027 - Bob Moore - CEO of Crossbeam on Going All-In on Ecosystems

What is up PartnerUp?!

Today we have on Bob Moore, CEO of Crossbeam and, whoah... you're going to love it.

It's refreshing to hear from a CEO who has built successful businesses like RJ Metrics and realized the underserved power of partnerships.

Bob tells us about the big bet he's making on partner ecosystems and this will be a show for the books.

Don't forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere you get your pods on the go. If you liked the show, give this episode a like and share on LinkedIn and tag us in.

Check out all past and future the PartnerUp episodes at https://www.partneruppodcast.com and... don't forget to follow join the world's largest partnerships community at https://www.cloudsoftwareassociation.com to hang out and learn with 4,000+ partnerships professionals.


  • Apple
  • Spotify
  • Or literally, anywhere you get your podcasts. Seriously. Ask Alexa: “Alexa, play "PartnerUp the Partnerships Podcast” and magic…


Jared Fuller  00:20
Good partnerships news. Yeah, Justin has partnerships news. That's one thing. He's responsible for the entire production of this to be halfway through economy halfway through. Bob's like wonderful, incredible, you know, salient talking point we extract out of some, some update. But well, welcome back to partner up. Post Memorial Day weekend. I feel like it's almost post COVID in some ways. There was lots of parties. I heard lots of great stories. Instagram was replete with tons of great stuff. So I hope everyone had a fun safe holiday. Justin. On Tick Tock instead.

Justin Bartels  01:01
I did see a you know, a large waterslide on somebody's Instagram Stories try remember who that was? In the he was like a three story tall waterslide. Jerry, do you remember who that was?

Jared Fuller  01:16
Yes, that was me. I was the person that rented a three story tall waterslide for Memorial Day weekend and big partnerships, news that you were teasing before.

Justin Bartels  01:25
It's huge.

Jared Fuller  01:28
It'll come to us. It'll come to us. We're just getting back in the swing of things after the four day weekend. And today, we're stoked to welcome Mr. Bob Moore of crossbeam, who we actually partnered with in the beginning and have a great relationship with we're customers here at drift. And of course, we have no sponsors, we run this thing. So we're happy to have Bob in the crossbeam people here. So Bob, welcome to partner up.

Bob Moore  01:53
Yeah, my pleasure. It's great to be here. long overdue. I'm excited to do a little geeking out with you gentlemen today. Absolutely, absolutely. I

Jared Fuller  02:00
think for for folks of you that I don't care where in the stack you are, so to speak, if you're watching this or listening in because you're much more focused on the operational side, the marketing side leadership side crossbeam has done a very commendable job. And I would say follow them, if for no other reason to learn about this developing space. And I'm really excited today to have Bob who, you know, we wouldn't really be having this conversation. I don't know that. I don't know that the momentum was there to even start to build ecosystem around the concept of ecosystems. And that's what I think is so interesting right now is that there are fields like these different communities that are starting to pop up these titles and job functions in conversations that are happening between partnerships, leaders, the word before, right. And there seems to be a rising tide, a shift in the way that companies are going to market. And Bob, you you stuck your career on this, right? You said, Hey, I'm gonna make this bet that this data that is currently locked in all of these different companies in silos, if we're able to unlock that, and transform that data into a new asset that hadn't existed, things are gonna change. What was that thesis? Why Why did you make such a big bet, to create the company crossbeam and, you know, have some great content and help build out this profession?

Bob Moore  03:28
Yeah, that's a really great framing of it. And I think it's, you know, as potentially unique as this problem set is, I think the story of how we got here is a tale as old as time, which is I, I am someone who was founder of other SaaS companies in the past. And I ran into this problem very, very hard. And on a very frequent basis. I, I co founded a company called RJ metrics back in 2008. Right in the same week that Lehman Brothers collapsed, so I had a really fun ride of kind of bootstrapping and self discovery and business building. And, you know, we ran RJ metrics for for eight years and eventually sold to Magento, which we then sold to Adobe. But it was a customer of By the way, I had to call that out company called job hive in 2013, I believe, amazing team. We started using you to like, wow, bi, we need to understand our customers. And that was my first. My first touch point with bi was there was a dashboard in our office, it was an RJ metrics dashboard. So I go way back.  That's so cool to hear. Yeah, it's really it's a good litmus test. When I say RJ metrics, if people's eyes light up, or if they give me a blank stare, it's a good test as to whether or not you were like, operating in SAS or e commerce in you know, called 2012 to 2014 in our real heyday there, but yeah, we were you know, A company that prided ourselves on being data driven, it was our whole thesis, our mission statement as a company was data driven decisions or better decisions. And that's what we believe. And we got large enough that we got to build a sales team and a marketing team and a product team. And part of building those teams means buying technology for those teams and deciding what the system of record is going to be for CRM and Sales Automation and enablement and marketing automation and account based marketing. And, you know, across all these different arms of the org chart, I felt like we really did our homework and built up the the best practices and use the tools of the trade that were at the tip top of what it looked like to do it right at that time. And then we built a partnerships organization. And we looked at the technology landscape, and it was a giant head scratcher. Because it felt like all these other tools that all these other operators inside of our company were using, were taking data that was available, and feeding it through these really elegant workflows to just help people do their jobs better. It was informing them in data driven ways. In a lot of cases, it was actually telling them what the next best atomic unit of work to do would be, you know, who's that next company to call on who's the next person at that company to drop a line to what's the next task that you should perform. And you get into partnerships. And it felt like a bunch of glorified Google Forms, that that were being filled out through these legacy systems, or worse yet, there was no technology at all. And people were just emailing spreadsheets of leads back and forth to each other or doing, you know, co branding partnerships or splitting, you know, webinars or something, but doing it on a basis of a handshake or I five, as opposed to something that was actually, you know, driven by some kind of business intelligence effort. How would you like the status quo?

Jared Fuller  06:54
I have a quick question. Before we get into like, the problem that you saw, I'm curious how you might frame that in the problem you were trying to solve? Right? So you said you created a partnerships organization, saw an opportunity there. And at that time, you're like, Okay, we're gonna make this investment. And then you encounter these problems, what was that investment or that opportunity, or problem you were trying to solve by creating that? Because a lot of, you know, SAS companies at that stage partnerships was something that like, wasn't an investment area.

Bob Moore  07:26
Yeah, I would say that it was, um, you know, what, one of the things that you try to develop just as a as a paradigm to live by in startups is pay attention to where there was market pool? Like, take Yes, for an answer when the market is trying to tell you that there's energy pushing you in a certain direction, or, you know, there's something to a particular initiative. And if you think about how RJ metrics worked, we were a, an aggregator of data sources. So we connected to dozens and dozens of third party platforms, whether it was shopping carts, or payment processors, or marketing or sales systems. And we help pull all that data under one hood, so that we can give you a holistic view of your business? Well. One of the things that's a very, very natural byproduct of doing that is a huge number of technology integrations with third parties, and a really substantial case for doing co selling and cross selling and co marketing, and joint customer development and customer success efforts with those companies. Because if I know that, you know, there's a marketing automation company, where I have a really high, highly overlapping, ideal customer profile, then it would be amazing if we did a webinar together, and I invited all the people I know, and they invited all the people that they know, and we could cross pollinate these populations against each other. Or better yet, if I knew that my sales reps were in the process of selling to the same company, that there are sales reps were selling to at the same exact moment, you know, we could have those reps align with each other and talk about how the solutions integrate well and kind of package and position, the offering more as a holistic solution that is at the intersection of these two products instead of just someone buying in a silo. And usually that allows for a much more value based sell, it allows for more intelligence, it just the promise of that done well, and being able to be executed on that scale is absolutely enormous in magnitude. And I think that's when when people, particularly in SAS, but I think in general start to talk about partnerships and making investments in partnerships. The vision is not hard to come by. You can you know, you can map out on a whiteboard or through telling a story and just an incredible narrative about how the the low cost of customer acquisition, and the extremely high yield of being able to juice conversion rates or source new leads through an ecosystem are. It's there, and it's very, very profound. And that's the promise that I was going after RJ metrics. We had so many tech partners. That were knocking on our door to collaborate with us Cosell with us give us leads. And we didn't have the we didn't have the organization to support it. And then, you know, kind of getting back to the the timeline here, like, when we went to go and support it, what we realized was that the status quo was that you buy a crappy legacy piece of software, and then you throw extremely expensive human beings at the problem. And you know, as you get more

Jared Fuller  10:30
important for software, you specifically mean PRM,

Bob Moore  10:33
something in the realm of PRM, or like a module or an extension on a CRM system that enables the tracking and monitoring of partner activity? Yeah, yeah. Right. That was kind of what they wanted to spend money on something. That's what you can spend money on.

Jared Fuller  10:47
Yeah. Right. So I mean, CRM, you know, it's only as good as the data you put into it. There's obviously been some very interesting companies. In the past, even just what's what's so interesting is you're kind of an ecosystem partner data land. And I feel like b2b data land just exploded in the past two years. I mean, you had zoom info, right? I mean, it's almost a $20 billion public company, you had six cents, who is trading? They did a $2.1 billion, raise that multiple on their I know their revenue? It's a good multiple put it that way. Like it was a healthy raise. Right? And why is that it's just data. It's literally just data. In normally data companies were trading at what two to 3x multiples. I mean, these were not getting these valuations. Kind of so the thesis here is that that data transformed, right? It's, it's not just that, hey, we're going to give you data and put it into PRM. That would be like the incremental step, you think it's an evolutionary step that whenever you actually have these network effects, it's data transformed, you turn kind of firma graphics into insight, or intent or signal, right, versus a avid database versus stuff. Talk to me about how you see that, you know, difference in just, hey, we're a data company versus data that's transformed, you know, all our six cents, right? They sell account data, that it's really, it's all they sell, but they sell a prioritized list of account data. And that's where that's where the money is. Up. I

Justin Bartels  12:17
think what they've done well, no, they're

Jared Fuller  12:20
great. I love them. But I think

Justin Bartels  12:21
what I what crossbeam has done really well is its data paired with a workflow paired with a strategy with six cents, you know, data built around your workflows, either sales or marketer, and then paired with is the strategy of how you go to market. I think I see that with crossbeam as well. But anyways, that I had to jump in there. Jim

Jared Fuller  12:39
had to interject me. Yeah, to interject. But

Bob Moore  12:43
yeah, I, first of all, success, awesome company. We're huge, huge fans of them at cross beam, and really exciting to be doing some work with them as part of our partner cloud and our own partner ecosystem, because I think there's a lot of pretty, pretty fun ways that you can mash up our use cases and data. But there's a lot going on here. Right? I, in addition to you mentioned valuations, and there's, there's a confluence of macro and micro economic forces that I think are creating a little bit of that pricing squeeze across SAS, and certainly companies that have an underlying data asset are seeing an additional premium. But there's something to what you're saying, which is this question of, can you take something that is a potentially commoditized or commoditized, double asset, which is the historic asset have basically data enrichment data, where you take this singular asset that is, okay, I know your email address, or I have some association between you as a person and the company you work for. And I'm going to resell that to 1000 people the same exact data point, I'm going to resell it to 1000 people in the same exact way. And they're all going to pay a certain amount for it. And there's a you know, over time, there's a cost of maintaining the accuracy of that data. That's really my cost basis. And if that business model has existed for for 100 years, and has been digitized in various ways. And what's different now is this idea that the same classification of value proposition which is I'm going to take insights about knowledge that people have outside the scope of my company, and I'm going to infuse that into my workflows in a way that actually makes me smarter and increases the efficacy of the work that people on my team are doing and the accuracy of the way that they're doing it. I'm going to take that and I'm going to make it so that every single person that consumes it actually has a different experience. Because that has been processed now through the lens of what else we know about that company and that company knows about itself. So when you look at whether it's something like a sixth sense, or somebody like a crossbeam there's different ways of you know, kind of slicing and dicing the way we get to that answer, but the common theme is that the experience had by our customers is one that feels extremely proprietary to that customer. Because it is not just the data that we know that we were able to pull in through our universe, and resold to 1000 people the same, it's that we are providing access to data that has basically been curated based on what that other party what our customer has brought to the table, and viewed through the lens of that ecosystem. So it's no longer just, here's Jared, his email address, it's, do we even care about reaching out to Jared, because in the case of like, a sixth sense, maybe some some signal from a completely different universe is letting me know that, you know, he's a high quality prospect or some ability to reach him in a way that was not present before has suddenly emerged. Or in the case of crossbeam, it's because we know that there's alignment with a partner that we work with closely, that's going to allow us to go out and actually pursue that opportunity, either jointly, or at least with Joint Intelligence in a way that's going to increase our likelihood of, of having it turned into a win. And that is a, you know, it's an order of magnitude difference in how the value is perceived and consumed. And frankly, how well it works inside of these companies. And that's, that's the phase shift, where you're finally in a zone where now that data is contextualized, around what that company is actually trying to accomplish. And you know, that's that's the world we play in. And I think anybody that's able to have that as part of their their narrative in their stories, attracting the strategic multiples, because the potential for upside there is tremendous when when a vision gets really realized.

Justin Bartels  16:43
So was there like a particular day where you're like, Okay, I've thought about this, I've been mulling it over, I see a lot of friction with my own team trying to do this. This is going to be my next venture. And I'm going to do crossbeam does it come down to one day? Was it a slow burn? What a medically? Yeah, I

Bob Moore  16:58
think there was a there were two aha moments, one related to the market and one related to product. And in startup land, product market fit is the whole the whole name of the game. And I feel like people have their aha moments. And it's just one part. It's like, Oh, this would be a cool thing to build, or Oh, there's an opportunity here. I had these two things happen at almost the same exact time. And on one side, it was at RJ metrics we have been we got acquired by Magento. As part of that deal, I went in house to Magento for about two years. And what was so incredible to me is once I landed in house there, I always assume that this Prisoner's Dilemma problem I was talking about before was like my problem like it was my fault somehow, like there's got to be some solution out there. The big enterprise companies with global presence is used to solve for this issues so that they can figure out what's in the middle of these Venn diagrams, and they can enable people to, you know, collaborate across organizations. Turns out that's not the case. And when I yeah, when I got my agenda, it was just like, yeah, you know, that thing. It's like, it's turtles all the way down. It's like spreadsheets all the way down. Right? Yeah. So I was on the growth and Strategy Team there. And some of those billion brilliant people I've ever worked with in my career, I was working alongside people that ran the technology, marketplace and App Store for Magento people that ran the channel organization, which included over 10,000, global system integrator and agency partners like an enormous, incredibly impressive channel organization. I worked with their head of cork deaf, we did a couple of acquisitions. While while I was there and saw these companies get acquired and get integrated into the main business. And the head of analyst relations and kind of large strategic partnerships, I was also there. And I swear day in and day out all of these other people who had made, you know, tremendous success in their careers around these pieces of their org chart. We're just navigating and bobbing and weaving around this same data standoff Prisoner's Dilemma problem and solving it by emailing spreadsheets around. And that was kind of a big aha moment around the market, which was, you know, I didn't want to build RJ metrics was a startup that sold technology to startups and people, you know, one of the downsides of that product just outgrew it, you know, when they got large enough that they really needed a holistic, powerful bi solution. They deconstructed our stack and went and bought, you know, snowflake with Looker sitting on top of it or something like that. I didn't want to build another company that was a startup selling stuff to startups. And when I realized that this cross beam product could have applications that were very real and substantially more real for very large enterprises than it could for even the startup use case that I had observed that RJ metrics that was big for me because it meant that the aperture of the lens just fundamentally changed in terms of what the addressable market could look like. The products, there are sorry, the market side, the product side of that aha moment was in between RJ metrics and crossbeam. I had another company that I co founded, which was actually a spin out from March metric that was called stitch data. And stitch data was in the ETL, extract transform load space, it was even nerdier than RJ metric. So we're talking, we're down in the data infrastructure part of the stack, stitch competed with companies like five, Tran and matilija. And if you're familiar with those folks, basically pulling data out of SAS tool, then dropping it into data warehouses and data lakes for people to do analysis on. And stitch. We built stitch to almost as big as RJ metrics was in two years, and what it took us eight years to do at RJ. And the real reason was that we were standing on the shoulders of giants. And there was this rising tide of the maturity of the API economy, intersecting with the success of the digital transformation movement. That meant that all of a sudden, basically every company, whether you were a modern, sophisticated company, or you were a legacy business that had no part of this whole venture ecosystem we live in, you all have the same problem, which is that suddenly, your system of record for the stuff you're trying to sell and who you're trying to sell it to was in the cloud somewhere. And that cloud connected solution had some API's that were very reliable, and from which data could be extracted. And you need to analyze that data, in one way or another to know if you're going to hit your targets, or how well your business was doing. And what we saw at stitch was this modern data stack concept where you can rely on the maturity of the API economy, to pull out data and transform it in such a way that it can be stored in these cloud data warehouses meant that, for the first time, maybe in all of history, within the last five years, we could actually make data comparable on an apples to apples basis between your Data Silo and your Data Silo, and my Data Silo. And the technology existed, it wouldn't be easy, but the technology existed to do the transformations necessary to standardize data for comparison and break the silos down. And when you break the silos down, you can draw the Venn diagram. And that's where this concept of, hey, what if we solve this giant market opportunity that I observed at Magento? And an RJ metrics? What if we solved it with the tools of the trade that we were using and stitch and build something that basically functions like an escrow service for data, you know, a Switzerland that sits in between companies that are collaborating with each other, and provide this secure third party environment where you can each connect your systems of record. And you know that escrow service worries about data security, compliance, and privacy. And it worries about transforming all of this gnarly data and making sure your business logic is respected. And then it gives you the results, while keeping all the rest of your underlying data private and secure, and lets you do things with those results. That are all the things going back to this original vision of why I wanted a partnership team at RJ metrics in the first place does all those things. And that's what cross means. And that's, you know, that vision is really has not changed one iota from from that day at Magento, where those aha moments collide with one another.

Justin Bartels  23:04
So yeah, it's fascinating and makes total sense. So you must have also thought that the role of partnership, the partnerships organization within the enterprise, was not going away was either going to be as equally important in the future or even more important, the future like did you have? Did you have a roll the dice with Hey, I think ecosystem is gonna be a new way that companies when in a, you know, 2030 2035 2040

Bob Moore  23:33
Yeah, I, I might have, you know, set a date that was slightly closer, if anything, everything for anything there. But yeah, I mean, when these technology revolutions happen, or these paradigm shifts happen. The the piece of the organization that they revolutionized, doesn't go away, becomes empowered and emboldened and the people that are in it become heroes. I mean, if you look at a Nic Mehta from gainsight, is a mentor of mine. And you look at what the industry that has kind of cropped up around the work that they did gainsight for customer success has done to the average customer success, person salaries have skyrocketed, you know, the value of the person in that role has been greatly increased the, the seniority of the person that leads that organization has moved up in the org chart, you know, there's, you know, I see chief customer officers all over the place. Now, it's commonplace. And the reason that that's possible is because it's got to start with the individual contributors in those roles and how they're spending their time and in customer success, if it was a random standing monthly call with everybody in your book of business, where you ask them how it's going, the ROI on that was troubled. And with the introduction of tools like gainsight, suddenly, you knew who you should be spending that time within you knew what you ought to be talking about in the context of that conversation. What's the same thing for partnerships, you know, as you get to a place where you have context around that data, knowledge about not just one Partners, you should be working with one accounts you ought to be coordinating on within those partners and what you want to be doing in those accounts to win them. That's when you start to say, oh, wow, there's a there's a leveling up that's about to happen here. And everybody that's working in this field gets gets to benefit and ride that wave.

Justin Bartels  25:16
And I gotta say, I mean, seeing that gainsight his inspiration hit hard because I was like, oh, man, yeah, okay, I see this now, because when I first started reading your content, I was like, they get me they understand me. Like, it's the first time I felt like almost heard by you know, somebody building products out there because linesman, you know, partnerships can be a lonely role, especially when you're the first couple people at your organization going through it. And you and I, when I first came across the content, I was like, oh, finally somebody is writing and like, gets my role gets the challenges made me trust the product a lot more not to turn this into a you know, total fanboy for crossbeam here, but it's entirely making sense now. And either you play Age of Empires back in the day. I

Jared Fuller  26:04
don't know what you're talking about. But I feel like I only get the ads for the ones on the phone.

Justin Bartels  26:09
Okay, anyways, scratch that next question, but it's gonna make a really nerdy reference there. But

Jared Fuller  26:17
those fans will appreciate it. Yeah. Bob, I have a I have a question that's kind of threaded between what you were just talking about and Justin's question. There's been the word thrown around a bunch actually in the last podcast, just trust, right. Like, that was mats, like, if you haven't listened to last episode, go back and listen to that query from ROI DNA. He talks about trust as being the most important thing in partnerships. And in our intro, right Bobby napal Tonia. Dude was formative in the Salesforce app exchange Salesforce enterprise channel. And then at the same time, I feel like you've selectively use the word escrow. Right, like escrow is a strategic use of a word that I have not seen in b2b SaaS, like I've never heard. Now that I think about it, the only other time in my 12 years of working in b2b SaaS, that I have heard the phrase escrow is a seed financing round, right? Not even like series, a seed financing? Because it really is. Yeah. Right. So tell me what, when when you're kind of coming on this maturity curve, right of like painting and understanding the big vision? I think with partnerships, there is this underlying thing of trust, that scares the living heck out of everyone. In addition to what you mentioned around data, when did when did you have that? Like, we're an escrow service moment? Yeah,

Bob Moore  27:48
there's a lot that goes on. You know, in the very, very early days, kind of the, before you put pen to paper days of getting one of these companies off the ground, that is an exercise in narrative, and trying to figure out how to talk about something that hasn't existed before, in a way that people can get it very, very quickly. And, you know, the the most common almost trope around that is like, oh, we're Uber for, you know, goat yoga,

Justin Bartels  28:20
you know, like,

Bob Moore  28:20
you can just slap three things together, and you get to a place where it's like, Oh, I see, I see exactly what that business model is. And in the early days of the envisioning of crossbeam, I had meetings with somewhere between 50 and 100 people that were, you know, in my in my Rolodex somewhere from some point in my career, and I just pitched them on this concept. And I think the thing that I found to resonate more than any other phrase was this escrow service for a data phrase, because I think it captures a lot of really important key points in this one singular analogy, and it does a pretty darn good job of it. Because, you know, in order to have escrow and people everybody's familiar with escrow, because they've dealt with it, you know, they're there, they've seen a mortgage get closed, and they know that escrow or they've dealt with something in a Yeah, like a, you know, legal process or something like that. It's a it's a basic term kind of taught in, in finance and economics. So people get what it is. And in our world, it's very, very translatable. And it's very apt metaphor because you escrow by definition, there's this independent third party that sits in between the folks that are involved. By definition, both sides are contributing something that is of profound value, if it just made its way to the other side without the other reciprocating piece being released. So there's consequences. There's really, really high stakes afforded. Typically, there's an element of security that's that's associated with escrow where you think about escrow is something that's done by a bank right escrow is something that's done by folks where there's people standing at the door with security badges and guns on their holsters and there's a big vault on the inside, and What's in escrow is sitting inside of that vault. And then the beautiful thing is that it's it's in service of a greater good. Like, usually escrow exists in situations where one plus one equals three, like you have two sides that are looking toward creating some kind of positive outcome by collaborating. But there's just so much at stake that there cannot be implicit trust, there needs to be an explicit form of trust that is created and codified by the by the existence of this escrow, and this intermediary from a trusted third party. So you know, I, the, the next best comparison that I think people have jumped to a bunch of the time is like Tinder for partnerships, which I like a whole lot less than there was for data. But like, that's the, you know, that's the level of recognition and kind of resonance that we got with that story. So I love the metaphor, it clicks. Well, you're talking about trust. When we, you know, the escrow service for data, things like a marketing tagline. When we talk about this stuff internally, as a business, we have our core values of our business of which there are four. And one of them is that trust is our business. And the way I look at core values as a founder is these are supposed to be argument Enders, like, you know, if there's ever a dispute internally, or if there's ever, you know, some kind of decision, should we go path a or should we go path B, if someone can invoke one of our core values, and show how one path is more representative of it or reflecting of us living through it, it wins period, like the core values are the governing body of how decisions get made. So by making this idea that trust is our business, a core value of the company, then I think what we did is kind of we we codify the fact that it was not going to be something we ever compromised on. And it was going to be read through the entire way that business is built. And it's very, very hard because the universe that we live in is is fraught with, you know, friction introduced by concerns around trust, you know, the execution risk associated with doing trust, right, the documentation and transparency required to actually create that trust, in addition to actually executing on it. It's a ton of work. It's an enormous area of investment, but we could not exist without it like it is that when we say trust is our business, we mean it, it's an existential requirement to

Jared Fuller  32:26
us doing what we do. It's It's so different than, like my my common phrase. I'm continually just like a broken record on the things that I know to be true. And one of the things I always say is that, you know, partners on art on your payroll, so what is the currency that you trade with? It's trust, it's not dollars, right? Like it's a long road to actually be ROI positive on partnership, then the LTV far exceeds, right, you know, CAC, the acquisition cost is relatively nothing in comparison, but you're trading and trust up until your ROI positive, which you have a long tail. And I love that that was central to your business. This is like an independent realization that I've had, that you already had in your company culture. I mean, so it should be instructive to the listeners out there that like inside of your partner program, or within your direct organization, which you're building partnership with, you're not discussing trust, and the fact that that customer interaction, right that your direct team might have with a partner. And if they do anything to sow a seed of distrust with that partner relationship that it can that it sews negative nodes in the ecosystem, right. And I think there's a shift in thinking that the companies that embrace that, I love that crossbeams at the center of it are going to see outsized impacts versus their direct efforts because, well, I think I said last time, the I don't know if you saw this, did you by chance, see, Bob the there's so many analysts reports that come out, but this one was particularly fun. It was Deloitte 2021 state of marketing survey. Did you see that one that came out by chance? Here's something that blew my mind. The average American receives 400 to 10,000 brand impressions per day.

Wow. I, I buy it. I buy

Jared Fuller  34:23
it. I mean, it really if you think about it seems crazy. And then you're like, actually, if the average time that the American Americans on the computer is seven to eight hours every time they're on their cell phone is four to six hours. And yeah, I mean, probably. So yeah,

Bob Moore  34:41
I look through my iPhone homescreen. And I'm probably getting 80 to 100 in a few seconds there just by logo, logo exposure alone. It's really incredible. When you think about it,

Jared Fuller  34:53
it's it's insane. So what is if you're a CMO today, this is kind of my clarion call to CMOS out there. Do you think that your demand Gen is going to work in a vacuum and building that trust? Or is it the people in market, right that already have those relationships where you can kind of have that outsized advantage, because I have this thesis in 2020. And beyond, we're no longer competing for business, we're competing for attention. And when you're competing for attention, the only vector that makes a difference is trust. Right? Like you're gonna listen to the people that you listen to, not the ones that interrupt you. And I think that everything you're doing at crossbeam, in the the ethos that you're setting for the market is is incredible. One One quick question. And we'll make this one quick. So there's a couple of the things we want to get to. The reason why I asked the escrow question is, I'm hoping I asked you something that no one's asked you before. Do you think there is an opportunity to further transform that data? with anything that is on chain, and smart contracts? Have you thought about how I'm a big aetherium? geek? I come from a document automation company, we started to build stuff on aetherium. So I have to ask this question, do you think smart contracts start to enter into the picture with this ecosystem data?

Bob Moore  36:09
Good question. You know, there's this thing I used to say, slightly tongue in cheek, which is that I might be the only founder that exists in 2021, who was able to get past a Series B without mentioning AI, machine learning or the blockchain? Like, I do think that there's a we have this idea, I'll answer this with like a little bit of inside baseball, and how we how we think about product at crossbeam, which is, you know, we draw this really important line in the sand, when we build things between what's an application feature, and what's a platform feature. And what we mean by that is, you know, there inevitably will be in the future other businesses that come along and try to build crossbeam like stuff. You know, there's a few already out there, I'm sure there will be more over time. And what's unique about this, this entire area of work is that it is very much a network effects business. So you know, the company that ends up with the largest network has all of this gravitational pull that makes the moat that they dig, you know, deeper and deeper and deeper. So when we asked the question of is something an application feature, or a platform feature, to us application features, or something that any competitor could build. And if they wrote the same exact code and built the same exact thing, it would deliver value in the same exact way to their customers as it would to our customer. So an example would be like a really good Report Builder, okay, a great UI for looking at the results in your data. Okay, it's the same code, if we write it, or if they read it. A platform feature is something where, by virtue of us being in first place, and having a very substantial lead against anybody else that is out there, our version of that feature will intrinsically be more valuable, and will be used by more people. And an example of a platform feature would be something like our partner cloud ecosystem, which is our own partnerships ecosystem that we've built for, we now have north of 20 companies that are connecting to the crossbeam API's and consuming that data. You know, we can build that same API and write the same exact lines of code as a as another company. But the fact that we are in first place, will create a greater amount of pool on that particular resource and actually results in US creating something that is that is bigger and more valuable. You know, we think about things are matching up, because you

Jared Fuller  38:27
have to pause you there, because you just dropped one of the most salient bombs. I have heard on this podcast, you're between application features, and platform features, rewind the podcast about two minutes and listen to that again. And if you're responsible for platform at your company, or contributing to platform, that's the language you need to use with your product teams, because I have had several highly intellectual conversations on that exact same debate. And there was 50 things to discuss. And you just broke it down into like, here's one definition. Here's another definition. And it was just a brilliant definition. Because I think with smart contracts, for example, sure, companies could have, you know, on chain agreements that actually execute based on the trade of data, like leads, right or accounts or contacts, or there's so many opportunities to actually affect business workflow, and financial applications on top of that, that's for the future, right like that. You have to have the platform for that to work. So your approach to the blockchain answer is like, I think it's incredible because no one's going to be able to build right that application feature is impossible.

Bob Moore  39:40
You're totally right. You're, you're you're you're right on and you picked up on the exact point there which is like you know, there's a there's a certain amount of you know, it's a trap a little bit in in startup land where you can become so overwhelming Li obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses and building applications. features that you fail to actually build the thing that constitutes and perpetuates the moat, that you're digging against the competitive set. And I think that, like we're very cognizant of, it's important. And by the way, the things that your users want are always 100% application features. And the feedback that you will get from the market will always be on the application feature side. So, you know, when we think about building things that are, it's a little bit like the, the, you know, the old adage of Henry Ford said, If I ask the people what they want, they would have asked for a faster horse. Like, there's a little bit of, there's a little bit of that in the essence of what I'm talking about here, which is, it's very, very important to be very in tune with the market. But if you're going to be running a category creation playbook, especially one that's exacerbated by network effects, and these like natural, you know, first place leader being 10x, bigger and more valuable than then the folks that are in number two, you have to be thinking in terms of that paradigm. And that's how I would approach you know, any question like the, like the blockchain, one that you ask,

Justin Bartels  41:04
Bob, my face is melting.

Jared Fuller  41:07
It's literally melted off, he's just hit your cat you're like, that's actually plausible. Yeah. Yeah. Last question, Justin, rapid fire.

Justin Bartels  41:17
So we talked about the gain site, you know, really bringing the customer success role the limelight? And, and, you know, leading to a chief customer officer, I think, a great question to to send off with is what what's the path the cutting edge chief partnerships offered? Or chief chief ecosystems officer like, how do we, how do we get there as a professional group?

Bob Moore  41:38
Yeah, and I think the CEO acronym is going to be a hard one to try and compete for we can do, we're saying, look, this is it comes full circle. And thank you for the kind things you said about our content organization, a huge High Five out there to Sean and Olivia and Jasmine, who really run that ship. And we think about that almost as like a business within our business. And the mandate of that business is to make sure that we are creating a voice and a vocabulary for the people that we're trying to build products for. Because one of the things we noticed when we came into this space was that there was a real vacuum around content in the area, it felt like it was dominated by some really smart folks at, you know, the management consulting firms of trade, who kind of had a corner on the voices in the market. And we love those folks. And we, you know, collaborate with them. But it didn't sound like there were really product companies and operating companies that were speaking the language of like, what's the future of this space look like? And how do we evangelize what it looks like to be successful, not just as an individual, but in a role and in an organization? And I think the I think that chief partnerships officer role, it's an output not an input, I don't think we can write a blog post and say this, the chief partnerships officer role ought to exist, I think what we need to do is make partnerships matter more. And I think we need to create the tools and the enablement and the evidence that it is one of the most needle moving areas that any modern business can invest in. And I think an output of that will be that increasing amounts of investment lead to larger teams and more measurable ROI and better attribution. And to the point where it becomes such a dominant role in the revenue growth of a business that you better have a chief partnerships officer because it's a huge chunk of your org chart that's extremely strategic to you. And I think that that'll be the day. The day that we know that this all worked is when we start to see those things really in earnest showing up more and more. And I think that day is coming. It's coming. Absolutely,

Jared Fuller  43:40
Bob, we're gonna we're gonna end it on that note, you've dropped some incredible things. We can't wait to continue to collab with your team across beam. One quick shout out, I think the what you also mentioned, we also need the ecosystem for ecosystem, the community and folks coming together. So cloud software Association, they just announced that the conference SAS Connect is coming back. So go check out cloud software Association. We're all gonna meet up in San Francisco, I'm going to be there. I'm sure folks from crossbeam are going to be there. And it's going to be a blast. I can't wait to meet all of you. We might do something special with CSA and the podcast to live there. So stay tuned. So go check it out, and join the community participate. And we will see you all next time. Bob. We're gonna have you back on to your incredible Cool, thank you. Alright, appreciate it.

You've successfully subscribed to PartnerHacker
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Error! Could not sign up. invalid link.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Error! Could not sign in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Error! Billing info update failed.