022 - Build, Buy, or Partner - Jared and Justin Special

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Jared & Justin catch up on some of the tactical tips Drift uses to drive partner sourced pipeline (plus the shot they have at growing is 300% this quarter!) and take a deeper dive into the corp-dev question of build, buy, or partner.

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Justin Bartels  00:21
It was good. I mean, it's, it's Jared right Jerry gets excited. Putting decks together and making bold claims. Both.

Jared Fuller  00:29
It's not a bold claim, like we have a chance. So I won't give away the numbers. But we have a shot at growing partner source pipeline at drift by 300%. This quarter. What 300%. So I put a spiff if you will, A, A. If we reach that target, by the end of April, there is a very nice prize at the end of the tunnel for the team that I'm excited for. So we'll see if we can get there. We grow it by 300%, this quarter from last quarter.

Justin Bartels  00:59
What would you attribute has been the biggest shift? I mean, it's a big, it's a big, it's a big change. But what what would you attribute that to looking back?

Jared Fuller  01:08
It's it's not the fun stuff. It's those one to 3% improvements that have been painful, beyond what most I mean, if you're in partnerships, you know, pain, right? There's channel conflict, there's motivating other people that aren't on your payroll. There's the fact that other than the cloud software Association, which you need to go check out if you're not a member of there's no community, right? You feel alone, like for Justin, I moved you from Montana with all your friends out to Boston, then a pandemic hit and then you're like, Oh, I'm in partnership. So like, I'm really alone. Now. By the way, are you going back to Montana?

Justin Bartels  01:43
TBD. TBD? TBD. Okay,

Jared Fuller  01:45
we'll cover that later episode. I thought I could get that to drop on this. On this episode, we will launch a poll for the audience is that she moved back to Montana or not? I mean, I would I would I love Montana has this problem. I will say I will say I love the West. Yeah, so I mean, it's a bunch of one to 3% improvements is the way that I'd categorize it. Like there's no one thing that shifted in the last, you know, since what q4 is when we change the channel motion. On the Alliance side, it's been, I'd say execution primarily is like the been the focus. But where we go from here, I'd say, we're probably about to enter into a new phase of alliances, where we're probably making strategic changes in bets and investments that are similar to how we change the channel program in q4. That's probably coming q2, q3 as we start to get a lot more strategic with how we think about our alliances, and then even building out the ISV side of the program, right, which you and I both had our hands in that cookie jar, and like, you slap my hand out, and I slap your hand out, and then I have to put both my hands and it's like, I spent more

Justin Bartels  02:50
time saying no to people, you know, like people want to partner they want help the Minnesota and me as a tough time saying no, you know,

Jared Fuller  02:57
I get it, man. I'm in a lot of those calls, too. I mean, a lot of ISP calls that I have to be very polite and kind and tell them no, right. And that's just the reality. But speaking of like channel and alliances, I think the theme of today's episode, we're going to talk about build by partner, then that's a phrase that people have used a lot in kind of the upper echelons of BD, when you're partnering up with a tech Alliance or a sumo, like, do we build this functionality? Do we, you know, buy someone that small, where we can kind of get that technology? Or do we partner with someone that's already kind of ahead of the pack, or like the type of brand we want to associate with? But before we dive into that, Justin, you started this conversation with an interesting question that I want to wrap back and forth on with you for a little bit is how to integrate your alliances, you know, tech partners, program, and like really the teammates, and the solutions or agency service side, because the day in the life in a lot of ways. And the quarterly objectives are often measured, very similarly to source revenue influence revenue pipeline, the activities at the top of the funnel from like a, what we call an account review, which that might even be worth talking about, like, right, that seems very similar from an alliance and a channel partner perspective, let's define for the audience what we call an account review.

Justin Bartels  04:25
Yeah, it's like, what we'd call an account review is there's been shown some interest from either side and potential for a customer and account that either one party is working with, or both parties are working with, to expand what they're doing with that customer, or introduce them to a partner. And so when we say account sync, we're typically meaning we're bringing the partner and our company and their representatives from our company that represent that account or on that account team. together on a call to discuss Okay, who owns what relationship what is the current state, share insight on the account and develop a partner hypothesis and a value hypothesis. For that account, so, for us on the tech alliances side, it's saying how does drift work really well with the technologies of our partners? And how does that then align to an initiative that the customer has ideally, an out of that call, you get a next step of engaging that account or progressing an opportunity, or working on an introduction plan, or sometimes just acknowledging like, oh, we're both stuck. If I get anything, I'll make sure to let you know, make sure that you know, to help you out when I get a little more leeway. But that's typically what what we mean, I think, you know, I'll let you cover the channel side of it. But I think it's very similar.

Jared Fuller  05:33
It's the same, it's the exact same, right? Like, it's, it's just a documented play that we measure to understand, do we have the top of funnel activity to drive partner pipeline, either on the source or the influence side? And that's what emanates kind of like, partner attach rate. And the question, though, that you kind of posed is like, what happens when Adobe and lead MD or Adobe and bounteous, or digitus, or sapient, or your old alma mater proficient? Whenever you and a channel rep, are in the same account, or vice versa? Like how to leverage how we're working? So similarly? together? Yeah, I think there's been a couple instances where we've seen these things operate, I think on parallel paths, meaning you've worked, you know, Adobe contacts and accounts, and then a channel rep has worked, you know, a channel partners, contacts and accounts, and then they were both loosely associated with the pipe and the deal. But at the end of the day, I think one of the questions that you probably wanted to get to is like, finance probably doesn't want to triple contract.

Justin Bartels  06:43
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of, yeah, there's a lot of questions like, what's the playbook? You know, one, I definitely think it should be part of your, I think it's a sign of a good strategy that those worlds are colliding, right. Because if your channel account team is over here, working partners with accounts that don't overlap with your tech alliances, you know, unless you're, you have a ton of market to play with like, that means they're maybe not focused from a strategic perspective, a level higher on the same type of customer that we're trying to break into, right? Because it starts with the, the TAM, you're trying to go after. And then from there, you're looking at the partners that surround that Tam, or as part of that ecosystem, right. So I think first off, it's a good sign that they're running into each other, right? Because that means we're working with the partners that work with the customers we want to break into, both from a tech and channel perspective. But there's a whole playbook that we haven't sat down and put together right, and we're strategy we haven't I think we've worked well, because our team is smart. And they know, we get along and we all roll up to the same person. Right? But would be really curious to know if the audience knows if somebody is really good at designing that channel, tech alliances, collaboration, right? And how those approaches come together and work together. What does that tactically look like? What is that strategic look like? What does that look like from an operations perspective? Because that's usually the biggest hindrance is like, Alright, only got one partner to put in this partner field who's gonna get it? And if it's not, partner x, then partner wise gonna be pretty butthurt.

Jared Fuller  08:14
I think that's, um, it's a question that I bet people get at a certain inflection point. I mean, the way that I think about architecting, a partnership strategy is that I'm not going after an account, I'm going after an ecosystem to build my ecosystem. Right. And from the very beginning, I knew that was the play was like marchetto, Adobe, and I won't name the other two that were going after afterwards. It was like Marketo, and Adobe. And what that meant was, we have the direct relationships with the Adobe Marketo, sellers, CSM, you know, and even executive alignment, but also the access and the capabilities of CO delivering and co selling and influence of those marchetto and Adobe agencies, right. So at the top level, that was the strategy from the beginning. And I don't think I'd hit an inflection point in business development or partnerships, where those two worlds really collided from a channel conflict within channel standpoint. Right, right. How are we comping both partners? And I don't know that I have a good answer. And that's why I don't know that we I don't know that there's a there's definitely a thought leader out there somewhere that knows how to get that collaboration between Alliance teams and channel teams. I want to talk to them so right she just sent me a DM messages on Twitter, LinkedIn, wherever, ping us in the cloud software Association. I want to talk to this person that knows how to really get their channel team and their alliance team working together in a way that makes finance your friend

Justin Bartels  09:48
Yeah, that's the that's the Triple Crown right? Are both parties happy and finance happy? Because two can be happy. A finance might not be, you know, yeah, way around,

Jared Fuller  09:56
right. So we We got to talk to that person. One thing that came up, though, Justin, that we actually just talked about today that I think is actually worth pointing out is there's a lot of capabilities that we want to deliver inside of, you know, our big tech Alliance partners. So normally, if you have a big tech Alliance partner that you know, public, you know, Sumo in your space, you have to assume they have multiple product lines, they're segmented by geo territory, vertical industry, whatever. And these solutions, the solutions that they have probably hit different parts of the buyers journey, or it hits different parts of their tech stack. And your solution, the product that you sell, potentially has multiple ways of integrating drift, you know, we have Marketo, but we know we need to integrate with analytics. There's the Adobe Experience platform, there's stuff that's yet to be announced that we know is coming that we also want to play with. And what we were talking about today was actually pretty interesting, is like, we have some partners, that are Adobe partners that know how to build on their API's that are tech people. And we're building an integrations team on the product side here at drift. But why can't we have those partners? Go build some of these integrations that we want for the ecosystem? I feel like that's a win, win win.

Justin Bartels  11:18
Right? And why that? Why can't they be, you know, proof of concept number one for your dev platform to write if you're gonna bring them into that motion and working with your team to develop an integration? probably a good time to also get feedback on like, hey, how do we make this accessible to us? So you don't need us to build on top of this, if you want to build something specific to your industry, or expand on our product line and how we how our product delivers value to your customers. I think it's just a great move, especially if you want to pay like great, great sign for the partnership like good, good avenue that I think we skipped over a little bit in our head, to be honest, right? We didn't necessarily think directly about it, we've been well, we

Jared Fuller  11:59
did it once before we did it with our partner integration, we leveraged a on a Salesforce agency to help us build that. So like we've leveraged it in the past, but I don't think we really committed to the concept of like, hey, let's go knock a lot of these out with some key partners until right literally yesterday, right? This is like real time where it's like, Yeah, let's go do this. Like, right, we can do more by leveraging our ecosystem. And that helps the Alliance conversation. And it helps highlight what we can do with our partners. And then you just complicated by saying it should be built on platform, which is actually an argument I was just having today with the pm of our integrations team and our Chief Product officer was like, Hey, we should probably just build this internal. And I'm like, No, let's build it on the platform. Right? It's the one that it's like, well, the API's might not be there. And I'm like, but what would it take for the API's? You just brought together just in all three components, right? tech alliances, channel partners, and then dev platform. I mean, those are the, those are the three buckets of BD. And I definitely will be pushing to whatever we can build on the platform with partners that I would want to build on the platform, because you're right, like, how many sales force, you know, like, consulting shops, also have apps on the app exchange? Like it's a that's a very common thing, tons.

Justin Bartels  13:18
And they will they build products to make running Salesforce a lot easier, right? Like, they're almost like filling in your product gaps in your roadmap until you decide whether you want to build, you know, build it yourself, or maybe by him, you know, which leads into our top leads into the next topic.

Jared Fuller  13:33
Yeah, like there's a, we have one partner right now, market link, shout out market link. They've been kind of a dark horse. In that they've been doing some really cool stuff for some drift customers. And we looked at, so they were doing some implementations. And we looked at some of the customer health and we're like, Hey, this is actually pretty good. Like, wait, they're doing, they're doing implementations and optimizations for public companies. Some of our Wait, that's a case study customer, wait, no one knew market link was in there. And we started talking to them. And then they also have a, an integration. And they have their own little proprietary tech called lift.ai. Yeah, that they've built that really optimizes, I'm actually doing a webinar with them in like two weeks about how to better convert anonymous traffic with drift and their solution lift AI. And it's kind of coming full circle and that they know what it takes to make a customer healthy. And they've developed a technology that helps make customers more healthy and get more value out of the product that really could be platformed and be a part of the drift integration ecosystem. I think scale. So is the first time I'm doing a platform built integration, you know, webinars supporting a partner because they've done so much great stuff, which leads to that question of like, wow, drift, we've never really thought about anonymous visitor, targeting and conversion. Right. We've thought about what we do with Marketo. conversational ABM, identifying calm tax, we thought about our partnership with six cents in demand base and clear bit where we're doing ABM. But what about the people we have no information on? That's like 95% of traffic. Yeah, that's like actually the biggest component of traffic on most websites, and they figured out a novel solution. So it's like, Huh, should we build what they're doing? Right copy? Should we buy him? Obviously, I'm not saying that this is a really unassociated with drift, and we did not have authority. So like, that is not happening, whatever crimes disclaimer, you know, or do we partner right, and we're partnering right now. And like, that's, that's awesome. Because they're doing, you know, onboarding for a lot of our customers. And we're doing co marketing now, right around this, hey, here's some thought leadership on how you can do better anonymous visitor conversion through through chat. And I think whenever you look at yourself as a company, as you know, we're a series C, two series D phase, startup in hyper growth mode. It's very rare that you think of those phrases built by our partner. But if you talk to the Chief Strategy officers that IE VP of corporate development, the whatever at any of these sumos, that's the three words that they use built by our partner. Right. And I think we've seen it drift, various versions of that, but we've never thought critically about it. You know, as as a whole. Maybe we could start off with this, Justin, and maybe some of our learnings around build, buy in partner and kind of talking through some of the things where we've decided to make bets, you know, one way or the other, and how other companies have thought about the same the same way without getting too much into the details. Maybe the first one we could talk about is you know, our what was our quarterly our cue MP our big release for last quarter? virtual selling assistance. Virtual selling assistance, is known as otter AI. Right, right. Like, this is a story that at least is told publicly, so we're not divulging private information. So shout out to Dr. Oregon, and do it themselves. Yeah. I've actually got to learn what real AI is, over the past couple months. And it's incredible, like, what true classification, training, building based models and then customer models and how that all works, and the different types of data like intent data versus event data. And that resulted from this guy at MIT. So he doctor oriented his thesis on conversational AI, his doctoral thesis, and human aleus met up and I think what he What did he say, to really challenge? Your bots suck, and I can show you a better bot or something like that. I swear it was that Yeah, yeah, that's totally what he said, like, your bots suck. I can build a bot that kills your bot. And we have the best bots in the world. And he's like, oh, shoot. No, we don't. Yeah. And then what he realized really quickly was like, there is a lot to I mean, now it's patented tech, right? So like, this is patented technology. This is not like some fake AI thing. We realized really quickly, it's like, No, we can't, there's no way we can potentially replicate that. I mean, this guy studied it for 10 years, right? Like, this is not something that I just go copy is this the actual computer science at work? And that was a situation of by, right, like, this was core technology that we needed to build into our platform to kind of disrupt ourselves. Right, right. Like we got the call of the shot, there was, you know, as a co founder decision, as a CTO decision that like we needed to disrupt ourselves from our future selves before someone else did. And I think that is actually probably how I would think about build, buy or partner, why do you need to buy? And a lot of people probably approach that from a competitive standpoint. And I actually like how at least thought about that aleus wasn't thinking about the competition. He was thinking about himself, who's thinking about drift, and he was thinking, I need to out innovate my future self, can I out innovate this person? No, they've already out innovated me, they need to be a part of this product.

Justin Bartels  19:25

Jared Fuller  19:26
And I think that might be the novel way of thinking about build by a partner. Why do you need to buy is that you're out innovating your future self, right? Like you're disrupting yourself for the future? Because I mean, if you're an Adobe or a Salesforce or whoever I mean, if you're not just making acquisitions to add arr to your, you know, s ones and your quarterly filings, which some public SaaS companies do, they just acquire companies and then they add them into their look, our revenue grew. Yeah, we spent 40x multiple on it, but our revenue grew right But you didn't mention any names. But that does happen too. But I think the smart acquisitions are the ones where they really are disrupting themselves for like the future market state. Right. Right. Let's, let's talk about a different example.

Justin Bartels  20:12
Well, that's Yeah, I think it's good for the for the people like me, let's let's put into these buckets. Because, like I've seen, I've seen a couple of the reasons why right? competition, which we just kind of talked about tangentially sling, I call that I call the the one we just described it slingshotting yourself, like, you're slingshotting yourself forward in development, to, you know, to build a product that could disrupt you, if you don't build it, you know, if you don't acquire it. Definitely access to customers is like another bucket. And that's probably ties into the, you know, just directly hitting the bottom line with some revenue. What are the other

Jared Fuller  20:48
expansion of persona? I guess you could say? Like, yeah, so maybe it's the same account, but you're trying to break into a different persona, a different division. Right. Right. That's probably a very interesting way of thinking about it. What are you what what are the buckets? You've seen? That? That leads you by? Yeah, so I talked about the disrupting yourself or how you put a slingshot. I think I would categorize it if I if I think about the good people I know in Corp dev in m&a. Which I have a I'm definitely not the expert there. But I have a latent interest in it's an area of SAS development that fascinates me because these are often market making moves. Right? Like these moves, make markets and they potentially can change the directory of a company or they can really just be giant failures. I mean, look at look at Yammer. Like I'm a big fan of David Sachs, giant fan of David Sachs. I listened to the all in podcast every Friday with Jason Calacanis and Shan Ma. And David Sachs and David freeburg. I love those VC guys, and David Sachs built Yammer. And for those young uns out there that weren't in SAS in 2014. You know, Yammer was the predecessor to slack, right? And Yammer sold to Microsoft for, you know, what was it a billion dollars, and that was like, wow, 2014 like, that's, that's as big as exit as you're gonna get. And then you fast forward seven years later, and slack sells for 28 billion. It's like, well, you left 27 billion on the table, David. But why? why what happened there, like Microsoft recognize the power of being at the front of communications. So I think there's also some bets that are made that aren't necessarily on features functionality, but perhaps where markets are moving or like underlying consumer behavior. So like with Yammer, Yammer was actually too early. That's what's funny, Yammer was too early. Not everyone was bought into messaging at that age group,

Justin Bartels  21:21
it was still email to go to for communication internally

Jared Fuller  22:41
bingo like the disruption of real time, like people weren't ready for it, because everyone was not like, that age group of user of Yammer or of slack is not 20 somethings. It's 30s 40s 50s. Right? Like, that's where you really need to sell into and get that adoption. And in 2010 1112 1314, let's really think back then, you know, where your 30 something friends, your 40 something friends really checking their phone every 15 minutes. Like they weren't, it wasn't,

Justin Bartels  23:34
it wasn't as tied to us, right? We weren't sleeping with it. We weren't we didn't have it next to us at all points in time. If we weren't addicted to it, right?

Jared Fuller  23:44
You don't have that. I don't even think that was actually a phrase then. The phone was a tool, not a problem, right? And then, like messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, we chat Snapchat, like Facebook, got adopted by a lot of that age group. And it started to permeate as like the normal form of communication. Like, actually, if I think back to 2014 2015, all the business partners and Associates I had then like, I don't even think they knew how to text. I text them and it'd be like, they'd give me a call immediately.

Justin Bartels  24:21

Jared Fuller  24:22
right. Like it was just messaging was not part of their life. So they, I think Microsoft recognize the value of messaging and the value of social networks. So they were making a legacy bet on social networks being a b2b play, because Yammer had the social component to it, in addition to the messaging, and they recognized like, hey, the fastest growing part of the consumer segment in 2014 was messaging, by far. So they made that bet but they were too early. I mean, how do you know when you're too early? Like it's you just never really know. I mean, the only guy that I've ever seen that really said was the founder of Instagram. What He said, he said, I'm not here to pick the winners of tomorrow. I'm here to pick the winners of today. Right, like, and all he did was make this simple. like Instagram is the simplest mobile app. It's still successful. It's so simple.

Justin Bartels  25:16
Now, I'm curious why you say it was too early. Why do you sick because of the difference was too early? Yeah.

Jared Fuller  25:21
Can you go log into Yammer today?

Justin Bartels  25:25
Did it not become teams? Or is that or my?

Jared Fuller  25:28
Oh, no, definitely not. No, that's like a whole other infrastructure. Like it's a different thing like Yammer. Okay, but I think they learned enough to build. Right? But they only learned because slack was successful.

Justin Bartels  25:42
Gotcha. Gotcha, right. Like Yammer became teams. And I was like, Oh, I mean, if you look at

Jared Fuller  25:47
No, none of the infrastructure like, none of it's the same. I think it was a bet like Microsoft was willing to make that billion dollar bet. In the pursuit of $100 billion opportunity. Microsoft team's potential values $100 billion opportunity. Easy. Maybe more. Like if slack was bought for 28 billion, and Microsoft has what? Almost 5x? At least for x the weekly active users. I'd say that's $100 billion opportunity if I'm Microsoft.

Justin Bartels  26:18
Yeah, yeah.

Jared Fuller  26:20
So I think that's the point is that, like, big sumos are going to be making bets on market making shifting gigantic moves and consumer behavior. So Yammer was that first acquisition? And was it wildly successful? No, I mean, David Sachs made some money. And now he has Kraft ventures and is influencing the future of SAS forever. Like he's made some of the best investments. I think he's had nine unicorn exits this year alone. But if you look at what happened after the fact, slack came about, and it's like that really validated messaging, as a business primary communication layer. And then, you know, Microsoft, it took them a while to catch up. And now they accelerated forward with teams and by large part and reason due to their ecosystem. Yeah, right. Yeah. Right. Like they had the distribution there when slack didn't, which is why slack had to sell because Microsoft was coming in and just destroying slack in these deals, because they already had paper. Right? They already had paper. So I said, that'd be the other bucket is you're making a strategic bet on the future state of a market, right? And you're willing to take the loss, or you're willing to wait until the market develops? Right? So Microsoft made an early bet. I mean, think about it this way. How early was Microsoft at buying Skype? I mean, when Microsoft acquired Skype. When did that happen?

Justin Bartels  27:46
I don't know that man.

Jared Fuller  27:48
And Skype is still around. But when was that? That was in 2011. And they bought Skype for 8.5 billion. So now they got like, you know, 10 billion tied up in these messaging platform. 2011. That was a risky bet. Yeah. That's it. That's a $9 billion $8.5 billion acquisition in 2011. So Microsoft saw what was happening. Skype didn't really turn into the thing the market wasn't ready yet. You know, Yammer is like, oh, social, if we add the social component on it. That's what we really captured business messaging, it didn't really quite catch on yet. slack comes out. consumer behavior catches up with the vision. slack takes off. And then Microsoft's like, Alright, we integrate office into this bundle. We put everything together, we call it teams, distribute through our ecosystem, we have the bet. If Microsoft writes off, its 10 billion invested in Yammer and Skype. Then they just built $100 billion business. Yeah, so what?

Justin Bartels  28:46
So what would you say about LinkedIn? Too early, too late right on time?

Jared Fuller  28:49
Ooh, that's a good one. That's a good one.

Justin Bartels  28:52
And what do you think? What bucket would you put that one in there?

Jared Fuller  28:56
That's a good one. Because,

Justin Bartels  28:59
because that definitely seemed like competitive land grab for some social network. And it made much more sense for them to grab the b2b business than, you know,social network.

Jared Fuller  29:07
I don't know that LinkedIn was a Microsoft acquisition if Microsoft hadn't bought Yammer. Right? Like, I don't know that Yammer would have happened if they hadn't bought Skype. Right. I don't know that teams wouldn't have happened if they hadn't done those other things. So there is some vision of of the market that if you're not thinking about it, you don't understand that Microsoft really had a good command of so the LinkedIn acquisition, I don't think they know what they're doing with it. I honestly don't, but the fundamentals of the LinkedIn business are so strong that they're saying let's not screw around with it for now. Like let's really give them the resources the access the paper, right? So like, Hey, we want to sell, you know, enterprise sales nav licenses into some gigantic company. Let's make the Paper processmaker. But let's not try to like integrate it into the entire Microsoft stack and screw it up. I think that was a different type of acquisition for Microsoft and that it's, it was a genius bet they're not going to lose any money. They don't quite know where it's going yet. But it's what what trends is that playing into? I think it's it's definitely playing into the vision bucket. It's the I would say the decentralization of demand generation. That's that's a funky phrase. Yeah. decentralization of demand generation. There's so many individual thought leaders and people putting out content that TechCrunch or wired or Forrester or Gartner these, these bigger institutions used to serious decisions, right. They used to have a command of and people in b2b would look to Gartner, Forrester, serious whoever to gain industry knowledge. And LinkedIn is decentralizing that, but it's also a demand Gen function. Right. So like, if you look at drift origin story, Dave Gearhart. Right. I mean, you really can't write drift story without talking about David Earhart. And of course, David canceled being the mentor that kind of helped guide him. Dave was sharing all the secrets. But it was also a big part of our demand Gen strategy.

Justin Bartels  31:25
Right. Right.

Jared Fuller  31:26
The big part of our demand? Gen. Sure. I mean, there's no secret that drift benefited from LinkedIn as much as any company. Right, would you? Oh, I'll let you finish. No, I say like in the vision, that vision bucket, right, like there is a vision of a future state where businesses have this new channel, which is their employees, for acquiring talent, acquiring customers, so you have the decentralization of acquiring customers and the decentralization of acquiring talent, like I do all of my hiring through LinkedIn. Right, 100% of my hiring is done through LinkedIn, I think Microsoft recognizes that, but they're not quite sure where that lands in the Microsoft brand. And I don't think that they need to, they just know it's a trend that isn't going to go away in the near term.

Justin Bartels  32:11
Right, maybe it's like under a broader bracket of access to attention, or access to persona. Because if you think about it, like it's getting the trend, I guess this is getting harder and harder to build an audience, right. So if you've been, you know, if you acquire the entire audience, and where the audiences are gathering, if you acquire the the center of the city, then you are adapting to that trend, in that you are the You're the one place where that there is all the attention, there is all the audience there, there are other personas that you can then sell off, right, or sells this data or sells advertising dollars. But I think that's also within the bucket of like the hustle and, and sales hacker and those acquisitions of like, they're buying access to a persona and audience and attention. Because that's getting harder and harder, right. And the one benefit of LinkedIn as I think I personally think they're gonna, they're turning it into their marketing platform. And it's going to be that because it has one benefit over over every other marketing platform, and it has the audience already baked in for the people you want to sell to. Or it's like, if I buy, if I buy a marketing automation platform, or CRM, I gotta go pay Microsoft, you know, to drive leads to my website, I got to go create a bunch of content, I got to pay Google, I got to go pay all these parties just to say, hey, veer off from the city center and come over here to my website, you know, and at the end of the day, like you need to spend it for those platforms to work, you have to build an audience on them. So you can capture the data, turn that into outcomes for your business.

Jared Fuller  33:52
I mean, everyone, whenever it happened, I was thinking about how is Microsoft going to use LinkedIn data, right to like better their CRM or marketing automation offerings. And I think the way you framed it is the right way of thinking about it. They're not going to, they're not going to integrate LinkedIn and Microsoft Dynamics and like some flashy way that you can't get through other platforms, what they care about is controlling the eyeballs and the attention. What they care about is the fact that LinkedIn will continue to morph into something that is more valuable because that's where the attention is.

Justin Bartels  34:28
And, you know, look at it's already gone from being what was basically just like, upload your resume, and like, connect with people, you know, to the Instagram for business of like, you're on there, engaging in consuming thought leadership, taking content, learning about other people in your field and what they're doing what they're working on having conversations is like search, research. I mean, it's all your prospecting stuff, like it's your third window open right? If you're a seller, if you're a professional, you've got Slack, you've got email, you've got probably the one system that pertains to your role. And then you've got LinkedIn.

Jared Fuller  35:09
I mean, honestly, if I think about it, that is the one, if there was only one tech, not like Jared, you can start a company. And you have six months, and you only have one technology, not a website. Not like literally one, you can have Salesforce, you can have outreach, you can have anything. The one license I would buy would be LinkedIn. That is the one license I would buy above and beyond anything else, because I could spin up a page, I can find my audience, I can message people, I can interact, I can produce content, I can create leads. If you think about it, I think that might actually be the only one where you can do that. Right? I mean, there's marketplaces like Fiverr, and Upwork, where you can, you know, kind of have some of that demand pre screened. But I think you could build an outsize business where you could even hire, right like, you give me You give me 250 grand in six months, I could probably have a $2.5 million business just on LinkedIn, if that was the goal, right? Like go make it happen, you probably could not have that you could do that on any other platform. Not to say that I could per se just like, that's possible with just LinkedIn. And what's crazy, is just how comprehensive and exhaustive and broad of a business model that is. Like it might be. I would venture to say it's probably the most innovative business model of this century. In b2b.

Justin Bartels  36:40

Jared Fuller  36:40
Because they have so many diversified revenue streams. They're really pandemic and like recession proof, because jobs like hiring skyrockets. Well, guess what? They have jobs, they can monetize that hiring, you know, falls off a cliff, guess what? They have job search, right? looking for jobs, and they're paying for that?

Justin Bartels  36:59
Let me talk about owning the market, right. Yeah, yeah, the underlying floor.

Jared Fuller  37:07
That's this is this has turned into a LinkedIn ad

Justin Bartels  37:09
and they pay they they're paying Well, from an ad perspective, they're paying you to like exit people out of it to go to your store, right? Go to your, your part of the world. It's like, okay, you want to drive traffic from my center of the city, okay, it's gonna cost you some but right. But if you don't, they're still gonna stay here. And they're gonna consume, continue to consume my product, like, super smart. What an incredible business.

Jared Fuller  37:34
What an incredible business. So in terms of acquisition, like legendary acquisitions, like, that will be one of the ones that Microsoft that goes down. It's like probably one of the best acquisitions of all time. LinkedIn still has a lot of runway left. A lot of runway, I wish you could still be a direct shareholder in LinkedIn, and not just Microsoft, right? Because they got a long ways to go. Um, let's let's we got to get the head of BD from LinkedIn on

Justin Bartels  38:00
Yeah, no, that's I think that's our second. Ask for the audience today is like

Jared Fuller  38:04
know that Scott. Scott. I I will, I will see if I can get him in. I know, Jeff. We got to get we absolutely got to get the head of BD from LinkedIn on that's that's gonna be a hard one, though. Because I believe he's been there. From like, day one. Yeah. So like, this is like an Oji. So VP and head of business development. Yeah, he's been there for how many years? Since 2007 14 years,

Justin Bartels  38:32
and pretty impressive that they haven't been like an our consumer side. We're seeing Facebook was disrupted by Instagram, Facebook, kind of by Instagram, right. You know, YouTube coming in Google buying them stopping that. tik tok. Now, being the go to place where people are preferring over Instagram for younger generations, but you haven't seen that in no one's come along and challenge LinkedIn like that? No. Which is fascinating in its own right. And I think could be the topic of an entire hour long conversation as to how have they built such a moat?

Jared Fuller  39:09
It's maybe clubhouse could be a threat vector. Yeah. And if LinkedIn smart, they just copy it, like Facebook. So like, everyone's like, oh, Facebook and Twitter gonna copy clubhouse and I'm like, I don't think that's what clubhouse like that they're not worried about Facebook and Twitter copying them, right? I think if LinkedIn really copied them and like really did live like audience and monetization, and that real time thing, events, so to speak,

Justin Bartels  39:45
that would be so disruptive for the webinar, virtual events market, right?  Yeah, you already have you.

Jared Fuller  39:51
Do you see about Hopin, Hopin?

Justin Bartels  39:54
Are you telling me to do something? No, no, no. Have you heard of my favorite company? It's your new favorite company.

Jared Fuller  40:00
You have some friends over there and we are building an integration. My hand in the ISV. Cookie Jar haha. Nice to tell tell the crowd, but what's your excitement the fastest growing b2b SaaS company ever, from zero to $5.6 billion in valuation in 18 months, the virtual events come with clubhouse, you know, like is the, you know, the new darling child of Silicon Valley from an events perspective, right, because of what they're doing around real time, you know, collisions of like people coming together that you normally wouldn't see. And there's some serendipity, some cool stuff there happening with clubhouse. But I think the point is, is that LinkedIn has done a really good job of like, they just rolled out the build by our partner. I would have thought LinkedIn might have wanted to buy jeetu. Sure, right, Juju crowd. And did they not just release review pages?

Justin Bartels  40:51
They did. Yeah, they did. I mean, I haven't seen much about it. I don't know if it's quiet. I don't know. If it's taking off like it. Maybe it's a slow burn. Maybe it's just traveling with some companies. But we've definitely seen a review. We read pages pop up, which makes sense.

Jared Fuller  41:06
You know, what? what's the what's the endgame there? That's interesting. So LinkedIn has that same capability, though, is kind of the point of like, they are the type of company that could potentially really take the learnings from the clubhouse, right? And the explosive growth of virtual events like a hoppin, right? And say, we already have the audience. Yeah. We're going to copy the features. Yeah. That would be a really, really competitive threat. And so if I'm clubhouse, I am trying to build a partnership with LinkedIn ASAP. And I want to be acquired, in my opinion by LinkedIn. Yeah. I think I just had a BD at clubhouse. I'd be like LinkedIn partnership. That's that's where we're going. And hey, I think that the integrate and pull people in from LinkedIn generate value back to the LinkedIn community and ultimately fell, right? By LinkedIn. That works. Yeah. That works. Yeah. Your profiles auto connected. Like you're there. You share your connections and like you get notifications when your favorite people are

Justin Bartels  42:08
in like LinkedIn lives get pretty close, right? Where you can be on with guests. You can't have them like continually phone in, or like invite people in But yeah, I think it's a very easy swerve to, you know, just really take out a slice out of what clubhouse is doing or just acquire clubhouse if it if it pays? I don't know. It's clubhouse, monetizing it anyway.

Jared Fuller  42:31
Nobody. There's actually some news. So we haven't talked about news today. There's some news as of yesterday, that clubhouse just announced payments. Now payments are basically tips is a way to think of them where you could tip a speaker, right for like attending their session. Okay, and get this though. Here's why. It's, you're like, Okay, what's innovative about that? clubhouse is giving 100% of that to the speaker. They're not taking a cut. Interesting. So they're get where they're going with this though? I don't know. The CEO said yesterday, this is an interview I got he said their future state is that they believe that their direct monetization will be selling things like tickets to virtual events. Which is interesting. It's very interesting.

Justin Bartels  43:23
Yeah. I don't know. I don't know. Well, it's funny, you're going it's funny you're going with that because I was like another little slice of the pie they could acquire. If I think about like the Dave Earhart's. Right? What is he doing not on LinkedIn, he's putting out a ton of content on LinkedIn. But that his starting point for his personal funnel is that he's driving to his Patreon, right? So I'm surprised that LinkedIn hasn't flirted with that with some of their LinkedIn top creators, you know, being able to create exclusive contents that are membership based. If you think about it, the two things that those influencers are typically doing on LinkedIn is they're usually doing it Patreon for their exclusive content, so they can monetize some one of their audience. And they're starting an email less list to you know, sell their frameworks and trainings and, and classes and whatnot. It's like, if you if they built some type of piercing on functionality into it, where, you know, if you're, you're one of the top dogs on LinkedIn, you're putting out a ton of content. You want to drive right on the page, then I mean, that keeps that keeps creators on it keeps definitely keeps creators on LinkedIn.

Jared Fuller  44:28
I think I'm, I'm looking at Rahul vora who's one of my favorite, just like tech entrepreneurs he had What do you have rapportive it was what was he the founder of? I thought it was reported? Yeah, reported. So he sold rapportive to LinkedIn, and LinkedIn and a couple of these acquisitions, like they have their LinkedIn learning kind of series, right? Like where they have videos and like coursework, where that you can actually publish coursework and I believe you can charge for that coursework. Hmm. So they have a lot of this the and I guess that might be the thing is like, we're over here, just drooling over LinkedIn business model. And like how amazing. I mean, there's a reason why Reed Hoffman, no masters of scale podcasts. Like, there's a reason why he's a legend. It's because it's one of the best business models of all time really well executed. But at this phase, could they can they really? Right, what's happening right now is unbundling? Can they re bundle? Like, right? Like Patreon is kind of being unbundled this list like, hey, I need to be able to monetize and LinkedIn like ignoring that to some degree, right? Because people are still posting on LinkedIn as a loss leader to generate views and, you know, be like, hey, you want the full insight, come over to my Patreon? Do they have the capabilities at that scale inside of Microsoft to recognize? Yeah, I'm just gonna allow you to monetize that directly on LinkedIn and take a cut of it. Yeah. Maybe like, maybe that's an opportunity. Like who's thinking about that? You know, maybe maybe Scott's been there for 14 years. And it's just like, too much. There's too many opportunities.

Justin Bartels  46:07
I mean, that seems to be the only way you disrupt a social network behemoth is you take somebody's favorite part of the product and you make the next social network platform the favorite part of that product, like if you look at Facebook, to Instagram, Instagram pictures were the best part of Facebook It was the most engaging most most inviting kept you on there the longest the text, not so much. But then there's probably a group of people that just love to tell us that

Jared Fuller  46:33
same thing with Facebook Messenger WhatsApp,

Justin Bartels  46:35
if you look at Tick tock tick tock is the content recommendation engine of Instagram on steroids fed by AI, and centered around the favorite most favorite part, some people's most favorite part of Instagram, which is the videos which Instagram has now adopted to become primarily video bait, like, a lot of the content is much more video based now that was adapting to a trend that was coming. And they centered they're all around finding people you don't know not people you already know. Because to be frank, most of the people you know are kind of boring. But there's a lot of people out there you don't have access to that are really interesting. And that's what I I find very interesting about Tick Tock so you know, I think it seems like that's the the play to disrupt the social network is to find the small part that a group of people really love and then build the next platform around that center.

Jared Fuller  47:26
That's the unbundling and the re bundling. That's just this thread that happens again and again, like it's, it's cyclical, and if you're going to unbundle something and bundle the thing that like the people love the most, I mean, I remember Did you have growing up just in the thrifty nickel

Justin Bartels  47:43
nickel nickels at a gas station? What is that?

Jared Fuller  47:45
No The thrifty nickel was a classifieds like in in the paper. Okay, so it's classified ads in like the physical newspapers like the thrifty nickel Okay, it was a brand that I'm sure it doesn't exist anymore. But like I used to love that so much is like a 1213 1415 year old of like finding dirt bikes, bike parts and like dirt bikes and like mechanical stuff that I could go get for you know, dirt cheap that I couldn't afford to buy new, you know, working at a pawn shop after hours like no way I can afford new stuff. And then you think about that and like look what's been created off of classifieds like so like classifieds got unbundled right from the newspaper came content got unbundled from the newspaper, like everything in the newspaper got unbundled and monetized elsewhere, and the newspapers died. Yeah. And that's what you'll see happen in, you know, things like Facebook or things like LinkedIn. And the smart ones. They see what's being unbundled and they scoop it back in. Right. Right. So like, that's what we'll see what happens with

Justin Bartels  48:44
LinkedIn, it's always I feel like it's always a fine balance of scooping it back in but not diluting, and having too many things going on at once. Because like Facebook is trying to scoop a lot of that stuff back in, rather unsuccessfully. It seems like

Jared Fuller  48:58
by I feel like they have a different problem, though. I'll disagree with you there. Because I don't think that's Facebook's problem. Facebook's problem is that they are playing ivory tower intellectual ism. Right, like they are trying to play a game that is matching people with things that they already believe. And then at the same time trying to pay play thought police around that. Yeah, it's a really weird thing where they've basically destroyed any chance of having new users in the next generation. Yeah. So I think the political motivations of Facebook are what's preventing them from like, hitting that next phase? Like, I don't ever log into Facebook, I could care less. Yeah, most people I know don't care about Facebook anymore. Like they really don't. It's the older generations. what's actually happened with Facebook is that I don't know if you've seen this. I would love for people to call me out on this. My frickin mom and my mother. In law, you know who's Facebook's primary users today? It's the boomers. Yeah, you're a boomer out there. I'm sorry. But like, I'm not on Facebook. I'm in the mid 30s. I just I'm not I used to be. I used to love it. But that's who's on Facebook right now, is they activated an older generation, and they're playing politics with it. Like my mom is just on there doing politics all day. My mother in law, who lives in New Mexico, one lives in Florida. They're not on the same side of the political spectrum. They just use Facebook for news, politics, and confirmation bias. Yeah. And then they get really mad when Facebook censors something. So that which makes them feed more into the anger sales. I think that's Facebook's problem is that they're, they have that issue that they're tied to the news and media, which is just yuck, yeah. I want nothing to do with that space at all. Yeah. They've done successful acquisitions, like WhatsApp is gonna be fine. Right? Instagrams gonna be fine. They're not fully integrated. But the businesses are growing. I mean, if you think about WhatsApp sold for a billion, right, or 3 billion, they sold between one and three. But like, what's the market value of what? Instagram today? Dozens of billions, right? I mean, I don't think you can break it down on their earnings report. Maybe you can, but it's worth dozens of billions. So they definitely not done a bad job with their acquisitions, I would say at large, I think they have problems that extend more to like the media side of things. But we're like, we're like going way over. I mean, we're way off topic we've like had it should be the LinkedIn show or the Microsoft show. I mean, if you think about it, Microsoft is the I mean, they are the king of ecosystem. Yeah, they are the king, queen, Prince Princess, like, you know, Saudi royal, like whatever Microsoft is the top of the top. And they do things right. And they picked up a business that is doing ecosystem, right, that's for sure. As they built, they bought and they partnered, they've done all of them. One thing I wanted to call out before we hop off this one is I think a lot of the people that listen to our show are kind of in that, you know, early stage to mid stage. And we have some of the people like upper stage that are kind of like looking down on the innovation happening kind of where we're at. We don't know the things that the top that they know, but we are kind of like moving faster, is like how can you think about if you're a mid size, you know, b2b kind of startup, if you're venture backed, and you're you have a partner program, how can you think about partner versus, you know, build thereby you might have the luxury of buying? Maybe you can make a small strategic acquisition, right? Building, like, how much influence Do you really have over the product roadmap, I actually love to tell the quick story of how we thought about partnering for a very specific drift need, and we shouted him out last week, so shout out to the six cents on their $2.1 billion dollar raise, or valuation on a 125 raise is that we actually have some really, like, this was an evaluation that happened build by our partner for drift Intel. Yep. Right. Like you were there for the kind of the chaos stage of that those partnerships, where it was kind of like, what do we do? In drift just kind of set the stage we have the enrich component, and then the ABM component, right, Justin? Yep. So like, we get emails from people, and we enrich them, and we have partnerships with clearbit and zoominfo, and crunchbase. And then on the ABM side, we have account data partnerships with Sixth Sense clearbit and demand base. And we we did an interesting one. I think this is actually probably another topic we should do is powered by partnerships. Yeah. Because like, we can't afford to OEM these companies. Right? Can you imagine if it was like, hey, six cents clearbit. Like you get no brand recognition out of this partnership whatsoever? We're just going to straight OEM, you

Justin Bartels  54:01
probably wouldn't go for it.

Jared Fuller  54:02
Yep. Or the prices be really expensive. We pay a lot of money. So we did Power BI partnerships, right, where we gave them brand and recognition and some distribution and you know, wrote a really cool email that's still getting conversions. By the way, Justin, that email, still a high converting email 16% conversion rate. It's a good copywriter right there. 16% conversion rate, I said one email, it's got a 16% conversion rate every time to offer. Say, that's pretty good. I don't know Dave Gearhart, call me out. I don't know if that's actually good or not, I think it's good. But that's, um, you know, from your perspective, kind of like looking in and these partnerships that have gotten built and are now I mean, they're just like a normal part of the day in the life there's lots of pain and challenges around it. But there's also a measurable value for like drift would not be where it is today. If we hadn't done these drift Intel partnerships. What What was your kind of take on? That play is like, I don't know that I could name another SAS company. It is really done, what we've done with those, you know, kind of data partnerships at scale. Whenever you were kind of like think again, like coming into drift, like, wait, what are they doing here? Why is this? I'd love to get your take on just kind of like coming in and seeing what was evolving and transpiring there.

Justin Bartels  55:16
Yeah, I mean, it definitely is clear, I think. What made made it make sense is that it was a clear one plus one equals three situation where it's like, Alright, if customers are using these two together, that's it, you know, that's going to create much better results and then using them independently. If they're somewhat intertwined already, and maybe your customer one and not the other and vice versa, then you're still gonna get a lot of value out of it. So there was always like that one plus one equals three situation when it is I don't think it is really what would be like the first qualifier for saying, like, does a Power BI Make sense? Right? And then from there, I think it also just enhances the relationship from a Cosell perspective, co marketing perspective, like, it makes everything all the stuff that you do with your classic tech alliances and partnerships is that much easier because the the whole team has to know about it, right? The whole team who's speaking to it on their sales calls, who's talking about it, and their customer success conversations has to know about your partner and what they do. So it's a very quick means to also accelerate Cosell and co marketing and co you know, co delivering Customer Success motion as well. Like really quickly. that's those are kind of my first observations. What What have you picked up?

Jared Fuller  56:30
What have you look looking back? I mean, I've learned a lot through these and I feel like that's, that should be powered by partnerships should definitely be a topic that needs to be talked about more. I, I've never read anything about it. I've, I've looked into it. And you can see these things happen in our everyday lives. Like you see it happen. I think more on the consumer side than you see it happen on the b2b side. Like, you know, whenever you buy a car, right, like the tires, say Goodyear or Michelin or Perrelli, right? Like the brand is on our Bose speakers, yeah. Yeah, Bose speakers, right. Like there's lots of partnerships. It's Apple CarPlay, right, like your phone is made its way into the entertainment center, like what a brilliant move by Apple, when they realize they couldn't build a car that's like, let's just get into the entertainment centers. An Apple CarPlay is above and beyond any other like infotainment experience is so much better. It's just your iPhone right there. Everything works hands free. use Siri it works flawlessly. I use it every morning, taking a little man to grandma's. So I think in b2b, I think people think about, I think they think they need to have the direct relationship to the customer, they think, well, I can't partner in a co sell motion, because it really wouldn't have worked in a co sell motion either. Yeah, we do co sell with six cents, I love co selling with six cents great team, great people, but it's not going to happen every time. And that's where the Power BI comes in. And then we upgrade them to a full license and they get more value. Right, I think that's the other thing is that I've realized and learned with powered by is you have kind of like the minimally viable integration data, stuff that like enables the basic use case. And for a really great partnership, you actually can layer on Okay, when you connect the full integration, here's all the other features you get, right? But it's not going to stop you from buying today. Right? So exposes person to the brand and the value proposition of your ancillary partner. And then they have a future or a roadmap of like, okay, I can get deeper with this solution, as I recognize value through your product. empowered buys a very powerful component. I don't know, I don't know who the expert is on this. So like, we need to wait. If you're not in the cloud software Association, come join the damn cloud software Association. And we need you to like interact with us. So what do we ask for today? Justin, we need to talk to the person that is someone that knows powered by partnerships as good as anyone yet we are after you on LinkedIn. But if someone else knows a better way into LinkedIn, let us know there. And then what was the first one? somebody who understands how to align your channel and tech alliances really well? All right, those three things come post in the cloud software Association hit up just for me, or just post in general, like, Hey, I saw the partner up episode, because cloud software association is our sponsor, and post the episode say I saw the episode, here's the three people you need to talk to, or even just one of the three. So with that, we're like, we're I'm not going to let it go to an hour. an hour.

Justin Bartels  59:22
Oh, come on. I was just gonna ask like, I mean, we've talked about build by our partner as if they're almost like three separate lanes, but and there's the whole topic of partner to buy and partner to evaluate, buy and partner to evaluate build versus buy. And how those intersect, which is

Jared Fuller  59:38
Oh, is that the teaser for the our previous episode? So like, if you didn't catch the Chris Jenkins episode with work run? Yeah, Episode 21.

Justin Bartels  59:47
Yep. Yeah, that'd be Yeah, it's probably a better it's gonna be a better episode to dig into that topic.

Jared Fuller  59:51
But for sure, for sure. It's and then there's TK Cotter to there talks a little bit about that with marchetto tout acquisition. Then the marchetto Adobe acquisition seeing two versions of that actually in a very short period of time, and this year on Sapa ones out. tk I love TK he's he's one of a kind. Alright Justin. That was a lot call this one. Yeah. There was this was a fun one. So I like the J and J specials. We will do this once every once every 10 episodes. Yeah. It's again, it's a good it's a good break for us to pontificate on all things, partnerships. So peace out partner up. We'll see you next time.

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