Impact, the global leader in partnership automation, announced recently a $75M investment led by Providence Strategic Growth (PSG), the growth equity affiliate of Providence Equity Partners. When the financing round was announced, it was explained that the funding will accelerate platform development, further go-to-market and regional expansion, and fuel both organic and inorganic growth.
To find out more of Impact, company’s platform and how it works, AdHugger had the opportunity to address a few questions to Florian Gramshammer, Managing Director EMEA at Impact.
Florian is a leading figure in the digital marketing and ad tech world in Europe and Managing Director EMEA for Impact, a natively-integrated suite of products for fraud detection, marketing attribution and analytics, and creating and optimizing performance partnerships.
In his current role as MD, Florian is responsible for the day-to-day management of the commercial and client services teams. He is also responsible for the development and execution of Impact’s European growth plan. Based in London, he develops and executes Impact’s rapid regional growth strategies and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the local commercial and customer success teams.
Florian is highly respected within the industry and has held senior positions in companies such as CJ Affiliate by Conversant, Gartner, and most recently, Managing Director of IgnitionOne.
From his impressive knowledge-base, to his exceptional ability to build rapport with clients, to his pragmatic approach to problem-solving and his strong commercial acumen, he is a seasoned role-model and mentor. He has an exemplary and proven track record in leadership across both sales and client service teams in EMEA.
AdHugger: When it comes to achieving a new round of funding, how important is that for further developing company’s platform and its growth?
Florian Gramshammer: This financing allows us to accelerate platform development, further go-to-market and regional expansion, and fuel both organic and inorganic growth. It also provides validation that Impact is on the right course, and investors believe in our vision around partnerships.
Q: How much are clients investing in automation today compared to 5 years ago?
F.G.: We know that partnerships are driving significant revenue for many enterprises, but we think there is unlimited potential to drive more. Sadly, many companies are relying on disparate processes and tools to track the full partnership lifecycle because until very recently, automation for this did not exist. We want to drive awareness that there is a more efficient way to manage and scale these relationships using our platform.
Q: What are the most used automation processes?
F.G.: This depends on the partnership type.
a. Traditional affiliate partnerships are probably among the most automated. Even a few years ago, Impact’s Radius product automated the entire partner lifecycle from discovering new affiliates, recruiting them, onboarding them, managing and engaging them, and optimizing them for growth. But affiliate partnerships are only one type of partnership in an increasingly rich and crowded space of other partnership types
b. Influencers are another type of partnership. Most influencer automation is focused on discovering them. But very few focus on actually automating the recruiting, on-boarding and engaging of influencers at scale. Hardly any automates the optimization workflow of influencers beyond vanity metrics such as “Shares” or “Likes” – rather than presenting the true value the influencers contribute to the holistic customer journey
c. Strategic B2B partnerships is an exciting, emerging channel that is not automated at all, but usually handled through spreadsheets and manually tracked. In the mobile world, these types of partnerships are also highly bespoke and can lead to poor user experience when handled improperly.
Q: What is partnership automation? What are the pros / cons of bringing a business and its partner related processes in cloud?
F.G.: Historically, sales and marketing have been the two main drivers of revenue growth. Partnerships however now represent the next and third category of revenue growth enterprises need to invest in to maximize growth. Investment in people, process and technology is required for businesses to fully realize the opportunity in the Partnership Channel, the way they have previously invested in sales and marketing to become a major revenue channel for the enterprise.
In the same way Salesforce brought automation to Sales, and how Marketo and Hubspot brought automation to Marketing, Impact is bringing automation to Partnerships. From a technology and software perspective, this automation improves how enterprises execute against the full partner lifecycle, including discovery, recruitment, on-boarding, engagement and optimization of partnerships.
Partnership Automation allows marketers and partnership professionals who are responsible for managing and developing programs for traditional affiliates, influencers and strategic b2b partnerships to move away from ad hoc tools and patchwork processes and into the modern era. They can then manage the partners’ lifecycle more seamlessly through a set of tightly integrated software solutions that can truly help them participate in the new Partnership economy to activate rapid enterprise growth.
With the roll-out of the new category of Partnership Automation and flexible, enabling technologies such as the Impact Partnership Cloud, the embodiment of an end-to-end integrated solution for managing the lifecycle of all sorts of partners is realized.
Q: How is Partnership Cloud helping performance marketing professionals?
F.G.: The partnership channel is one of the most exciting, disruptive and innovative ways for enterprises to bring about growth opportunities for their organizations. Yet partnership leaders have long struggled with leveraging numerous solutions to manage the end-to-end partnership lifecycle. They’ve had to be content with cobbling together sets of siloed solutions – from affiliate management platforms, influencer discovery tools, email recruitment tools, bespoke integrations and spreadsheets, to ill-suited customer-focused CRM tools – all to manage the disparate set of partnerships in their enterprise.
Impact’s Partnership Cloud provides partnership professionals with a new channel that can bring about rapid growth. Many of our mature clients now see 20-30% of their digital revenues flowing in from their partnership channels. It also transforms our clients into agents of growth and the Partnership Cloud contains all the solutions that enable these partnership teams to manage and optimize at scale, allowing them to focus on the actions that truly drive impact.
It provides recruitment tools to cast a global net of any partner type including influencers, premium publishers, blogs, affiliates and offers Integrated tools that leverage advanced techniques like machine learning to eliminate fraud from their partnership programs.
Whether B2C enterprises only have a large traditional affiliate programme or have diversified their partnership program across a whole host of innovative models, being able to orchestrate everything from discovery, recruitment to tracking, reporting and optimization – all from one place – is a terrific benefit to partnership leaders. They no longer must pay multiple SaaS fees nor navigate multiple logins, user experiences, and siloed data sets.
Q: How does Partnership Cloud work?
F.G.: The Partnership Cloud represents a series of products that provide an integrated, end-to-end solution for managing all of an enterprise’s partnerships.
From discovery, recruitment and contracting, to tracking, optimizing and commissioning – essentially the whole partner lifecycle –
– the Partnership Cloud answers their need to drive revenue growth from partners across the spectrum: traditional affiliates, influencers, strategic partners, app-to-app, premium publishers and other 3rd party channels.
The Partnership Cloud bundles together the following product lines:
- Radius. As a partnership platform, Radius gives enterprises control over all aspects of their partnerships, from discovery, recruitment, and contracting to reporting, payout, and optimization, allowing them to not only grow efficiently, but also prove the incrementality of each partner
- Mediarails. Mediarails is a CRM and Growth platform that lets partnership leaders discover and recruit new digital media partners, engage existing ones through messaging automation tools, and manage it all automatically, allowing them to eliminate the tedious work and focus on higher value-add activities like building new partner relationships, deepening existing ones and growing the company’s bottom line.
- Forensiq Performance Suite. The Forensiq Performance Suite analyzes whether a click, lead generation, or conversion event is fraudulent. Forensiq’s real-time solution is Informed by a global intelligence database and device verification and optimized through its full-funnel fraud detection capabilities. It also protects against attribution fraud/cookie stuffing.
- Forensiq Install Suite. The Forensiq Install Suite is a performance fraud solution that analyzes whether the installation of a mobile app or post install conversion is fraudulent AND whether the impression or click events that are attributed to the installation or conversion were fraudulently generated to steal credit for that event – great for managing advertiser’s CPI programs.
- Altitude for Partnerships. Altitude provides insights into the value provided by each partner along the customer journey and allows partnership professionals to take informed actions to optimize their partnership programs and grow revenue contributions.
Q: What are the top 5 things to watch soon when it comes to partnerships automation?
- Revenue growth through partnerships will become the new norm for enterprises formerly relying solely on marketing, sales and business development.
- 2019 will see an expansion beyond traditional affiliates into new types of value-added influencers and brand-to-brand partnerships.
- As this new strategy continues to drive a significant source of newfound revenue, the industry will increasingly regard partnerships as one of the most important channels in which to dedicate investment of people, process and technology.
- Partnership Automation will herald in the Partnership Economy. The Partnership Economy refers to emerging phenomenon of businesses to embrace more and more indirect sales (partnerships and alliances) as an effective growth strategy for their enterprise. Like the subscription and sharing economies before it, the partnership economy is arising from a crisis – where many enterprises are getting frustrated with not being able to differentiate and grow significantly through their traditional sales and marketing channel. Those competencies have gotten so competitive and/or cluttered, that it’s hard to build competitive differentiation anymore. Whereas early adopters who have fully embraced the Partnership Economy have also seen their Partnership Channel contribute fast, significant revenue growth to their businesses.
- As revenue derived from the partnership channel continues to grow – driven by new and innovative types of partnerships and more engaged existing partnerships – new leadership opportunities will start to emerge for budding partnership professionals; opportunities such as a VP/SVP of Global Partnerships – even a Chief Partnership Officer! For some of our most mature prospects and clients, having a team purely responsible for partnerships, led by a partnership executive, is already happening!
Impact is the global leader in Partnership Automation and catalyst for the new Partnership Economy. Impact accelerates enterprise growth by scaling discovery, recruitment, onboarding, engagement and optimization of all types of partnerships. Impact’s Partnership CloudTM provides automation for the full partnership lifecycle; confident decision making and optimization through measurement and attribution; and protection from fraud. Impact drives revenue growth for global enterprises such as Cabela’s, Fanatics, Getty Images, Lenovo, Levi’s, Shutterstock, Techstyle and Ticketmaster. Founded in Santa Barbara, CA in 2008, Impact has grown to over 400 employees and ten offices across the United States, Europe and Asia.