How Fivetran Powers Its Ecosystem-Led Sales With Data: An Excerpt from Bob Moore’s Book on ELG

How Fivetran Powers Its Ecosystem-Led Sales With Data: An Excerpt from Bob Moore’s Book on ELG

Evie Nagy 10 min

Ecosystem-Led Growth: A Blueprint for Sales and Marketing Success Using the Power of Partnerships is a new book by Crossbeam CEO and veteran founder Bob Moore, available from Wiley on March 12, 2024. It’s the definitive text on ELG, featuring detailed playbooks and success stories from leading companies. The following is an excerpt from the chapter on Ecosystem-Led Sales, the critical GTM motion where ELG practices come together and propel the business. 


A core tenet of Ecosystem-Led Growth is that the data from the partner ecosystem must “pierce the veil” of partnership teams and make its way into the hands of those team members who interact with customers and prospects. 


Perhaps no modern company understands this better than Fivetran. If you read Part One of this book [Ed. note: Get it here!], Fivetran’s business model should sound familiar: Their software automates the movement of data out of, into, and across cloud data platforms, eliminating the most time-consuming parts of the Extract, Load, Transform (“ELT”) process so data engineers can focus on higher-impact projects.


Fivetran is a cornerstone of the Modern Data Stack — so much so that their annual conference is called… well… the The Modern Data Stack Conference (“MDSCon” for those in the know). Given the deeply integrated and collaborative nature of the companies in the Modern Data Stack, it’s no surprise that Fivetran has built its business on Ecosystem-Led Growth motions. They have incorporated their partner ecosystem into every facet of their Go-to-Market model, in turn growing to over 5,000 customers and surpassing a $5 billion valuation.


CEO George Fraser, who co-founded Fivetran in 2012, isn’t shy about their partner-centric mindset. “We are a partnership-driven company and always have been,” he told me in a recent conversation. “Our second customer was a partner referral, and our partner ecosystem is just intrinsic to what we do. None of these tools do anything without data in them, and that’s what Fivetran does — it feeds the data.”


George Fraser, CEO of Fivetran


So how does this translate into playbooks and how does a co-selling powerhouse like Fivetran empower their sales reps to use ELG data? For that answer we can turn to Michael Bull, their Director of Strategic Alliances, whose job is to translate Fivetran’s strategic position in its ecosystem into value for their customers and growth plays for their sellers. 


“We really are a true full stack consumer of ELG strategies,” says Bull. “We do it all, from Sales to CS and everywhere in between. But nothing happens if we don’t get the data into the hands of our customer-facing teams.”


What Bull and his team have constructed for their go-to-market counterparts is nothing short of a full blown arsenal of ecosystem intelligence: insights embedded directly into the CRM, robust sales data models that blend ecosystem data with sales pipeline data, and rich integrations to their own internal analytics. 


Michael Bull, Director of Strategic Alliances, Fivetran


A starting principle behind their approach is to meet the sales team where they already are — in their Salesforce CRM system and Looker dashboards — rather than forcing the use of a new tool or needing to step out of existing workflows to access the data. To do this, they focused on three core touchpoints through which ELG data can make its way out of Crossbeam and into the hands of the sales team.

Touchpoint One: The Salesforce “Widget”

Sometimes you just need a dossier on  a given account — and fast. Most sales reps who need such an at-a-glance look turn to their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, which holds the basic facts and previous call notes about each prospective customer. But what if that dossier could tell you even more? What if, for an ecosystem-led company like Fivetran, it could give you a comprehensive sense of where and how a company is wired into its partner ecosystem?


“We really are a true full stack consumer of ELG strategies. We do it all, from Sales to CS and everywhere in between. But nothing happens if we don’t get the data into the hands of our customer-facing teams.” -Michael Bull, Director of Strategic Alliances, Fivetran


This kind of knowledge could inform the sales rep about which cloud destination is table stakes, which upstream integrations might matter most, or which agency partner has relationships with the account. This in turn could be used to customize a pitch, remove blockers from a deal process, or answer questions about client needs — thus bypassing or shortening what might otherwise be a time consuming discovery and qualification process.


Whether sellers are doing prep work for a first call, working through a pipeline review with their managers, or simply getting sharp on the accounts in their book of business, they need an at-a-glance breakdown of ecosystem activity around any account at any time. For that, Fivetran has implemented a simple yet powerful Crossbeam widget directly inside of Salesforce. 


The Crossbeam Salesforce Widget (simulated data)


The widget provides sellers and their managers with zero-click visibility into partner overlaps right inside of the Account and Opportunity detail pages inside of Salesforce. Users can drill down into specific partner relationships in order to see more details, including information like the sales rep or account manager who owns the relationship at the partner company.

Touchpoint Two: The Salesforce Data Model

If you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk. 


What happens after sellers get access to a CRM Widget that lets them see ELG overlaps on individual accounts? They’ll want to go bigger. Rather than simply looking up information about one account at a time ad hoc, they may want to view all the information at once for their entire territory, organize the data by different filters, and do exploratory analysis to discover where the greatest opportunities for partner collaboration might exist.


This is the moment when sales teams go from reactive to proactive about ELG. 


For this complex set of sales-related tasks, Fivetran loads all of their ELG Account Mapping data directly into a custom object inside of Salesforce itself, making that data a first-class source of truth in the company’s CRM data model. This process is accomplished using Crossbeam’s native Salesforce integration, which does this data mapping and custom object creation automatically.


Bull shared a quote to this effect from Fivetran’s own internal documentation: “Salesforce Reports are the best way to leverage [ELG Account Mapping] information - they let you see all overlaps, all overlaps for each population (my prospects, my opportunities, etc.), and also overlaps for highly targeted groups or filters of your choosing.”


Data-savvy reps can build custom reports from scratch, but most consumers of this data simply tap into prebuilt reports that Bull’s team have added into Salesforce - when a rep pulls one up, it’s automatically tailored to only show a version of the report narrowed down to their own accounts. 


Unsurprisingly, the most popular pre-built reports harken back to the original concept of the Account Mapping Matrix. They provide sellers with detailed rundowns of how accounts at various stages in their pipeline overlap with the customers and pipelines of their key partners:

  • My Accounts vs Modern Data Stack Partner Customers

  • My Accounts vs Modern Data Stack Partner Opportunities

  • My Opportunities vs Modern Data Stack Partner Customers

  • My Opportunities vs Modern Data Stack Partner Opportunities

  • My Opportunities vs System Integrator Partner Opportunities

  • My Opportunities vs System Integrator Partner Customers


Sales Managers have dashboards, powered by this data too. They can see how each of their reps is performing with accounts shared with different key partners. They can track key activities with partners, which are also logged in the CRM. And they can diagnose deals that are slowing down or at risk through the lens of the ecosystem, often finding pathways to unstick an opportunity with the aid of a key partner. 


Fivetran Business Development Reps (BDRs), whose job is to generate new pipeline, also have their own reports akin to the ones mentioned in the earlier chapter about demand generation. So do Customer Success Managers, who use reports like “Upcoming Renewals with Overlaps” to inform renewal strategy. (More on these tactics later on as we move downfunnel with our ELG playbooks.)

Touchpoint Three: Analytics Dashboards

What happens after you give that mouse a glass of milk? Maybe he’ll want to build a modern business intelligence dashboard to determine where the next cookie is coming from. 


That’s what Fivetran did. If you zoom out one click wider than their Salesforce CRM, you’ll find Fivetran’s data warehouse — a central source of truth that incorporates data from sales, marketing, product, finance, and operations to create a true nerve center of the company.


Fivetran puts their ELG data there too. 


Employees at Fivetran are extremely data driven, and as such they have access to powerful Looker dashboards that are driven by this underlying data warehouse. These dashboards contain comprehensive cross-functional data that may be useful in their work. For salespeople, that’s a highly flexible and powerful lens into “partner engagement.”


One such report isn’t about individual accounts so much as it is about individual humans. Specifically, the salespeople’s counterparts at partner companies. The “AE Playbook” dashboard contains a special section powered by ELG data that lets each Account Executive at Fivetran see which Account Executives at partner companies share the most accounts in common with them. 


In other words, it tells them which partner sales reps are doing the same work as them at the same time — often with dozens of the same companies or more! 


As it turns out, the commonplace structure of territories and goals among companies in the Modern Data Stack makes it such that extremely high “rep to rep” overlap is quite common. And while there may be hundreds or thousands of sales reps across all of their partner companies, this dashboard allows each of Fivetran’s reps to know which ones are worth investing the time and energy into relationship building. 


In total, these three ELG touchpoints provide Fivetran’s revenue organization with a robust and comprehensive set of jumping-off points for leveraging their partner ecosystem and relationships to create wins. Getting the right data in the hands of sellers and their managers without forcing them to use new tools or systems means that ELG strategies can become default playbooks used in the everyday management of growth and selling. 


Learn more about Ecosystem-Led Growth (the book) here.

Evie Nagy 10 min

How Fivetran Powers Its Ecosystem-Led Sales With Data: An Excerpt from Bob Moore’s Book on ELG

Learn how Fivetran arms their sales team with deal-winning data in this excerpt from Crossbeam CEO Bob Moore’s new book.

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