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2024: The Year of Partnerships [Report]

Practical steps from industry leaders on how to embrace ecosystem selling. The report dives into how partnerships are becoming more crucial than direct acquisitions in business strategies. It focuses on the trend of prioritizing partners in go-to-market strategies. Find out why 2024 is a key year for partnerships to shine, and learn how to make the most of this trend for business success.
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Chapter 1: Why now?

2024 is the year partnerships become inevitable. This isn’t a prediction, it’s something that’s happening right now.   

You can see it in the way businesses are shifting strategies and pivoting towards go-to-markets (GTMs) that prioritize partners over costly direct acquisition. But what’s changed? And more importantly, why is 2024 the year partnerships come into their own?

This report takes a deep dive into the paradigm shift that’s taking place in direct sales, why a change is so desperately needed, as well as how your business can take advantage of it. We’ve trawled through the data, spoken to experts, and even drawn upon our own current experiences to compile our discoveries into one handy report. Hopefully, this empowers you to take a look at your own GTM strategy and think about how partnerships may become a differentiator. 

So, while for years partnerships have typically taken a back seat to direct sales and marketing motions, now, they’re getting their own seat at the table. The time is now for partnerships, and here’s how you can use it to your advantage in 2024.

Tough sales conditions

If you had a record-breaking 2023, then you’re in the minority. For many businesses, traditional direct sales channels have become increasingly challenging. 

Direct marketing has not been innovated for years. Email marketing is saturated; you only have to open your own inbox to see the evidence for yourself. It’s overpriced and still comes with a long sales cycle in which you can often come across as pushy and untrustworthy. 

The same can be said for cold calls; they’re just not sustainable acquisition models fit for a modern world. So it’s not surprising that, according to Cognism’s study, only 2% of cold calls convert into a warm lead.

And the real-world effects of this are missed targets. Sales leaders reported that 91% of them are failing to hit sales quota expectations. This theme continues with Salesforce reporting only 28% of sales professionals were expected to hit their quota in 2023

Digging into the world of tech specifically, Repvue data shows that the percentage of reps attaining quota has steadily declined. In Q3 2023, only 42.8% of tech sales reps hit their quotas.

Feeling suitably dejected? Let’s take a quick look at how SaaS has been doing.

Sales leaders reported that 91% of them are failing to hit sales quota expectations. This theme continues with Salesforce reporting only 28% of sales professionals were expected to hit their quota in 2023. 

Blood soaked SaaS

Excuse me, you look like you’ve been through the wars… Oh, you’ve just come from the world of SaaS? Go join the others over there. 

Fresh from the war that has been the SaaS industry, many of us are now collapsed, bloodied, and bruised, wondering what on earth just happened. And that’s expected, with redundancies, budget cuts, and tough sales conditions rife. With 240,000 jobs lost in 2023 alone, tech companies have to weather an economic slowdown while simultaneously trying to remain innovative. 

Disappointingly, it doesn’t seem as though tech will spring back as quickly as some expected. Analysts are “optimistic that the tech sector could return to modest growth in 2024” which… doesn’t sound all that promising. Not if you have huge sales targets on your head and want to make noise in a saturated market. 

The general strategy is to switch from a growth mindset to one based on efficiency, which makes sense. However, it’s as though SaaS has gone on the defensive. Now, businesses are just looking to survive and not make things worse rather than attacking opportunities. Perhaps, it’s because those opportunities require a gear change and a shift in GTM strategy.

One thing is for sure: hoping that things will go back to how they were is a fruitless approach. 

Everything points to the sad fact that sales have been tough, are still tough, and are set to only get tougher. It’s no wonder, as direct marketing channels haven’t innovated in years. How can you build a mansion with terrible tools? You can’t, so either lower your expectations to a wooden shack or change what you’re building with. 

So, now what...?

Created alongside the guys from Channel Mechanics, Reveal, Superglue, and Partnership Leaders, the report features expert opinions from across the industry on why now is the time for businesses to embrace partnerships. We also lift the lid on our own experiences in pivoting to a partner-led GTM and detail our strategy and the results we’ve seen so far.

So if you’re interested in understanding why there’s so much noise around partnerships in 2024 or are looking for an instruction manual on partnerships, you’ve just found it. Get the full report above.

Meet the Speakers

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