Today's show is about the age-old story of David and Goliath.
The small winning over the big. The odds stacked against and yet victory in grasp.
And who better than to tell the David and Goliath story for partnerships than David Pilgrim. David is the VP of ISV Partnerships at Algolia and a former BD leader at Publicis Sapient, Opentext, and Marketo.
In this episode, we unpack what the heck is BD anyway in the alliance context, how to partnerup to win with the goliaths, and we end with inarguably the best 20 minutes of partnerships podcast YOU. HAVE. EVER. SEEN.
Seriously, this show is a slow burn that turns into an explosion of knowledge. You are going to love it.
Remember this "DONT. MEASURE. FUDGE."
Don't forget to like, subscribe, and join the conversation on PartnerUp in the Cloud Software Association at https://www.cloudsoftwareassociation.com
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Jared Fuller 00:20
Justin, I feel like I just saw you yesterday. Is that because I saw you yesterday,
Justin Bartels 00:24
deja vu? Yes. Yep. Deja Vu back to back podcasts,
Jared Fuller 00:28
we're rolling back to back podcast we're bringing back partner up in 2021. The way that 2021 should be with a bang. So back to back podcasts, you're going to see these hit your feed like one right after the other. So you see these two podcasts come out, just know that we record on Tuesdays moving forward. So you will be back on that weekly cadence. Got a bunch of amazing guests lined up. And super excited about the cloud software Association being our new sponsor. So if you're not a member, go to cloud software Association, join the slack group, participate in the community because, you know, BD can't go be a part of, you know, the book club for BD. And the gentlemen that we have today for episode number 13. Mr. David pilgrim, he's been doing this for a bit. David, welcome to partner up.
David Pilgrim 01:15
Thank you. Good to be here. Great to join you both Thanks for having me.
Jared Fuller 01:19
Of course, of course, David. I think, you know, given that you've seen building, kind of zeroing in on, you know, partnerships can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, right? You've had some specific experiences on these bigger tech alliances, right? Where you've helped build relationships between agencies and large technology companies from you know, ground floor to great heights. But I'd love to maybe start off with like, maybe your interpretation of what the heck is BD? Like, what's the David pilgrim answer to that question?
David Pilgrim 01:51
Do you see accidental career?
Jared Fuller 01:54
David Pilgrim 01:56
Yeah, it's a, it's a really good question to start off with, because I think, actually, my, my wife sort of making fun of me a bit earlier, early on in my career, you know, we were just talking about, Hey, what do you do is like, Oh, I sell solutions. It's like, Okay, what this is morphus, you know, thing is like, and this was the early days of really not even knowing exactly that we were going, I was going into business development. It was partnerships, it was alliances, all sorts of things. But it was sort of like not in marketing, and not in sales. But it was sort of like over there. So they figured out someone needed to do it. And, and they weren't sure who they weren't sure what the talent base was. But, you know, for me, business development sort of does occupy that space, that isn't marketing. It isn't sales. But it is in this space, that maybe it's strategic, and maybe it's tactical, it could be both. And but it requires something outside of sales, right? It's not a direct line of like, Oh, I'm selling that person. In fact, you're you're trying to actually formulate something that sort of occupies that space. And we talk about, you know, the world of like the do I buy something? Do I build something? Do I partner with it? It's usually not partner. Now you're in that zone. Okay, what do I do with that? How do I how do I execute that? And so business development lives in there by its name, its, you know, sort of doing all the business. Okay, how's that word? But anyway, I think that's where you start with it. Right? Is is somewhere in that zone that is in marketing, it isn't in sales, but it's in this place, you've now realized you need to invest in you do need to execute in, otherwise it won't happen.
Jared Fuller 03:36
So whenever you got into business development that was at Where did that start specifically? And what maybe what was it like then that when you say, you know, coming out of sales and marketing is like a little bit deeper there? Sure.
David Pilgrim 03:49
Yeah, I was actually I worked for Cambridge technology partners at the time. So it's on the services side, and I got a job in the marketing department. So is marketing CRM technologies at the time, was Siebel ventev. and clarify were the three sort of biggest players and now that Salesforce occupies a lot that space but Siebel was the king of the of the trio that was doing marketing around those good. We had CRM services, and one of our partner managers, a guy named john leave his last name out, but he had a great life. Every time I talked to john, he was like on the ski slopes. I'm like, Man, this guy's got a great job, like, what is this? And he quit one day. And what I realized is suddenly a vacuum opened, where it was like we didn't have our certifications, Hannah was Siebel, we didn't have our enabling handle with soup, Siebel. And we weren't selling with them in the right way. So it was impacting our direct sales people. So being in marketing, I was adjacent to all those things. But I also saw that the leadership wasn't paying attention to the way with john left. This is just opening the space gap. And so I unintentionally got myself into alliances by advocating for that gap. I went to a party and being on a boat in Seattle. I was with the press of the country. You know, basically pontificating when I just told you in a very shortly I was kind of, you know how you might talk about that after a few glasses of wine. And so I was being very passionate about this. And when I got back to the office and again, the following Monday, I was now the guy doing alliances. So I didn't know I was getting myself into alliances is sort of the I guess it before the accidental career. It's definitely was not my intention.
Justin Bartels 05:25
Interesting. And so you came in through the marketing route, it sounds like which is maybe typically non standard. Usually you hear of bizdev partnerships, people coming in through the sales route, but that was the marketing, right?
David Pilgrim 05:37
Well, in my case, actually, I found my way to marketing accidentally too, because I wasn't the only person I was a salesperson, much of my early life, then you know, I sold everything from Cutco knives to you know, bag groceries with you know, Cutco knives. liquibase was my first sales job. But I actually I also sold computers, I was working for a computer reseller, actually, before then. But the guy that hired me into marketing said, I will figure it out. And I think what, what he saw in my capability set then is sort of I think one of the things about business development is all you can figure it out, right, you'll you'll you'll map the territory, you understand what's happening, and all these different pieces. And then you'll start to say, Okay, this is what we need to do. Right. So it really does take, I think a person who's in business development has to have that figure it out, brain, if you're not good in that zone, you're probably going to have a tough time in this development. Because there isn't a lot of times that roadmap, you know, there might be a strategic direction, but how to go from where you are, to where you want to go. may not may not be obvious.
Jared Fuller 06:40
That's I've heard that phrase before. And you know, you come back to it. I keep coming back to that phrase, because whenever you're trying to hire, you know, a lot of people are looking for direct experience, like, Okay, you've done tech alliances, another tech company, or you've done, you know, agency partnerships, or whatever. But, you know, every company's BD is actually probably a little bit different than theirs. I think that figure it out DNA is what separates the people that end up having great careers in business development and partnerships have above and beyond everything else. And it's, you know, some some people call it the entrepreneurial spirit, the consultative spirit, whatever that might be. But, you know, I guess at this stage, is it, is it a real career? You know, I guess it is kind of a real career, right? It is actually, before
David Pilgrim 07:29
I answer that I would, I would, I would marry entrepreneurial with a motor. Right. And you have to have a strong motor. And what I mean by this I drive like so to be curious and not have not have drive is not going to be helpful
Jared Fuller 07:42
to both together add curious into drive, you're just bouncing all over the place.
David Pilgrim 07:47
That's right. That's right. You'd like you'd like, yeah, just Yeah. But is it a career? You know, I actually struggle with this quite a bit earlier in my, in my career, I was a member of a different Association, ASAP Association for strategic alliance professionals, we actually had tech people and pharma people and other stuff. And that was actually debated. It was sort of like, is this a career? And it didn't really hit get an answer back then. But I think having done it this long, and continue to find work in it. First of all, you know, people hire for this. So yes, I think it's career. But I would also say it's an underserved one. I think, you know, even when you are talking about this, this podcast, right? I said, Well, why is this interesting? Well, because it's an underserved market. It's, it's not well defined, it's not, you certainly can't go for it. You know, you might get little specialties and B schools about it. But it's sort of, you know, larger context of other sort of strategic thinking and other things like that. It's not really a focus or definitely not a concentration or something in a business
Jared Fuller 08:50
school today. Well, behind the wall on you, is that not like a master's in business development? David?
David Pilgrim 08:58
was not. Oh, is a PhD from the University of Chicago, which belongs to my wife.
Jared Fuller 09:04
thought it was the masters and BD.
David Pilgrim 09:07
No, no, in fact, I that we're very proud of it that well, just because I a little bit off topic, but as a team, you know, we we are achievement. So it's kind of fun, because most of the injuries in the wall are all hers.
Jared Fuller 09:22
Right? She's like, Hey, you know, I went to school for my career. And I studied and I've, you know, built this career and how the heck did you get yours?
David Pilgrim 09:29
No, I think so. I actually attribute my undergraduate experience, which is a liberal arts school as like a part of the DNA that makes up a business development person, because I always found myself being a jack of all trades, master of none, which, you know, was sort of like, okay, I like lots and lots of interests, and it to feed those interests, like a liberal arts school fed them, and I could have lots of interests that way. And I think if you think about that curiosity that I mentioned before, that's part of that DNA. Right. It's like if I knew I was going to be a doctor, I sure as heck wouldn't go into a liberal arts school I did, right. In fact, I wasn't really quite sure I was going to go inside to learn a lot of stuff to figure things out and hit some rocks and figure some stuff that way. And so I think that's part of, you know, if you're thinking about even, I don't think this is exactly where you're trying to go with this, but like the hiring, how do you hire these people? Right? I think if you look for those kinds of clues, right now, if you have to hire a liberal arts person, but I think that, you know, if you ask, Well, how did you get into that, you know, you start to explore that meandering kind of figure things out, exploring kind of thing that I think is, at least for me is an element was an indicator early on, I look back, that this is what I've been doing.
Jared Fuller 10:43
And to, there's entire
Justin Bartels 10:46
to flip that question on the head if somebody was coming to you, and they might be some people listening on the podcast, or checking out business development in partnerships for the first time. And they asked you, Hey, I'm kind of interested in I want to get into it, would you say, you know, go directly into that role? Or would you, you know, recommend they spend some time in marketing, spend some time in sales, maybe in product management, Product Marketing, to round out their expertise, before they go into something like, you know, business development and partnerships?
David Pilgrim 11:13
I'd have to, I'd have to throw it depends on that one, based on the individual, because I can, I can see benefits for both of those. Right? I think getting more experience in different areas gives you more context. So depending on where you're headed, but also for the right kind of person. I mean, this is the kind of job back to that, figure it out. You know, if you have the right sponsorship, if you have the right situation, you can figure it out, you know, and especially if you're good at maybe enlisting more help from other folks. Right. And so you can route it out other ways and having that experience yourself. So sorry, to give you a yes. And yes, answer. But yeah,
Justin Bartels 11:47
Jared Fuller 11:49
Yeah, I think the thing that's always stood out to me is the folks that have had to solve problems, right, and like, come up with a joint solution, like a better together story. So I've always liked people that have some agency experience, or consulting, you know, si experience, like, even if they had some small exposure at a giant, like an Accenture, it's like, Hey, here's a client problem, you have to you know, participate in solving it. And it's that repetition of doing that over and over and BD and what we're really trying to do, there's two companies trying to solve a problem in the market. You know, and speaking of those, you know, the Goliath, like, you know, Accenture, we have David on the call. So there's kind of like David and Goliath there. No intentional play on words whatsoever. You've worked for the big and the small. David. So you've seen you've seen kind of both sides from, you know, the, you know, the Adobe's you know, you've seen the, you know, the small ones, the big ones, like Adobe, like Oracle, the small ones, you know, now you're leading partnerships that algo, Leah, which is, you know, on the startup end of the spectrum, maybe we can kind of take this David and Goliath theme on, like, moving into selling in those ecosystems, right? and unpack this David and Goliath story and how you partner up or, you know, partner adapter?
David Pilgrim 13:12
Yeah, I think it can go lots of directions. If you're a Goliath. Fan, first of all, you have to know which one you are, and be here, and sometimes you can be a Goliath to one and a David to another, right. So even in the size, though, golias Today, there are some partners that are smaller than us. And so we do have, you know, broader reach than they have, and so on. But, you know, you kinda have to understand in any partner scenario, which you are, right, and, you know, usually the one is, is gonna be larger than the other, and what you're partnering for, right? You know, we're working with, you know, a goalie or working with Adobe. And so like, one of the ways you might work with them is like, just to be in their marketplace to have access to their customers and things like that. So it's a very common way where the Goliath is using their size, to monetize, essentially, that size into the marketplace. So I'm gonna pay to play, right. So it's not a super strategic thing, but it's sort of like it's a ticket to the ball, right? But vice versa, as the as the as the david that scenario, maybe I'm trying to think about, well, what are other ways I could add value both for them? And for me, like, Who can I sponsor with that? So it's like, maybe more energy is going towards that that ecosystem, both from a go to market perspective, or sell with or also other things, but you know, as the David in that scenario, you know, my my motion until I think about how I'm going to make value of that. And that partnership is kind of where I spend my time and then obviously executing it. So there's there's both sides of that. So I think you know, biggest one is you have to know which one you are to you have to know why you're in it. And three, I would say you have to obviously have some measures. It was actually interesting. That's not to pick on the NW scenario, but I when I was talking about their marketplace, One of the things I love to ask when I'm in a partnership conversation is, well, what's in it for you? Like I really, truly want to understand? How do I get to that answer? Because if I can understand why you're in it, I can make sure that you're getting it, well, then I'm gonna have a fruitful partnership least from your way. So I'm maybe gonna have a chance to but I want because like, we're fulfilling each other's, you know, gaps or needs or whatever. And the person on the phone at the time said, Well, we know it's working, or we our main measure is engagement in the marketplace. So basically, someone click on your thing, and I'm like, that's not a measure I care about, like, that doesn't even come close to something I care about. So I was like, Oh, it was like very illuminating. Like, oh, you care about something that doesn't even register for me like, Okay, that's good to know. Because it immediately sort of gave me a better understanding about that, that relationship between their measures and wanting to do which is obviously generate revenue for my in my case.
Justin Bartels 15:51
Interesting. Interesting. And I've heard you say this phrase before, partnerships aren't always equal. But they but that doesn't mean they're not fair. Can you unpack that quote? And what that means?
David Pilgrim 16:03
Yeah, actually, I, I can tell you this specific story about that. But I'll tell you exactly. Going back to what I said about knowing what you're going for, right, and understanding how they, how they are attributing to your, each of your benefit, right. There was a time when I was at Adobe. And we were having a partner meeting with our key partner with a system integrator. And, essentially, is the first time we're having a QPR and the executive of the business unit, who's no longer with Adobe, but he, we've put up the numbers, right for the for the two businesses, and let's say, just to keep numbers out of this, but you basically the ratio is like four to one was like, partner has for Adobe has won. And immediately they Dolby being the Goliath in that scenario. He was like, why is it like that? Why is it so why are they a four word one? Because that's not fair. Let's have an equal. And I'm like, Hey, you realize that a services business, the margins on their business are way worse than ours is one thing. So it's like, basically, it ended up that the money that each of us were making the W's making more money, you know, profit, right. And so there's one illuminate factors, like he didn't even understand that just looking at the two numbers he just looked at, it said, well, four is better than one. Right? So it's a very base level view of that equal this right? But also, it was like, What else are we getting from this partnership, and we as this Goliath in this relationship, we're getting a lot of access to customers, a lot of good new logos and a lot of other things that were happening, that were really if you were the person running the business unit running that business, you would register all of that, not just the four to one, right. And I would also say, you know, the poor job of the partner guy, and that in that scenario, was I didn't brief him and educated him on all those ahead of time, because I didn't realize he didn't realize it. Right was a very illuminating moment. For me. I was like, Oh, he doesn't know that. Hmm. I didn't, I didn't think that would be true, but it was right. And, you know, I think it's one of the things you learn to in this business is sort of like making sure everyone understands, well, what does winning mean, you know, or how are we moving along towards winning? and things like that. So the non equality thing was that hopefully, that that pans out that you can you imagine that meeting, right where he stands? I was like, That's not fair. It's not right. You know, it's like, actually, it's totally right, man. But you learn a lot.
Jared Fuller 18:31
I mean, a lot. You know, that that's the most powerful four letter word in partnerships is fair. Right. Fair is the best negotiating word in the world. Because it puts you, right. Yeah, I mean, it puts you in the moral, you know, superiority whenever you start throwing out fair. And no one wants to be immoral whenever they're negotiating against you. So you got to you got to level set that. I'm kind of curious. David, this is kind of a side question. So I don't know if we need to spend time here. But when you're in a growing company, like an algolia are, lots of folks are in that kind of like series C Series D kind of company where it's like, Hey, we got to figure out partnerships, because we're gonna go public, and if we don't have a partner ecosystem, like, you know, we've had three people in partner roles before they've all failed bla bla bla, or this, the team is scaling so much that you get new VPS coming in left and right. And every time a new executive comes in to your partner world, you're running a little partner team, you kind of have to level set on the thing that you didn't get right in that first meeting. Do you have any tips or tricks on like, you know, you can't give them a masterclass and you hate to show up to every partner meeting with like, Okay, guys, let's level set on like exactly what BD means or like, what would be like your tactical takeaway for you, you have a new person coming in? they're evaluating or participating in your BD deal. How do you bring them up to speed on like, what that winning aspiration is
David Pilgrim 19:52
brand new, or they've been there long enough to know what they don't know yet? I mean, let's let's take him The two parts. So brand new, I think you have to start with the the big object like the we're doing this because this, this has been this strategic objective of the company, we've said, we want to do this, we're doing this. And this is why, right? Very, very straightforward. So if you want to ground on something that they hopefully already know, since they're so new, like they know something about the company, where we're going and things like that. So you've got to ground there, right? reasonably asked about if they are a little bit further as if they're going to start to have their own metrics, their own thing that the key thing so like, I'll give you my own example, meeting with our chief revenue officer recently, she's been here for a little while. And I started to give her the macro view. And she liked within minute 22 of the 30 minute meeting, she's like, Yeah, that's great. How do we get 30%? source revenue? Right, I need I need 30%. So it's like it went right from the big picture. Right to the, I need this, I can do that. Right. And so in that case, you got to rotate it to their their loci, if you will. So their their point of view to at least meet that. Because if you don't, you know, you've lost them, I think. And, and so then, in my case, you're doing two things, right? in Azure, what help me do is actually always try to put the context of what we're working on, at a strategic perspective, into the view of that tactical point of view, because she's, she's bringing that message constantly to the teams that Salesforce like, looking at that. So it's like, okay, that's where we have to meet the message, do the execution strategy has to get there. Otherwise, you know, it's all just kind of like partner people talking about blah, blah, blah. Right.
Jared Fuller 21:41
Right. So like, transitioning from finding that when, you know, internally and aligning on that goal. I feel like half of my job, a lot of times is fielding those inbound inquiries. David, where people are coming in, and they want to partner with drip, because we have probably way bigger market presence than we do number of employees. half my job is definitely saying no, and just like no, no, and making sure no one else on the team spends any time. How do you think about those, you know, you start to grow up and people say, let's partner. Far too often people go yes. But maybe you have a framework around that for identifying, you know,
David Pilgrim 22:21
it really is what I've, what I've observed in some companies, and I'll leave the names out to protect the innocent, or maybe not innocent, but no. Intended is, is there can be extremely promiscuous partnering activities is like this, like, constant barrage. And like, it's like, it's like the shiny penny. You know, it's like that does it? That sounds nice. That sounds neat. Let's, let's check that out. Check that out. And it probably goes back to like, not every partnership is equal. Not every idea is great. You know, so you have to get good at vetting that. And I will say like, I had a meeting last week with a potential partner. And I took the I think I took it just kind of like, okay, you know, I'll talk to you for 30 minutes. Okay, fine. And within like, 15 minutes, it's like, oh, my gosh, there might be something here. Right. Okay, you know, it really something really great. Back to that source revenue thing, right? So it's like, oh, I think there's some some opportunity to create source and source opportunity to partner. Wow, I didn't, I didn't see that coming. So I always say, cuz I think there's a balance, right? For us, like, there are some macro strategic things like looking at one of the highest correlated situations where we're selling, what are the right partner ecosystem to be and how we make sure we can execute them. And like, those are all like, motherhood and apple pie. Good, good goodness, right. If I had my druthers, particularly speaking on my particular situation, I wish you could have, you know, someone to vet those things. Because like, like you said that one of the values of you becoming, you know, a more known software company adrift is that inquiry string, right, somewhere in that pile of nothingness is actually something right. But if you always say no, or, you know, you have a, like, a, like a filter that's just pushed that all that away, you won't find it. Right. So I think there is a balancing act, of course, you know, resources are not infinite. So if you can't do it, you can't do it. But I do think there's an actually, I think, going back to my answer before about this, developing people being the figure it out people, like that's fun, right? Actually, like getting that, you know, kid when you guys do, okay, and you ask me questions, like, Okay, interesting. You learn a lot, and you see a lot. I think those are, there's benefits to that too. But you know, their side benefits, let's be honest, there's only one benefit you're looking for, which is revenue. So if you can't contribute revenue revenue at some point, if you might want to, yo stole it, right,
Justin Bartels 24:51
right. Just out of curiosity, because I know you know, in the early days of partnerships, involves a lot of outbound prospecting trying to get the initial interest going through To get that 30 minute meeting, where they can explain to the David's of the world Hey, why I think you, you know, and the Goliath here should partner with me the David, what did that individual do that piqued your interest? And, you know, what did they do in the meeting that got you from going to from being lukewarm to Okay, this is kind of an interesting proposition
David Pilgrim 25:18
as well, this case, they required me to like they didn't come with a hypothesis, I kept asking, well, what's your hypothesis? Why do you think we should partner what's what would you when you came to talk to me? What was your thing? And I got, like, focus, right? So like, on one hand, it's like, if you are going to go have a meeting, hypothesis, that's a good idea. But in this particular case, I, where they're kind of going through their their thing. They said they had 35,000 merchants, so commerce, merchants that work with them. And I was like, Well, our highest correlated our price, Carl correlative partner, or sorry, our course is correlated customers, as a commerce customer. Right. So they're adjacent to where we are. And like, Oh, my gosh, like, that's, that's huge. 35,000 might be really interesting. Maybe somewhere, there's 1000, that would be great for us to go work on. But I wouldn't have found that, you know, so it I guess it takes to write either you have a hypothesis, or the person on the receiving end, knows enough about their, you know, initial indicators of a good possible relationship, to be able to ask enough good questions. Otherwise, you're gonna have a 30 minute or whatever, to ships in the night conversation. But I thought the question you're gonna ask is, like, back in the days, when I first started this, there was a lot of what I call vanity partnering, you know, it's like, hey, sign my paperwork, put your logo on my website, you put my logo on your website, and like, all our customers will know, we're friends. Like, hopefully, anyways, listen, it's like those days are gone. Right? Those, you know, we call them the Barney relationships, you know, I love you, you love me, or the hugging, hugging child relationship. You know, where it's like, there's like, if you really have these hug events, like, I'll bring my sales team together your sales team, and they'll get in the room, like, they'll like spontaneously figure out how to work together. never worked. Never on planet Earth. Did that ever actually work? People got drunk or whatever. Like they had a good time. Like, man, those guys are great. They bought us drinks, doesn't make business, right? You've actually, I've had a conversation with someone about this the other day is like you have to do all the work ahead of time. Here are the 10 accounts we know were mapped up to, here's our value proposition. Here's what I need you to do. I like to and again, back to your question here on business development, like that doesn't happen spontaneously, the BD brain, right comes up with all that the whole play. I call it the easy button, right? It's like you have to make the easy button so that the salesperson, what does salespeople want to do they want to sell, they want to sell as easily as they can. So if you give them the easy button, they're like, Oh, this is great. The BD team did a super job. I just come to the meeting, I learned this three things
Jared Fuller 27:51
David Pilgrim 27:52
partnered up. And, you know, I didn't mean to do that. But you know, they did. But you know, I did that. And, you know, this is how it works. And it's like, if you try to make the basically the playing field for them to act as small as possible, to get them, you know, to go do it. Right. And I think that's Turner, I got that exactly. But you know, that's that's kind of where you're trying to fill that void of, I mean, really partner, right, not just do a good job scenario.
Jared Fuller 28:22
Definitely, in the, in some of these other stories that you have, David and you know, these, David and Goliath relationships, that there's a bunch of ways to break down that day or week in the life or even quarter in the life a year in the life of someone leading tech alliances. And you can kind of start with, you know, let's, let's call it post signing paper and having a value hypothesis that both parties agree on, you can kind of go into like, okay, the advocation phase, right, we're like, we're both going to market together. And then you have like the measurement phase, did that result in any business, maybe on the advocating side of the side, right, where you've signed the paperwork, and you're going to market together? any insights or stories around like, Okay, you've got that, your David, you've got Goliath to sign some paperwork with you, you've done your basic account mapping. Talk to me a little about you, if you have a story around advocating.
David Pilgrim 29:14
There's a couple ways to go with that. So I think I only combine the data with the advocating it's sort of a fail if I could, because like, you know, so when I was a CTP, this, this goes back far enough. I can, like just tell you the whole scenario. And it'll it's all enough long ago that you know, no, no, no, no, put it all together, it's fine. So Siebel being who they were, they were they were really getting into measuring the execution of their partners, you know, the number of certifications they were having, the number of deals you were in, all that kind of stuff, that kind of what you were committed to from a partner level, right? And this is pretty new. I mean, this is, this is almost 20 years ago, like a while ago, right? So it's pretty, pretty innovative. They actually called us into a meeting and showed us how we were performing against our partners. And we were doing terribly against their sorry, our stack, right competitors. So Cambridge has a lot of competitors. And so they use that data to powerfully basically make us commit more. So it was another million dollars they wanted from us at the time for marketing spend. And isn't that so we said, Yes. Right. So now to get to your question about like, communicate and advocating, right? So we saved the partnership or what it felt like it right they Oh, they they gave us this bad news and tell us a terrible we're doing we made this commitment. And then we came back. And we got to the head of sales. And we told her how this is all laid out and what we had committed. And she turned to me, she goes, David, I don't think you understand what we do here. Like, I'm sorry, she's like, we don't sell software, like, Well, yeah, I know, we sell the services. Next assumption is like, No, no, we're not going to commit to working with him that way. That's just not how we work. And so we had this massive gap in our partner strategies. And we were committing to doing and basically getting roasted by Siebel to commit to, and we then had no commitment from the field, zero, none. Right. So massive advocacy gap, massive alignment gap, that we just didn't realize, we just didn't realize, when I was at Adobe, we had come up with a brand new selling motion with a partner to basically in embed, the Adobe selling the Adobe marketing cloud technology platform as a consumable product that the partner could sell with their services, basically, like a brand new combined model, never been done before. And we thought it'd be really awesome. And essentially took control away from the Salesforce, this is another sort of missing the enemy, because he had to give examples where I screwed up, but I guess there's more to entertain the ones I get it, right. But essentially, we brought that out that new model with the partner, and it turned the partner into a pariah with the Salesforce overnight, because they saw the partner now as a competitor to their direct selling motion. And they weren't bought in. From an executive perspective, even though in this case, we had executive buy in, they just didn't think it through. And so we executed the strategy, but the sales leadership didn't execute the message with the team. So it didn't work. Gotcha. So in both cases, advocacy really got either didn't happen because it was a misalignment. Or we didn't get it right in the in the execution, because he would fail at seal Salesforce. But I think overall, you know, our jobs and business development is to make that alignment. And, you know, I would say in the 20 years, I've been doing this, those are mistakes I made that I hopefully wouldn't repeat. But they illuminate Well, kind of what happens when everyone's on the same page. Right? partner, people are doing that thing. And then all of a sudden, they come up with this idea that's gonna make everyone lots of money, this will be great. Like, you know, the whole idea was like, Wait, you're going to get your partners to actually sell for you, and virtually to channel this and bring it like, that's exactly what we want. We want to lower cost of sale and be amazing, except the salespeople didn't want it.
Justin Bartels 33:12
So did that change how you approach the next partnership in terms of what conversations you had before framing? Or while you were framing the partnership? Or how did that adjust your approach going forward?
David Pilgrim 33:23
Absolutely. I mean, you know, is one of the things that again, is our back to the thing where it sort of surprised me, that leader didn't know what they were I didn't know, they didn't know, in the meeting, the same thing here. So you learn that like, okay, you know, make sure you know, and I have to say that even had we gotten that right. And had we had everyone on the same page, I still think there are situations where when you change the relationship or trying to change how you get in the market, you can cross wires. I mean, that's just part of the creation process. I mean, it's not always a perfect science in effect. I wouldn't say we've heard that before. It's it's an art. It's a science, right? There's there's both this craft. But yeah, you if I were to do it again, I would certainly change and basically, have executives communicate, not just buy in, but communicate it out. So that, you know, we would at least have a chance to not have that friction with the field. But if you have as a company has been a direct seller motion for a long time and you add a new seller emotion into it, you could have problems, because that's reality.
Jared Fuller 34:27
Around that advocacy, that's I think, you bring up a bunch of good points on you need to know where, you know, their allegiances are in terms of the metrics, what's important to the organization kind of based on title. It kind of brings up a quick question, David, like, you know, you're the head of sales or the head of delivery or the head of marketing might have some misalignment here. What's your quick take on where partners should report and is that different based on the stage of the company?
David Pilgrim 34:57
That is a great question. Because it Ah,
Jared Fuller 35:02
this is the sales and marketing alignment question rephrase for BD, I mean,
David Pilgrim 35:06
I would say never in marketing. For the most part, it's either in sales at my organ in my company today, it's actually under a strategic BD executive. Right. So it's a strategic investment area within the company. But I think most of the time, I shouldn't say never marketing. But Mark, if it's in marketing, it basically says, okay, you're a function of marketing. Right? When I was at a services company, actually, Alliance alliances was a function of operations. Like basically, you need the alliances to operate the consultancy. Because those were those were basically the fuel that was fueling the the services work. And so, you know, it's sort of that that area, so I think, that the question is, is that alignment ends up being your key constituent and what you're driving, so if it's an opt, you're driving consulting, and it's for sale by sales, but you're, you're fulfilling that, that part of it. But ultimately, I think sales, I mean, in the end, sales is the best, or the most aligned spot, because that's where you're aligning to revenue. And I think that's, you know, if you get down to it, one of the key things about us in this world is like, you know, what, measurables? Do we have? What can we say is how we're moving in revenue? If you get it right, the next question is, how do you measure? The measuring is always a hard one to what are you measuring a limiter? leads you metric pipe plenty measuring? Your revenue, source revenue, influence revenue, I mean, like, you name it. But all those are fields related scenarios,
Justin Bartels 36:44
you hit a very relevant topic, because it seems like the more and more partnership connections, I make them more and more common the challenge around reporting the impact of business development, partnerships and alliances, what are your best practices for that? Where do you see individuals go wrong, when they tackle it the first time.
David Pilgrim 37:03
Get agreement with everyone who's involved, if that's what you're measuring, get a system that you can actually measure it in getting folks enabled, so that they know to put it in because if you have more than like, I don't know, four or five salespeople detected that the universe gets so big, so fast, like you can't stay on top of stuff. And, and as much as you possibly can, don't measure fudge, and what I mean by fudge is if you have if you have a like, my I think this one was made this is or isn't a, I would always try to lean towards not exclude. And the reason why I say that is the law of big numbers eventually catches you. Right? So if you keep adding things to your accounts, and you look good for a minute, right, or for a year, whatever, but as it becomes unsustainable, right, and so you really have to if you go back to the beginning, you have agreement on what is counted and counted in the end, always, you know, just just viciously, like ruthlessly tight, you know, and tight are we Yeah, yeah. And it just because like, anytime you loosen it, you're hurting, you may it may feel good, like a sugar rush, you may feel good for a second, but it's gonna get you in the end. And also, I would say that if you're if you're seen as being tight about it, it's hard to call it in question. Right? Because if you're, if you hold fast to those those deadlines, they know, it's got to be these criteria or whatever, you know, you've got a you've got a leg to stand on. Right? Because in the end, you know, a salesperson doesn't have to do that they either got the contract or they didn't. Right. And you know, things like, you know, partner influence or partner sourcing when do they really come from the partner? Well, you know, I had a phone call with them, you know, back six months ago, so it could have come from my phone call, right? I mean, like, there's all sorts of funniness that, you know, the other thing I would say one of the things we did in Adobe for a while they still do it, we documented the heck out of our sourcing, right, not only how it was sourced, but actually getting the rep to agree. Right? It's the most documented set of notes to the rep say, Hey, you know, that it's, uh, yep, I agree. You know, and you plug it into Salesforce or whatever, and, you know, move on. But buttoning up like that, you know, it's never a bad thing. It's never a bad thing. It's kind of a pain, but never bad thing.
Jared Fuller 39:30
So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to give all the listeners the look in the mirror, David pilgrim test, do you want to report to sales? Right? Like Not a lot of people would just say like, yeah, sure, report this report to the CEO because the CEO is too busy and they can't pay attention to me, right? And then the second thing is, hey, there's this gray area, try to pull everything that you can into partner lands so you look good. And I think he just took two controversial stances that I couldn't agree with more. And it just it's high standards. Right, like at the end of the day, it's about money. It's about revenue. And at the end of the day, we either did it or we didn't. And the gray area is not worth arguing over. I think that's fantastic advice to
David Pilgrim 40:11
know where your man or two a bit is, there are folks in this business that sort of like to live in that gray zone, they enjoy it, because because that's the
Jared Fuller 40:19
reputation we all have. That's the problem is that we're full of joy, right? Because of those predecessors.
David Pilgrim 40:26
It's the lack of rigor, it's a lack of proving it. And so back to your original question about being a career and not what it it suffers from that, right. So it can be called into question because of it. And so like anything in the world, I think we have to hold ourselves to account. Right, we have to say, okay, you know, did we do it? It didn't I mean, I think one of the hardest things in life is to say it didn't work. Right? I failed, right? I
didn't I mean, I
David Pilgrim 40:52
just gave you several examples today of some things I really screwed up. It didn't do right. But in the end, you know, I'm still doing business development, I'm still doing alliances. And I'm doing it at a high level. And I enjoy the heck out of it. And I would say I took a lot from those mistakes. You know, and, you know, I think the key is you make mistakes, you don't repeat them, you make new ones, I guess, you find new ways to mess up.
Jared Fuller 41:21
I, I think that's such a powerful way to wrap this conversation is around. If you think about the the time and the climate in which we find ourselves, there is a lot of noise. That seems like the extreme of every situation is controlling the conversation, right? No matter what your political beliefs are, it's, it seems like the outliers are controlling the conversation. And what I'm noticing more and more is the folks that have the conviction, right, that are willing to put their name on the line and like stand tall and accept failure, not point the finger at marketing, point the finger at sales. And to own up to the real North Star. Those are the ones that are going to emerge out of this, because I feel like this extreme polarization, it's not gonna last, there's a lot of people that think it will, but in my opinion, I think it's actually going to fade this decade, and people are just not going to pay attention. And the ones that are going to be left standing are the ones that held true to their conviction. And we should not repeat the sins of our forebears in business development, and the gray area. And, David, I think you said that better than anyone I've talked to around this.
David Pilgrim 42:30
The we just had martin luther king day yesterday, the truth will set you free. Right. And you're here, you can't you can't argue the truth. Right. And I mean, I know we've had a to your point, a lot of fact, you know, I can have my facts, you can have your facts. And the truth is no, you can the numbers, the numbers, the numbers don't lie. And, you know, it's, it's, I think it's, it's an absolute, right. So I think if you can tether to absolutes, which are numbers, and they're proven, and they're real, and they're believable, and they sustained, you're going to be a better spot, and in a bit of a better business person for it, for sure.
Jared Fuller 43:08
And even the tip around like, you know, getting confirmation from the rep and like recording that too. It's just another, it's another confirmation around that that, you know, no one asked you to do, but it adds conviction to your position. And I think it's just such a fantastic way. So before we go, I have to remind everyone that we're now partnered with a cloud software Association. If you haven't yet, go join the slack group. It's ton of fun, you know how to mute slack where they're not blowing you up all day. But you also have a community to follow up with questions on from the stuff that David brought out in this episode. And we're gonna be doing live episodes in the future with them. So it's gonna be a ton of fun. Go join up. cloud software Association, any parting words or thoughts, David, you've dropped so many nuggets, I'm gonna like, break down this, you know, tech Alliance, David and Goliath story into maybe some future content, and we'll definitely have to have you back on but any parting words?
David Pilgrim 44:00
No, I love to come back. I think, you know, you know, I think for everyone, you know, it's one of those things where you guys put the career and there's other things it's like, even just explaining to folks what you do, right as like what impact you make if you can really hone in on that it's great for your future went back to Thanksgiving and trying to explain to your family and friends what it is you do for a living. But also explain it to your you know, your bosses, your executives, and you know, and I think you'll be surprised if you can truly advocate and talk about what you're aiming for. You'll be surprised that the help you'll get, you'll get a lot of people who will be energized and excited to help. So I'll leave you with that and love to come back and really appreciate the opportunity to speak to you guys and over all your listeners.
Jared Fuller 44:43
Amazing. Well don't forget, like subscribe, so like on YouTube. leave us a review on Apple podcasts. Justin I here is a big fan of getting constant feedback. So he wants to have those five star reviews come in all the time. He his ego just eats them up. And this one was David. If you didn't think it was worth five stars, then I don't know what isn't. So thanks so much partner up. We'll see you next week. Yeah, it's all on David solid David. All right. Thanks, y'all. See you next time.