ELG Idols: How a sales leader and a head of partnerships get buy-in and drive results across Netskope’s revenue org

ELG Idols: How a sales leader and a head of partnerships get buy-in and drive results across Netskope’s revenue org

Evie Nagy 7 min

Names: Kristen Kelly, Global Technology Alliances Director + Keith McManigal, Sales Director

Company: Netskope

Industry: Cybersecurity


Anytime you can have a conversation with somebody, you can enrich your life and expand your network. Ecosystem-Led Growth is about building these relationships that really make a difference throughout the marketplace. It’s not just about a deal. —Keith McManigal, Sales Director, Netskope


Great partnerships can multiply the strength of each partner — and that goes for inside your company as much as outside.


When it comes to Ecosystem-Led Growth, the collaborative efforts of sales and partnerships can create powerful momentum. Kristen Kelly and Keith McManigal are two of Netskope’s biggest ELG champions, working together to get buy-in throughout the organization and using the cybersecurity company’s tech ecosystem to get real results.


Netskope offers a variety of products that make up a company’s secure access service edge (SASE) architecture, and tech integrations with complementary security tools is one of the platform’s strengths.


“We’re a huge proponent of multi-partner plays,” says Kristen, Netskope’s Global Technology Alliances Director. “We call that ‘defense in depth’, and we have a lot of three- and four-legged stool partnerships and integration stories. It all fits together very nicely and tells that full end-to-end Zero Trust story.”


These tech partnerships are also a key piece of the company’s sales strategy. “Fundamentally, I believe that it takes a team of people to win a deal,” says Netskope Sales Director Keith McManigal. “Especially in the security space, where we all do different things and customers need a wide range of different solutions. Part of the value of Netskope is that we exchange messages with other tools, like SentinelOne, Mimecast, Extrahop, Rapid7, and many others, and we can communicate that value to customers much better together.”


Kristen and Keith know that leveraging an ecosystem to drive sales is a team effort — between partnerships and sales, but also between partner companies. As a result, they’ve built Ecosystem-Led Growth into their GTM strategy as well as their internal processes and communications.

Kristen and Keith’s ELG Essentials

1. Give each partnership its own go-to-market strategy

Every Netskope tech partner co-selling initiative starts with account mapping in Crossbeam to help make it successful for all partners. 


“We think of our tech partnerships across three pillars: technology, marketing, and co-selling,” says Kristen. “The technology is the ‘better together’ story, which needs to be really strong and directly serve customers’ needs. Then we move into the marketing piece, which is ‘what is the joint value prop that people are going to care about if they haven’t already been asking for it?’. The third part is the co-selling piece, the teaming up and the account mapping using Crossbeam. Our teams co-sell with our partners’ reps, but the shared data also has great use cases for our field marketing team, our customer success team, even some of our SDRs and solutions engineers.”


This ELG mindset is helping Netskope be more informed and intentional about prospects earlier in the sales cycle.


“Our SDRs (sales development representatives) are now looking at leads and saying ‘hey, what does Crossbeam say?’, meaning they’re identifying partner overlaps and reaching out to their counterpart SDRs before the handoff to AEs. So many of these accounts are actually starting further along in the prospecting process than they would be otherwise.”


“But it’s not just prospecting,” continues Keith. “We use it for a lot of things, like figuring out which partners we should do events with, based on the customer base in each geography.”


2. Get buy-in with continual internal and external ELG education

As noted above, Ecosystem-Led Growth works as a team effort among stakeholders. For a next-generation GTM motion like ELG, getting buy-in from these stakeholders is crucial. This is why sales team and partner onboarding, communication, and training includes a steady and thoughtfully planned drumbeat of ELG education and proof points.


“When we rolled out Crossbeam as a foundational part of our ELG strategy, my tactic at first was to join large internal field enablement calls across the whole field,” says Kristen. “I found on those larger calls that it was a lot of just me presenting, showing some slides and not really getting many questions. So I fine tuned my approach and focused on regional teams, where there’s a smaller audience, people are more engaged, and people are less shy to ask questions — that’s when I started to get more traction. And then once I took it a step further, and started actually showing reports specific to the people in those regional team calls, that’s where it really hit home for them. So word of mouth started to take hold, that’s when we started to feel like okay now, people are realizing the value for themselves.”


Netskope’s ELG champions have made this approach even stronger by recording videos of internal leaders advocating for leveraging the ecosystem and using Crossbeam. 


“These testimonials are peer to peer — here’s how it’s helped me specifically from a field marketing viewpoint, from a regional sales director viewpoint, from a channel manager viewpoint. And those are all available on our internal repository where we have new hire training.”


Kristen has also made ELG and Crossbeam a talking point in all of her new partner onboarding calls. “Whenever we onboard a brand new partner, it is part of my talk track to go through all of our tools and expectations, like here’s what we do, here’s how we work together. One of our own partners was a really strong advocate for us to start using Crossbeam, so we do the same and make the case that it benefits all of us.”


3. Think of your ecosystem first and foremost as a network of humans

When it comes to using ELG for sales, Keith is a believer in thinking of partnerships as connections between people, not companies.


“Honestly, when I first used Crossbeam, I thought ‘this is the freakin’ coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” says Keith. “It accelerates the time to value, because the value is in the conversation. I could look at a prospect that was a partner’s customer and say ‘oh this is so-and-so’s account over there, that’s great, I know him, I’m gonna call him up. Once I had a rep in that scenario tell me ‘That was the best call I ever made. Not only did he tell me all about [the prospect], he’s making a personal phone call to get me a meeting.’ Perfect. The time to value in the field is so fast.”


Keith says that all of those ecosystem-enabled warm intros are valuable, even if they don’t directly result in a deal, and sales reps should still consider them a good use of time.


“Anytime you can have a conversation with somebody, you can enrich your life and expand your network,” he says. “Ecosystem-Led Growth is about building these relationships that really make a difference throughout the marketplace. It’s not just about a deal.”


And because ELG using Crossbeam accelerates and facilitates connection and warm conversations, it has an unexpected benefit — giving all sales reps access to valuable ecosystem information regardless of their networking prowess. 


“Before Crossbeam, the success of Ecosystem-Led Growth often depended on the individual rep,” says Keith. “Some are very social and focused on building their network, including partner contacts, but not every good sales rep is like that. Surfacing partner data normalizes that behavior for the people who are not necessarily out there in the same way. So Crossbeam lifts all boats and makes everybody equipped to succeed.”

Evie Nagy 7 min

ELG Idols: How a sales leader and a head of partnerships get buy-in and drive results across Netskope’s revenue org

Meet Keith McManigal and Kristen Kelly, effective co-champions of Ecosystem-Led Growth as a core cross-functional GTM strategy

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