010 - Jill Rowley's First Podcast on Partnerships - Creating Categories and Partner Ecosystems

We have the QUEEN of social selling on today's show - the one and only Jill Rowley.

This was Jill's first podcast on the topic of partnerships and it was a gem. Jill unpacks the need for partner programs to focus less on attaching yourself to an ecosystem and how to create your own.

Plus, you get to hear the stories of how Eloqua creating the Marketing Automation category and how their first partners were created. Ecosystems are required for partnerships to thrive - Jill shares some timeless tactics for how to create yours. And from the lens of a sales professional, you're going to love her take on how to get the most out of your partner program.

This episode is sponsored by Crossbeam. Crossbeam is a partner ecosystem platform. It acts as a data escrow service that finds overlapping customers and prospects with your partners while keeping the rest of your data private and secure. Sign up for free at Crossbeam.com

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Or wherever you get your podcast - just search PartnerUp The Partnerships Podcast!


Jared Fuller  00:20
What is up everybody? This is a fun one. I teased this actually on the last episode. And unfortunately Kevin isn't here. You heard that Kevin is he's moving from type form to Active Campaign and he's also abandoning San Francisco, like a lot of folks are right now. So today I'm joined by, as I mentioned, Jill, rally. And Jill, I am so excited to have you on partner out. Thanks for making some time.

Jill Rowley  00:45
Oh, I'm fired up. Jared. I actually haven't been on a podcast about partnerships. I've been on, you know, dozens, maybe even 100 podcasts. So I am so excited to talk about this really important topic.

Jared Fuller  00:56
Amazing. And and when I reached out to you, I was like, Look, there's nothing out there for partnerships, pros, there's no book, there's no whatever. And for you to come on and share this perspective, kind of from the sales lens. We've had some awesome people from the partnership kind of leadership perspective. And then like some frontline folks on the partnerships world and some legends to like Bobby nap or pika puja. But really partnership doesn't happen without the sales team. And I'm super excited to get into the story of kind of how this all, you know, really the category and martec evolved and how, you know, from the sellers perspective, partnerships can impact your business or, you know, be a detractor to your business and kind of have that lens as we try to build our craft as partnership pros. But before we dive into this, just a quick reminder that this episode is sponsored by cross beam cross beam is a partner ecosystem platform that acts as a data escrow service to find overlapping customers and prospects with your partners while keeping the rest of your data private and secure. So you can sign up for free at cross beam.com. And I didn't look at my notes that time that was the first time so shout out cross beam. First, I've actually remembered it. No, but they've been awesome to work with. So Jill, take me back to Eloqua 2004

Jill Rowley  02:12
Yeah, 2002. But 2004 was when things really started to get cookin

Jared Fuller  02:17
things started to get cooking. And, you know, we're kind of all spoiled today, you have an ecosystem of you know, let's say par dot and Salesforce partners and channel consultants. And you have you know, Oracle's a big, huge giant channel in martec. And then, of course, HubSpot, what they've done in SMB, but 2000 to 3004. That didn't exist yet. So how did you start to see that evolve? How did you as a seller kind of get exposed to channel for the first time? And how did eloquent kind of you know, and you start to start to work towards this? Yeah, absolutely.

Jill Rowley  02:50
So you made a good point about, you know, 2004, this was really category creation, the whole maratac. There, the word didn't exist. Marketing Automation was really the word that was being used back then. But ellika was really like the first b2b marketing automation platform. And there were a lot of marketing organizations in b2b that were data driven, that were metrics oriented, and demand Gen wasn't even a function, it wasn't a term back then. And inbound hadn't even been, you know, discovered or named back in 2004. So this was category creation at aliqua. And you're right, there wasn't an ecosystem, because this was really early days. And a lot of times, like our first early adopters, but we had to find is the change agent, the person who was more data driven and tech savvy, and work with them within the marketing organization to one justify bringing on this type of technology, to make sure they had the right resources to be successful with the technology. And, you know, in those days, elico really didn't have a robust Services Group internally. So in 2004, one of our new customers LMA, Dave Lewis, who I developed an amazing relationship with, he lived in my town, in fact, in the East Bay, and he,

Jared Fuller  04:26
this is like the Dave Lewis of demand Gen. Yeah. Right. So like, fast forward to post probably no, Dave Lewis, like he's pretty decent Mar tech consultant today.

Jill Rowley  04:34
Exactly. And I you know, I knew him when he wasn't a Mar tech consultant. I just knew him as the Senior Vice President of Marketing at LMA. Um, and he was just whip smart and Barry like, like just an early adopter and wasn't afraid of data and wasn't in front of technology wasn't afraid of process and automation. He just got it. And he implemented eloquent LMA and drove incredible results and then You know, I've been selling, selling, selling helping people by marketing automation and evangelizing the category. And Dave came to me back in, it was actually probably, oh 607 when he came to me, so he had been a client for a couple years. And he saw that this technology was being adopted more widely. And he also saw the gap in marketing teams that they didn't have the skill set. And he also saw the gap in Eloqua, not really, having feet on the street, in terms of I was elka was headquartered in Toronto, I was Bay Area, there weren't any Bay Area partners. So Dave came to me. And he said, you know, do you think there's eating the markets ready for an elbow partner? And if so, would you bring me into deals? And I was like, holy? Yes, absolutely. Because I knew he could tell success stories.

I knew that he

Jill Rowley  05:54
could bring credibility, I knew that he could speak the language of the marketing leader, and even the marketing database manager. And I just knew that he would help my clients, my customers be more successful, more quickly, that he could get them up and running more quickly than without services. And that he could actually help, like, shorten the deal timeframe, because he brought credibility to the conversation.

Jared Fuller  06:20
You know, what's so interesting here is that, like, when I talk to a lot of folks in partnerships, they pretty much all are trying to figure out how to exploit an existing ecosystem. And what's interesting is that all of the successful channel and partnerships, programs created ecosystems. They didn't attach to another one in like, go like, Hey, here's how I make, you know, attach myself to all of Marquette O's partners, right? or eliquis, or what have you. What do you think was unique about what what ended up leading itself to having a channel and partner ecosystem about Eloqua? versus, you know, going out in like finding another ecosystem of partners to exploit and allowed someone like Dave Lewis to create a great brand and have demand Gen. Con, you know,

Jill Rowley  07:07
yeah, it's a really good question. If you think about that timeframe, too. I was early employee at Salesforce. So I was at Salesforce from 2000 to 2002. And there was no app exchange, there was no partner program, like Salesforce had to build an ecosystem from scratch, right, and I was a rep at Salesforce and ldquo was one of my customers. Really small company wasn't supposed to spend any time with them. But I learned about their technology. And I was, I immediately saw how Salesforce automation, because that's all Salesforce was at the time, had a had a before you get to Salesforce automation, what feeds the funnel, right? Who creates leads and opportunities for sales. And that's where I thought Eloqua played a role. So I actually saw how those two pieces of the puzzle fit together. But then when you go to Eloqua, and it's marketing automation, a marketing buyer with influence from an operational mindset, you can't, that's not selling to the same ecosystem that implements Salesforce automation. But at that point, they were they weren't really integrated solutions. So the the lens at elico was, there isn't an ecosystem to latch on to. Right. And, and we needed to be, you know, as we knew services were really important to success of our customers. And we had all the data to show that right customers that leverage our internal services or a partner services, got up and running more quickly and renewed more frequently and had higher NPS scores. We tracked all of that at Eloqua. And as the as the marketers got more mature, and the techniques, lead scoring, lead nurturing, those things started to develop. There, there was this gap in anybody having any knowledge, skills or experience in doing those things. And that's really where that services partners like demand Gen, like a stadia, were really critical to helping mature the market and helping, like help not implement the technology necessarily, but help really learn how to deploy it and look more holistically at your demand, Gen, your sales, alignment, and so forth.

Jared Fuller  09:34
So with were these existing, you drop some names there of what would become successful aliquot partners, were these existing agencies that might have focused on another area of the business or were these kind of created by customers, evangelists turned partners? Or did you kind of go Hey, they're working on something else related to marketing, like maybe advertising or brand and you then saw an opportunity to go hey, if you dip your toe in this marketing automation, you can actually attribute what you're doing back to business impact.

Jill Rowley  10:06
Actually, no, it wasn't an existing marketing agency. And, in fact, what we found is the existing agencies didn't speak the language of demand generation, they didn't language of lead gen. They didn't speak the language of connecting marketing and sales. Right, a lot of those agencies were more branding, search engine optimization, web design, advertising, they didn't have the, the, the perspective of data being foundational to

Jared Fuller  10:43
so So wait, you didn't try to convince them to believe your story, then. So there's two ways to do this. You try to convince people that have a business to believe your vision, or you what

Jill Rowley  10:53
you go out and you build an ecosystem from scratch, and you look for small agencies that and usually it would be that there would be someone in the agency who had deployed the software at their own company, we saw a lot of that we saw a lot of these demand Gen partners, eloquent services partners, and hire people that had been at eloquent customers, because they, you know, it's that whole, like, when you're beginning and you're creating a category, it's hard to go pluck off from what's already there, even if it's the surrounding, like you mentioned, that traditional agencies because they didn't get technology. Remember, they didn't understand technology.

Jared Fuller  11:38
Right? No, not not at that scale or that stage. Right. Like, at best, at best, they might understand the the minimum amount of like building a website back then, which was just HTML, right? It was basically a design construct. It was certainly wasn't data, right, or engineering to any degree. What but I have to call out what you just said, because it gave me ideas. Because I have some amazing partners here adrift today. And part of their biggest problem, right is building that expertise. Like they don't speak the language of revenue, acceleration and conversational marketing, conversational sales. So you build things like training modules, and learning toolkits and videos and enablement. And at the end of the day, like who's who's gonna be the expert? If they haven't done it before? And they haven't drank the Kool Aid. But you said something really interesting, right? Like that the best partners would go hire someone that had implemented eliquid before? Well, if you really are that successful of a SaaS company, and you believe in yourself, and you believe in your partners, like, yeah, I mean, we hired, we've done that adrift, like we've hired people that have ran drift at our top customers, like shout out Tim from Marketo, like, he came over to drift. And he ran drift at Marketo. That's actually a great strategy for partners, not your customers should like respect that, too. They're like, Oh, my gosh, like this, this specialty is so in demand that my people that I put on owning marketing, automation are getting promoted, or they're getting offers to work at other companies. I think that really does validate you as a category. If it's like, hey, the person I put on implementing aliqua just got stolen by someone and is now as it now as a consultant well,

Jill Rowley  13:16
right, that there would be a little bit of unsettling at the customer, actually, that, especially if we were recruiting at Eloqua, these eloquent experts from our

Jared Fuller  13:29
scale, we had

Jill Rowley  13:30
to, you know, deal with that. But when partners are recruiting them, that's, that's beyond our control, or scope. And so you're right, though, they should look at that. And I think the world's become more, hey, we want to invest in our people. And when our people leave, we want them to leave on good terms, and we want them to leave for better opportunities. I think when you're early in the category, and there's so few people who have the skill set, you really want to hold on to the people who actually can do the work. But that requires allowing to expand the team and training up new folks on the team, right? investing in that whole function and those skills. But yeah, it is a good sign, not only when our customers are getting recruited to partners, but also when our customers, we're moving to New companies, and bringing eliquid with them.

Jared Fuller  14:19
Yeah, yeah. I mean, there's, there's actually companies now that like, sell that data when it whenever one of your customers, you know, moves to another company, like they'll notify you so you can begin, you know, like a social selling cycle or something like that. And it really is indicative of how strong your you know, ecosystem is developing whenever you start to see those things so interesting. So any partners out there that are like, hey, should we build a practice area around x SAS company or whatever, like look to their successful customers, and maybe there's like a junior, you know, Junior manager of something that's responsible for this tech that you could really build help build them a career out around that topic, really interesting insight on what you saw, develop was, you know, not Just the channel side you saw like ecosystems develop and back then. And to some degree today, you still are kind of known as like the social selling, you know, Queen, so to speak. When when that was happening, kind of like Salesforce to Eloqua. And you're evangelizing and utilizing that for your, to your advantage as an account executive at the very early stages of social selling. Um, what else did you see in ecosystem development that, you know, was kind of like a first for martec? When you're because you saw more than most account executive, most account executives are like, you know, I have my 50 accounts. And that's all I focus on, you were really focused on the entire breadth of you know, developing an ecosystem because that allowed you relationships with customers other at ease, wouldn't have

Jill Rowley  15:45
Yeah, I mean, Rob Brewster who ran and you should have him on the podcast, he worked for Bobby at Salesforce, he was actually mentioned in your podcast with Bobby. Rob is phenomenal. And he lovingly referred to me as the VP of business development. above him, just lovingly referred to me, because I was always willing to bust his chops and always pushing him to do more, and always leaning on him to, you know, make our sales culture more partner friendly. And we chase a few partnerships that didn't make sense to me, in their early days with big, you know, Accenture's, Deloitte. And I just knew we wouldn't be able to get their mind share, because it wasn't a big enough deployment and implementation or ongoing services, to really get their attention. And they just didn't have any skill set in marketing. And I saw how long it took them to get, you know, really ramped in in Salesforce and Salesforce automation. Um, so I think, for me, my lens has always been, how do you put the pieces of the puzzle together? How does everything fit? And how do you look at your customer's entire needs and requirements? And if you don't feel that from a product perspective, you have to look at do I build the capability? Do I buy a company that has the capability? Or do I partner with a company that that complements that capability. And so as you started to see more pieces of marketing technology, come into the into the space, it was very obvious to me that we had to connect with those. I remember learning what an API was Application Programming Interface, you know, I say, I sold in tech, but I'm not technical. But all of those things were really important as you start to really stitch in we've everything that the marketer, and then as we've expanded, it's not just marketing and marketing and sales, it's really the go to market, right? It's every, it's your product, it's your marketing, it's your sales, it's your services, it's your customer success, and support, and your partner ecosystem like that all has to fit together to surround the customer needs, the customer journey, and the customer value that you're going to create.

Jared Fuller  18:11
And what's so interesting about it is that like, no matter what you do, from you know, the SAS founder executive perspective, to try and make your customers wildly successful. You're going to throw some implementation, onboarding CSM people at, you know, customer health. And what's going to happen is there's kind of like, I typically draw this like spectrum where you have like, tool mastery. And then you have like, let's, you know, we're talking about marketing, marketing mastery. So perhaps this CSM has done 50 100 implementations with an end client, they might have tool mastery, but they've never been a CMO. Right there, they don't have Marketing Mastery. And it's really difficult to try and tell a VP of Marketing a CMO, how she should change her business. It's like, Yes, I understand, you get the tool, and you're telling me what to do with the tool. But how does that impact the 14 campaigns, I'm trying to launch, you know, next quarter, I don't really understand how this fits into my strategy. And what it seems like is that there's a really interesting job to be done here and bridging that gap between, you know, this tool mastery and Marketing Mastery. And that only happens by like, kind of connecting the dots in the ecosystem and people like, you know, Dave Lewis riving, rising through the ranks, because Dave kind of had both right, he used it and became an evangelist, and then was clearly had Marketing Mastery, and that's where solutions consultants and agencies and and partners grow. They're kind of seated out of an ecosystem, but if you just try to go like make it happen, maybe not. Yeah,

Jill Rowley  19:46
I think, you know, he his story is probably one of the best in terms of helping with category creation and evolving the profession of b2b marketing, right? ellika was really focused on b2b and really More of the enterprise and mid market, not the SMB, we only started to really wake up to the SMB when Marketo came on the scene. And we saw Marketo with the messaging that they were cheaper, easier and faster. And those were all true, it was cheaper to buy Marketo than Eloqua was faster to deploy Marketo and Eloqua didn't have as much functionality. And you know, it was faster, cheaper and easier. And so and the technology was easier to use for the non technical marketer. But with Marketo, they kept, you know, their messaging in the beginning was you don't need services, right? It's self service, you get up and running without services. But as they started to see customers not being successful, because they didn't have the marketing the b2b marketing expertise, they might have had the technology or maybe they didn't have the technology expertise, but they had the marketing. And so it you know, partnerships, I think, look services. A lot of times salespeople don't like to sell services, because they want to use all of the budget allocated to their MRR, their arr. And their and their quota, right, we're retirement and how much quarter retirement do they get on a deal. And if they can get higher arr rather than sell services, which a lot of times salespeople aren't comped and commissioned on services, and the services definitely don't retire the quota. So you see short sighted sales, people doing deals without services. And at elico, what we found is, at some point, we were required that every new customer had some whether it was a partner service or internal service, that they had some services related to their deployment, because they got up and running quicker, more quickly. And they were more successful. And so we generated more value, and then therefore, they were more likely to advocate on our behalf and renew on on on aliqua. That makes sense.

Jared Fuller  22:01
Of course. Yeah. I mean, it's it's funny, because that was really what set the standard of what a lot of mahr tech and sales tech companies do today, right? Like, if any company's exiting the SMB and transitioning to mid market or enterprise. That's kind of like the playbook now, like that is that is what is required of a company that is supporting larger and larger customers. I want to go a slightly different direction now did you touch to some degree, you know, before the exact target acquisition and before partout acquisition, like Eloqua, and Salesforce, like, outside of the channel world, you know, you also worked with other tech companies, right? And there was friendships and frenemies and actual enemies involved in that, but alliances is the another big chunk of business development. Right. So talk to me a little bit about how you've interface with the lions, because you've seen the story at Salesforce at Eloqua at Marketo, and even advise HubSpot. Yeah.

Jill Rowley  22:56
Um, so it's it's Salesforce was an interesting one. One I worked there. So I knew a little bit about how Salesforce worked. And I was close to a lot of the people who were still there. And I, they were from an integration perspective, from a technology perspective, they were the first piece of technology that we actually integrated with, besides the website and the website tracking scripts, because I don't know if you know, Eloqua, his first product was online chat.

Jared Fuller  23:28
Yeah, back like when was that? That was? Yeah, obviously, that was like just the term

Jill Rowley  23:33
so that the technology aspect was really website tracking scripts, and landing pages and web forms. And that was eloquent early days. But we needed it to connect to Salesforce, if we were going to do lead routing, and lead management, which is a key value prop of Eloqua. So Salesforce was in fact, our most important partner in the very early days of connecting the two. I Salesforce wasn't using marketing automation. They were using responses for email campaigns. And I just, it didn't make any sense to me why they weren't using marketing automation. And so my mission when I was at Eloqua, was to get Salesforce as a customer,

Jared Fuller  24:20
right, because that that's like partner plays. A lot of partner folks don't understand this. The big partnerships, the ones that move industries, if you're going after a sumo, like you have to land your target partner as a customer period, you know, perfect example is, you know, drift in Marketo. Right, and drift in Adobe, like, that's been part of my playbook like Adobe Marketo, like they've all had to be customers. And you saw that at, you know, at Eloqua. had that not happened, but we'll talk about this or have not happened, who knows what might have transpired in those early days, but how did you go about building that, you know, relationship and securing that?

Jill Rowley  24:56
Yeah, well beyond the partnership, I was like, so Salesforce had to be the customer, right. And so we always sponsor dreamforce. We, we, you know, invested in the Salesforce partnership. But for me, the most important when above anything else in my career at Eloqua, was to get Salesforce as a customer. Fortunately, I met a woman named Lisa Lee, who was such a genius as it related to maratac data marketing automation systems process, like she just was that person. And I say I'm a talent spotter, like I can spot talent, who has the capability to do the internal selling, to bring consensus, right to do the technical evaluation, to create alignment at the executive level. And like Lisa was all of those things. And so we developed a personal relationship. Now, she ran an incredible process at Salesforce, it was the requirements documentation was best in class, the steering committee of 17 people cross, you know, across marketing and bringing in it and some involvement from sales, the executive sponsorship at the George hue level, and like she ran a very solid evaluation process Marketo Eloqua. And crazy enough, a Primo, they were they were, they were the only other enterprise marketing technology at that point. But a premium was more MRM and planning, rather than demand generation. So I knew that they weren't going to win the deal. So I knew it was Eloqua versus Marketo. Salesforce was an enterprise client with enterprise requirements with, you know, complex data models. And it was just it was so complex. But now remember, Marketo was a partner of Salesforce. And so if Salesforce is going to pick a marketing automation partner, they're going to piss off one of the other partners, right. And in fact, when marchetto was told that ellika was getting the deal, they went nuts. They got their board members involved. Phil Fernandez, the CEO and founder at the time was on you know, barking at Marc Benioff. And in fact, Benioff actually threatened to pull them from dreamforce, because they were being so difficult with accepting the fact that elico was the winner. And and that it was legit, there was no politics involved. I mean, it was I even have the documentation still. And the letter that was written the email that was written to announce that ellika was coming to Salesforce. But it was a, it was such a must win for Eloqua to get Salesforce as a customer, because I also knew that it would help us win against Marketo in future deals.

Jared Fuller  27:57
Oh, absolutely, it does. Because you have the validation, like, I'm sure that you could probably, you don't get to pull this card very often. But when you do, you have the ability to call on, you know, your Salesforce person and say, Hey, I need a sponsor, I need someone I can be reference on another big logo and they use Salesforce. Alright, so what better reference than Salesforce to talk about that, and that's something we employ, you know, whenever we have the opportunity to, you know, adrift and it carries so much weight, and then you have the opportunity to do things like, you know, a case study, right? How much more powerful does your partner marketing become to an ecosystem when the case study is, you know, the partner that they're attached to

Jill Rowley  28:40
well, and then just flipping a little bit from that Salesforce story, one of the things that we did really well, at Eloqua, we had these annual marquee awards. And this was long before any other company was doing customer awards, like we were really the people who, you know, really invented this, and b2b marketing. And so we did these annual awards, and we had different categories, and our customers would submit for those awards. But what we've started to see is customers who worked with partners, were winning more awards. So what's important about that is then telling those success stories to the sales organization, organization, teaching the salespeople about successful partners, partners who are powering successful customers in these different categories, best lead scoring, best lead nurturing, marketing and sales BFFs most international campaign fastest time to value and it made our partners really committed to these awards and helping their customers submit for winning these awards. So we really involved our partners in the culture of customer centricity at Eloqua. Partners had leaderboards Right, not just in terms of source and influence revenue, but in terms of onboarding time, who got our customers on boarded the quick, the fastest, and then also from a rating and scoring the implementation, who was getting scored of our partners more highly. And then also from an NPS perspective. Our higher NPS customers, were their partners are multiple partners as it evolved. They were multiple partners involved in the Salesforce customer.

Jared Fuller  30:30
So what is your you've seen this story from the perspective of someone who owned a direct quote that, you know, could involve partners, right? In make your number easier, faster, better? Or someone that didn't have to? What would be your advice to a partner leader or someone? That's because I often get asked this on LinkedIn. Like, I get pinged all the time with like, hey, Jared, I just got moved from the head of customer success to own partnerships. I've never done partnerships before. And how do I get my How do I get my sales team bought in or I was a manager of sales or a high performing a, whatever it is, like, a lot of times, that's where people find themselves getting into partnerships, they, this head of sales, the CEO goes, you'd be good for this, you go figure it out? What would be your advice to building another Gil rally inside of their company or early jail rally? Yeah,

Jill Rowley  31:19
you want someone who is super passionate about the space? Right. And my, you know, was, as I was getting, you know, ready for this conversation, I went back and looked at all of my, you know, early notes and customer discovery calls. And then also, I have boxes of books that I've read on sales, on marketing, on customer experience. There's not a single book on partnerships, like, not one that I found that relates to b2b SaaS and technology. And then when I started to look okay, because that at eloquent, what I would do is, I would say, who are the experts in this category. So for me, like this award program that we had, I would then look at the teams of those companies that were winning the awards, and I would go connect with that, right. So always looking for if you're in charge of partnerships, but you come from the customer side, then, you know, the great customers, right? More important than is understanding how partnerships feed into product, and product innovation, and product roadmap prioritization partners feeding into marketing, and how, you know, having having metrics on, you know, how you're going to generate some partners are going to bring deals to you, partners are just going to help you with making your customers more successful. That was actually a conflict that elephant with demand Gen, in fact, with Dave, because he didn't have a thriving practice in the beginning.

Jared Fuller  33:08
He didn't know Salesforce, it was dead. I mean, didn't

Jill Rowley  33:09
have a Salesforce, and he didn't want to invest in a Salesforce in the early days. So that when we were measuring demand Gen on sourced revenue, he was coming up, goose egg, right, because not until he then built his network. And one of the things about and I know, I'm Scott going all over the place, but one of the things about David was at demand Gen. And this was long before user groups were super popular. But we in the Bay Area decided we need to have an elegant user group. And I didn't have the marketing dollars or support in Toronto to do any of this. I didn't have anybody in the Bay Area, I was the only one else in the Bay Area at this point. Well guess who put his hand up and said, I'm going to actually run the elbow user group in the Bay Area? Dave? Yeah. So I think we shouldn't like we have to think more broadly, about how our partners can add value to the business, to our customer community, to helping build the ecosystem, making the ecosystem more successful, how partners can partner with each other, right, that's one thing I was I was really focused on as we started to really evolve is how do we get our partners to partner with each other and be more you know, tightly integrated as a services technology? How do we get that that ecosystem more tightly integrated

Jared Fuller  34:40
so because you leaned into this though I imagine that that perhaps correct me if I'm wrong, influenced the behavior of other account managers and account executives like well shit Jill's figured this out she's doing this maybe I should lean into it too. And that's what gets brought up in you may be QB ours or sales kickoffs, right. Like, you were probably Do some sort of partner experience which influence the behavior of other, you know, sales, sales reps and sales executives, you know, identifying that first person, and like helping turn them into a champion, if you will, right? Like you made customers famous, like, we probably need to make reps famous to going specifically into that, like, how, how would you go about if you were tasked with like, hey, I need to find the person, right, that can be the champion for partners, and you got a team of 20 3050 100, I don't care how many it is account executives, you think to your first comment, it's about finding the person that's most passionate about the category perhaps, and like helping them build something bigger, it's like, Hey, you can be exposed to your 50 accounts, or you can be exposed to the community, and partners are gonna help you be exposed to the community and build that social selling that bigger opportunity for yourself. Is that where you'd start? Yeah,

Jill Rowley  35:51
yeah, definitely someone who is really passionate about the category that you're in, and the customers that you serve. One of the reasons why I never wanted to move up the ladder in sales to manager, director, VP, is because every step in the ladder took me farther away from the customer. And I just loved customers, and I knew that tip for to make more successful customers, it really required partnerships. And, you know, I'm just the kind of person who thinks, you know, things are better together. One of my mantras was never sell alone. Another mantra was partner to win. This is a team sport, you know, how do I how do I, my partners? How do we align around the shared value that we're going to create for our customers that you want as a as a sales, if you're looking for the rep in the organization, who's going to be waving the flag for partners and saying, if you're not selling with partners, you're you're you're leaving money on the table? Right? It? Is that that those reps who want are performing really well? Because nobody listens to it? No, one, of course,

Jared Fuller  36:58
great, I'm assuming you were hitting your numbers at this time, right?

Jill Rowley  37:02
Like, crushing it. So you want to you want to have those sales people really help tell the story internally, about how to use partners, when to bring them in, when to maybe, you know, a lot of the things you can get from partners is Intel, right intelligence on what's going on in the customer account. Or they can be the one that gives you the early warning signal that they're they're actually looking to replace Eloqua it you might want to go in and have a you know, a conversation with them about it. So it's really learning. And I came from a consulting background, Jared. And so I think just the way I'm wired, I'm, I'm a dot connector, right? I want to connect people to insights, people, that resources, people to other people, right, I just think about how do things fit together. And I and I always know that going it alone is is the worst path, right? Going down the path by yourself and not surrounding yourself with really smart people really experienced people really passionate people who super get fired up and nerdy about what it is, you know, you're you're you're delivering to your customer. So look for those reps, like who are just like conversational marketing, gurus, revenue, acceleration gurus. And what I would do is I go on LinkedIn. Right. And I do just like when I was, you know, really getting more versed on your what you're doing with the partner of podcasts. I went on and looked for groups on LinkedIn for partnership people, I went on, and once it would find like someone who was getting accolades in the partner community, I would see who they're connected to, I would see people who view that person's profile also view these people's profiles, I would, I would see had they been on a, you know, a podcast, they have any videos like, and that's this whole social surround and proximity of the smartest people in the partnership ecosystem. I was doing the smartest people in the b2b Mansion, ecosystem. But if you're new into partnerships, or you're trying to really elevate your profile, figure out who the who the consultants, who the analysts, who the vendors are, that that are in this category, and go connect with them. And, and, and, and do cross promotion of their stuff.

Jared Fuller  39:36
Yeah, yeah. I mean, the, I don't know which pillar of sales it is, but it's certainly a pillar if not the pillar, which is trust. And if you're not going out and finding ways to leverage trust, when I say leverage, trust, it's like someone else already has trust with someone that you're trying to build a relationship with. What's the fastest path for Is it direct alone? Or is it with that, you know, vector that already has built trust. And those account executives or those leaders, whoever they are, I mean, heck, this could be a solutions consultant that you turn into an evangelist because they're so well connected, right. And they geek out with all of the other people who are all about your solution in your category. Those are the people that can help you build your network and can help you find who are those, you know, up and comers they can, you know, wave the flag for the partner, the partner community, I love it. That's, that's great advice for for folks that are trying to build those early wins. Because those early wins are everything right, you got to have those early wins

Jill Rowley  40:35
with your ideal customer profile, right there wins with companies that don't fit your ideal customer profile. And that won't get the value that you you can have the potential to deliver any of those early wins, bad fit deals is what I call them. those are those are long term disasters for your company.

Jared Fuller  40:53
Yep, I've done plenty of those. We've done plenty of bad fit deals with like shortcuts, and Quick, quick hacks. But you know, a lot of companies do end up you know, ascending SMB mid market and enterprise, that's certainly a play in SAS a lot these days in b2b. And what ends up happening is like, Hey, you know, we've done all this amazing stuff with partner and then the reps like, I don't care about those accounts, I don't care about that. Arr that Mr. Those, you know, good for them and good for good for you. But I'm trying to go after Pfizer, right, like a big, big actual, you know, meaningful account in compare? Yeah,

Jill Rowley  41:28
what are the um, so post Eloqua. And in my social selling world, I didn't want to be a consultant in social selling, I definitely wouldn't didn't want to be a trainer in social selling. And when I first jumped into officially out of an account executive role and into building a social selling program for Oracle, I had to go out and become an expert on sales enablement. I knew everything about social selling, but I didn't know the sales enablement buyer, because that's where social selling would typically live, because you had to train and enable reps on how to do this social selling. And so I actually partnered up with a company called sales for life. I don't know if you know, Jamie Shanks, he's known. But I brought him into Oracle to help build the curriculum. Because again, I wasn't a trainer, I wasn't a curriculum developer. And then after I left Oracle, I started doing a lot of keynotes, paid keynotes at sales, kickoff events and, and sales events on social selling. And then they would say, look, okay, so we're how do we actually, you know, train up our sales team on how to do this? Well, I was the why, right, I was more Why are you going to do social selling, what is social selling, but the how I didn't have that. So I partnered up with small companies sales for life, that solely focused on social selling training and enablement from a curriculum design, and a deployment. And that was a partnership, ultimately, where I would actually I would make the introduction to my customer who I'd done the keynote to, and then let sales for life, do the whole working the deal. And I and I would be paid a referral fee on that. So I actually post ellika learn how to structure partnerships where I could get a commission, if you will, or referral fee on deals that were made a good sense for the customer, but I wasn't the person to actually deliver those those. Those services.

Jared Fuller  43:27
I love it. It's another example example of partnering up where, you know, if you can, if you can figure this out and do it well, it will serve you well the rest of your life. I've I've set it on this particular continue to say that that it's it's the hardest job in SAS is building partnerships, it really is because you got to build all of it inside of the company and go build it and other companies. But if you can really figure it out and stick with this profession, it it, it pays dividends well into the future. Gil, what, what else were you in your research, you're like, Alright, this is something that I gotta stick it to the partner community on? Or tell him tell him how to tell him like it is?

Jill Rowley  44:04
Yeah, um, I'll just just summarize with who are the experts, the superstars, the knowledgeable folks in that partner ecosystem. So from an analyst perspective, read the analysts content on partnerships. Forrester, Steve Miller, last name is escaping me. Do you remember his last name?

Jared Fuller  44:35
I know exactly what you're talking about, because he keeps pinging me about our category. But yes, so Forrester has some good content about partnerships channel. Yeah, for sure.

Jill Rowley  44:44
Yeah. Um, that

Jared Fuller  44:46
series does do series has some decent stuff. They're, you know,

Jill Rowley  44:50
forced or acquired serious decisions.

Jared Fuller  44:52
Oh, but maybe that's why there's pumping a lot more content into forest

Jill Rowley  44:55
content into that, um, I would look at the vendors, right like When when you see category, like strength is when you see more vendors. And so you've got crossbeam as a, as a sponsor, they have incredible content on partnerships.

Jared Fuller  45:13
They're doing a great job right now, shout out, Shawn, like really solid content, considering their stages of a business, right? This isn't some giant partner company, it's, you know, 4050 people, and they're doing a great job with their content,

Jill Rowley  45:25
doing a great job. Um, there's a few other podcasts, that touch on partnerships, I would, if I'm new to the partner community, or I'm in the partner community, I'm looking to elevate my profile in my game, I would go listen to those podcast episodes. And then I would reach out to the person who was interviewed, and say, I listened to your podcast on partner up and what you shared about, never sell alone, or, you know, velocity of deals being faster when you work with partners, I thought that was like, so incredibly spot on, I'd be honored to be in your network and delighted to have you in mind, right? So listen to the podcast, go and connect with that person. And then what you'll start to see is the content that that person is sharing. And oftentimes, a lot of that is related to the professional partnerships. And so you you start to like your feeds, in your social worlds Twitter. I know when I was trying to get into venture capital, or I was early in venture capital, I just went on Twitter and and did suit searches on where the venture capitalists on Twitter. And then when you follow someone, it then suggest other people to follow. Oh, yeah. So thing with partner people, right? When you follow someone who's like superstar in partnership, who else do they recommend you following? Or who else like, you start to see who they're connected to. And, and you just start to do this, you know, slowly over time, deliberately about with whom you're connecting, you start to build your network, your network is your network, you start to participate in the communities and the slack groups, you start to raise your hand to speak at events or do co marketing with vendors. Like you start to really elevate yourself, because you're now surrounded by the who's who in the partner, zoo. And you've got this great holistic perspective on partnerships,

Jared Fuller  47:21
because you can't go get a degree in it. You can't just read a book. I think that's fantastic. And sage advice from the queen of social selling herself. I'll do a quick shout out. There's one slack group that I really have liked. I've been aware of them for a while. It doesn't sound partner related. But it's the cloud software association with suneel. It's great. They have like 3000 people, and you realize you're like, Oh my gosh, I'm not alone. There's like, I have questions about partner operations. Like I'm talking to Matt. So they'll teaser next week from WP Engine about building partner operations. org, because that's like actually confusing and special and not really something where you can go read about how to build partner ops. There's literally nothing for it. So we're going to talk to Matt, we're gonna figure out how do you build partner ops? So shout out to the CSA. Go check them out. If you haven't, I think they have a really solid community. It's the best one I've seen so far. For partnerships. Before before we park jokes, I could ask you one more question. Just a friendly reminder, speaking of cross beam that this episode is sponsored by cross beam, cross beam is a partner ecosystem platform that helps you find overlapping customers and prospects while keeping the rest of your data private and secure. So you can sign up for free at cross beam.com gil, what, what's next? What's next, right now you're just like, hey, I've I've seen martec you know, go up and down, sideways, up, left, right? You've put dipped your toes in the VC world? What's next? And where can people follow you if you're still putting out gems?

Jill Rowley  48:49
So, uh, you know, it's interesting, I've, I've started to be comfortable talking about my semi retirement status. And I, you know, I was a workaholic for decades. And I needed to actually get out of Silicon Valley out of the Bay Area, because there's just too much opportunity there. And I just built such a robust network and, you know, an elevated brand.

Jared Fuller  49:13
You try to find all the opportunity, you already had opportunity. And you'd always right,

Jill Rowley  49:16
exactly, and I always figure out how do I get other people to have more opportunity? Right? That's, that's definitely the more you pay it forward. And the more you try to lift other people, the more it will come back to you. Um, so for me right now, I'm a almost 16 year old daughter, who is we moved from the Bay Area to Charleston, South Carolina three years ago, a

little different culturally,

Jill Rowley  49:39
like night and day, right, like super republican state versus California, super Democrat. Um, you know, it's just very, very different culturally. And I realized, I'm going to blink and she's going to be going off to college. And so I've just really been focusing a lot on saying no to almost Everything when you reached out, like I'm not even doing a whole lot of podcasts, I'm definitely like, I did a thing for HP and their partner community recently on virtual selling Cisco's reached out about having me do an event. I've done a number of Microsoft partnership events, teaching them about their partners about social selling. But right now I'm not, I'm just chillin, right?

Jared Fuller  50:25
Good for you, especially this year, if you picked a year to chill, this is the year that

Jill Rowley  50:30
it actually has been incredible that I've not had the pressure of Go Go doo doo doo, um, during this year, and I'm only 48. So I'm not out of the game completely. My daughter's gonna and we have three older kids who are in the workforce and, you know, in college and, and so when she goes away to college, I don't see myself staying retired. But for right now, I get to do stuff like listen to every episode of the partner at podcast, I get to go listen to every episode of the partner podcast, I get to read every analyst report on partnerships and the partner technology landscape. And I get to, you know, go and look at who are the early adopters and partner operations, right, I'm still always learning. And I just, I'm expanding my knowledge beyond the the core go to market to include everything else, like partnerships, and understand and build relationships with the who's who in that partner community. All right, I'm

Jared Fuller  51:30
gonna call it right now, this is how we're going to end is that when you come out of your retirement, it's like Jordan coming back out. That, here's my bet, here's my bet, that you actually land in leading partnerships in some way. I'm gonna call it you're gonna end up leading partnerships in some way because you can have an impact on an ecosystem and a community. But you don't have to, like, you know, be the man like be further away from the ecosystem, right? Like be a manager of managers of you know, salespeople, so to speak. I'm calling it right now you're gonna see Jill end up being a leader in the partner community whenever she you know, puts the best of the jersey back on

Jill Rowley  52:06
Well, I love that and then I'll actually be the VP of business development like Rob Bruce net they

Jared Fuller  52:12
Yeah, finally fulfill the the destiny from from Salesforce. Jill, thank you so much for spending time with a partner up in the community. And if anyone wants to follow Jill on Twitter, because she's still dropping stuff left, you know, here and there. It's Jill underscore rally

Jill Rowley  52:28
underscore rally, and I'm still on LinkedIn. I'm more like engaging with other people's content and and getting them more visible than really me putting out any original content. I'm still more like put shining the spotlight on other people on those platforms, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Jared Fuller  52:44
Perfect, perfect. Well connect with Jill on Twitter and on LinkedIn. And we will see you all next week. Don't forget to LIKE subscribe, comment on the YouTube videos. We do go to some decent lengths to make sure that we can get videos up as well. So if you're checking us out online, on the pod networks comm check us out on YouTube as well. So we will see you all next week. Thank you so much. partner up community.

Jill Rowley  53:06
Thank you. Thank you, Jared, I'm so pumped to do this with you. Awesome.

Jared Fuller  53:11
See you next time.

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