure sale because they are a relationship that you’ll want to stay in for a while.”
In order to achieve this, you have to make an impression by delivering a good meeting.
To understand your business as a vendor, you need to track your progress. This includes being aware of the size of your ecosystem relative to your territory or target customers when using nearbound partner data.
The channel partnership world has historically not made the most of the partnership data at its disposal. Now, nearbound allows marketing teams to integrate the data into the wider GTM motions and leverages the connections already established to get the info in front of the right people at the right time.
Marketers will use partner data to explore pipeline sources and the content needed to improve sales and marketing alignment. When sifting through the data, marketing teams will have to ask themselves the following:
What marketing-related requirements do these partners have that your local staff is not aware of?
What is effective, what is not, and how can marketing enable or train your team and partners to drive the "better together" theme?
Getting this data from partners requires trust, a concept that can make your co-marketing initiatives effective in the long run.
As Charlene Strain said in her Greatest Minds in Partnerships interview:
“We create no-nonsense assets and also organize existing materials to make it easy not only for our salespeople here at Pendo but also for our actual reseller, integration, or marketplace listing partners. We create templates for press releases, data sheets, and the like so they can be plug-and-play. If they're looking for three to five sentences, we can deliver that to them in the format they need.”
CEOs and Founders must fully adopt and encourage the Nearbound motion for each aspect of the company in order for it to provide the best results.
This includes ensuring that things like lead and deal attribution accurately reflect the ecosystem-focused, inter-departmental collaboration that Nearbound requires.
Partnership leaders need to formalize the onboarding of new partners in a process that can be applied consistently. This includes creating templates for your ICP and establishing the OKRs.
Similar to partnership teams, leaders must sift through the data to develop a management strategy. Also, you will need to build rapport, support, and trust with the team's leadership.
To put it another way, you'll participate in partner conversations with each of your reps, and choose which sales manager or team you should roll this out to first.
Sales leaders in particular must ensure a good purpose and provide their own thoughts regarding the accounts in question.
This goes hand in hand with what Jennifer Richey said in her Greatest Minds in Partnerships article:
“Do leaders influence company culture? Or do leaders develop through company culture? The truth is that it's a bit of both, but leaders are critical to developing a positive company culture and team experience. Culture and leadership are inextricably linked, for better or worse. New cultures are often launched by founders and powerful leaders who leave ideals and assumptions that last for decades. Over time, leaders within an organization have the power to influence culture through intentional and unintentional behaviors.”
In addition to incorporating partner metrics into their management and reporting processes, managers, CEOs, and leaders should also consider including them in their compensation plans.
As you may have guessed, technology has a vital role in Nearbound. According to the HubSpot State of Partner Ops and Programs Report, 65.2% of organizations use at least one partner tech solution, with the PRM having the highest usage rate at 36.7%.
This kind of tech is important because it increases internal efficiency and partner experience externally.
Whichever tech stack you use, it is important to know that ecosystem data needs to integrate with the other platforms in your GTM IT stack, such as your CRM, PRM, marketing automation, customer interaction, and sales engagement platforms.
Basically, it's about putting your ecosystem data where it will have the most impact. Your ecosystem data needs to be integrated into both the technology infrastructure and the business processes of your go-to-market teams to drive nearbound revenue.
Nearbound paves the way for co-creation, co-innovation, and a fully functional ecosystem for data sharing. While it may not happen immediately, those who adopt it now will have a significant competitive advantage in the future.
You gain an advantage by starting with a few partners you trust, and you can maintain that advantage by expanding the use cases to their maximum potential.
Being a part of an ecosystem allows you to participate in your partners' marketing initiatives. Your organization is promoted to their audience at the same time as they are promoting their own business.
The catalyst of your organization’s future success truly is a committed partner ecosystem–one that is carefully curated and nurtured to suit your unique needs and further the vision you have for your brand.
This is why it is so important to make sure each partner in your ecosystem is properly onboarded and enabled with the help of PRM software. This will help you establish strong relationships with your partners from day 1, ensuring the success of your nearbound initiative.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a Nearbound strategy?
Nearbound is the operationalization of product, marketing, sales, success, and partnerships to generate revenue by partnering with organizations or individuals who already enjoy respect and influence in your target market.
Who coined the term Nearbound?
Reveal, an account mapping software, coined the term in 2020.
How is Nearbound different from inbound?
Inbound is characterized by marketing automation and attracting your audience by creating content for each stage of the Buyer's Journey.
How is Nearbound different from outbound?
Outbound marketing refers to the digitalization of sales and contacting your target audience via phone calls, emails, and creating target lists, while Nearbound drives how companies partner with the market.
What are the benefits of a Nearbound strategy?
The Nearbound strategy allows you to leverage data and trust from partners in your ecosystem to target customers who already have trust in those partners.