This CRO Uses ELG to Increase ARPU by 23% and Reduce Churn to Nearly Zero

This CRO Uses ELG to Increase ARPU by 23% and Reduce Churn to Nearly Zero

Olivia Ramirez 6 min

By Olivia Ramirez

October 3, 2023


It’s 2023, and nearly half of sales professionals adjusted their revenue targets for the year, with most decreasing their targets by 11-20%. How do you adjust? What’s your next move?  


If you’re not investing in building a strategy around your partner ecosystem, you could be falling behind. For some CROs, their partner ecosystems are already their greatest source of repeatable, scalable revenue. 


“In order to be successful today, you’ve got to find additional channels,” says Marius Smyth, Chief Revenue Officer at CallRail.   


Marius Smyth CRO CallRail


This is where Ecosystem-Led Growth (ELG) comes in. ELG is the overall strategy and process of improving go-to-market (GTM) motions to accelerate customer acquisition, account expansion, and access to new markets via partners and partner data. Companies like MicrosoftLeanDataCensus, and more rely on ELG to increase deal sizes and drive net revenue growth.      


When Marius Smyth, Chief Revenue Officer, joined CallRail in early 2023, the call tracking and marketing analytics company wanted to put more of an investment in developing key strategic partnerships to establish new revenue channels.


“Part of my conversation in the interview process was about my ability to bring some of that structure around what we needed to go win in new areas of the go-to-market strategy, specifically when it came to partnerships,” says Smyth. 


During his interview process, Smyth spoke with CallRail CEO Marc Ginsberg and the board about how to identify additional, critical channels to market. In his previous role as CRO at Adroll, Smyth helped build the strategy around their partnership with Shopify, which became a significant net new revenue contributor. 


It’s been less than a year since Smyth joined CallRail and began investing in the company’s Ecosystem strategy, and he’s already seeing “green shoots” and early indicators of success. He’s observed a 42% higher close rate for leads who adopt their HubSpot integration and significantly lower churn (a .02% churn rate for customers using their HubSpot integration). 


What to expect: 

  • Advantage #1: Get High-Quality Leads With a 42% Higher Close Rate

  • Advantage #2: Observe a 23% Higher ARPU

Advantage #1: Get High-Quality Leads With a 42% Higher Close Rate 


At CallRail, Smyth has observed leads who are interested in adopting their HubSpot integration close at a 42% higher rate, spend more, and churn at a lower rate (just .02%). The average revenue per user (ARPU) is also 23% higher (We’ll get to that in a bit!).


In early 2023, CallRail had a simple integration with HubSpot and a growing number of CallRail customers using its HubSpot integration. However, they did not yet have direct relationships with HubSpot’s leadership or GTM teams and had not yet initiated any co-marketing or co-selling together. 


The partnerships team at CallRail began investing in its Ecosystem strategy with HubSpot by initiating the following changes: 

  • Developing case studies showcasing where customers have seen success using their integration with HubSpot, including case studies featuring direct customers and with agency partners. 

  • Connecting relevant stakeholders from CallRail’s leadership and GTM teams with stakeholders from HubSpot’s leadership and GTM teams.  

  • Getting investment from CallRail’s engineering and product development (EPD) team to improve the CallRail and HubSpot integration. They worked alongside the HubSpot App Partner team to determine high-priority integration updates based on user feedback, improved the integration, and renewed their HubSpot custom integration certification


After making these changes, CallRail has begun to see high-quality leads come in through HubSpot and their integration — and these leads are closing at a 42% higher rate than non-partner-influenced leads. 


If you’re leveraging your Ecosystem as a revenue channel for the first time, Smyth suggests identifying what your early indicators of success should look like. For CallRail, marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are a strong indicator of success. CallRail’s team knows its conversion rate for MQLs by vertical and by partner and can track their conversion rates with partners accordingly. Depending on your key performance indicators (KPIs) and how your company generates revenue, you might choose to track: 

  • New users, or users who activate faster or at a higher rate (for a product-led growth motion) 

  • The number of users using premium features 

  • An increase in software consumption

  • An increased in “closed-won” deals 

  • An increase in meetings-booked

  • A bigger deal size for deals closed with partners 


“That’s going to be the penny-drop for a lot of revenue leaders,” says Smyth. “Once you start to see [the metrics going up], I think this becomes a more significant part of the mindset for the revenue leader.” 


Smyth adds that CROs and other revenue leaders should move away from the “quarterly” mindset and think long-term. He compares strategic partnerships to a longer sales cycle that becomes high-producing over time. Instead of quarterly, think in terms of “half-year” goals. 

Advantage #2: Observe a 23% Higher ARPU


The average revenue per user (ARPU) for customers using CallRail’s HubSpot integration is 23% higher than for customers who are not using the integration. A higher ARPU shows that more users in each account are using your product and finding it valuable. A high ARPU is also a positive signal that your customers are adopting more of your products or features. If ARPU is low or flat, then your customers aren’t growing their accounts with you and you may have customers who are at risk of churning.


After improving their HubSpot integration and developing collateral to showcase the integration’s success for mutual CallRail and HubSpot customers, Smyth and his team are beginning to see HubSpot as a new channel for leads closing at a higher rate and increasing ARPU over time. They’re generating higher quality leads that use more of CallRail’s products and grow their accounts. 


“Cross-sell and expansion is a big part of the convo with those customers,” says Smyth.


He adds, “Increasingly, the partner-led approach becomes more of a player because of the outcome you can get compared to a traditional sales-only focused approach.”  


In SaaS, we’re seeing a growing amount of evidence that partners contribute to a higher net revenue retention (NRR) and that customers who adopt and use integrations or who get guidance around using your product through partners are more likely to grow their accounts. For example: 73% of Salesforce customers grow through its install base, and Census customers see a 34% higher contract value (ACV) on deals with partners.


“There’s a tipping point in any relationship you have where they become a strategically important partner to you and they’re producing as a channel for you across your business like any other channel,” says Smyth.


“It’s a company-wide strategy,” says Smyth. “For the second half of the year and 2024, it will be one of three key objectives, from the boardroom down to the front lines.” 




Want to meet Marius Smyth and other CROs who are adopting an Ecosystem-Led approach to driving efficient revenue? We’re getting together in Nashville for Pavilion’s GTM Summit on Oct 10-12. Plus, learn more about Ecosystem-Led Growth on Wed. Oct. 11th during the GTM Summit session, “The Rise of ELG”, led by Crossbeam CMO Alex Poulos.  

Olivia Ramirez 6 min

This CRO Uses ELG to Increase ARPU by 23% and Reduce Churn to Nearly Zero

Marius Smyth, Chief Revenue Officer at CallRail, says that revenue leaders must identify additional channels for revenue in order to be successful today. Smyth invested in key strategic partnerships and is already seeing 23% higher average revenue per user and deals closing at a 42% higher rate.

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