How to Create a Partnership Movement in Your Company w/ Jared Fuller


Reading Time: 38 minutes

Are partnerships integrated into every aspect of your company, or are you still working in a silo, struggling to gain traction?

Does it seem like you’re the only one who sees how powerful and impactful strategic partnerships can be?

Fortunately, you’re not alone. You’re not the only one who needs help communicating and persuading executives and other departments to adopt a partnership mindset and embrace the movement. But how do we move forward?

That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.

Welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building… oh, and you get to learn too! Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy – with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.

And I have to admit, that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing today. At Agorapulse, I’m responsible for our affiliates, our influencers, our channel partners, our brand partners, and our tech partners. I know that partnerships could be having an even greater impact on our revenue and customers if we better integrated tools and processes and mindsets beyond marketing into sales and customer service.

But I need help. Maybe you do too.

That’s what Jared Fuller is here to help us with.

He was the VP of Sales & Business Development for PandaDoc, and the Senior Director of Global Partnerships at Drift, where he built Drift/Adobe Alliance from zero to Adobe Partner of The Year. Jared is the co-founder of PartnerHacker and the host of PartnerUp, The Partnerships Podcast, and recently assumed the role of Chief Ecosystem Officer at Reveal, an indispensable tool for partnership teams.

Partnership Unpacked host Mike Allton talked to Jared Fuller about:

♉️ His perspective on partnerships and nearbound as a GTM strategy

♉️ How partnership managers can use tools to work with other teams and demonstrate ROI

♉️ Ways that new and struggling partnership managers can develop their capability and reach

Subscribe to the show calendar: agorapulse.com/calendar

Learn more about Jared Fuller

Resources & Brands mentioned in this episode

How to Create a Partnership Movement in Your Company with Jared Fuller

Full Notes & Transcript:

(Lightly edited)

How to Create a Partnership Movement in Your Company with Jared Fuller

[00:00:00] Mike Allton: Are partnerships integrated into every aspect of your company, or are you still working in a silo, struggling to gain traction? Does it seem like you’re the only one who sees how powerful and impactful strategic partnerships can be? Fortunately, you’re not alone. You’re not the only one who needs help communicating and persuading executives and other departments to adopt a partnership mindset and embrace the movement.

But how do we move forward? That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.

This

is Partnership unpacked your Go-to Guide to Growing Your Business through partnerships quickly. I’m your host, Mike Alton, that each episode unpacks the winning strategies and latest trends from influencer marketing to brand partnerships and ideas that you can apply your own this as to grow.

Exponentially. And now the rest of today’s episode. Welcome back to Partnership on Pact y. Selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing and relationship building. Oh, you get to learn too. Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry and.

I’ve gotta admit that’s exactly what I’m gonna be doing today. At a Agora Pulses, I’m responsible for our affiliates, our influencers, our channel partners, our brand partners, our tech partners. I know that partnerships could be having an even greater impact on our revenue and customers if we better integrated tools and processes and mindsets beyond marketing into sales and customer service.

But I need help. Maybe you do too. So that’s exactly why our guest today, Jared Fuller, is here. He was the VP of Sales and Business Development for Panoc and the senior Director of Global Partnerships at Drift, where he built the Drift Adobe Alliance from zero to Adobe Partner of the year. Jared, the co-founder of Partner Hacker and the host of Partner Up the partnerships podcast in recently assumed the role of chief Ecosystem Officer at Reveal and.

Indispensable tool for partnership teams. I couldn’t think of a better voice to bring on the show and unpack how to really create a partnership movement within your organization. Hey Jared, welcome to the show.

[00:02:19] Jared Fuller: Hey, Mike, great to be here. It’s always fun to get on the other side of the mic in the podcast world. [00:02:24] Mike Allton: Yeah, I can just imagine. Now look, let’s talk about some recent events first, cuz it’s been a really exciting time in the partnership space and with Reveal and Partner Hacker specifically talk about what’s been announced and I want you to share what your new role is at Reveal exactly. And what all that means.

For the partnership industry.

[00:02:44] Jared Fuller: Your intro to partnership unpacked very similar. I started Partner Up while I was at Drift as a cheat code on learning, right? I mean, the intention was not to go build a business around it. The intention was we had some very high expectations. You know, Sequoia as an investor, DC and Alias, you know, dc I think that’s his fifth company that he’s founded and had a successful outcome with, and Drift was one of the fastest growing software companies of all time.

So the expectations were really high. And whenever DC brought me in at Drift, I’m the entrepreneurial type. I’ve founded companies, I’ve been on the sales leader, I’ve been a marketing leader. I’ve been A C E O. I kind of took this role in an entrepreneurial mindset, and then I quickly realized in like the Sequoia level board meetings, they expected me to know exactly what to do to build an ecosystem.

And it was like, Hey, hey y’all, you do realize that I have no idea how to like, Do this precisely, and in fact no one does. So I went out to start having conversations with some of the people that had actually done it. Turns out there’s not a ton of people who have, right, that have actually built a program from zero to a hundred million in sales.

Right. Just for example. Now there’s lots of programs that are at that size, but that kind of change agent that went from zero to a hundred in terms of like partner revenue, that’s pretty difficult. So when I decided to start Partner Hacker, it was really about giving back and making sure that people didn’t have to go through that same sort of cold start problem of learning only through trial and error.

I, I like to say that strategies just simply choice and not all choices are equal, right? Like you need to make better choices. You can’t just have this starry-eyed syndrome of like, oh, all of these available opportunities and partnerships, like there’s better pass forward than there’s not. And I went all in on Partner Hacker because I felt that the shift right at the beginning of.

2022 I would say, I don’t know if you felt the same sentiment, but Partner Up started taking off. I started getting reach outs from a lot of top VCs asking me for advice on how to, Hey, we want to give advice to our Port cos on how to prioritize partnerships. I mean, these are some big names too, from like Bessemer to Andreessen to OpenView to.

You name it. And I’d always given back and like given my advice from like the startup perspective, I’m not gonna tell you how to build a, you know, 500 million channel program inside of a $5 billion business. But I can’t tell you how to go start from nothing. I’ve always had that in my back pocket and I realized as the podcast started to take off, wow, I think there’s an opportunity to really build a media movement around this.

And that’s what Partner Hacker is. And we were able to, Tens of thousands of, you know, members, hosts the largest event in partnerships, B2B tech partnerships, history. We have the largest newsletter and built a crazy, fast-growing media company. It’s wild to even think, Mike, it hasn’t even been a year since I launched Partner Hacker and.

That blows my mind as a part of that. It was never supposed to just be like a media company by itself in the long term. And I always thought that the opportunity for transforming partnerships really lived at the data level. And what do I mean by that? At Drift, when I started to orchestrate the. The ecosystem more broadly with Marketo 6 cents.

So like kind of top dog in like marketing automation space, like a Marketo down to, you know, an up and comer like a 6 cents. I quickly recognize that PRMs weren’t built for these tech partnerships. They’re not, because guess what? Tech partners never do. They don’t register deals. And in fact, that’s not the right play.

A referral is not something you’re gonna get from your tech partners every time. In fact, you need to be running these different plays that are not, Hey, can you make an intro for me? That’s just not the way that it works. It’s not a channel, it’s something else. And the advent of these data escrow platforms all, uh, reveal crossbeam, I think really changed the game.

And it’s how we drove. Dozens of millions of dollars in sales. I mean, we got to a place where we had, you know, sellers in a joint slack channel with overlap data in Salesforce. We were doing, you know, 6, 7, 8 deals a day where we were helping each other out. And I knew from the beginning that a lot of this might sound like a big statement, but most software industries are a race to the bottom of the stack.

And what do I mean by that? It’s that. The workflow layer can always be replaced, but the data layer really can’t. Right? So like in terms of the customer journey, like you really wanna be playing at the data layer in order to transform all the workflow that sits on top of it. And that was the problem with all the partner tools that I saw and the used cause I’ve used.

Most of them, like a lot of the PRMs and major ones that were at least built for sass, the workflow didn’t matter because the data wasn’t there. You know, account mapping is like impossible to stay up to speed on, and in fact, you could only action things that were old. Let’s say one of 6 cents just closed a deal.

I want my AE collaborating on that deal now, not next month when we do our monthly sync and update our account mapping list, right? Marketing can’t build workflows on top of it, right? Everything on top of that data layer is broken and Reveal had always been a great partner to us. I saw a big opportunity to help create something that was much bigger than just a media company with Reveal, and that’s an industry.

And I think that’s what Near Bound is. There’s a lot of talk in the market and some great books and great thought leaders that I think the world of, I gotta see a category created conversational marketing by Drift as opposed to PandaDoc. PandaDoc was a tool and a very successful company, but the category creation play, I really learned a lot about that.

And I think for Reveal and Near Bound, I’m almost thinking about it a little bit differently. I’m thinking about it from the perspective of industry. We’re not just creating a category, we’re creating an industry. So that’s my kinda long-winded way of answering the question, but we announced the merger in March.

I’m a partner hacker in Reveal and there’s a lot of good analogs for them. So Sales Hacker and Outreach, Pendo and mine, the product Stripe and Indie Hackers, cuz she who controls the audience, you know, kind of controls distribution. So it’s not about driving distribution. Allah reveal, that’s not the goal at all.

If there’s. Separate entities, but we have some superpower here to help codify partnerships into something more, which I think is this near bound thing which we can impact more. Of course. I’ll shut up there. I, once I get on my soapbox, I can’t stop.

[00:08:42] Mike Allton: No, that’s great. And there’s so many fantastic nuggets that you said.

We’re definitely gonna unpack the near bound in a second. But first of all, just wanna underline the point you made. That strategies are choices. That’s something I often talk about with clients. Can I ask ’em, you know, what’s your strategy for this? What’s your strategy for that? And they’re thinking like, big picture.

I’m like, no. How do you simply go about accomplishing this thing that we’re talking about? What are the choices that are involved in that? Love that, that you brought that up and I really enjoyed the story and, and the picture that you’re painting of this evolution and the fact that you look at Partner Hacker as a media company, that in itself, I think is really profound.

Frankly, a lot of companies should be thinking of themselves in that way, but they don’t.

[00:09:21] Jared Fuller: Yeah. The content is the product. When the content is not the product, what happens? You end up like, just try using Google today. Go use Google, ask Google a question, something related to business. You’re gonna find the 14 top results are 14 listicles.

When you’re like, I’m just looking for the fricking answer. It’s infuriating to use Google today because the content is not the product, right? It’s like there’s a game being played with us that’s just so weird. And Google’s currently shaving off hundreds of billions in market cap, you know, week over week, month over month right now because.

It’s just not as effective as you know, what’s gonna happen in this new world. So that’s why it was a media company. We monetized like a media company. We didn’t charge our users. Right. We helped. That’s partnerships, you know, give first help.

[00:10:04] Mike Allton: Yeah. And that’s why AI is becoming so popular. It’s changing that model about shift behavior, but.

Yeah, let’s definitely dive into Near Bound because you, you brought this up and it’s a concept that was completely foreign to me until probably just two months ago when I started to see the conversations happening with you, with Reveal. I use Reveal, I love the folks there, and all of a sudden I see, oh, we’re gonna have an event in the fall called Near Bound, and now I’m mesmerized.

What is Near Bound? Is that something that every business can use or is it kind of specific?

[00:10:36] Jared Fuller: I think the challenge with partnerships is, Define partnering. Wow. What a loaded word. And I, I don’t mean that negatively. I mean that just objectively, it means so many different things to different people. And if you’re thinking about partnering from the perspective of let’s say a department or a business unit inside of a company, all of the conversations stems sort of from that department’s point of view, or that business unit’s point of view and their impact on the business.

I’ve grown to have a. Strong conviction that partnerships should not be a department or a business unit, but instead should be an overlay to every department. Why partnerships is everything. It’s marketing, it’s sales, it’s customer success, it’s product. So what other department is orchestrating all of those things for other depart, like that doesn’t exist.

Sales doesn’t drive marketing and sales doesn’t drive product. Of course, they, we all work together, but this is just a fundamentally different thing and. For Near Bound. I kind of saw this in terms of the opportunity, like I mentioned, to, to create an industry, not just a category, an industry. We first had like the outbound era, and the outbound era was defined by the digitization of sales efforts, right?

We could have forecasting and you know, analytics, CR r m records. So like all of those things went from kind of amorphous art to a little bit of science, and then we were able to start doing things like outbound and tracking based on that data. Then once we had that data layer for the sales, What happened next?

Well, then we sort of have the inbound era, right? Like the info apocalypse, right? Marking automation, email content ads. S E O S E M. This number still blows my mind. The average American receives 400 to 10,000 ad impressions every day. I can say that again, and it still won’t hit you. That’s from Deloitte’s 2022 State of Marketing Report.

It’s absolutely insane. Absolutely insane. So like what’s next? Is it partnerships? No. I mean, language is a network effect. So I wanted to really codify the industry, and this is part of the reason why Reveal and the vision was so aligned around what was next that centered not from the point of view of the partner department, but from the point of view of the company.

The motion, I mean, how it affects. Other parts of the business, right? There’s outbound marketing, there’s outbound sales, right? There’s inbound marketing, there’s inbound sales. Well, what the heck is near bound marketing and near bound sales, right? Not partner marketing, partner sales, that that kind of puts partner first, and these people don’t necessarily understand it, but near bound is just close enough to like help facilitate that third wave.

That’s a little bit of the philosophy as to why. I think it’s so important to have something so strong in terms of a narrative to transform, go to market over the next decade, but functionally it’s also different. What do I mean? I mentioned earlier that when you’re doing tech partnerships, for example, you’re typically not getting referrals, account executives or CSMs at your parent company.

That’s not their primary function. Is that not referring you, you know, net new source pipeline? Of course that is a play, but what are the other plays? If we were to say, Hey, there’s, you know, 20, 30, 40, 50 types of partner activities is not a referral, just one of those. And in fact, is a referral the best one?

Most of the time? Actually, probably not. There’s things like getting the answers to the test. So, um, to increase your ability to create pipeline. You might, uh, have a value hypothesis with a partner, reach out to a C S M because you saw they closed a deal last month and say, Hey, I’m, I’m contacting these two people.

Here’s my messaging and here’s the initiative. And some of the research that I had done, you know, am I off base here? Am I going into the right center with the kind of right messaging? Should you gimme some feedback? And then maybe you hop on a call and you get the answers to the test, so that way, oh no, actually this initiative is top priority.

And if. You’re not selling into that initiative and helping with that. Your deal’s dead on arrival. You’ll never even book a meeting. And by the way, she’s on her way out. You need to be talking to this other person, Mike, what is that? Is that partnerships? It’s not referral, it’s not channel. It’s a little bit different.

And what I would call that, it’s like that’s a near bound play. That’s a near bound selling. Right? Or how about doing an event? Where you invite your partners together, right? So we drift, we did this a lot. We had rev growth. We drive six, 10,000 people to a little event and we’d have people like gong there, so drift and gong.

But guess what? Drift and Gong didn’t have an integration, but we were just like sister friend companies. But we were able to reduce the cost of our events by an order of magnitude with each partner that we brought in, build good brand co-marketing, and at the end of the day, we’re all making more money.

But is it partner marketing? Like there wasn’t a joint value proposition there. There wasn’t product marketing. So to me that’s near bound. It’s the totality of the plays available to work with the people that already have established relationships and have trust who’ve been to the places your customers are trying to go.

[00:15:27] Mike Allton: I just absolutely love everything that you just said. I’m, I’m feeling it in my part cuz a lot of this is stuff I’ve been thinking about working towards, struggling with. You mentioned at the outset, not everybody defines partnerships the same way. That’s a hundred percent true. Particularly if you just look at my LinkedIn inbox, all the people that want to quote unquote partner with Right.

They just try to sell me. Right. That’s not partnerships at all. I’m sure we’d agree on that, but I, I love how you’re. Painting again, this picture of how there’s so many different ways that we can potentially partner, that the word itself doesn’t really capture the essence, and so that’s what Near Bound is about.

[00:16:03] Jared Fuller: So I love that it’s about defining those plays from the point of view of the other departments. Right Trust comes from helping people reach their promised land. And we’ve moved in this era, Mike, from, I’d say the old world was, how do I do this? How do I do that? So Google review sites, you know, yada yada, to who has done this.

Who has done that? There’s examples galore. I mean from like how you buy like a consumer product and influencers to what’s the most popular chocolate bar in the world. That became, you know, the Beast Chocolate bar overnight. Why? Because of who, not What’s the best candy bar in the world? It’s like who?

Right. Kim Kardashian launched a private equity firm. Right. That’s a real thing. It’s a billion dollars too. It’s not like, you know, it’s nothing. And B2B happens the same way. B2B influencers are a real thing. I know you talk about that a lot. For us, we need to recognize, I was giving a presentation at a, a company kickoff a couple months back.

I was about a 3000 person company and it was a specifically, it was the 65 marketers at this company, you know, for one of these sessions. I asked the audience, Hey, so tell me who’s your icp? Who do you sell to marketer? Raise their hands. We sell the CIOs. Okay, fantastic, fantastic. Next question. How many of you in this room have been CIOs?

None. Yeah. Okay. So what gives any of you the right to think that you’re the who and that you’ve been to a place that your customer is trying to go to? What you’re doing is you’re doing marketing for your company. You’re not doing marketing for your customer because how your customer wants information is about the people and the stories that they can relate to.

They wanna see themselves in a person. They don’t see themselves in a business, right? The first rule of sales is no one cares about your product, but the second rule of sales is, yeah, of course you target accounts, but you sell the people, right? People buy. Not companies, it’s people. They need to be able to see themselves in that situation.

So my point for this marketing kickoff was near bound marketing. For example, under like this Brett Banner, near bound, G T M is about marketing with the people who’ve been to the places where your customers want to go. So that’s going to be influencers, it’s going to be partners, it’s going to be sometimes customers.

And demonstrating that you can do this at scale, much more cost effective, with much more impact, with much more tr. I mean, that’s just the next evolution of marketing. You should never publish a piece of content, host an event, or do anything where it’s just you, unless you’ve done the thing that your customer’s trying to do.

[00:18:30] Mike Allton: Yeah, that’s something we’re trying to do more and more at Agora Pulse. In fact, I’m meeting with our new VP of sales later this week to talk about how we can integrate partnerships more into the sales process. And you kind of touched on this concept where we might be working with a partner who has already had conversations with a target prospect, and I know that’s something that we could potentially use with Reveal.

So I’d like you to kind of unpack that a little bit more. How exactly. Would reveal work with partnerships and with other teams within the company and what are maybe some other use cases?

[00:19:01] Jared Fuller: I could almost approach this from the perspective of second party data, but maybe I’ll make it simple and then we can kind of get a little bit more complex from there.

If I’m talking to a C R O, here’s how I’d start the conversation and I bet I can do this in less than 60 seconds to like totally partner pill this cro. Hey, C, what’s your revenue target this year? Let’s just say it’s a hundred million. Okay, so what are you gonna hit? 90 million. Oh yeah, about the same in the market, right?

Everyone’s gonna probably miss this year. So, quick question behind that. What’s your current partner attach rate? Uh, maybe they know, maybe they don’t. Let’s just say it’s 10%. Okay. So you’ll do nine to 10 million roughly this year in, you know, partner revenue. Interesting. A follow on question in that gap, are you planning on supplementing that with outbound or is marketing picking it up with inbound?

Well, marketing doesn’t have any more budget. We’re not doing that in outbound. I’m making my AEs do more outbound. Is that working? No, obviously not. Okay, so how are you, do you wanna move that partner attach rate with partners then up? Is that like an objective, like, Hey, do you think that your business should be, you know, a third marketing, a third sales, and a third partner?

Yeah, that’s where we want to go. Fantastic. So quick question then. What percentage of your sales activities are partner activities or near bound activities? Not a clue. I haven’t met a I’ve, I mean, other than like maybe an industry leader, like a HubSpot or something like that, it’s actually fundamentally pretty insane to try and understand what percentage of your activities.

So let’s say you had 25,000 actual sales activities in a given month. You know, if you’re trying to get to 25% partner attached, then that means 5,000 of those activities at minimum should be partner activities, not from the partner team, but from the sales team. Right. So that’s where Reveal comes into the picture, right?

What Reveal does is, is it brings second party data, so meaning the shared prospects or even the white space, the accounts that are in your partner, C R M, that you don’t have shared opportunities, or where you have an opportunity and they have a customer, for example, in real time. And not only that, then this escrow layer, that’s cuz it’s shared.

You have the 360 view of your entire ecosystem, but. Your partners don’t share data with, you know, one another. It’s you know, all to you. And then they have their own 360 view. What that allows you to do with this, what I’ll call second party data, is kind of like have the most valuable intent data in the world.

And not only that, We’re talking about things that are not publicly available anywhere. I’ll give you a perfect example. So let’s say uh, you had a partner and they just closed a deal and this is one of your partners you have a good relationship with that can be real-time notification sent to the right rep and they, they’re gonna get a lot of intel based on the depth of that partnership where you might be able to pull over, let’s say the c s CSM that was assigned, the account manager that was assigned, the AE that closed it.

You can get information like. Let’s say you have six contacts in your C R M and they have 35. Whoa. Wait a second, like if this is a target account, you only have six contacts. They have 35, which ones are most engaged? And obviously we’re not giving the email or their cell phone or anything like that, but we can share like, let’s say the titles, right?

So, oh, there’s a huge cohort of people that are in this department and we’re selling into this other one. We’re in the wrong buying center, right? This kind of data and insight. You’ve never had before, especially not in real time. So we can push that to CRM so that way a seller can click a button right from CRM and begin engaging in that partner.

And then you can track that partner activity. So that seller goes, Hey, here’s my list of, you know, three near bound plays. For creating pipeline and let’s say three near bound plays for helping accelerate or close pipeline. And right from c r m, they can engage with that partner, begin a conversation, start a back and forth, and it’s all tracked.

So that way we can have that hard conversation to close the loop on this with that c r o to say this. Okay, so if you wanna get to 25% partner, attach. You go from 10 million to 25 million or 10 to 20, whatever that number is, then that means you’re committing to your sellers, your sales organization, doing a corresponding amount at minimum of partner activities.

And is that not all what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to make the partner department not be a silo where they’re responsible for all of the work while the sales team’s like, where’s my referral? Right? That’s the promise of Near Bound, is bringing the partner data to the people that actually work with the customer.

So that way you can orchestrate an ecosystem. Like my buddy Alan Adler, he talks about ecosystem orchestration all the time, and I don’t think people understand what he’s talking about. To orchestrate an ecosystem is exactly what I just said, right? It’s to facilitate the process and the ops and the relationships, so that way you’re.

Field team can work with your partners so that way you, partner, manager, you’re not involved in every single one of those cuz you can’t scale, you can’t get to the volume of 25, 30, 40% of all sales activities or success activities or marketing activities. But guess who can the departments who are already doing that thing.

So that’s the promise of reveal, that’s the, the data platform that I think fundamentally transforms marketing, sales, and success. Amen to that.

[00:24:04] Mike Allton: And for those of you listening, take a second right now to think about another brand in your space, whether you’re currently partnering with them or not, but another brand who’s talking to the same audience that you’re talking to, and there’s not too much overlap in terms of the solutions that they offer.

Think about them and think about what it would be like. To know about the deals that they’re closing and all the information that Jared just shared in terms of what goes into those deals. Devalue who’s involved in the deal making, and then somebody that you could now turn to to introduce you to answer questions like you said.

[00:24:35] Jared Fuller: Yeah, and you can look at that on a per account basis. So like, Hey, here’s an account that we’re working, and you can see, hey, this is a current customer of these six partners. It’s an open opportunity for these four partners. And then you can kind of drill down next level and go. Hmm, okay. With this account, they have far more engagement in contacts than these other ones, right?

So we’re probably thinking a bigger buying committee, a bigger deal. They’re much more aligned. You actually can triangulate cuz not all partners are equal. This allows you to have that ability to prioritize your target account list. And for the AE to take that. I mean, they’re being asked to do outbound right now, right?

We know this. Everyone’s being asked to do outbound, right? Now, and it’s like, why are you playing the game on hard mode? You know, there’s an easier way. Like you don’t get extra points for hitting quota the hard way. And in fact, I just saw a stat that only 22% of tech sellers met quota last quarter. It’s estimated right now that maybe it’s 15% will hit quota this quarter.

So, Why try to do it the hard way, like work with the people that can give you the answers to the test. And these are these near bound plays, not just a referral. And now you can go for a referral, be smart about it, like you were gonna work your butt off for an outbound cold. Just be a little bit more intelligent and document those near bound plays, what plays are working.

And that’s where the partner in sales collaboration comes in. And then you have that C R O conversation. Where you’re going, Hey, we’re trying to get here together, c r o, here’s the plays that we’re working on this segment, or this division, or these reps. They’re not leaning in, they’re not even trying. The only way you can do that is not from registered deals from partners.

It’s through this ecosystem orchestration, this near bound play.

[00:26:15] Mike Allton: Absolutely. So if we’re using Reveal and we’re identifying. Partnerships. We’re identifying sales opportunities. What are some ways that we can actually demonstrate the ROI for this entire ecosystem we’re building? [00:26:28] Jared Fuller: I mean, I think it’s pretty simple.

Partnerships do three things to pipeline. You’re either gonna get a larger deal, you’re gonna win that deal faster, or you’re gonna have a higher win rate, right? So sales velocity, win rate, and then deal size. You probably don’t get all three at once, right? Pick two. The heck, even one is great. I have so many anecdotes and sample sizes of this, and I’m really looking forward to publishing some studies on the, you know, cause we’re in 10,000 plus, you know, CRMs, we, we have some really great benchmarking data on what that means for, let’s say an influence deal by a partner and a source deal by a partner.

So, I’ll take a benchmark that this is, I’m not quoting anything from Reveal. This is, let’s say the last thing that I’ve, uh, looked at in terms of data that I’ve sliced. So I’m not publishing this as official report for enterprise companies north of a thousand employees in B2B tech in North America. The average influence deal win rate is anywhere between 55 and 65% counting for variables.

Um, at Drift, for example, Arwin rate was 58%. For source deals, it’s around 30 to 45%. Now the median of that is less than half for both. So just on that alone, can you name one other thing that you can do that can double your win rate? If revenue to A C R O is headcount times productivity, the formula for productivity is win rate, right?

That’s the bottom of the thing. How you fix a funnel, Mike, is you don’t fix it at the top, right? You fix it at the bottom. There’s a choke point. Win rate is the ultimate choke point you have to fix. If your win rate is 5%, I don’t care how many qualified opportunities you have, the number one most important thing for any sales organization to fix is win rate.

So what I can do is I can take a look at your numbers really quick and go, Hey, what if we two x your win rate? The business case could not be more simple and clear. I’m not trying to say this, you know, so passionately to say sales leaders are dumb. I mean, I’m a sales leader. What I’m trying to say is that’s our job as the partner organization is to be able to help make it that simple.

For the sales leader, right? For their partner to help them hit their goals and their numbers, and that’s what’s gonna make you look great. That business case is so simple, but that’s what Near Bound was needed because previously you had PRMs, what sales rep uses a prm? There isn’t a single sales rep in the world that uses a prm now, they’ll take a registered deal from a partner that’s being worked.

Sure. But that world’s kind of dying. Kudos to you. If you have established channels that are growing like heck, and your partners are registering deals with you left and right, but that’s not the totality of partnerships. That’s a small component of partnerships, especially in this new world. If it’s me, if I’m an innovative company and the innovative companies we see crushing it out there, what they’re doing is they’re, they’re helping their sales organization and their marketing organization adopt these plays to replace.

The inefficient plays that are broken, we’re not getting as much out of ads. Third party data, isn’t that going away? Yes, it’s going away. So ads spend and efficiencies going down, budgets are being cut. Outbound is increasingly working less and less. Why can’t those activities be placed with these ones where you have double the effect at the bottom of the funnel?

The business case is rock solid.

[00:29:41] Mike Allton: I hope those of you that are listening right now are doing what I’m doing, which is not only learning more about Near Bound and how to leverage partnerships across the organization, but also thinking in internalizing how to actually communicate this to the rest of your team, to the rest of your C-suite.

Cuz I know that’s where I’ve fallen shorts personally and that’s what I’m working on improving here. So this is fantastic. We’re talking with Jared about partnerships and he just outlined how as partnership managers we can demonstrate. ROI. Now for you CMOs and the VPs of marketing are listening and who may be responsible for demonstrating ROI across all your channels.

We’ve got a message for you from our cmo.

It’s the Okta Triumph. Can you imagine if you’re in charge, if you’re the CMO of marketing Paris? What are your main channels? Wow, there’s. The arc of Triumph. There’s the Eiffel Tower, there’s the Louv. Those are your channels you’re gonna use to drive tourism dollars in.

Okay, now, but you’re not the CMO of Paris. In fact, you’re the CMO of your company product service. So what are your main channels? So I’m gonna guess there are things like paper, click, maybe trade shows, events, maybe content. Those are all pretty predictable, right? Let me ask you this question. Are you treating social media as a main channel?

By the way, only 1.8% of you today measure social media and can prove an ROI in that investment. HubSpot and Gartners say, social media’s the number one channel to invest in this year. Are you doing it? If not, I can tell you why you’re not doing it. Because you don’t have the tools, you don’t have the mentality, and that’s okay.

We’ve got you covered. You changed the mentality. We’ll give you the tour of Gore Pulses, tracks all the ROI for you. One place to manage all your social media activity, your number one channel, change your success. Treat social media as a channel one CMO to another. My name is Daryl. I’m with the Gore Pulse.

I’ll talk to you soon.

All right, so Jared, like I said, you’re giving me the tools, you’re giving me the words to use and some of the case studies, but how else can partner managers get buy-in from their C-suite to invest time and money? It’s not free. These tools in these kinds of activities.

[00:31:53] Jared Fuller: Maybe I’ll answer this two different ways.

I’ve talked about what I call the three Cs of change. There’s curiosity, then there’s courage, and then there’s conviction In troubling times, curious people don’t change people’s minds. Not even courageous people. It’s people with conviction. Getting conviction on your ability to, let’s say, transform your sales organization or your marketing organization as a partner to them, as a peer, you better have high conviction.

In other words, you must be willing to risk, you must be willing to say what I started this conversation off with. Not all choices are equal that. You’ve narrowed the choices down to saying, this is how we’re going to succeed together. And not only that, I’m willing to risk my career and my reputation on it.

If you’re not willing to, then you don’t have conviction. Maybe you’re courageous enough to have a hard conversation, but the other C-suite, they’re just not going to prioritize. And then what happens? You don’t get full effect, you don’t get full buy-in, you don’t get full results. Now you’re like, what do I do about that?

I mean, that’s what I’ve dedicated my, you know, career to, is to helping partner leaders do exactly that. And I think that’s why Near Bound is the right message and narrative into approach the conversation from their numbers and their plays, and then to create these near bound plays that they can then go execute, right?

So the job is about, Hey, let me help you. Inside this department and build this competency, right? This near bound competency into marketing. Right? And here’s the plays that the marketing team can use, which are going to be, let’s say, virtual events. Why would you ever do a virtual event without a partner?

That is literally the dumbest thing in the world. Like, so stupid. Yep. It would be the dumbest thing in the world to do a virtual event without a partner. Like that’s just ROI out the gate. Day one. You need speakers. Presumably your partners have some really smart people there, right? Or some really great customers.

You bring them there, they’re gonna bring their people. You just reduce the cost of customer acquisition, right? Oh, and by the way, some of your people are gonna come too. And then you just gave back to your partners Flywheel Easy Cake. You were hosting an event anyways. You had to have speakers anyways, and you had to get people to attend.

Anyways, it’s so brain dead dumb. Start there. Don’t talk about partner marketing. Right. If you’re talking about partner marketing, the CMOs like, oh no, he’s gonna be asking me for M D F and like all this other weird stuff for the partner program. No. Go help them hit their goals with partners. Same thing on the sales side.

Hey, we’re out here doing the partner thing, we’re working our partners and all of that, but I need to help the sales work. Let’s start here. How many of our activities are partner activities with our sellers? If we wanna get to 25% or 33%, you know, third outbound, third inbound, third partner, then we gotta get that to 33%.

Let’s define the plays whenever we surface this data to them in their account views or in their opportunity views or in the forecast calls on what they can do with that. And then let’s hone it. Let’s work with it. Let’s talk to the managers about it. Let’s get in the dashboards and the reports. Let’s make it a part of their day in the life.

CROs much more interested in that conversation than whatever the heck we were talking about before. Whatever the heck we were talking about before was we wouldn’t, we didn’t have a seat at the table. This can get you a seat at the table. I’ve done a lot to try so far, and I have so much more to give to help in this initiative.

But for the sales one specifically, I just wrote with my um, colleague, Kevin Lenahan. I was about a 40 page guide, the Ultimate Guide to Driving Revenue with Near Bound Sales. And we really detail a process for these activity types, how to track it and how to hit that front line of like talking exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s at near bound.com as uh, where we announced the merger and you know, we released that guide. But this year we’re gonna release the book on near bound, the authoritative one. We’re gonna have Near Bound the event, and then we’ll have Near Bound Academy, which, you know, kind of builds those pillars for those plays.

But, You know, if you’re already in partner land and you kind of know what you’re doing, I think you can take enough of this to go start writing this out and going, Hey, I, I know what three, you know, make it simple for, for sales, what three plays that is not just asked for a referral. Can your sellers do today to open up pipeline by utilizing a partner?

And then what three plays can your sellers utilize today to close pipeline and utilize a partner? Define those and make sure that those activities are tracked. Your cro, if they want 30% revenue, guess what? They’re not meeting their obligation until the activity level matches 30%. Guess what that’s called?

It’s called the four letter word. It’s the most important four letter word in all of business, which is fair.

[00:36:22] Mike Allton: Fantastic. I’m glad you brought up the book. I was at the event and I remember hearing near bound.com near Bound the event Near bound the book I I equipped that. Okay. Next we’ll have near Bound the Flame thrower to give people a Space Balls reference.

But yeah, we won. Totally have that book. We’ll have the link in the show notes. That’s terrific. That’s definitely that we should all be studying and definitely looking forward to the full near bound book experience in the event. But talk to us about your time at Drift now. Let’s just go back in time for a second because, you know, I was preparing for this and I, and I read about how you took that partnership with Adobe from Zero to Partner of the year, and I was like, oh, okay.

I want to know more. About this and, and I wanted to make sure we, we talked about it in our limited time together. So tell me about what that partnership was like. What were some of the initial challenges and how you overcame them?

[00:37:11] Jared Fuller: Strategic alliances are a very, Understudied part of partnerships, business development and corporate strategy, especially for startups.

There’s a reason why I called my podcast partner up. I’ve always felt that my partner strategy from a startup perspective should start with like the ecosystem node like parent that has the most, not just customer opportunity, but partner opportunity. Like PandaDoc, I made a bet on HubSpot c r m, being the winner for S N B C R M, and it was, and we benefited tremendously and built not just a fantastic alliance with HubSpot that resulted in HubSpot’s first ever investment.

Um, HubSpot Ventures being formed, right? That’s PandaDoc series B’s, HubSpot’s first ever Adventure Investment. That was because of us, because of the partnership. And then with Drift with, um, Marketo and Adobe, there’s a similar formula and I’ll, I’ll unpack this formula as quickly as I can. There’s a chapter in the book, the Partner Hacker Handbook, uh, that was the bestseller we’ve released last year.

Or you can just go to partner hacker.com and uh, search Partner Up and Play to Win was be the name of the chapter. Strategic Alliance is, what’s the first word of strategic? It’s strategy. Again, it’s choice. So I lay out a framework for how to identify which strategic alliances, so Marketo and Adobe were chosen specifically based on this framework, right?

Like you have to make the right choice on the right alliance partner. I knew when I came into Drift and the expectations were massive, the amount of direction that I got Mike from my c e o was don’t f this up. That was, that’s, that’s literally it. Don’t f this up. Right? So like what that meant was don’t go out trying a hundred things and go distract everyone at the fricking company.

Like, you better make the right call. You make the right call, or you’re gone. And I’m like, you recruited me And like, what the heck you wanted me to come be entrepreneurial? And then that’s the thing I get on arrival. Whoa, what the heck did I sign up for? And that’s not throwing shade at dc but it’s just the reality of the situation, right?

Empathize with the c e O. He’s right. It hurts, but he’s right. Like, I gotta make the right call. I can’t go play with, you know, Microsoft, Salesforce, all of s a p, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I gotta make the right call. So I chose Marketo. I won’t go into how I chose Marketo, Adobe, but that’s in the chapter.

But then how to win. There’s a formula here. Here’s what it is. You need to find out what are is a top three metric that the c e o of your partner would say, this is an imperative. We must do this. And you might think, well, it’s always revenue. No, no, don’t be so naive. HubSpot, their top metric at one of their top three metrics at the time was activation from free trial to paid user of c r M.

Right? That was like number one thing for them. Okay. Very different than Marketo, which we’re talking about, which was net dollar retention of existing paying customers, right? That was top three. So at Marketo, what did Drift do? Drift was a chat bot that sat on the website and we covad and created some pretty cool features where your Marketo list could dictate what message showed up in the chat bot based on who visited the site.

So cool, great features, great joint value proposition. That’s not enough. Net dollar retention. What drives net dollar retention for Marketo? Like what are the levers? Okay. Well one of the things after figuring that out is number of contacts in the Marketo database. Well drift at the time. On average when connected to a Marketo account, guess what it did?

It doubled the amount of contacts collected from the website, and I could walk into an account and have Jane and say, Hey Jane, you see Susie over there? You see that a d k upsell? That’s just because they connected drift. I can walk to every C S M in the entire organization. Now, why I’ve tied myself to a top metric that the C E O would stake their head on.

I mean, Vista owned Marketo at the time. They needed to drive net dollar retention. I understood the lever in their product for what drove that net dollar retention number of contacts in the database, and then who was incentivized inside of the organization that owned. That metric, which is the C S M.

This is not an exaggeration. And Jill Rowley, who was Chief Growth Officer, and there’s a reason why Jill’s hangs out around us so much is that she saw this happen is I went to every Marketo office and I sat down with every C S M in the United States. And I got them to make referrals into every single one of their accounts.

Now, I just mentioned that’s not the totality of Near Bound, but that’s the power of strategic alliances, right? Is if you make your right call and you really figure it out, if they heck, I don’t really have that many upsell levers at Marketo. Like how do I get more contacts into the database? Marketo needs contacts in order to send emails, but you can’t send emails and get more contacts, right?

It’s a catch 22. You need the contacts to send the emails. The only place you’re getting ’em is from what? Buying data, eh, it’s kind of rough these days to buy data and send emails like, You’re gonna ruin your domain reputation, so you had to get ’em from your website. So we became Marketo’s number one partner.

I mean, very quickly on that strategy. And it was intentional from day one. That’s the thing that gives me some sense of pride, is that it was on purpose. This wasn’t an accident. HubSpot, I was a little bit crazier in the Panda Doc one. I made the right calls, but I didn’t know I was making the right calls.

Marketo, it was, I knew I had to make the right calls and I was very confident when I was talking to, you know, the entire exec team over there, that I’d be your number one partner in less than a year, and then less than one year you’re gonna try and buy me, which was the case. And then we had the merger happens with Adobe and we kickstart that relationship to the next level where, let’s say Adobe Summit.

So 20,000 people. I mean, this is kind of the culmination of this, and I, I have it right here, which is, uh, pretty cool. It’s, you know, Adobe Partner of the year. So a nice glass heavy thing where Adobe Summit had exactly zero partners on the main stage. But Steve Lucas, the c e o of Marketo for the keynote gets up.

So this is kind the culmination of this story. Gets up, gives his keynote, and he says, and that’s why I’m so excited to announce conversational a b M with Drift. Introducing David. Cancel the c e o of Drift. I stole. We stole. The entire culmination of Adobe Summit. We are a hundred person startup. Like that’s the power of strategic alliances, and that’s kind of the drift story.

I mean, we ended up driving dozens of millions in revenue through Marketo customers had a fantastic partnership. Lots of great service partners and friends that I’m still friends with. Today, like Lead MD now, shift Paradigm. Justin Gray was the CEO of that. They did more Marketo implementations than anyone in the world.

4,000, 4,000 implementations. I mean, I learned it so much by getting to work with people like that. That’s a really professional partner that taught me a lot about package services and how to, you know, onboard customers through a partner. Right? And how to fix problems with your ProServe team. I mean, the benefits of that alliance were tremendous.

There’s definitely some sad stories there on like, Over the long term. I don’t think it went, you know, where, where I think it could have, but who’s gonna argue with the multi-billion dollar outcome, you know, like that we’re kind of splitting hairs from a company, you know, five years prior that was worth $0.

[00:44:01] Mike Allton: Right. And that’s why I really appreciate the fact that you shared this story, multiple stories filled with lessons that all of us can take from this. So actually I, I’m gonna recommend that all of you just kind of re-listen to this section a couple of times and think through the approach that Jared took to creating this one particular partnership.

So now Jared, I have two more questions for you and then we pretty brief I think. So the first one is, what’s one piece of advice that you would give to every partnership manager today? Who’s operating like me as a lone ranger within their organization and kind of struggling to make progress.

[00:44:37] Jared Fuller: I think you gotta call a shot.

You need a big win, and that means that you can’t get caught up in the everything cycle. Entrepreneurs and partnerships, people share a lot in common. I think one of those things that they share in common is what I’d call starry eyed syndrome in that everything looks like an opportunity because. It’s hard to know, or maybe there’s some risk aversion or some fear of saying, no, this thing is by far more important than the others.

It’s almost like we want to leave ourselves open to the possibility that one of these things will work out to a degree, to the to which we’re not aware. That means that we’re not putting a thousand percent effort in the thing that we need to. So like across sales, marketing, and success, obviously there’s tremendous partner value that can happen across all three of them.

I don’t think that partner leaders have much of a choice right now given current market and economic environments other than to figure it out with sales right now and to figure it out at the activity level and to get some buy-in. On some plays, the AEs can take in the field to collaborate with partners that is not just asking for a referral and getting commitment, that if the partner attach rate and the partner revenue needs to be at X percentage, that sales activity needs to correspond to that percentage.

That’s something you can do right now. That’s a fair fricking trade. And guess what? If that CRO is not willing to sign up for that, you don’t have a job. Let’s be honest. You do not have a, like you, you’re on your way out. Whether or not you want to admit it, it’s just a matter of time. Like, how else are you gonna get to that number?

I mean, I, I gave you the strategic alliances play example. Like that’s one way you can get to a number, but that’s also one of the most riskiest. Lowest probability, like I think I opened the chapter. So by the way, and I give, this is all stuff for free too. Like, so none of this is charged. I open up the chapter basically with the giant qualifiers.

Like, this is not for everyone. You better be crazy. You better be an entrepreneur. You better be able to call your fricking shot. Read this thing and follow this exactly to a t. Cuz if you screw it up, you’re fired. Strategic alliances are that, and if it takes two years, you’re already fired. Right? Like it has to be something that you can do quick.

So that’d be my advice. Get a commitment on partner attach rate that sales activities need to correspond.

[00:46:41] Mike Allton: Thank you for that because the first part of what you said, being enamored with anything that looks like it might be an opportunity is something that, that I know I’ve, I’ve personally struggled with.

And then the second part, focusing on sales this year with this year’s economic environment. I really appreciate that because that’s exactly what I’m working on, on doing personally with the Agora Pulse. So those of you listening, I hope you’re also thinking along those same lines.

[00:47:06] Jared Fuller: And then maybe one small other one, one small other one would be, uh, virtual events with partners.

If you can get one easy thing with the, your marketing team, get your partners in all your virtual events. Get virtual events going. Partner, hacker, we do them all the time. It’s a great easy win. Just don’t make it about your brand, you just come up with a new name. Call the event something else that has nothing to do with your brand.

Simple.

[00:47:23] Mike Allton: I will put into the show notes all the resources that I published on virtual events. Cause I’ve been on ’em for five years. I do virtual events every quarter now with the Agora Pulse. 20 plus partners every time for this exact reason. I’ll give you everything in the, in the notes. So last question.

Well, my dog decides to shake. Say, what’s up? Do all of her things. Yeah. What’s up? And I love asking this question. Every single guest gets the same question. How important have relationships been to the success of your career and the partnerships you’ve developed?

[00:47:51] Jared Fuller: All gains in life, whether in life, wealth, family or business, come from compound interest.

The problem with sales, and this is what I would tell the any salesperson and look them in the eye and mean it, is that if your relationships are transactional, you’re starting over every year. And if all gains in life are compound interest, you have a career right now that is the exact opposite of that.

You don’t get to take your accounts to your next company. When you’re listed as the account owner in crm, you don’t own crap. You don’t own that account. You’re renting it from the company. But if you’re in partnerships, Those relationships can last a long time. So for example, Pete Capta at HubSpot is someone that I partnered with first.

He’s the creator of the HubSpot Agency program. That’s, you know, now inarguably, the the number one agency program in the world. You know, hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. So he was a partner of mine. I demonstrated value to him through a partner relationship, and there was lots of dollars involved, millions and millions of dollars involved in that relationship.

Pete then became a mentor to me. I brought him as an advisor at Drift. He was a backer of Partner Hacker and is still a mentor to me today. That’s compound interest. I’ll give you a very tactical example from yesterday. The c m O of a v very large company reached out to Pete saying, Hey, I, I knew you from back in the day at HubSpot.

You’re the only respected partner person that I know. I think I want to go all in on partnerships for our strategy. Pete, can I pick your brain? And Pete said, Hey, I’m the c e O of Databox and I just, I have, I don’t have enough time, but you really need to talk to Jared at Partner Hacker and Reveal. And that just opened up probably the largest, you know, opportunity this quarter for us.

That’s how important relationships are when people say your network is your net worth. I don’t think they really truly understand that. Jill Rowley from, you know, I’m doing business with her. I mean, I can just, there’s so many people, like, how could I pull off plx summit.com? Last year, Mike, in less than 90 days, I had a hundred speakers in 5,000 attendees across five days.

That’s, that’s from a decade of partner relationships where people trust me, where I’ve helped them. I will always help people. I will always help people and it pays dividends. I have compound interest family. A lot of people were very much like they’d laughed at the concept of starting partner hacker in a media company, but we were able to do in nine months what took Max Shire in Sales Hacker six, seven years to do.

And that was all based on relationships.

[00:50:32] Mike Allton: Love it. And this is exactly why I asked this question every single week. I don’t know how anyone’s gonna answer, but I have a good feeling and, and this is exactly it, so that we can continue to just kind of repress on ourselves how important relationships are.

Cuz you said it yourself. A lot of people, they don’t. Truly understand. They happen to take the time to really think through all the different people they know. Cuz as human beings, were limited. We don’t have computer algorithms in our brain that can really store all that information and connect all the dots.

So it’s a challenge. So we remind you, Jared, this has been fantastic. I, I’ve had so much fun. Let everyone know where they can find you, where they can learn more about you and some of the concepts we talked about today.

[00:51:12] Jared Fuller: Hit me up on LinkedIn, add me there, my published content pretty much every day. So linkedin.com/jared Fuller.

Just Google my name, Jared Fuller, j e r e d Fuller. Sign up@partnerhacker.com. If you want the partner Hacker Daily. We, uh, shoot you a nice little snippet email, six, seven days a week that people love. It’s like the highest open rate I’ve ever seen on a daily email. You can check out the, you know, near Bound and what we’re doing on the software side@reveal.co.

So partner Hacker’s, the resource to, you know, help you not feel alone in this battle. And then we have hundreds of con contributors to Partner Hacker. So partner hacker.com, reveal.co or hit me up on LinkedIn. I’m always happy to help. Like I said, everything I’ve ever gotten outta my life is from, um, helping.

So that’s what those relationships are about. I’m happy to help anyone listening.

[00:51:50] Mike Allton: Fantastic. I subscribed to the daily email. It’s terrific. I will have the link to that and everything else Jared just mentioned in the show notes and that’s all we’ve got for today, Fran. So thank you for listening. Please head over to Apple and give us a rating review and let us know what you think.

Till next time,

thank you

for listening to another episode of Partnership Unpacked, hosted by Mike Alton and powered by a Agora Pulse, the number one rated social media management solution. Which you can learn more about@agorapulse.com. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe on your favorite podcast player. Be sure to leave us a review.

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