This podcast covers the world of Strategic Alliances & Partnerships in tech.
Join Will Taylor, Ben Wright, and Tom Burgess on the trail to green pastures and unchartered territory through raw stories and dialogue, allowing our listeners to learn and decide how strategic partnerships can drive success.
Whether you are a VP or a professional looking to break into the space, join us on the Howdy Partners journey.
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Tom Burgess 00:00
Ah How do you partners, this is the first episode of the podcast called howdy partners. And the purpose of this podcast is to give you actual insights through real stories from the practitioners in the space. There are a few resources out there that help to alleviate the anxiety of starting a program, hiring for a program, scaling a program, enabling a program, and really anything related to partnerships. It's a pretty new space. And so to break the stigma of a partner program not working, and why it isn't working, we created this podcast to capture the stories and the actual insights, to really make sure that you have the tactical resources as a partnership leader, or partner practitioner to really excel in your role and also execute as well. Because at the end of the day, you can have that 10,000 foot view. But what matters most is what do you do today to make that forward progress? So we are going to talk about why this exists. You know, why are we here? Why are we speaking on these topics? And why are we the ones to deliver this to you? And I'm excited to introduce my past colleague, current friends, Ben Wright, and Tom Burgas. And, Ben, I'll let you introduce yourself first.
Ben Wright 01:41
Yeah, just that well. So yeah, I think excited to get things going here today. A little bit of background on me. My name is Ben. Right, currently Director of Partnerships and business development at a company called Help Scout prior to Help Scout. Also, it was Director of Partnerships, a company called brainstorm, and in both instances, was able to actually create and build our partnership programs from the ground up. I know how much effort it takes and super excited to dive in with Tom Waylon on some of those things that the made the program successful. Tom, I'll kick that over to you mate for a bit of an intro.
Tom Burgess 02:20
Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Ben. So first, first fail of the podcast is will mispronouncing my last name, it's actually so just kind of what did I say? I know, it would have been great to go through 100 episodes and just have that kind of lingering out there. But yeah, the second thing is the dad joke, longtime caller, first time listener, excited to be on this journey with all of our, our listeners, I'm working at video right now. I'm a partner enablement lead. Historically have worn a lot of different hats from operations to you know, the CSI to the finance aspects. And for me, partnerships, is still this green field that I think a lot of companies out there want to get into. They're anxious to get into, they're scared to get into. And I'm hoping that the three of us or a semblance of the three of us and our guests can kind of break down those stigmas and help break through the barriers that that people want to from hiring to, you know, scaling at at mass or different programs. And I guess, like the more unique background that I have is I used to work at a HubSpot agency. So I've sat on the other side of partnerships, I've been a partner, I've seen how things can can flourish can scale can grow. And I hope to bring a bit of that lens to the table here too. Awesome. And I'm Will Taylor currently the head of partnerships at partner hacker, which is not associated with this podcast. And I was previously leading partnerships at mailshake. And before that, I was building the enablement program at videocard as the first enablement hire So Tom and I worked together, and then when he was hired on I think he thought that he was my senior you would always say that he was technically my boss, but our party. Oh, right, right. We didn't get to that point, though. Because we parted ways, but we stayed friends and obviously now we are here. And so I've got something to say about that. What I did, okay, from when I my previous position is I thought you were British, the whole time your email came across I think we had talked once and like, is this Do you just just effing with me like putting on a British accent and we we started working together and I'd say
Ben Wright 04:43
that I'd say that as a bit of an insult to be honest. That's a clear difference between the way that me and me and
Tom Burgess 04:51
I appreciate that Ben and I've wanted some some validation to the point because I think well was just screwing with me that you know for the first like couple calls and then all of a sudden Like, you know what to do together. He's just an Englishman, a Canadian that thinks he's British. So that was funny that I got a rise out of that one. I think you're just a bad listener as well. But you wouldn't want to say that. So, Ben, I would love to understand, you know why this is important to you? Like, why this podcast? Why now? Why tactical information? Based on your experiences and your feelings in the ecosystem today? What are your thoughts?
Ben Wright 05:41
Yeah, I think you nailed it at the top of this, I think there's this growing kind of movement in partnerships. I think it's long been like one of the miss understood parts of, of companies. And what we're starting to see now are a lot of people transitioning into partnerships, or even like SDRs that want to make a career move. There's a lot of people that are starting to find partnerships really interesting, but there's not necessarily, in my opinion, the resources out there to really guide somebody into a career in partnerships. And, and specifically, recently, I've had numerous calls with people that want to talk about, you know, how did you get into partnerships and transparently, I fell into it as well, I was a customer success manager previously, was asked to take over partnerships and build out our programs. So to be honest with you, like that has been my experience, there was nobody to guide me nobody to advise me, no real resources out there that made that transition easy. So for me, it's really just the chance to give back help people out and like you said, provide tactical knowledge for people to get into partnerships and, and hopefully help them in their, in their journey in their, in their careers as well. So I guess there's a little bit as to as to why primarily, just like a, let's, let's spread the love of partnerships, right, while secondarily like, hopefully convince some more people to kind of join us on the dark side, so to speak, as well. So, so that's my why I would say, and why would you to I have no idea I was I was kind of peer pressured into doing this. So we'll see how long it lasts on the on the podcast, but ya know, work with you will on different bits and pieces of the years and Tom kind of new acquaintance. But as I said, I think this kind of makes sense. We will, we will have the right backgrounds from from different different companies and different experiences. So yeah, excited to kick things off, and kind of go on this journey. Yeah. And
Tom Burgess 07:29
I think we're all feeling that kind of pain and anxiety of, you know, what do we do next? I'm at this point, you know, I got into partnerships, maybe I fell into it. What does it all mean? Where do I go? What I do? The reason that I'm doing this is there's not a lot of information out there for the tactical information. There's some and you know, you can follow individual people, and we're posting content on LinkedIn and all that. But when it comes down to what are those tactical steps in what are the experiences of others on what worked, and not in the traditional channel capacity, but in the modern partnership strategy? What are those things that are that are working and resonating with partners in today's current climate, and so I'm personally very much so aligned with action. And the 10,000 foot view, it's great to get, you know, the perspective and the trends. But what it comes down to in our day to day, as people being enriched by this kind of content, it's what action can you take, and there's a lot of talk, you can think about things all day. But action over everything is something that I'm passionate about. And that's why I got into enablement to begin with, where, you know, you're maybe you have all these partners, and people are all excited to partner with you. But what are the actions that partners are taking. And so that's how I fell into it is through that passion for action. But then also, I feel that there is a bigger implication of partnerships where if you can understand the network effects of how to create Win Win Win scenarios, across different organizations, and you bring that into, you know, your personal life or your own local community, then that can be amazing for the impact that you as an individual can have and at scale. And so I'm passionate about partnerships, but I'm also passionate about those actions that we can take as well. Tom as a fellow enablement, professional, what are your thoughts on why this is very timely, but also important for people to receive? Good question. You guys nailed a lot of the major points, but I think there's just not there's not enough evidence or a lot of knowledge out there for a lot of these companies that are thinking about strategic partnerships or thinking about what that means. for their business, to really know if it's worth diving into. And I think the people that have been in, in in the partnerships, side or the partnership lens, like us three, can clearly see like the light bulb is there, right? It's flickering, you've just got to give it power. And now you start to talk about what it does from like an organizational revenue standpoint, which is ideally what the goals of starting a partnership program is. But then it it kind of comes down into, you talked about, like, the background of like, where we've come from, and you just look like no one's going to school yet to be like, you know, I'm going to be a strategic partnership manager. And that's, that's pretty telling, because when we look at people that go to business school to be, you know, in sales to be in, you know, analytics to be in like a customer success role to some degree, this is, this blends a lot together, and you've you like, I think the people that that understand where partnerships is heading, and, and kind of like go with the flow and going upstream, you have to have a semblance of, of being, you know, consultant, being a salesperson, being a support specialist. And that that takes like a very special and unique blend of personalities to get it done. But on the same path, you know, the actual structure, the actual mechanism is so kind of hazy right now, right? Like each company is different. What we're going to talk about might not fit for, you know, X company, but it will for why and I think that's the magic of what we're going to talk about is we're we're going to really get into the nitty gritty and hopefully be transparent to like some of the roadblocks that a lot of companies won't see or a lot of professionals that are trying to get into, too into partnerships won't necessarily know until we talk about them. And we're still learning along the way too. Right. This is this is I think, Greenfield for us, as we learn, we bring guests on. And the the overarching theme here is that partnerships can work. You know, if you're on the same page, that's my son didn't intro the other side, I have a family of two boys who are Stassi, a three year old boy and a six month and now he's about to come downstairs. So I'll move quickly. But partnerships is where a lot of your focus should be heading and trying to get you know, even one or two companies that are like, You know what, we're on the fence. Can we do this? Let's do it.
Ben Wright 12:24
Yeah, I love that. And a true partnership is between a father and a son. So we plan that we plan that in the background is a nice,
Tom Burgess 12:31
yeah, my oldest son well is going to be the first I think college graduate from an actual Strategic Partnerships Program. So we're just kind of molding him in I told him to come down. So that's, that's why he's interrupting us right now.
Ben Wright 12:43
Yeah, but one thing I tried to add Well, before we kind of continue is something that Tom said that I think can really lends to the underlying, I guess, thesis or reason we're doing as we talk about tactical advice. We also, Tom just mentioned that, when you're in partnerships, you touch so many different areas of the business, right? Like, you aren't just in sales, meaning that you haven't just got to worry about closing leads. You're not in marketing, yet. But what you are, you're in every single partnership is touches every single department in a business from, from sales from marketing, you know, through to maybe Activision that there's so many different hats that you have to wear as a partnership professional, that actually, the tactical advice is is almost never ending, because you almost have to become a mini expert in so many different fields. So I like the way that Tom mentioned that because that's definitely a feeling I have is that really like you have to learn and be an expert in so many different things to the, to me in partnerships, which is, which is one exciting, but two, can be overwhelming at times, hopefully, we're going to cover some of those points and alleviate some of that anxiety as we as we dive into some of these episodes.
Tom Burgess 13:56
Yeah, and one thing struck a chord there where there's this stigma that, you know, it should be its own department, or it should fall under its own, like under sales or under marketing. And what we see in a lot of partner organizations is that can create a siloed business unit, but like we just described, you are cross functional, you need to be in effectively all of the business units. And so when you get siloed, if you're an afterthought or your thought of as a test, then that doesn't create a conducive place for partnerships to really flourish. And so, partner professionals don't want to be a cog in the wheel. And instead they want to be an extension of the team. They want to help orchestrate how they can have this impact on the client base. And so I loved what you're both saying there where you get to do so much and it's fun and bringing this clarity to all of that type of work I think is necessary for people to feel like there's less chaos and more structure. And so, in listening to this podcast what what you get as a listener is you will get that tactical information. And the way that we're going to go about this is in every episode, we will have an expert guest who has done it before, come in and tell their story about their experiences with a specific function. And we're going to make sure that the speaker comes out, and of course, tells her story, but summarizes this into what's the action you can take today. And so we're going to add that structure to, again, not just that 10,000 foot view and that perspective, but what can you do? What is the actual learning here? What was the challenge, and what was the outcome of trying to alleviate that challenge. And so the end intent, and we will make sure this is part of every episode is an actionable tip that you can implement today. This moment, when you leave the episode, you can begin actioning something because you can say, Great, I heard the story, I have the context. But I also have what to do next because I might be in something similar. And so I have this action, this task that I can then go and do, whether it's a template, whether it's a formula, whether it's you know, meeting structure, onboarding, kickoff, whatever it is, whatever realm it touches, you will have at least one action to take away from the episodes. And, Tom, I feel like you want to jump in. You see me eager. I was just gonna say cowboy hats. I mean, at some point, we'll probably be wearing cowboy hats it howdy. But
Ben Wright 16:38
yeah, any sponsors out there? One thing that is a prerequisite, you have to produce some type of swag for us, which is a a branded cowboy hat. That is our only prerequisite for you becoming a sponsor on this episode. So anybody that's out there, there's a lot of companies that talk about their swag game, but you know, cowboy hats. If anybody's got those in their swag store. We want to we want to hear from you pretty quickly. Yeah.
Tom Burgess 17:01
Yeah. I also wanted to go back to like, wills intro and not to I love Well, I mean, we know that. But you're, you mentioned upfront that partner hacker is in no way associated with this. This podcast. I was, like, just buttoned up, like wearing your tuxedo boilerplate. I couldn't call it like officially. Yeah, I mean, yeah, like, we're officially worth three professionals that are in the space. We're not getting our companies are not paying us to do this. And that I think is really important to call out is that we were doing this on our own time. And we hope that you can spend a little bit of time with us to to understand our backgrounds, or experience at some point maybe partner hacker maybe the yard, maybe helps you out, like we're all going to get in this together and and do something special, but But yeah, we're here. We're here on our own will and our own time and we're not sponsored yet. But you know, shout out to Ben like, Hey, me cowboy companies out there. Got your spurs got your chaps like, Hey, we're gonna run
Ben Wright 18:07
this ticker, this cowboy boots, Omaha Steaks, yeah, whatever, whoever it is,
Tom Burgess 18:13
whoever aligns with our brand, like by all means reach out, we're willing to hear you.
Ben Wright 18:18
Yellowstone, the TV show that would be a prime prime sponsor. We could be extras. I don't know that it's never ending the sponsorship opportunities that we could we could have.
Tom Burgess 18:29
Just fall in love it. We're not sponsored by Yellowstone, the show. Just calling that out. Yeah, thanks, Tom. All right, so great. Well, on our next episode, we will be talking about why you need or don't need a partner program. And more importantly, the fundamentals that you can start with if you are building a program, net new, and of course, in howdy partners fashion, it will be in a digestible way where you can action it today. So tune in on the next episode, where we will talk be talking about that net new program, the signs of when you need it when you don't. And if you have thoughts on what you would want an episode to be, again, this is for you, that we want this to be community source. If you're facing challenges, then send it in. If you want tactical advice, send it in, we'll get an expert on the podcast, and we will try our best to answer that question. And you know what, other people probably experienced that same challenge and we've probably experienced that same challenge as well. So if you have ideas, send it into us.