Today we have Scott Barker of SalesHacker, Outreach, and GTMFund.
Outreach was early to the B2B SaaS media game in their acquisition of SalesHacker and Scott joins us to discuss how community and media can create oversized leverage for your ecosystem.
We kickoff today with a new section - PartnerUp News. We get Scott's take on HubSpot's acquisition of The Hustle and the implications for the future of ecosystem in B2B.
Possibly one of our most fun and outside-the-box episodes yet, you learn Scott's take on why media and community are the unseen opportunities today. Can't code? Build content and community.
And don't forget to follow the conversation with the Cloud Software Association and join us at https://www.cloudsoftwareassociation.com/
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Jared Fuller 00:20
Justin, did you see that the countdown started from six? What countdown starts from six? I don't know. I don't know. It's either like the NASA like countdown from 10. But apparently our podcast countdown starts from six and then five, six, maybe I don't know, maybe did a bunch of user research and found like that's the optimal amount of time for people to fully prepare for what's going on?
Justin Bartels 00:39
Well, if there's someone that's definitely talked to a lot of folks on, like, what works and what doesn't, from a go to market perspective, it is our illustrious guest today. We're really excited to have Mr. Scott Barker on partner up what's up, Scott?
Scott Barker 00:56
What's going on, Jared? Justin, thanks for having me, guys.
Jared Fuller 00:59
Yeah, of course, happy to happy to have you. And I think for today,we're actually going to kick this off. because really what we're trying to do today is talk about building a community and ecosystem around you know, either like a media company or a brand to kind of create that massive leverage and you were a pioneer with this with you know, your business partner, Max and what you guys did it sales hacker, because what news just broke you know, in the past week is sandbar and the hustle being acquired by HubSpot, right? I kind of want to start there. What's your take on that acquisition, given that you and your team and Manny over at outreach? We're, I think, really early to the the table to the game there.
Scott Barker 01:45
Mm hmm. Yeah, I saw that acquisition. And I think a lot of people were were surprised. I wasn't all that surprised. I think it was really smart. And, you know, companies are, are now realizing that it takes a lot of work to create a trusted community, and an internal media engine. And, you know, particularly if you're constantly trying to sell something in a community or a media company, it is even more difficult. And I think that's why a lot of b2b marketing today is kind of falling short. And it can be tough for b2b marketers to you know, get out there and create something like the hustle, because there's this kind of blatantly obvious transaction that's happening, where, okay, if I read your E book, podcast, blog, post, whatever, you know, the the swap is, you're going to turn around, position your product and try and sell me that's the trade right information for a chance to sell me. And so now, I guess, companies are realizing that you can plug in to these existing media outlets or companies that already have the trust of these, that their subscriber base. And you're able to leverage that. So I think it was smart, and not overly surprising. Yeah, I
Jared Fuller 03:23
think what was interesting, I was actually listening to a podcast this morning with Kieran Flanagan who's like the SVP of marketing that kind of oversaw the acquisition at the HubSpot side. And then with Sam, I think is the my first million podcasts cuz I just wanted to hear what was their take on it. It was interesting to hear HubSpot, what they said directly about this from their mouth, which was like, you know, we're not looking to monetize this. We're not looking to you know, there's not even a lagging indicator of, you know, new trial signups from this acquisition, because they just know if they do that they'll ruin the community itself. Which is a very, it, I think we all are starting to say this. But it's interesting to start to hear the big public companies, the companies that have $400 a share stock prices start to say things like this. How do you think you know, because you are on the forefront of this, there's been a bunch of them like Robin Hood, buying snacks. Who bought indie hackers, what about indie hackers? Like, there's been a handful of these that have happened after sales. After sales hacker got acquired by outreach. How do you think that is translated for outreach in terms of like the outreach ecosystem? How did you see that acquisition at the beginning, versus what it's turned into now?
Scott Barker 04:43
Yeah, I mean, the, the way that it was looked at at the beginning was very similar to it sounds like HubSpot was was looking at it right. It's all about a rising tide raises all ships and at a very basic level. Like hey, we're not doing This just for demand, Jim, we're not trying to monetize everything. Essentially, it's a pretty simple process. It's like, okay, sales hacker, the media company is out there. And they're educating people on what it is to make a modern revenue engine. And then, as you go down that path of exploring what it takes to create a modern revenue engine, you're going to stumble upon, okay? Well, I need people process and some technology in there, and you're going to find some, some companies, you're going to find the drifts of the world, you're gonna find the outreaches of the world, just kind of organically and naturally. And so then you'll find some sales and some martec on that journey. And then, inevitably, you know, outreach is very confident that we're the number one sales engagement solution in the space. So as your organization matures and gets to a certain level, you're naturally going to fall into outreaches, you know, customer base. So that's kind of the way they were thinking about it, it's a pretty organic journey from the beginning of exploratory into that phase.
Justin Bartels 06:16
What I love about it, too, is it almost like smoothes the relationship funnel to some degree, like, like, if you're a HubSpot potential customer, you're, you might be checking out their blog, maybe you're starting a company checking out their blog post, you're reading, watching some of their videos. And then, you know, kind of the next step is like, I buy software, but there's not really like a middle ground. And I think that's what's smart about this is like, the paid memberships are the pieces in the middle are like a nice next layer of commitment into the relationship of like, I got a bunch of your free content. But you know, hey, now I'm gonna, you know, pay a little into this relationship and get that premium content. And I like that it smooths out that jump, maybe if the person is not ready to buy the software, but still keep them in the community and keep them engaged with the brand. Or, you know, they're just not ready for that, you know, commitment yet? Is that something that played into the outreach and sales awkward hacker situation as well?
Scott Barker 07:10
Yeah, totally. I often say like the, the best marketing you can do is actually just teaching people how to solve the problem that your product or service solves, give them the keys to the kingdom, like here is how you go, and you engage with your, your sellers and your buyers. here's, here's what you would do, you're going to put this together this, you know, 16 step process is going to look like this, it's going to look like this. And hey, you can go build that all I'm going to teach you how to build all of that yourself. Oh, by the way, you know, this is what we have done for the past five years. And if you want to make it a lot easier, there is this solution, but by all means you have all of the the information you need to go solve this problem yourself. And that's kind of the way the way it works. With this kind of media arm and then the technology to back it up.
Jared Fuller 08:04
One one fast follow there. Originally sales hacker you were monetizing. Correct me if I'm wrong through events?
Scott Barker 08:12
Yeah, so that was we were so when I joined. Sales hacker was five years ago now for four and a half or something. We Yeah, we were primarily a we throw big conferences couple times a year, San Francisco, London, New York get a ton of you know, 1000s of sellers there. And we would we would sell sponsorships to that event. When I joined at we did switch our business model events are a lot of work, a lot of risk involved in throwing big, big events. So we actually transitioned to a digital sponsorship model. So we were making the majority through webinars sponsorship podcast, sponsorship, blog posts, sponsorship, newsletter sponsorship, in the form of kind of brand awareness and demand Gen for partners like Salesforce DocuSign, Adobe, you know, work with drift back then, which is still, we still do actually have a layer that so we still play nicely with all the different vendors in our place. In our space we don't just primarily work with, with outreach. We still work with a ton of solutions providers as well, because we want to give everyone a voice.
Jared Fuller 09:27
And then on the hustle acquisition, were you aware of there? Because what Justin, what you were talking about is this middle step between like having an email distribution list and a readership and a blog, you know, monthly unique visitors. And then there's this intermediate step of like, you can monetize one side of the equation with like sponsorships digital or in person. And then were you aware of the the trends product that the hustle had? Scott, did you looked at that at all?
Scott Barker 09:53
I hadn't know what's that all about?
Jared Fuller 09:55
It's just it's an interesting take on like, drift. We even have a version of it. We call it rift insider plus like which RG like 100 bucks a year, they actually sell a product that's 299 a year, where they actually have analysts that just kind of it's like the premium content. Right? So it's like, Hey, what are the big macro trends in, you know, startup ecosystem? Where should you be building your business? What should you be paying attention to, and I think that was actually their primary driver. So they had a gigantic multi million dollar or multi million, you know, following email distro. And then they had about 6700 subscribers for this $300 a year product, which, you know, kicks out a couple million bucks a year in, in revenue. And what I'm starting to see is like, imagine, as a company, like what you could do if you had that kind of like, if you had channel partners, other tech partners that are already so bought into your vision that they're paying you to be educated? Yeah, well, that seems like a I mean, in terms of this topic, it seems like a big competitive advantage.
Scott Barker 10:55
Totally. Yeah, it's a massive competitive advantage. And we can do things like that through sales hacker in the form of like, surveys, we can actually surface trends that can can inform, you know, how outreach goes to market what people care about. And yeah, it's amazing, like, I imagine, the hustle is going to maybe not be profitable, but continue to pay for itself. So that it's just an even on the budget, the the value it's bringing is, is incredible. And that's the same with with sales hacker sales hacker still pays for itself every year. And it's it's basically a free megaphone to the world that can surface trends and insights as well.
Justin Bartels 11:43
And imagine like, it's just a breeding ground for ideas of how do you adapt to tomorrow? How do you help these companies adapt to tomorrow and build the products and services they need? Right? I'm sure that out of this, you know, hustle acquisition, if they could pick up on the next trend, or that's gonna feed into understanding the next trend that HubSpot needs to build, build towards, and you know, they already know that there's an audience that's really interested in and you know, that cares about that trend and that need for that product. And you're validating market and reducing a lot of risk going forward to.
Scott Barker 12:15
Yeah, totally. And I think there's, here's another point that kind of builds off that that I think it's fun to, to talk about is so we're talking about creating massive leverage through media and community, for companies. But a really interesting thing that is happening is you can follow this same model, on an individual level for your own career. And it can have the same sort of effect. So if you build your own media assets, whether that's through a newsletter, whether that's through a podcast like this one, whether that is you know, a clubhouse you do every week, whatever that is, if you're building a media asset, simultaneously as you're, you're building your career. It's a force multiplier for everything that you're doing on the career side. And it's almost a beacon for interesting problems and interesting people to find you. So the same things that work for a company also work on an individual level, which I think a lot of folks are, are waking up to, in the form of, you know, call it personal brand, or whatever you want to call it. You just described
Jared Fuller 13:25
personal brand way better than anyone ever described. The actual personal brand. And I've experienced it firsthand. So like I used to think can't like document don't create Gary Vee like, you know, put it out there, put it out there. Dave Gearhart, who was very, very good at this, like probably created a lot of demand for drift around this. So like I even saw it and I still was skeptical. But get this in a fortune, fortune 50 account, a BD person I was trying to connect with when I cold messaged him. I was like, Oh my god, I love your podcast. I was like, Whoa, that is I was not expecting that at all. And I was like, okay, there is actually some tangential benefit to this that I been playing pretty ignorant to. I feel like for a while. So listen to Professor Barker here. He's He's certainly right. Yeah, he few people do this.
Scott Barker 14:22
Yeah. Yeah. So I mean, I can look at my personal journey similar, like, I'm extremely lucky that I get to advise for some really cool startups. You know, moonlighting, you know, outside of my role at at outreach. And when I look at each one of them, and like, where they found me, it was all through various forms of digital media. And what's interesting is like, the strategies that they picked up on that we're like, Okay, this is interesting. Maybe we should bring this this guy in. Those strategies were always in my head, right? They were they were always there, but the media assets give you opportunity to broadcast that out. And like I said, You're you basically create a, a beacon for these interesting people and interesting problems to, to find you. And I think too many people, you know, Jared, it sounds like you were in this stage at one point where you think they're people think, Oh, my God, I've got these ideas. So I just need to, to, to do these. And then these opportunities will come. But it's hard for people to, to tease those ideas out if you're not broadcasting them in some way.
Jared Fuller 15:34
Fast follow on that is like, I think we agree, there's been enough acquisitions to kind of justify shoot, ecosystem is more than just channel and alliances, there is community, community should be a part of ecosystem period. I think we agree there. How do you approach like, there's probably two situations here as a company, like you can either go, you're either big, and you're, you know, growing fast, like outreach or you're big, like, you know, HubSpot, and you go acquire a company, like sales hacker or the hustle, or you're, you know, you're leading partnerships. And you think, man, I really need to partner with my cmo on building. Right, this more community. What do you think is the best path here? For a partnerships person to think about building community?
Scott Barker 16:23
Mm hmm. So a great question. And I think even my brain there was like, Ooh, that sounds like a daunting task. But it's not really like community at its basic elements is about human connection. And human beings working together for like a common goal. So I think if I was, say, our first partnerships, hire at a high growth company, I understand the importance of community, I would, I would pick a medium, whether it's a podcast, whether it's a newsletter, clubhouse, LinkedIn, pick a medium, don't try and tackle them all, you spread yourself too thin. And then I would partner with marketing to go find, you know, 10 raving fans, people that absolutely love your product, and want to be seen as an expert at your, your product or your category. And then you would approach them and say, Hey, like, we we know, you're an incredible user of outreach or drift, we want to give you a platform to share some of your, your ideas, we want to build you up as a thought leader in this space, we think the way you look at it is the way more people should should look at it. Will you share some of your knowledge with with our listeners in exchange for, you know, as giving you use some exposure, and then you do interviews like this one, or you interview them via a newsletter, or a blog, post, whatever. And then all of a sudden, you've got, you know, new ideas flowing, people will be attracted to those new ideas. And then all of a sudden, those 10 raving fans become 20. And then those 20 become 50 and kind of builds, builds out from there. And then another important element to that is then setting up ways for those community members to also share ideas. So it's not just idea like one node to these other nodes like this, but there's also sharing of ideas. Internally, so whether that's, you know, creating a user group for your category, that people can share ideas, or setting up some sort of, you know, I used to call it coffee, roulette, you know, donut, like things on Slack, where people can interact. That's the way I would, I would look at it at a very rudimentary level if I was going to start something from scratch and didn't want to taking up all my time.
Justin Bartels 19:02
Nice. Love that. And if you were to build like, if you were to go back, your starting sales hacker that a few years start to build a community, where would you start to facilitate those engagements? Would you do it over LinkedIn? Would you do it over something new like clubhouse would love your opinion on clubhouse as well? What do you think is the best channel right now for allowing and activating those individual to individual connections within this future community?
Scott Barker 19:27
Yeah, it's a good a good question. I think a lot of people have slack fatigue, maybe it's just me, but I don't think I can handle another slack group. So I don't think I would pick slack. I think I would probably create some sort of white labeled community, there's platform card circle.sl that I think is really cool. So it makes it keeps that feel like, hey, you're not going to another platform. This is the community and so I kind of like the the white labeled version at sales hacker we built our own. So we actually have An incredible dev team that like, built it right within the sales hacker website. So that that is a cool option not not available to anyone, you know if you don't have those resources, but honestly, if I'm answering this question right now, I would probably do clubhouse like it's so it's so easy, at least to test it right like let's see if people show up. Maybe no one wants a community for interacts thing. So don't go put all this this work in. I think clubhouse is an incredible testing ground, because it's so easy to do. And so I would probably do do club posts. And then over time, maybe transition to like a circle that so or so.
Jared Fuller 20:44
Wait, so Justin, next time, what we're gonna do is we're just going to pull up our phones. And we're just going to choose
Jared Fuller 20:50
event like have invite the speaker to clubhouse we'll record over the same way and just do it. Like, I feel like people should do that. Just like multi-thread the the content. Right?
Scott Barker 21:00
Right, right. Yeah,
Justin Bartels 21:02
yeah, we'll pick it out a couple times. And I think it's really cool. I can't figure out why I love it. Because I'm still huge on tik tok. And I was like, I'm like, how can there be another platform coming around? That's, you know, taking steam right now. But would love to know, we maybe don't dive too deep in in the clubhouse. But I would love to know, you know, why do you think it's a great medium right now? Is it just the ease of connection, the low friction to start? Start putting out content and engaging with an audience like why do you think that's the spot right now?
Scott Barker 21:36
Yeah, and, and to be just to preface this I haven't actually spent a ton of time on clubhouse I kind of had a rule. I was like, Listen, there's too much going on right now. Like there's, there's too much happening. I'd similar to you as like, do we need another thing? I did go on. Max and Sam Jacobs do like a cool community such startup club hosts every, every Friday, so I jumped on that one really liked it. Here's why I love it. There was Manny Medina, our CEO saw that me and Max were doing this thing, decided to join it. And then all of a sudden we invite him up. And we're getting to speak to Manny Medina about you know, brand and DNI and all this cool stuff. And then two other CMOS joined. And, and so yeah, it almost seems like this kind of great equalizer. And also where where podcasts fall short, is that like synchronous communication? Right? It's I can't get my specific questions answered. And that's what it it does a really good job at and the No, no barrier to entry. Like I can't tell you how many people have messaged me about like, hey, I want to start this podcast and you do the sales engagement podcast How do I get started? And as you guys know, it's not it's not impossible, but you got to put some work into you know, getting a podcast off the ground versus you legit just like open the app throw your headphones in and start talking.
Jared Fuller 23:11
Right the barrier to entry is very, very low to listen join leave etc.
Scott Barker 23:16
For better or for worse,
Jared Fuller 23:18
for better I will also
Scott Barker 23:19
become an issue I'm sure with with quality because there's no quality control one. Yeah, yeah,
Jared Fuller 23:27
we'll we'll have to do it it coming soon. We'll have this on clubhouse. Justin, I will convince you to do it, I promise. What I want to do now is try to try to take me back, Scott to like, what was it like being in this super tiny media company sales hacker, right? How many employees Did you guys have before acquisition was on your radar? Before you were talking?
Scott Barker 23:54
Yeah, I want to say like, six full time. And then we've always leveraged a lot of virtual assistants to do you know, certain repeatable tasks, but I'm pretty sure was like six to eight full time.
Jared Fuller 24:08
Okay, what was it like working in that small of like a media company?
Scott Barker 24:14
Um, I would say in a word, or maybe two words like complete ownership, like if you if you only have six to eight people, whatever your thing is, my thing was, was revenue. It's yours. And it's like, there's, there's no one to be like, hey, like, are we doing this? Right? You know, can I get a hand here because everyone is very hyper focused on you know, we had Gaetano back in the day, it was super focused on growth and SEO, and just incredible at it. And we had kind of these these hyper experts together. And of course, we would knowledge share, but it was like okay, your that's your thing. Go and figure out your your thing, which is very very empowering. But, you know, there's a lot of a lot of change a lot of testing. Just like any startup, you know, every day is is vastly different.
Jared Fuller 25:13
And it's some point that day to day grind of brilliant minds working on their functional areas of the business. There be there became another opportunity that was like bigger than just maintaining sales hacker qua sales hacker, how did that come about? How did that opportunity surface itself?
Scott Barker 25:30
Yeah. So there was I imagine there was conversations happening in the background. So Max is an early investor in in outreach actually, way, way back in the day, I think, right after they kind of pivoted from there. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And so he always had that that relationship. And then, I mean, I signed them as a partner in January 2018. For for the first time that we'd formally you know, work work together. I remember, Dan amati, was the head of demand Gen at the time or an alt to incredible marketers, I, I kind of braided them at down at dreamforce kept stopping by the booth saying we got to do some stuff. And eventually, that it turned into a partnership, that we did a ton of stuff together in like the span of two quarters. And we just became a really, really strong channel for them quickly. So I think it was probably on Manny's radar a little bit. And then when we started producing some pretty incredible results. for them. It started making more and more sense. And one of the areas of the business that they wanted to beef up was was marketing at the time. So this made just a lot of a lot of sense. And I think was a really smart move on both Macs in m&a Spark.
Jared Fuller 27:03
So this is interesting. It started with a partnership. It did. Right. It's presented with a partnership. And then and I think there's probably opportunities out there like I'm just thinking about, you know, my own business right now I own partner program and ecosystem adrift. And the various content communities that exist that are tangential that are, you know, big to demand Gen marketers to CMOS to brand in developing partnerships with existing content communities, right, to see what works to go, Hey, should we partner more deeply with that content community, because the your ecosystem again, it's just much bigger than channel alliances. I don't know, gears are turning on how we could go out and find, you know, a sales hacker to do more partnerships with whenever you you pivoted into, you know, going into the acquisition, did you realize you were blazing a trail? Like there's been a lot of media companies that have been acquired since, you know, like, we talked about the beginning, did you realize like, hey, this might be a trend that we're setting.
Scott Barker 28:12
I think I remember thinking this is a this is a smart move, and people are gonna, people are gonna, gonna follow suit. Yeah, I don't know if I necessarily felt like we were blazing a trail. But I do. Remember being like, why, why wouldn't you do this? And then everyone, you know, just the feedback we got and the conversations I was having, like the first reaction, and most people were like, I was surprised for two seconds. And then I started nodding my head like this is this is smart. So yeah, based on the feedback, it seemed like there was maybe a wave coming
Justin Bartels 28:48
in in the partnership phase, was it outreach, you know, was imagined and developing mindshare within the sales persona by partnering with sales hacker was the what was included in the other direction? Was it sponsorship dollars was the sponsorship dollars plus other, you know, other avenues incentives at play? What did that look like? You know,
going both ways.
Scott Barker 29:12
Yeah. So there was there was a few cool cut tangential kind of benefits of the acquisition that I'm not sure if it was even fully expected or realized. But yeah, so one, sales hacker still does continue to pay for itself and the term in the form of sponsorship dollars. Another thing that was very interesting that I was able to lead the charge in is we had a lot of experience throwing large scale conferences and making money on those conferences. And usually conferences are a massive money pit for for companies where you got to go spend a lot of money and so we We're able to take some of the sales hacker model and apply it to an already successful event that outreach does unleash, and not only use our learnings to make it even bigger and better event, but also make money from it, which is, which is pretty incredible when you see a line item, like a conference and and there's, you know, a breakeven or a plus on the budget. So that was that was interesting. And, and a big benefit to to outreach. And like I said, we're able to collect cool, like surveys and just information that is very hard to get anywhere else unless you have a trusted resource. You know, we're launching executive roundtables, because, you know, we're breaking into new non ICP industries, and we just, frankly want to understand them better. So sales hacker can go out, do industry roundtables on a different vertical and just understand how we can support them better? Which is another really interesting way to do it. And yeah, constantly just kind of having your, your thumb on the I'm on the heart with thumb on the pulse thumb on the pulse. Yeah.
Justin Bartels 31:19
Yeah, that you actually lead into my next question. And with a couple points there, I'm curious to know how, you know, once sales hacker was acquired, I was a woven into the different be using groups. What I heard from that last piece is obviously it was core to the marketing, you know, organization and how and the go to market there. But it also seemed like it became almost RND for outreach to the product and figuring out how do we tackle new markets, new grounds? How else did it we've, you know, into the outreach organization over time?
Scott Barker 31:49
You Yeah, great question. And you, you nailed it with the marketing use case is pretty straightforward. Product Marketing, you know, same thing and forming product with, with r&d and different surveys that we can do. I think something important to call it is how, how it didn't get fully woven into either, right? Like that could have been the, either the smartest or the worst acquisition of all time, based on how you because you're buying trust is what you're buying. So you have to understand that and you have to honor that. Because like, for example, if you know, we'll take the hustle example, if all of a sudden the next time I read hustle, they're they're ramming HubSpot down my throat immediately, I like, I'm not gonna be down and you're gonna lose so much of that trust that you tried so hard to, to build. So they are, you know, we have a sales hacker team. And it's a team of, you know, about eight folks that are solely focused on sales, hackers growth, right. You know, they look at the outreach objectives, but like, their objective is, is sales hacker growth and maintaining the trust of that, that community. And there is never, and this is a promise we made at the get go, there's never any flow of information from sales hacker to outreach, unless it is it like sponsored, so you would, you would know, it would say, Hey, we're sharing this with the sponsoring partner. So that that never, that never happens. And I think that is an important call out too is like not trying to weave it too much, because then you lose the very kind of essence of, of what it was. And if you're only using it for commercial gain on that outreach side.
Jared Fuller 33:47
So the KPIs didn't, didn't necessarily change post acquisition in terms of your North Stars?
Scott Barker 33:54
No, not really. I would say the only way they changed slightly was, you know, when we came at it from a business that was there to you know, build a community, but also drive revenue is more about not like just pure growth. Now, it's more still growth as a metric. But, you know, weekly active users and how active are people not just you know, adding people to our, our community, but how engaged are they so weekly, active and monthly active are our, you know, two of our North Stars.
Jared Fuller 34:32
pivoting a little bit from here, Justin, this is a question that you were I think we were discussing, whenever we talked to Scott in the the pre call. He's trying to unpack a little bit about how, if you have any insight into this, it'd be great to share. How do you think the different teams at outreach, potentially use this as a competitive advantage? Let's assume you're in a sales cycle with competitor x, or you're in a renewal cycle with competitor y Whatever that is, do you think that sales hacker can play a role in providing more competitive leverage? And do their D account teams? Right? The ease or the CSM acts differently? Yeah. You know, because sales hacker is a property of outreach?
Scott Barker 35:16
Yeah, really? Great question. And that's really where I spend a lot of my time now. So my title now is head of strategic engagement, and outreach. And part of that is, is that it's how do we leverage our entire ecosystem, sales hacker being part of that in our different business units? And I can give you, you know, a couple examples. You know, one is, you know, myself and Max, have a ton of relationships from the sales hacker days, a lot of which are really strong, because we helped people have a voice when they maybe didn't have a voice. And now some of these people are influential, and they can be influential on on some deals we are. So from a relationship standpoint, it's great. If that if that fails, and you know, an ad comes to us say, Hey, we got this big target account. And, you know, who do we know, and for some reason, we don't know anyone? Well, we can use sales hacker as a form of creating a relationship, most people in a revenue facing role. No sales hacker, they've heard the name of sales hacker. And so if we were to invite them on the sales hacker podcast, or invite them on a sales hacker webinar, they're usually pretty, fairly flattered. And they're excited to do that. And an incredible thing is, it's pretty much an hour live discovery, like I could only imagine if someone was selling a specific partnership software, they could sell it to me really, really good. After listening to this, because they understand how my brain works. They understand some of my problems. My challenge is, they could circle it back to me. And if I talked to them, I'd be like, how do you? How do you know so much about this? So you can use content and media to also form relationships and do almost like a live discovery that can help inform your your overall account strategy as well, something we use quite a bit.
Justin Bartels 37:25
Scott needs clubhouse premium people, if you're out there selling?
Scott Barker 37:31
I'll take it, I'll take.
Justin Bartels 37:33
I'd love to unpack this role head of strategic engagement. What did break down for what did you do today?
What is it?
Justin Bartels 37:40
What is the normal day look like as a head of strategic engagement?
Scott Barker 37:44
Yeah, I don't know if there's a total normal day. I'll break down kind of like a very an oversimplified version. Imagine you're, you're you have an account, right. And let's say it's a huge multi million dollar, you know, SAS deal. And you either win or lose this. And then most people do like deal reviews. And you're going and you've got some executives in the table. And you're, you're talking about why you wonder why you lost. And always in that deal review, someone will be like, Oh, why didn't we do x i, that guy was I went to college with that guy, or that guy was my best man at my wedding or that gal like, I worked with her or like, why didn't I know about that, and no one really is looking completely holistically at all the relationships that you have, internally and externally, that you can leverage when you're in it in a deal, right? A ees are very focused, they're gonna hit their number of VPS. You know, they've got this certain amount of plays, but you know, they don't want to bug your VP of engineering who might know this person, whatever. So strategic engagement is a way to create pipeline, and increase deal velocity through leveraging relationships, whether that's VC firms that have put money into outreach, so they have a vested interest in our success. It's our board of directors who have an incredible amount of relationships that we can leverage they want to help out. It's all our partners, our technology partners that we have is our ecosystem and community partners that we have through through sales hacker. And it's taken a step back on some of our largest deals and getting more multi threaded, more connected executive alignment. To increase our our win rate is a simplified version.
Justin Bartels 39:41
Now you're talking my language. So I'd love to because I know there's some strategic alliance managers probably listening. We'd love to know the plays the operation, how you do it. So are reps coming to you and saying, hey, got this big deal with this whale? What do you got? You run the can you run the Scott Barker play Have you Are you going to them? What does that interaction look like?
Scott Barker 40:03
Yeah. So we try and be as proactive as possible. So we basically put together a map of our corporate strategic and enterprise accounts that we want to break into or grow this year. We then went and talked to a lot of our V series firms letter and board of directors and kind of mapped out really mapped out and made a heat map of all of those relationships. So that was one being proactive, and then surfacing those to the account executives and respective leaders, typically, because it's such a high value relationship, it will be like leader to leader. So it'll be like an intro to like our VP, or our CRM, even. And then the he will come in a little bit later. And then we also have, so we do office hours, so deal Strategy Office Hours, every week, and people fill out a Google Form ahead of time, they'll put the details of the deal has to be above a certain size, and then they'll come and we'll have three, four reps, you know, in an hour period, present on these deals, and we'll do like live workshop. And then we'll all have our different takeaways to go and, you know, invite this person on the podcast, go hit up our VC who knows this person, and do all these different things. And then, you know, I have a big time block on my calendar on on Friday afternoons for just intros to our BDR team. And as that are just like, straight, you know, LinkedIn intros that aren't, don't take, they're not as complex as some of these bigger, bigger ones. But that's, that's really what it what it looks like. And, you know, we're kind of scaling this program through, we're creating a video series that all of our reps will go through. So they understand all of the plays at their disposal, because some of these are, and they're not intuitive. Even if you've been selling a long time. These are specific to outreach, a lot of people can copy them in their own way. But they're, they're specific to outreach. So if you're stuck, go through this. And then, you know, we're trying to get this sort of relationship heatmap in Salesforce as well, which is proven more, more difficult than initially prospect. expected. But there's, there's a good sass company in there somewhere for
Justin Bartels 42:31
me to get a call, you're gonna get a LinkedIn dm about that one. Yeah,
yeah. Well, I love that I love it,
Justin Bartels 42:38
to take a little bit of a pivot and kind of, you know, really frame our conversation here. I think you've laid out a great playbook for one thinking about a different type of partnership, which is this media partnership, and this, you know, teaming up with media companies, like sales hacker, like our hustle. And and how do you sell it internally? What do you do? How does it manifest as value?
Justin Bartels 43:03
you know, what's your recommendation to others? If they're thinking about this, and just thinking about it for the first time? And, and maybe where where does it go wrong? And how do you avoid that?
Scott Barker 43:12
Yeah, in terms of like building out a partner ecosystem. So I think there's two things I'll I'll highlight if I could go back and redo it, where I would shift some focus. So number one, and it's kind of something I'm actively going through right now, personally and with, with kind of the some of the programs we built is, it's not always about scale. Right? I think there was this actually misinformed idea that the bigger the community is, you know, the more nodes in a community, the more valuable it will be. That was the that was the Facebook model that is like everything, you get more people in the community, that means there's more connection. So that means that it should be more valuable. I don't know if that is the case. anymore, I think you see diminishing returns at a certain size, because quality of that community takes a hit. And if one person goes to another person with questionable advice, or a questionable introduction, that brings the whole the whole system down. And the people that are adding the most value in that ecosystem that you create, get bogged down by, you know, requests and all sorts of things from people that maybe aren't adding as much value. So that's one thing I would say I would I would focus on quality of relationship vers quantity, and a lot of partner programs I've seen over the course of my career. I've just like the wrong KPIs, like signing up new partners all day. It's not awesome, but he's not like that. That's not that's not doing anything until they bear bear fruit. And you can only do that when you with focused attention on authentic relationships and the, the quality, not the quantity. So that's one. And then number two, just if you're just getting started map out. And this was helpful for me back in the day, Matt mapped out like your partner ladder. And what I say my partner ladder is, it's really important to know where your service or product fits within kind of like a buyer maturity. So here's an example. In software, the partner ladder, it follows the buyer maturity model. So for sales technology, for example, a buyer is first going to look at CRM, right? That's like table stakes, everyone's got a CRM these days, and then they're probably going to layer in a sales engagement platform. And then maybe they're going to do a sales enablement, platform, and then they're probably going to grab chat, and then maybe they'll do conversational intelligence, and then so on, and so forth. And it's really important to understand where you are on that. Because what you'll find if you don't know where you're at, and you're just spending time with all these different partners, whoever's coming your way, the people that are coming your way, are lower on the ladder than you. And therefore you don't get that much value coming back to you. You're just funneling value their way, which has a time in place, but you're never receiving any. So where you need to be focused on your efforts of building relationships are the people that are above the ladder than you. And that's where you'll you'll get more than, than you give, and you'll have to find different ways to give to them. Perfect example of that is through media. So yeah, that's that's the two things I would say focus on quality, not quantity, and understand where you've fit on the partner ladder.
Jared Fuller 47:02
That is some sage advice, Dr. Barker. For those folks that aren't aware, before we wrap up, just a reminder that this episode of partner up and I'm just kidding, that we're partnered up with the cloud software Association. So come on to Scott mentioned slack groups and slack fatigue but we do got a slack group is full of awesome stuff. So come check that out. If you have follow on questions around Scott building content or communities. Scott, where can people find you LinkedIn Twitter, where are you posting you most of your your gold stuff, sales hacker these days and sales hacker podcast.
Scott Barker 47:38
So I would say LinkedIn, follow Scott Barker. And then I do write a weekly newsletter as well called the forecast. You can just type in the forecast newsletter in Google and I think it should should pop up the form.
Jared Fuller 47:50
I love that that's a great newsletter name or words, right?
Jared Fuller 47:54
yeah. So when one so before we get into see if there's any questions in q&a, what I want to end on this hot take, who's next? What's the next one? Who's the next company media company or even media asset? I'll say not even company media asset that's gonna get bought by a known tech company. Um,
Scott Barker 48:13
I think I think they'll get an offer I don't know if they actually will go through it because I know the founder of well, but I think I think it would make sense for like a Salesforce to try and buy revenue collective. But I don't think Sam would. I don't think Sam would do that. But I think that that could be a very real possibility.
Jared Fuller 48:34
That's a smart one. That's a smart one. Justin, do you got one?
Justin Bartels 48:36
Yeah. That was what I was thinking too. I feel like that's, you know, the most prominent one I hear about that it doesn't have a home like that. And then I'm trying to think of the just other daily newsletters that my friends and family love, you know, for different reasons. But yeah, ruff ruff collect is it was the one I was thinking of, too.
Jared Fuller 48:56
I got a I got a hot take. And this one's weird, because it's it's literally just a Google group forum modern sales pros. Yeah, I feel like Pete might realize, like, you know, he's got atrium and his startup there. But there might very well might be some company so focused on sales ops that like a Clary or something is like, hey, Pete. We need DevOps. Like we need that leadership in that scale, like modern sales pros has been, I mean, it's an email listserv. I've been on for like five years, and I still check it out. I don't know if I check it every day. But I check it pretty often. multiple times a week. I never check, email destroy listservs.
Scott Barker 49:35
Yeah, that's a good call. I think you're you're probably right in that one
Jared Fuller 49:38
for sure. Cool. Well, before we go, I want to make sure if you haven't seen if you haven't seen us, you said something that was really amazing. If you haven't seen us on YouTube. In our intro, it actually says partnerships are about trust and sacrifices. Scott, what you highlighted for us here today is the Partnerships really are about trust, right? So you can have it at the strategic engagement level at the community level. So that's my shameless plug. For those folks of you who are listening on Apple podcasts on Spotify to come check us out on YouTube. Make sure you like and subscribe there. And if you are listening on Apple podcasts, make sure to leave us a five star review, especially after having Dr. Barker are on here today. And we will see you next time. Thank you so much, Scott.
Scott Barker 50:23
Thanks, gentlemen. That was fun.
Jared Fuller 50:26
Let's see chat. We got a couple here. So for a new startup through go to market fund, what's your advice to plan their first 90 day first year partnership strategy? Or if it's worth it at all? Right? So if someone's coming in for the first time, that's
Scott Barker 50:39
interesting. So first, if I was a startup, my first 90 days, how would I think about my partnership strategy? That is, that is a good question. I would say, keep a keep a finger on the pulse, I would say I wouldn't have a formal strategy, there's enough to figure out in the first 90 days, what I would say is take the meetings, take the calls, understand people that are are coming to you and understand what a partner could look like. And then kind of start to put a framework together of what you think a tier one and tier two and a tier three partner could look like and start bucketing some of these conversations that you're you're having. And that will help inform your strategy down the line. And then I actually retract that a little bit, I would go outbound for the five, six people, organizations in your space that you that you hope to be like, and you had admire and just get those relationships started. And just have exploratory conversations of how they work with partners, how their ecosystem is set up, how you could potentially join forces in the future.
Jared Fuller 52:07
Love it, love it. And then we got a cheeky comment here. Why is partner not on outreach.io? homepage? What's the gap?
Scott Barker 52:16
What is it? Why is partner not on outreach?
Jared Fuller 52:18
I'm guessing that you don't have a link in your footer to like a partner program. Maybe that's why it says a cheeky
Scott Barker 52:26
cheeky comment. Well, more Well, we'll get it more front and center. I actually don't even know where it is, I would say here. Here's my equally cheeky answer, kind of going back to the the partner ladder. There's a lot of sales tech companies out there right now. That's obviously this category just absolutely exploded. So there's a lot of small startups that always want to work with us. We have an incredible partnerships team that is in meetings all day long, just like fielding, though. So I think it's one of those things that we we don't want it overly front and center because we were lucky to get a lot of inbound already from people wanting to partner.
Jared Fuller 53:09
You're just trying to partner with the Accenture's and the Lloyds, that's, that's all you care about at this stage outreaches growth, you just want the gsis none of these low level sales consultants. No, I'm kidding. But I understand I understand the point. We've we've had to put adrift bought two highly qualified partner applicants on our site. Yeah. To be like, oh, yep. Sorry. That's go see our community page for this.
Scott Barker 53:31
Yeah, yeah, partner is such a vague term. So you do get it a ton. If you were to put it front and center. You'd be fielding those all day long.
Jared Fuller 53:40
last quick one. Scott. You mentioned that you work with startups, any startup accelerators that you think are doing great things?
Scott Barker 53:49
startup accelerators that are doing great things. I was on a panel the other day with with Sean Shepard, it sounds like he's doing some some cool things. It's called it's scale x, I believe is his that his accelerator? sounded interesting based on the panel. You know, there's almost certainly one's in your area. There is a ton of incredible content on LinkedIn. We may be toying with, with something that maybe Can I can get more into that next episode. But I'll leave it there. I'll tease that a little bit.
Jared Fuller 54:34
Yeah, there's some there's a good network high alpha is one that I'm shout out. Next. Gen Linehan and Kevin Linehan on my team, Jen works at high alpha that I've seen, actually advise a company that's from high office, I've been impressed with what they've been able to do is like a startup studio for b2b like SAS companies. But there's actually like accelerators. There's tons of accelerators, so many tons of accelerators. If you're looking for like studios, More like hands on like actual help. I think the startup studio space is pretty interesting. But they also incubate a lot of their own ideas, but that looks like we're wrapping on chat. So I'm gonna whack this stop record button and thank you folks from the CSA for joining in and we will see you next time.