Vena, a provider of a finance-focused planning platform, has elevated responsibility for its ecosystem program to a c-suite office. Allison Munro, previously the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, is now Vena’s Chief Marketing and Ecosystem Officer.
In her new role, Munro, will work cross-functionally to connect Vena’s partner network, services, lines of business, intellectual property and community advocacy to extend the value of the Vena platform.
“Vena Partners are an indispensable part of our business as they extend our brand and platform value, and support our mission to transform how businesses plan to grow with their deep product and solutions expertise,” said Vena CEO Hunter Madely in a press release.
Working in close collaboration with leading Vena partner organizations, including Microsoft, BDO, Finext, Fluence, Prolytics, and more, Munro will orchestrate an ecosystem built on cooperative platform innovation, solution integration and go-to-market channel alignment across sales and marketing via co-selling and Vena’s digital community.
“At its core, ecosystem growth is about aligning product, channels and community to accelerate growth. Over the last two years, Vena has built a thriving partner network and digital community that integrate into our product-led motion and demand programs,” said Munro.
In a conversation with CMR, Munro explained that assigning responsibility for the company’s partner ecosystem to a C-suite officer reflects a deep understanding of the company’s ideal customer profile — financial professionals with an affinity for Microsoft products.
As a native Excel complete planning platform, integrated with Microsoft Power BI as well as a certified Microsoft 365 add-in, Vena’s partnership with Microsoft and cloud provider “is no longer a partner marketing or a partner sales initiative, it really becomes core to developing an ecosystem strategy,” said Munro.
Instead of competing with the many tools and solutions that its customers buy in order to get the best out of Vena products and others, the company is all in on a better-together approach to bring the most value to its customers.
“Better together” is a philosophy that Munro evangelized prior to assuming responsibility for Vena’s partner ecosystem. “Marketing is the fabric in any organization, connecting our product to our commercial teams, our sales organization and our marketing and our operations. What shouldn’t be a missing,” she said, “is an understanding of the value that partners can bring throughout our ecosystem.”
Elevating responsibilities for the ecosystem to a c-suite officer “reaffirms our strategy not only externally but internally,” said Munro. “The biggest change was bringing together the cross functional team members to identify as one team.” When done correctly, a true ecosystem strategy will have representation in each department, “getting those folks to work together,” she said. “Now we’re talking about a cohesive strategy across all of our departments to serve our customer.”
The company will strive for better integration of Vena’s ecosystem into its product roadmap, said Munro. “When we start to think about innovation, and product development, we now think about it with our partners and our cloud strategy in mind versus that being an afterthought.”
The company is “committed to co-selling and having our sales team work with our partners in order to maximize value,” said Munro. For example, internal sales team will bring in a partner for specialization in a particular industry or use case, or additional value around different technographic or existing technology.
Vena’s marketing organizations now has responsibility for partner marketing, looking through a single lens at the buyer’s journey to identify influence and attribution across all touchpoints.
Munro said that Vena is in the early stages of defining a plan to further optimize co-marketing and co-selling with its partners. Supporting an ideal partner journey may require investments in its ecosystem tech stack, implementing tools that support customer list sharing and account-based marketing initiatives.
Effectively sharing data will be critical, she said. It’s vital to “make sure you get the right attribution for the right leads in the right revenue, and create an environment where your partners and your sellers aren’t competing, but they’re actually working together to co sell and service our shared customer.”