Do Marketplaces Really Drive 15% of B2B Partner Leads?

Hugh Durkin
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Partnership Leaders just released The State of Partnership Leaders 2024 report. As always, it’s packed full of incredible insights and actionable data. Yet, one statistic stood out for me more than most - 15% of respondents stated they primarily generate leads for their partners through Marketplace/Directory listings.

That 15% puts Marketplaces/Directories in third place overall, after (surprise, surprise) Co-Marketing at 55% and SPIFFs For AE/CSM/AM teams at 20%.

That’s pretty good. Most App Marketplaces launched in the last 5 years. Co-Marketing has been a core component of partnerships since… well, ever.

So third place is a big win.

Yet, marketplaces could already be in second place - we just don’t know it yet. Here’s why.

Do more with less

A sneaky clue appears earlier in the report. Partnerships teams are small and nimble - 32% of respondents employ just one person on their partnerships team. A team of one wears many hats.

Greg Portnoy of Euler recently - perfectly - summarized just how many hats Partnership Leaders wear in this fantastic LinkedIn post.

‘They are the OG’s of “Do More with Less”’ - his words, not mine.

That means - by unfortunate organizational design - these solo teams go wide before they can go deep. Which also means they don’t have time to do everything perfectly.

One “hat” suffers more than most - Marketing Ops. Here’s a fun stat to help you understand just how much Marketing Ops suffering there is in partnerships-land.

What doesn’t get managed

Of the 1,592 listings published on HubSpot’s App Marketplace, just 13% of them have any sort of URL tracking in place - think UTM parameters, link shorteners, etc. HubSpot’s amazing partner marketing team even created fantastic content to guide App Partners along their UTM tracking journey. But - seemingly - to no avail.

The percentage is even lower on Pipedrive’s App Marketplace - just 10% of all outbound links have any URL tracking in place. On Stripe’s App Marketplace that number stands at just 6.7%. That’s a lot of incorrectly attributed traffic.

And, by association, a lot of incorrectly attributed partner leads.

In aggregate, HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Stripe’s App Marketplaces offer access to over 2.3 million paying customers. HubSpot alone generate over 900,000+ monthly views for their App Marketplace. So, without the right tracking and attribution in place, HubSpot - and the partnerships teams it works with - likely aren’t getting all the referral credit they deserve.

Doesn’t get measured

Outliers like Square (69%) and Gusto (24%) aside, proper URL tracking across most marketplaces is… bleak. I won’t name names, but one very well known App Marketplace counts just 1.58% of all outbound partner links as tracked in some way. Multiplied across the rest of the 120+ App Marketplaces we analyse, we have a lead attribution bermuda triangle.

All-in, this untracked-ness (I just made that up) could well account for the 5% deficit between second and third place in that particular section of The State of Partnership Leaders 2024 report.

Actually, I’d bet you a pint of Guinness and a packet of cheese and onion crisps that third place for Marketplaces/Directories is, in fact, second.

So, what’s the solution? Do Partnership Leaders needs to up their Marketing Ops game?

Obviously the answer to my question is a big hard “no.” Instead, Partnership Leaders deserve more support and resources than ever - technology, tools, headcount, cash. Investment in partnership teams should be commensurate to the impact they have.

In 2024 - according to The State of Partnership Leaders 2024 report - that impact looks like 46% of partnerships teams driving >25% of revenue for the companies they work for.

That’s a hell of a lot.

And, with marketplace tracking and attribution as under-invested as it is today, that >25% could very well be even more.

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