014 - Kevin McFarland - Creating $50M+ Alliances from Scratch (lessons from Accenture and Coursera)

In today's episode, we unpack how to drive B2B Partnerships in some uncommon places - like enabling SIX MILLION people to be educated at Coursera when Coursera's end customer was B2C.

How did Kevin pull it off?

Plus we dive into creating new alliances inside the juggernaut Accenture.

Follow Kevin on his LI: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmcfarland/

And don't forget to continue the conversation with the Cloud Software Association at https://www.cloudsoftwareassociation.com/


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Jared Fuller  00:20
All right, what is up, partner up? We're back. We're back. Justin, how's how's the week been? going? Good?

Justin Bartels  00:27
You know, I feel like we're coming off some qbrs, some kickoff prep. So it's a lot of talking about getting stuff done. Now it's time to do it. Now it's time to take action on everything we learned in in 2020. So, exciting week, how about you?

Jared Fuller  00:40
Yeah, I mean, that's, that's the thing with you, you're just like, please stop with all of this planning and this preparation and these learnings, let's just get to work. Let's get to work. I love it. I love reps

Justin Bartels  00:51
and sets, you know, that's how we learn. That's how we get to the ideas and make sure that they hit the mark. So that's what's my mo

Jared Fuller  00:58
100% 100%. And today, we're, that's we're gonna be diving in with someone that's done. This, I think is also a fairly young partnership professional, like I've been impressed with what Kevin's been able to do. So our guest today is Kevin McFarlane. And he's been able to do some pretty amazing stuff inside of Accenture, and then also most recently at Coursera. So like, but Quick, quick thing before we dive in with Kevin. For those folks from the cloud software Association, yep, we're partnered up with the cloud software Association. If you're an executive member, you can actually watch partner up now live. And you can watch it live. And then the last 1015 minutes will reserve for q&a. So pay attention to that, like come join the cloud software Association. If you're an executive member, you can actually do q&a with us right here through you know, our partner up podcast portal, if you will. So shout out to the CSA. Go join to fantastic community with 4000 plus members, and we'll see you maybe live and you can actually ask people like Kevin and future guests questions live at the end of the show. So, Kevin, welcome to partner up. Yes, yes. I've really appreciated getting to know you over the past couple months, and just learning some things from you. And I'm always looking for, because Justin and I are kind of, we come from the Mark martec, right, like market texture and sales tech, kind of the of the partner angle, right on the b2b SaaS side. And I'm always looking for some angles on partnership industries or, or twists that aren't necessarily right in your wheelhouse that you can extract lessons from and maybe apply to your own partner program. And most recently, you were heading partnerships at Coursera. Right?

Kevin McFarland  02:43
Correct. And we call it industry partnerships. So call it all the non university partners that we're adding to the platform.

Jared Fuller  02:51
Right? Because university partners to some degree are kind of customers. Correct? Right? To some degree, I mean, it at its core, it's kind of kind of a customer, right? They're serving the, you know, obviously the end customer being the student. But what I'm going to try to unpack here with you, in terms of like a topical area is that a lot of b2b SaaS, like partnerships programs, they are b2b themselves, but then their end customers clients, they're also b2b. Of course, there's a little bit different in the fact that most of the companies that Coursera sells to, they themselves are not b2b, right? Like you're not, you're not selling to a company that's selling to b2b, you're selling to companies that are servicing a consumer, right, like, those are the end users have the Coursera product. Tell me how you think that impacted, building up this kind of partner strategy around b2b partnerships that impacted b2c growth right for your end clients?

Kevin McFarland  03:53
Great question. I'm from b2b and enterprise is a very different world of learning the b2c world. And I think a lot of partnership principles are the same, but the paradigm is different. Now if we just start at the b2b versus b2c business, Lloyd, what we're doing here, you know, b2b, I think it's a lot clearer, you have a use case you're focused on. You can develop a solution during that sales pursuit and you interact with a customer and you know them well. person, a b2c model, the easy way is to say a lot of growth teams that are focused on serving a b2c customer experiment. So a lot of a b testing, the volume is higher, your knowledge of the customer can be a little more eliminated. The paradigm is different. And we had to even trying to figure the opportunity for the partnership pretty differently. Gotcha.

Jared Fuller  04:51
Pretty differently. Tell me, tell me more. Why do you think it's different?

Kevin McFarland  04:57
I'll give it a couple of examples. One just start with a success. We parted with a big brand early on, instead of let's go after consumers together, they wanted to reach, in this case, more independent developers. I said, we have a lot of consumers, let's put that up. And they took the right approach of looking at signals from their own marketing, looking at signals and data that we had, and beginning to launch some courses iteratively to figure out who this customer is what they care about, and how do we get a significant volume that each of our businesses care about. And then has been scaled on and been really successful at Coursera. Contrast that with another infrastructure partner, I've partnered with had the same goal of reaching more individual decision makers, but they took the approach spend a lot of time planning, whether executives like to hear and their buyers like to hear and try to put that up in a very color waterfall approach. And it was a lot of time and effort spent planning fairly, very limited results. And they spent all their money planning and building before they were able to iterate on the signals they received from the market. Interesting.

Justin Bartels  06:11
So in the first with the first example, was that more of a ship minimum viable product? Try it out with a smaller audience. And then from there, scale it, you know, via via basically partner marketing means and then the latter was much more let's, let's plan it ahead of time. Let's try and, you know, forecast this out a couple months, a couple quarters and and really run with a plan from there.

Kevin McFarland  06:34
Yeah, that's great. That's a great way of putting it.

Justin Bartels  06:37
And how did those tool sets differ? Like, it seems like you kind of had your marketing hat on on the first one, it was much more sales and strategy hat. And the second, what, what were the differences? What were the similarities? What What did you carry across both and,

or, and

Justin Bartels  06:49
or how are they different?

Kevin McFarland  06:54
Okay, sorry, can you ask a question one more time?

Justin Bartels  06:57
I would say like, it seems like the approaches, like the approach with the first partnership was much more marketing driven, where it's less, you know, introductions and working on particular accounts, or one on one basis, but more a one to many basis. And the second was more of a one to one, you know, approach or, you know, let's let's connect account teams and sales teams across these organizations to work this larger strategy. What tactics did you use across both of those partnership approaches? versus what, you know, difference between the two of them?

Kevin McFarland  07:28
Yeah, between the two,

Jared Fuller  07:30
and I think maybe less on like landing the deal and maybe more on Okay, you you've decided to partner, right, the execution from the right, the tactical execution from post signing that partnership? Yep.

Kevin McFarland  07:46
Who's signing it? When we were successful, we first clarified who we were trying to serve, and then approaching, understand their needs. working to build something together, and launching it quickly. And here's where, given Coursera are company first, especially when we're doing partnerships. I think the more successful partnerships, we were able to lead the consumer by the offer, that we're launching together, as b2b offer, set a set of messages in our face trying to pack that into a course. And then and then market that.

Jared Fuller  08:34
When you say, Can you say consumer fi? I think I know what you mean. I think I know what you mean. Tell me more to consumer, if I like were you were you trying to help them launch specific offers that they could then put into their sales organization, right? That like how to consumer if I have an offer, really work. This is like a product of like packaging and pricing and like productizing something

Kevin McFarland  09:04
a little productizing a little packaging, what's a lot of the partnerships or publishing courses on the platform think like an aptitude to wanting to create a course to reach a larger consumer audience? Well, the biggest difference we saw was getting that offer or that the product right? In a b2c context I had to learn that's very different than in a b2b world, especially enterprise because everything you position it, you can can the sales team who can message it properly. in a b2c world. The product largely needs to be able to sell itself and consumers need that convenience and easy ability to understand what the course is. So take for instance, we worked with one large tech Under, and they wanted to scale their training in order to use for their club. So ultimately selling b2b cloud services to individual developers who are making decisions. And a part of a b2b business partner enablement, enablement, sometimes it comes post sale. This part and we worked with listen to us. And also here we buy packaging in a way that is he approaches learners where they're at, or users on Coursera matches the behavior that they're used to doing on Coursera. And the format they're used to on Coursera. And then begins to engage them and build a funnel and drive usage and new activations or their services, ultimately, that they were very successful in that while other partners are trying to take what they could give to their sales team to configure put out a throw that on consumers without the scaffolding or support of a sales rep. start engaging using it and those as well.

Jared Fuller  11:18
That exercise and exercising. What do you think the lesson is sort of lesson building? building partnerships, like partnerships, where the stakeholders? Are you working with a product marketing, marketing? to kind of go Okay, what's Coursera Coursera or value prop or value was working with part you know, we're Product Marketing, Product Marketing, partner side, partner side, maybe what lessons Could you take, like, if you could get really good at helping, helping offer that you can offer? provide Zoomer advice, so to speak, that you could translate translate those learnings to b2b b2b?

Kevin McFarland  11:55
You probably could and today's context. Yeah. So I think that for a b2b company approaching someone like a Coursera, or a consumer for his company, I think the big takeaway is recognizing and be prepared for tweaking your normal offer, from a b2b context to a consumer context. And fortunately, if you're working with a b2c partner, they most likely will be able to give you direction and guidance, how to present it to their users. You know, that's best practices, design guidelines. And so typically, when you start, you can follow the lead of the partner, but I think it's being ready and willing and able to customize that offer some, I think that's what we're working with these consumer product teams, is there's an appetite to look at the data and experiment. And then we can match some of that behavior of Let's run an experiment. Let's run an A B test, let's clarify our hypotheses, test that quickly with data and validate our way to product market fit. If you can match that was successful in partnering with an organization like Coursera.

Jared Fuller  13:18
That there's some insight there. How often, like, think about this, if you're in b2b partnerships in SAS, how often are you thinking in those terms, like a B testing, messaging and resonance, like in the field, like the feedback loop and partnerships is way too long? It's way too long. Right? Like, typically, there's put on my developer hat. I mean, there's the old waterfall methodology of like, let's scope everything out really big. And then launch this thing to the market that feels like b2b partnerships versus agile, which is more iterative, right? Like product improvements, reducing feedback loops, the cycles between feedback loops, I think there's a big lesson there for all of us in that, you know, committing to a partnership in the spirit of learning. And on nailing that with your partner in the service of coming up coming up with better customer outcomes, then you can all then you all know today. That's why I think a lot of these great partnerships are steeped in, you know, an integration and having some customers in those feedback loops. I think that's a really great insight. Tell me more about some of these companies that you were kind of like partnering with or targeting in the beginning, like, in the beginning, how big was Coursera? How many employees were you? Roughly?

Kevin McFarland  14:39
We were 200 employees. And just beginning to figure out how to work with

Jared Fuller  14:46
corporations that were in universities. It was pretty much at that stage was your revenue driven by basically consumer demand, like people publishing and consuming courses on a one to one basis more or less

Kevin McFarland  15:00
Correct. It was pretty much in business when I joined. There's no enterprise sales like there is now. It was all consumer.

Jared Fuller  15:09
So there's a there's a lot of people, I get pinged by them, it's, you know, they get my director of sales is just pulled me into a partner role my CEO, my VP of sales by VP of customer success, and you kind of come into Coursera was there a defined strategy for how to take this consumer oriented business leverage b2b partnerships to get more mindshare with companies that had access to consumers at scale? Was was that was that a defined strategy? When you came in? Like, Hey, Kevin, here's what we're trying to do? Or was this a figure out partnerships, kind of conversation?

Kevin McFarland  15:43
It was mostly figured out partnerships, I mean, that there was a strategic hypothesis. So if you think about, we had a lot of university courses and people coming to learn University, from the universities, there's a strategic hypothesis to say, learners also probably need to learn job ready skills, only thing that will come from companies. who and why, what the model was, we didn't know. So it was first coming in and then beginning to segment out during your normal strategy work, where do we start? I could say, given my background tech is changing quickly. And we need skills. What's the use case? Like? Who's the buyer? Why do they care? And how big is it potential to go after each. And so we can begin to segment it. Develop a target list of brands and attributes recruit criteria we thought mattered most in a partner, and then went out and tried to sign some of those partners. I'll be honest, in the early days, there was a little bit of a, given our limited understanding of why partners care, and then also eliminated an understanding of who our consumers were and why they were coming to us. It was a lot of trying a bunch of things, and seeing what worked. Fortunately, we signed Google as an early partner. And that taught us a lot about that use case and why they cared and would partner with somebody like us. And we could build a playbook and a model around that as one partner type and begin to scale out similar types of partnerships.

Justin Bartels  17:18
And what particularly got Google interested, obviously, Google massive company, sees course, a relatively small company wanting to partner what, what got them interested, or what was the hook.

Kevin McFarland  17:30
The based on what we're talking about earlier, there's a consumer side, we had, we had a lot of individual consumers and their target audience, data scientists and developers. But then there's a strategic reason of as technology companies grow, and as especially large cloud providers grow, there's a dearth of skills in the market that are impairing. So there wasn't a reason Google had to reach and train an audience that would be the users and buyers, other tools, and a head of sales to help build a funnel that they could sell to. Interesting, you know, we didn't know that level of nuance. So we got into the partner conversations. So like, we'd love to partner with Google, we think they can teach the world they came to us said, Hey, you have an audience we care about and it was in those discussions, we found out a little bit more than nuance of what that business need is. And looking at that, you could, you know, you can start to begin to pattern match and say they're looking at my buddies that look like them have a similar need. And if this works for Google, we can probably go to those other one. And address it. Similar need in a similar way.

Justin Bartels  18:52
Gotcha. I feel like that's that play or that you know, be able to identify one partner and get the motion down and then say, hey, let's go replicate this with similar partners is all too often under done? Not done enough? Right. Did you offer that? Did you know once you landed Google and you figured out kind of okay, this is an ideal partner, this is working well. How did you then go find those other partners that look similar? Or was it pretty apparent just because the market

Kevin McFarland  19:23
a mix of both, I will say that there was a step in the middle, which both of you have probably experienced that first partner, you're going to learn a lot from both in terms of them as well as your own organization. So we learned a lot had to over invest to get the partnership working, and plug all the gaps we had in Oregon, or worked with somebody like Google in that type of way before even things like you know, if you we were used to working with universities where Professor building course during the summer, he puts it online and then forgets about it while they you have Google You're trying to compete and catch up with AWS and they have someone full time looking at the data almost every day, very different set of expectations and very different way, you're gonna make a partnership successful. So we spend some time just learning how to do it well, and then delay doing many other big partnerships until we got that one, right. That then became the use case that we could go to others and say, here's what we're doing with Google, or our technology partner. And we think we could help you as well. So we had the play, and then from that, we could begin to narrow down the list to say, you know, who was our buyer, it was the, or who was our main partner contact, the training department, especially the go to Mark Kelly, and they had enough resources to go big, and they're in the enterprise space. And then so you could, at first I use just those attributes to be able to say, let's look for other companies large enough. They have a sizable trading department, they go to market we, and the developers are individuals they're looking to reach. And let's start talking to those types of and try and try to work with him. As we began to tell the story, we also got some inbound. Yeah, with them. I run a similar team. And, you know, I want to do something. Likewise. Gotcha. So

Justin Bartels  21:29
you created it.

And you're

Justin Bartels  21:38
good to go. One,

Jared Fuller  21:50
one follow up question on that. Was there an analogue for Google, like, were they working with any other learning platforms to kind of develop these types of things at scale prior to Coursera was there like someone they tried and failed with, or other things that they had tangential smaller partnerships with? Where you really first we, we were

Kevin McFarland  22:15
first also, Google Cloud was early when we started partnering with them, I think, out in Google Cloud training, come from the industry. And we had done patients who had worked with some channels, or had done online learning themselves on their own platform. So I think there's some familiarity with the space. There's an analogue in this space to working with instructor live training providers, or call them professional service, and person firms. But we were the first on demand or online partner of Google clouds,

Jared Fuller  22:58
to kind of like leaning on maybe some of the executives backbone from like, the VMware is and stuff like that, where they really deployed, you know, channel training at scale, which is, which is kind of funny in that. And on the Google Cloud side, it kind of comes full circle for Channel, because the use case is super meta here, right? Like, you're partnering with Google. And then you're also doing so in a way to not just, you know, drive consumer education, right and educate people, but also to empower Google's cloud Salesforce through their channel, right. Was Google was Google Cloud also using this for like Google Cloud partners? Yeah, so that's a super meta, that's like the most channel partner thing I've ever read.

Kevin McFarland  23:43
Know It. That's where it got complex. Yeah, because it is easy to satisfy enterprise users, partner audiences, consumer audiences, with the same set of courses and on the same platform. And we're trying to drive the numbers but across multiple audiences and multiple channels. So yeah, it got complex and quite meta,

Jared Fuller  24:09
complex and quite made up. But this, I think this is a really fascinating topic around like, b2b to b2c and customers. But you've also built some really cool things prior to Coursera. And I feel like a lot of consultants that end up at the Big Five, right, the Deloitte or the Accenture's, the whoever's the PwC s. Oftentimes, they're on an account, right, their account directors, but you were there trying to really build some stuff from the ground up. And I think we'd be doing interviewing Kevin McFarland did a disservice without talking about NATO creating some of these kind of like, first of its kind partnership models. And what you really did it over at Accenture because, you know, you talked about some Numbers, I don't know if you can talk about them, but like, the scale that you're talking about with Accenture was, you know, zero in revenue, 1 million, 5 million to what? Hundreds of millions. Okay. There's very few people in partner land that have ever built hundreds of millions of dollars worth of partnerships. Very few people were like, was this one project was this one partner? Let's unpack this like that. That alone is its own kind of topic track of like, you know, building something at that scale inside of a company of that scale. Because I want to say, I want to, I want to let people know, you know, when you're partnering up, and I work very closely with some of the biggest tech companies in the world, Justin works very closely with the biggest tech companies in the world, it's also very hard to get things done in one of those big enterprises. Right? So it's really hard to build a partner program from zero to hundreds of millions in the startup world. But I can only imagine being inside of Accenture, let's unpack that. Where did you start? And maybe kind of start walking us through that journey?


Kevin McFarland  26:05
And I was fortunate, I did the normal consulting, strategy work. But got connected with a group build a new kind of partnership. And there were there were a couple going, I think they are going okay, and really thinking that Oh, and a playbook for how we build these large partnerships. To give you a sense of where it falls in the world, if you think there's traditional lions, which has a lot of things, adding resale to projects. And there's joint ventures, which Accenture has tried some, and they're in the news and mixed success. And we said, Wait, maybe there's something in the middle that can get the level of differentiation and power of a joint venture, but still be within the organizations to leverage the pre existing channels and infrastructure, like an alliance with their names, but you know, think of what together. And so that was a four component. There's a big strategical why that organizations cared about, there was differentiated offers we built together, there's actually some development where the customized enable and grabbing go to market, I'll give you an example that to make it real. And the larger we worked on was with a leading tech company, this was six or seven years ago, we could both see a big trend coming for IoT. So there was from the top, a lot of emphasis focus on we need to build an IoT business and capture the spin that's going to go into IoT solutions. So the big strategic reason and big data and analytics was attached ourselves to strategic agenda. From the top big enough, and we get to define what it is that we gather, differentiated, cut, the sales teams will care about when we define some realm, and then began to work on and enable strategy. And Kant could best activate each of the sales efforts of sales proceeds. And so you're talking they're good enough to use between the two organizations.

Justin Bartels  28:44
Gotcha. And how did you square away those use cases? Was it talking to customers? was it doing market research? What did that look like?

Kevin McFarland  28:53
A mix of and we developed a methodology for how we really prioritize which use cases to after, but but it was we're getting insights from prior sales, feedback from the field research in a traditional strategy research being done. And I think when we were at our best, it's looking at the data together, bringing those guys and then against a framework with the sales team and the tech teams and oil offers that we can take to market.

Justin Bartels  29:33
Gotcha, gotcha. And it was the app as a sales team apprehensive to sell this put this in front of their customers were because you had included them in the development process. They were much more willing to start this motion.

Kevin McFarland  29:47
Once you get to the motion. I think what we realized is the sales reps aren't immediately jumping on board. There's there's the The selling and the convincing and the activation enablement, you still have to do. Fortunately, it was a little easier because you were a Strategic Coach, although they weren't able to, somehow, and they can address they had on before. So we were able to get, and there was a lot of executive sponsorship. So we were able to get in front of them and get some interest, I think a little better than if we hadn't done that. But to really get the motion going, it's your normal, teach them how to sell, work with the get, enable them to go so sell themselves and help them build up their own capabilities and well, Accenture's world repeatable services they sell over and over.

Justin Bartels  30:58
Gotcha. And did you work with additionally, our partnership with trying to figure out whether I should roll out my small pilot, what

Kevin McFarland  31:21
we've tracked, across the years, I've tried multiple approaches, I think the best is still when you start with a tiger team, get some early sales. And build off from that, because two things happen, you vow and really understand what the market needs. And you. First, when they can be your lighthouse, or referenceable, when I'm in a sales rep who's happy then starts. Right? We tried to go big fast, and part of the challenge is when you go too big, too fast, too high, or miss a customer nuance your customer need that you didn't have. Ample we got, I think, a little aggressive in the IoT space. I mean, we were new, we were early market research was compelling, but few people have deployed it. And we didn't know till we got in that customers did not want to go big yet until security was fully figured out. So it was to customers quickly. Earlier, fix that, and then a better replacement. So I would start with 13.

Talk about

Jared Fuller  32:59
the playbook side. Kevin, I mean, that's something that, you know, in our kind of like conversations leading up to this, you had a bunch of people you had, you know, 5060 ft ease on this project? And how do you start to do that pre work of building out the plays versus the execution in the iteration. Talk to me a little bit about how you went about defining a playbook for something so big.

Kevin McFarland  33:28
It was really chunking it up into the there's four pieces I told you about. It's getting the governance, right getting the offers getting enabled, I think getting a sales team, and when you have 60, you begin to separate them into those different functions. The playbook we really had was,

Jared Fuller  33:45
well, what I'd like dive pull apart is like, let's go beyond the concepts into I'm actually just curious how you deliver and get buy in and like I heard a story once of was VP of sales at five stars. And he would tell managers, your job is to enforce the playbook. Right? So it's not just the concepts that I'm interested in. It's like how do you get that enforcement of the playbook? Right, like ensuring the playbook is hitting the ground?

Kevin McFarland  34:16
Yeah, I think Well, let me run by you what the playbook was and then and then we can build off that because it's really set up the playbook. And then we have people who are running into these, these bookending in your cross multiple people, but it was it was making sure we had a differentiated, better together story that we could build on and nailing that first and then it was very discreet. We're going to do a partnership with this company is going to be three offers. We're going to take the market, here's where they are. Here's why. And here's the what we can sell. And so it's getting to that level of product, or offer clarity around building and around that you had something that you could really sell. And so from a governance perspective, that was part of what we looked at, what are the? What's the products? Why? And do we really believe that's something? The second part of it was beginning to build out that enablement. approach for, how do we build up the kids? And we could segment out how do you go from? No, they can sell on their own? And what are the steps are we going to do and how we're going to measure the number of people at each phase? We started to implement for that part of the business. So every partnership, we could pull up and say, do we need at each stage? And so again, so and then the third is your go to market and driving deals? And that's, you know, what the traditional sales overlay was, we had the pipeline and execute sales and, and how you manage that. And then, you know, quarterly, we would roll it out, or kind of cross those, there's three.

Jared Fuller  36:45
One follow on question, Kevin, have you? Have you done any, one of the things I was always impressed with you by was your ability to, you know, take a conversation. And then, like, we articulate that back kind of in a written format, like, some of the stuff that you you sent over to me, and we were chatting about in the kind of the past? It was just like, Oh, my gosh, Kevin gets it. Have you done any write ups on any of these experiences? I'm just curious if you've done any, like, articles or blogs or anything where we can send people to because there's a there's so much to unpack and how complex these these partnership structures and deals and the the time it takes, but the milestones along the way, have you ever done any kind of like write up around it? Okay, well, I'm gonna encourage you to, I absolutely encourage you to, I got to see the write up, I want to see this. Like, I want to spend a lot of time in like this particular deal. Because there's so much to unpack, where can people follow you in the in the interim, like, so whenever you do publish it, they can make sure they get it, you'll post it in the CSA. I know you'll post it in the cloud software Association. Whenever you write it. Where can people follow you?

Kevin McFarland  37:52
I'll post it there. And until then, follow me on LinkedIn, linkedin.com, LinkedIn, backslash n, backslash Kevin McFarland.

Jared Fuller  38:04
All right. All right. Well, we're gonna wrap this week. Just a reminder for the folks that are calling in live and chatting, you can actually ask us questions, so feel free to call in. But we're gonna wrap this section of the podcasts the first one on the new platform, the new model this week. So we're gonna continue to iterate on this live format and test out different platforms and how we make this perfect, but for those listening on the pod, Apple Spotify, make sure you rate us on Apple podcasts. Justin is a fiend for reviews. He really loves reviews. It's I'm blaming that all on him. You got to get the likes and subscribes on the YouTubes. So make sure you subscribe on YouTube. Whenever you get the new episodes drop. We record every Tuesdays at five. So we'll see you next time on partner up. Peace. Alright, that's what we'll wrap. And let's see if I'm not sure if we have anyone. I know there was some issues. I was checking in the CSA and it sounded like people were having some issues getting tuned in on the live. So we'll see if we have anything coming in. I don't know if sneer if you're there. Can you try to get some, some chats? I can't I can't tell what's one of the things that's weird, though. How do I do?

Justin Bartels  39:23
Drop a question in the chat.

Jared Fuller  39:24
What's Yeah, just drop the question in the chat. I think you can try to call in but I can't see your view. I think we can actually accept live Collins. But otherwise, we will happily take we got you know, 10 minutes if there's no questions, no problem. But if there's questions for Kevin or us, we're happy to hang out and you know, souvenirs Colin? is calling with the following question. Do you actually get to join in to ulisses cool.

Justin Bartels  39:56
Oh, wow. Look at this.

Jared Fuller  39:59
This is the ocean himself. Oh, but we can't hear you though I think you're muted. Let me see. Can I unmute you? Doesn't look like you're Oh, I think you're just saying what's up.

Justin Bartels  40:22
In the interim, Kevin, any advice for folks that are just getting into partnership role? Maybe it's their first time coming over from sales coming from Product Marketing coming from marketing. Any advice for those folks whose I know, I've had a few that reached out to me that have said, Hey, enjoy the podcast, I'm new in this role. I, you're kind of my go to, to figure out how to do it. But any advice from your end?

Kevin McFarland  40:49
It's a good question I'll give to you I think early on, it's important to really clarify what the metrics of success are and what the expectations are. What I've seen is business development and partnerships can be used in a variety of ways. Exceeding partners, very upfront, to be very clear on how you're going to add value, what the expectations are, and how that's going to be measured. I think that the SEC has a longer term, what I would always think about is learning some of that product side of the house. I think I've worked comes partnerships, set of skills, and yes, drive harder push more. But the best partnerships I've seen have been ones that think enough about operations, as well as just the sales to ensure that we have a differentiated better, yeah, their story. Isn't it? sales containing what's not having done on an upfront, and that's the biggest thing I've seen a lot of people skip, and then they just try to compensate for just doing more.

Jared Fuller  42:15
There's, there's, um, there's actually a couple of questions in chat. Which one's related to actually what senior asked to so the first question is, you know, what's your number one piece of advice on getting leadership buy in? and Sydney seniors questions kind of a quick, fast follow on that, like, you know, how does the CEO report to the board about your activities? Right. So that might be a good way to think about how to get, you know, leadership buy in is thinking about how the CEO would report to the board about your activities? Yeah.

Kevin McFarland  42:48
Well, let me start with buying it. I think it's twofold. I mean, one is starting from what are their priorities, and be able to show how partnerships helps. Depending on the leader I have, you sometimes need different approaches, because they're more than others. The culture focus. There's an only, you know, you just got to be aware of where your leader is at and be able to meet them where they're at. And speak about what they care about, in many ways, especially the larger partnerships, that we use the same approach to building a partnership and funding a business unit, joint business unit, as you would just make an internal business case. So approaching in the same kind of way, here's your priorities. Here's the potential output. Here's what you got invest in, and why you care about it, just as you would any other internal resourcing activity. And then how the board reports here and what we do cares about. It's different by part. So I'm not sure there's a straight answer. ones that are more focused on driving sales together with sales leaders, where they'll report direct sales or channel or partner sales, when they report sales, and then you can be in to develop a staffing model based on some ACV amount. in proportion, I've done others where there's a more strategic need either acquiring more users, building products together and then setting what their rationale is and then reporting it the way that normally does so I'm not sure there's there's a straight answer.

Jared Fuller  44:52
Um, every business is going to be different, of course, but I'm finding out what's, you know, do you align To short term objectives, do you like to long term objectives? I think is another way of thinking about it. Right? Like if the CEO is going to be reporting on you to the board, is he reporting on you and how you're going to make everything more possible, you know, next year and the foundation that you're building in two years or three years? Or is he reporting on she reporting on, you know, this quarter is evolve, and making sure that you can align to that longer term vision? Yeah, there was another question on, you know, how often do you meet with other departments on alignment? I posted a follow up question in chat to that, because I think it matters on what role you play in partnerships with a channel or tech partnerships. And like, what you are golden kind of your point, Kevin, like, so on the channel side. So if you're on the channel side, I'm assuming that you're probably gold on pipeline, right, close one dollars, and the infamously horrible bifurcation of sourced versus influence revenue, right. I meet with every single person that owns a pipeline number every week, every week. So this is a weekly meeting, my Thursdays I am in meetings, all day, every day, all day, every Thursday, I should say. So that's my take on it. Like you have to build internal partnership as much as you build external partnership. Because building an ecosystem is a is a team sport. It's not it is a certain sorry, is a company sport, not a team sport. So that'd be my take on it. Kevin, do you have a different outlook whenever it comes to, you know, if you're being gold on pipeline, and in dollars there,

Kevin McFarland  46:36
the only other thing I would add, knowing your organizational context and where they're at and then adjusting. So when we were starting to build out some channel partnerships at Coursera, it was really on the channel side, and we didn't have a product fully set up. So we had to meet with a product team much more frequently to educate them. And then had to meet a lot with sales ops and implementation to get the at scale. provisioning, ready for the channel. So I would say yes, to what you say. But then also, just knowing where your organization is at, and where the base friction points are, and really building strong relationships with the other departments you need. And again, knowing that the culture the company you're at, I worked in some they get it and say you have to do less internal educating, and then some who are very new to partnerships and don't understand who your partners how you work with it partners, type of company, and then you just have to do more meetings, educating and showing into

Jared Fuller  47:49
another chat question. That's a fun one. Do you wear a badge that says vote for me? I know if you can see it. I think, you know, in those meetings, no, my take on it is adjusting, you do a really good job of this. You want your sellers, to wear a badge that says you know, partner up, right, like make your make your sellers famous would be my advice there. It's not about you, it's about you, you're screwed. Right, like if this is about Kevin, this is about Justin, this is about Jared and trying to get organizational buy in like it's a it's on you to make it happen. But really where it needs to come from is the field. Right and telling those partner wins? absent those, it doesn't matter what badge you're wearing? It could be a I don't know, it could be a robin hood sticker that's timely, that would get you kicked out of anywhere about right now.

Justin Bartels  48:38
I think oh, you know, it is it is good. I would say some of the best relationships I've built with our sellers has actually been, you know, a bit rolling ball and saying, Hey, this is this is my number. This is this is what I'm trying to hit. And of course, digging into what they're trying to do and their challenges and finding where those align and being transparent about the Ask across the business, you know, across across the partnership. I think especially a lot of younger sellers, you know, may not understand partnerships and your role and how you're actually there to help them to some degree. So it can be insightful for them to open up and just have a Kumbaya and say, Hey, this is what I'm trying to do is are these are my goals, I think I can help you let me learn about yours and the challenges you're facing, let's find some common alignment there. So if you're, if you're in an alliances role, like me, I'd say, you know, have those meetings with your sellers be make sure they understand the you know, the pressure you're under as well because then you can you can build that empathy bridge.

Jared Fuller  49:34
Yeah, cuz you align to what I mean. There's actually a bunch of sellers, but you know, about what 15 core enterprise sellers up to 15 Yeah, yeah, but a team of 15 so like that that cadence is very different versus you know, a team of you know, three VPS, right, or four regional a VPS. So, you know, it might be more of a line to 15 people you're building quarterly account list, but then you have kind of like Bi weekly check ins on progress or whatever to advance those accounts. Kevin, I forgot where are you located again?

Kevin McFarland  50:11

Jared Fuller  50:12
Cal California. Where are you still doing? Well, we're still doing in California. Well, everyone leave.

Kevin McFarland  50:18
I'm in Washington right now.

Jared Fuller  50:20
I see you're in Washington. You don't even in California right now. The people that are in California, Arnie, I was actually on clubhouse last night. And there was I was talking to a whole bunch of people about, you know, their I know, we're gonna stay in California. But then literally, they were like, I don't know what I'm gonna do with my apartment in San Francisco. I'm like, Wait, you're not even in San Francisco right now. I ask you. You're in California. You're in Washington. It'll come back. It'll come back. It'll come back. Are they going to recall Newsome? I have to ask that I'm having come from California. Do you think they're gonna recall?

Kevin McFarland  50:54
No. Headlines? No. Okay. We'll see. I mean, I will say it hasn't been pleasant in the Bay Area with five COVID. And he and then power outages because the utility company so it's strange building for sure.

Jared Fuller  51:21
Well, this is not represent the opinion of anyone because we're an independent podcast so we can talk about this stuff. It's kind of fun to go off topic for a second. I just hope that you all do. So if you're in California out there. Make sure you sign that petition. This is Jared Fuller's personal opinion. And then go check out chamath Palihapitiya because I'm hoping he would announce on the heels of this because he'd want to make 0% state income tax and do a bunch of crazy stuff. And also, do there's so many things in this platform. You gotta check it out. But anyways, we're coming up on the end here. If there's any last minute questions, we'll take them otherwise. We'll see you next week. We're going to be seeking feedback on this. So Justin, I'll be posting in the CSA to make sure that we hear you know what the heck went wrong because stuff to go wrong the first time around. And sincere thanks for shipping some feedback around this. We will continue to level up to partner up Kevin MacFarlane. It's been a pleasure. Justin, thank you for your time as well. Thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.

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