029 - Why Allocadia's Channel Sits in Proserve and a Partner Matrix You Can Steal NOW - Isaac Smith

We're back - what's up PartnerUp?

(Sorry for the brief hiatus -- Jared was off in an RV for two weeks roaming the Rockies)

Today we have Isaac Smith of Allocadia to unpack why he sits in the Proserve org and the unseen benefits that come alongside. Don't worry, he still carries a revenue target and why you might want to embed a function in your Proserve team too.

Plus, Isaac shares the simplest GTM matrix for program prioritization out there. Check it out here: https://blog.crossbeam.com/exercise-evaluating-partner-program

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Jared Fuller  00:21
All right, we're back. If you didn't catch the last one with Jay McBain, Justin. Wow. Was that dude is something else? What do you think there's last episode?

Justin Bartels  00:32
Yeah, there's levels to this game, right? There's levels. And he was a true Maven. I don't know if there's anybody that thing. I don't think there's anybody that thinks about partnerships as much as that guys thought about partnerships, and it definitely showed

Jared Fuller  00:48
definitely the mcbane household is a unique one. husband wife Power Team, so but I'm, I'm in a different format. So I probably sound different. And I also looked different than the normal setup if you're watching on YouTube, because I'm in New Mexico about to take off for first vacation since we had the baby. So if you're seeing a different environment, that's just because I'm traveling, but we still are doing partner up because we're hitting the consistent schedule the backup.

Justin Bartels  01:13
Dedicated, dedicated.

Jared Fuller  01:14
Yeah, that is dedicated. And today's show. We have Isaac from Arcadia How you doing?

Isaac Smith  01:23
Oh, not too bad surviving the heatwave up here in Vancouver. Yeah, what's

Jared Fuller  01:28
up with that? It's like I was watching the appearances the Olympic trials and the runners. It was like that it canceled because it was 110 Portland.

Isaac Smith  01:38
Yeah, I saw that yesterday or on the weekend too. It's weird. Like I'm, I'm not used to this. Like Canada's generally a little bit cooler. Vancouver is not too bad. But being up 100 110 is really weird for me. Like we don't have infrastructure. Like I have a little desk man that's sitting off to my laptop here. And just not doing the trick.

Justin Bartels  01:57
I gotta start an arbitrage opportunity. Shipping AC units from Boston to Vancouver right now. I think that's how I make my quick buck.

Jared Fuller  02:07
I'm sure. Just the first on your list. You can't get them here. You're gonna become one of those YouTube advertisers about drop shipping.

Justin Bartels  02:16
Yeah, yeah, yeah, importer exporter is the title I prefer?

Jared Fuller  02:21
Oh, yeah, totally. Well, I'm, I'm excited to hop into the topic today, because I bet it's one that a lot of folks that they've experienced the pain of going through this transition, and Isaac some of what you've learned, a, there's no good role models for it, but be any organization that's selling, you know, in the mid Market Plus where you have to help your customers use your product, right. So I think enterprise software, really anything where product lead growth, while fantastic, ain't gonna do the trick is kind of intersected professional services and partner. But I want to make sure that I shout out to the cloud software association that the conference is back. So go check it out cloud software, association.com, I believe there is one week left on the you know, early bird discount code. So go check it out. Come see us in person. I'm 99 people, I'm definitely gonna be there. Justin's still on the fence. But he's making me there too. So he's going to come and we're all going to see each other and hang out.

Justin Bartels  03:21
Yeah, I'm excited to see the crowd. Because I mean, you get a bunch of people that network for a living, you know, so to speak, partner for a living partner, coming to a conference to talk about partnerships, and network. It's, it's very mad, I just like everything on this podcast, but I'm very eager to read the room and see if it is any different than your typical industry conference in that way.

Jared Fuller  03:45
It's gonna be different, I think it's gonna be a lot different because we actually are going to want to talk to one another. Go to a conference conference full of strict salespeople or strict marketers. It's like, there's certain people I want to talk to, but partner people that I generally want to network with, with most so. Justin, kick us off with Isaac here, I think Yeah, way of framing the topic of the day and starting the combo.

Justin Bartels  04:10
Yes, there's one thing that was really interesting that came up in our pre podcast prep here with Isaac is we've seen partnerships, organizations roll up in sales, we've seen them roll up to marketing product. Isaac is unique in that he rolls up the professional services, and he's part of the professional services. org. So Isaac, I'd love to hear and start the conversation with why, you know, what led to that decision? Why, you know, often we see these as kind of, you know, organizations that are sometimes contentious, sometimes friendly. Sometimes there's a lot of friction between the two. Why do you roll up to professional services and your partner?

Jared Fuller  04:48
And I have to say, what is the phrases channel conflict, like literally emanates from proserv versus channel right? Like that. When you think about channel conflict, I think of those two departments. So how are you in the same topic?

Isaac Smith  05:02
Yeah, it's it is kind of weird when I explain it to people, I kind of get the same reaction, because I'm not from professional services like it would make sense if I evolved into that role from from doing this before. But like, I have the same background as a lot of other people kind of solution consulting solution engineering sales, about 612 months ago, it just kind of happened organically because we switched to, let's say, switched. But, you know, we have this kind of three legged stool approach where it's not just the technology partner, it's not just the service partner, it's where the two come together, that we were really fun in our sweet spot. And it ended up that I was talking more to the professional services teams and the leaders in those teams that I was to like the sales teams and the sales leaders. So it was basically just like having two bosses the entire time. So just coming into my TBR is at the end of I think it was q4, they kind of floated the idea like, would you be interested in doing this. And so I still have revenue targets. Like all that's the same, but just because of the complex the deals we work in. And because you know, our we have partners involved from the onset of an opportunity all the way to closure, usually all the way through deployment, and, and so on. It just made more sense that I sat in there, it's actually been really, it's actually really great because that, I guess that's kind of what I saw as an expert. And to hear that I couldn't figure out but actually sitting in the middle of it, you kind of are able to take it a little bit more through osmosis about where there might be those gaps that you can fill and how there's a little bit more synergy than conflict. That makes sense. Yeah,

Justin Bartels  06:35
yeah. And what were those conversations, like you said, you were in a different part, and you started talking to pro serve? And you started having a lot of conversations or leaders and overtime, you're like, I might as well be a part of this group. What were the nature of those conversations as a co delivery was an outsourced services? Yeah,

Isaac Smith  06:51
I mean, I guess there's kind of two sides to it. on the technology side, which was were we, up until relatively recently did most of our partner business, it was just kind of the solution architecture. I mean, in sort of the upper end or top enterprise where most of our partners play, or at least the deals that I was involved in where, you know, every deal is configured differently. So the combined solution is looking different. So there isn't really a turnkey, kind of out of the box pitch that we can give. So everyone is figuring out, what can we do? How would it work, what has to connect to what to start with you to start with us. So I was working with that team, because of our integrations team trying to figure out what we could report back to them. And then as we've sort of evolved into being more consulting, services oriented, and a partner program, what, obviously, they're deploying parts of that cycle. So they're kind of involved up front and saying what they can do, then we have to figure out scoping, then we have to bring in, you know, maybe they're an expert on a third party technology that we've got to work with. So I'm kind of you know, for the first part, it was me just playing admin assistant just setting meetings and knowing who the right people in the room were. And then kind of as we got further along, we established a little bit more of a process. But that was the driving factor. And into me moving into PS.

Justin Bartels  08:04
Gotcha, interesting. So it was it was kind of a niche, natural need from the customer to have both the capacities of what the partners are providing, which might have been outside the scope of your professional services. And the know how on allocated from the professional services organization, I'm

Isaac Smith  08:22
here. Yeah, like we're, we're very customer centric kind of focus, and both our sales cycle and with our customers. So I know a lot of people say that. Nobody says they're not a customer centric. Business, right? Yeah. Yeah. But for us, it was a lot about, okay, we know the problem. How do we solve it? And you know, it's not on the account admin or the trying to figure out how to solve it. It's the professional services team, how can we deliver this? Can we deliver? Well, who else do we need in the room to be able to and so a lot of that kind of triangulation just as the markets evolving, as there's new technologies out there, as there's new things that people are wanting, and then obviously COVID, sprinkle the whole nother level of confusion and change and interesting dynamic to all of that when we can no longer go on site, we can no longer meet people directs, the types of marketing people are doing is pretty dramatically pivoted. So. Yeah, I don't know. It was a perfect storm, I guess.

Jared Fuller  09:24
Tell me a little bit about the origination of both of these kind of functions. Right. So professional services, when did it enter the purview of oliguria? When when was it that someone said we need to have an internal mastery of our own implementation and kind of management of our, you know, of our technology? Was that from day one, or was that something that happened later on?

Isaac Smith  09:50
That's a great question. Um, the distinction of role probably happened a little bit later, like I was employee 80 or 94 four years ago, now. And we're 1012 years old. So I think we always had some level of that function. But I mean, we started out with two twin sisters in the garage. So there wasn't a designated function at that time, I think it probably came out, when we got to the 1015 level where there's a little bit of a blurred line between solution engineering and professional services. It was certainly well established when I started four years ago. At that time, we did pretty much exclusively all our own deployments. I mean, ever, there might have been a little one off case here or there. And I know there, there were with some of the partners, we still have and are significantly more active now. But for the most part, we, yeah, as of four or five years ago, when I joined, we were doing it ourselves.

Jared Fuller  10:46
So help me understand how you think these separate functions align. And this could be your opinion or anecdote from alcudia is, if I think about professional services organizations, I'm driving some Northstar metric typically aligned around customer health, right. So that can be using product analytics, it can be using a bunch of leading or lagging indicators. And when I think about partner services, internally adrift, we actually just opened up our first roll. It's called partner delivery consultant. So if anyone's interested, come check it out, apply drift.com slash careers, I can advertise those things. Right, Justin? Do we have any sponsors? No, no. Okay. So we can do that we can do? free. So we're hiring our first one, which because I've been thinking about all the stuff, you're talking about Isaac, it's like, who is responsible for ensuring our partners know the best practices and those indicators of customer health. And then when you realize it's not really the CSM, it's not the channel account manager that's more responsible for sales there. There needs to be something inside of professional services. So we're calling in partner delivery. And we're trying to align towards customer health, is that functions primary role? Is that how you see it? Is that how the partnership with proserv and what you're doing kind of, like this is why this is so important is we have the internal knowledge in proserv. And our goal is to make sure our partners have that same knowledge.

Isaac Smith  12:22
It's a good, a good question. And we've kind of gone a few different ways. And to be perfectly honest, like we've had a few false starts, I feel totally fine saying that, because they were my ideas that didn't work out in front of the world.

Jared Fuller  12:37
I got to tell us about those. So other people don't make up later, we'll follow up with those.

Isaac Smith  12:42
As well, I mean, it kind of comes out here, we started, I think we went way too far one direction, like in terms of making sure that they knew absolutely everything under the sun. And early on, when partners are coming in that are going to be doing deployments, they're all telling you, well, you know, we're the best partner out there, we're gonna do so many of us were to bring you so much business. So we invest so much time resources and training into making sure they're certified, making sure they can do every weird one off scenario. And then, you know, we invest, I don't want to think how much 4050 hours into training somebody and never see them. Again, the amount of time that we spent doing this was almost crippling to that program, because it turns like the impression of it was it was such a wasted effort. And so then we kind of tried to go the other way and said, well, we're just going to bring him in for a few, some shadowing, just make sure they're under NDA and they can kind of get a feel for it, then we have a project on the horizon, we're not going to train them until then. But they didn't have the exposure to really be able to recognize or add value at that point that we still didn't get any value out of them. So I guess those are kind of the two Phil's start directions. Now it's we kind of as weird as it sounds, we've kind of gone a reverse direction to what we've been doing before. So they're actually new partners won't come in at the front of our sales cycle, they'll come in usually more with customers where the platform is already configured, and the change is relatively minor. And so they're doing more consulting, we're kind of making additional work, not necessarily just splitting up the deployment or having them do the deployment. And as they get more comfortable there. They work towards the front of the sales cycle, that sort of the epiphany that we had is, it's a lot easier to get them exposure and do the things that they're experts in without having to purely rely on their them considering configuring the platform correctly. Because anywhere in enterprise SAS can be configured so many different ways. And if somebody does, like sometimes customers don't have the best ideas. So if you don't recognize that maybe that's not a best practice, even though it's possible little things like that are incredibly nuanced, but incredibly difficult to call in advance. That's sort of how we've ensured that that quality and we obviously have all the other QA methods in place, check ins and all that fun stuff. But that was sort of the paradigm shift that we use to address that.

Jared Fuller  15:01
It's, um, I think whenever I had my agency, Justin, you might have seen something when you were in your agency life, I often said, you know, my clients would be a lot more successful with their work for my clients, you know, they usually have these ideas, or, you know, the only thing, the only thing standing in the way of my clients success is my client, because of these preconceived notions of, you know, what the outcome supposed to be. And that's often the nuance of a partner team versus a, you know, an internal professional services team. Because I'm assuming that let me make this assumption, you, you correct me if I'm wrong? Did you have a specific vertical that you originally had most of your traction, like most of your customers go into x vertical, like other technology companies, or financial services? So

Isaac Smith  15:52
yeah, I mean, b2b tech was our sweet spot, still is to a large degree, I don't know how much of that is that it's an industry fit. And how much of that is that just they as a whole tend to be a little bit more open to new technologies, they tend to be early adopters of a lot of things. And they're, you know, less inclined to say we want the big bucks, we were going to look for best of breed, that seems to be more of their kind of mentality.

Jared Fuller  16:19
And then as you start to look outside that lens of like, so you're a b2b tech company, you're servicing b2b tech companies, there's not that much a disconnect between services and servicing your customer. And then as you work with some of these larger customers and larger partners, right, your expertise starts to break down where the client might have different ideas for your platform, that you might not have the best point of view, the client might not have the best point of view, and you kind of need someone there to help bridge the gap between the two, like, hey, we've helped allocate dia and these other accounts, but we also have a functional expertise in financial services. Have you started to look at this, you know, relationship that you have with the professional services organization, under the lens of like new market development, because the services required for b2b tech, probably a little bit different, those best practices, right? So they don't go down the wrong path. So they don't have the wrong idea a little bit different in the next vertical over time, you start to see that vertical, specific services.

Isaac Smith  17:20
Oh, so yeah, there's definitely areas that I mean, we're still like, our ICP has changed relatively dramatically in the last four years, it's actually kind of interesting seeing that. So yeah, we definitely have partners that are experts in areas that we're not as familiar and that's kind of one of the catalysts to bringing them in. And there's also part of their expert, and just technologies that we may not be or just even things that you don't want your technology vendor addressing, like we can help give you best practices on like, let's say process design or change management. But really, that should probably come to somebody externally. And I guess that was kinda one of the other things that we flipped is we were trying to bring in expertise from a partner. And one of the things that makes it really hard when you have a good professional services team, there's not a lot they're not experts on. So there's not, it's not like a partner's gonna do an integration better than our professional services team. So, but there are areas that we don't have as much experience. And so that's kind of more about and this is where it's almost turned into more consulting than it has, like just pure deployment, the deployments now almost a byproduct. Because they like, you know, if you think of all the work around a deployment, rather than kind of cut up that pie, it's about making a bigger pie. So there's now all this additional layer of consulting that you can wrap around it. So we're not necessarily doing less, it's just what we're doing is different. It's very focused on configuration, and we're bringing the experts in to focus on the areas that we wouldn't have the the experience to

Jared Fuller  18:48
see, you mentioned a bigger pie. I'm curious, this is more of a tactical question that we might not need to spend much time on. But I think they'll paint the picture for the audience, is that in a lot of situations, especially when you have direct account executives selling into accounts, they're thinking either or right partner or pro serve? Are you is that always a consideration? Or do you have projects that are co delivered?

Isaac Smith  19:16
We have projects that are co delivered like in an ideal scenario, and these by no means is every deal. But for coming up more and more is we will do we will have our professional services team scope it and then the partner will do whatever element helps them complete their project will kind of give them the option if they want to do the deployment great. More often than not, it's just easier for simplicity of the deal for us to do it. But if they're wrapping for 5x, their license costs around it and consulting. They don't really care about our services, which are like 25%, especially like you'd be looking at the big gsis like they have no interest whatsoever in our services. It's the consulting they can wrap around it. So we do get them involved go to the gate and they might do some of the integration work, but it's rare that they will do a start to finish deployment. That happens, but it's not usually their sweet spot.

Jared Fuller  20:07
I have a another quick question. You said four to 5x license costs, which that in and of itself is typically going to be, you know, that will make some head of sales claimed delivery director that owns a number to kind of turn their head and go, okay. It's a, you know, modern software company where the services dollars are meaningful, right? You were able to quantify that. How did you go about quantifying that, that dollar amount with partners? Was this based on hours? How, how are you helping partners, let's say scope, their engagement? What does that process kind of look like to say, okay, you know, partner x, you think we need to work together, there's some value hypothesis that they have that allocated might be a fit for their clients, or they have a mutual customer that they feel like they need help. No traction really happens until they have something they can sell. Right? Like the partner needs to be able to sell something that doesn't your software, your margin doesn't make them any money. So they arrive at some price, are you giving them templates? Are they asking you for hours? How are you getting from partner interest to Okay, I can charge 500k a million dollars for this engagement. Plus, help us understand how you get from my new partner to I can go sell this.

Isaac Smith  21:28
I mean, it's not I wish it was a perfect silver bullet that I could give you, it's been a process of, you know, two steps forward one step back. And it's sort of depends to a degree where they are like I said, before, kind of our epiphany was starting the partners further back and the customer. See, I typically say life cycle, not supposed to say life cycle, because it implies an end the cradle to heaven process. Later on, they start that it's more of a defined problem, because we've had time to recognize this is what you need to do. And then the partner can kind of based on what they've done before, they can scope up their own hours, and they have a really good problem definition, it becomes a lot more broad, the further forward you get in the sales process, and it's a little bit more difficult to bring up, before they've closed the deal. Hey, you should spend a whole lot more money on professional services. So that becomes a little bit more challenging. But that's sort of what we've done. And I guess, and I talked to you about it the other day was this swim lane model, where we've mapped out, I think it's 140 different individual steps from like, BDR, sends them an email all the way through, like they expand to our top platform, every marketer has us, and they renewed for the 10th time. And we looked for those discrepancies between what we are doing now and probably shouldn't do or don't want to be doing. And the ones we do, and we kind of found these little clusters. And then we tried to find basically a skew to them to say, Here's roughly what needs to be done. And there's, I think we're hoping to get to 15 or so but we have, I think we're just sitting at four or five right now. And you know, here's a rough cluster of what we want to do. And so then we can say, here's the background, they have the conversation with the customer, and they have a reasonably good idea about the amount of hours the amount of additional resources they're going to bring in. And they can scope it usually off an hour call based on the context that we give them.

Justin Bartels  23:17
Gotcha. So you've almost templated like the maturity model of not knowing anything about allocating yet to be fully enabled, top tier with the platform, and kind of puts some estimates of like hours behind what each piece would entail with a typical customer.

Isaac Smith  23:35
Yeah, like we're, there's only so far down the standardization road that you can go, I don't know, if we've ever like said, you know, we're expecting this is gonna be 4000 hours. But we can relatively well say, this is what they need. Or I guess even to the point, if we're looking at like a managed services or a temporary kind of person role. And we can say this is going to be probably about an FTD, this is going to be a habit, he is going to FTS, we can give them enough context that they can come in. And we know we don't like to play middleman too much. So we can enough that we can say this is a ballpark, you should talk to them, you need to figure out to narrow it down. And then they can provide a kind of a code after that. So we don't have like a hard, you know, fill in the lines in this template. But we have a kind of a standardized offering. I call them skis, which is probably not the right terminology for them, but offer just write better, but and that seems to have been I even that's something that's kind of evolved even in the last couple of quarters and it's been super useful and it's actually gotten better than I was expecting. Absolutely not me that should take credit for all that there's a ton of people yeah, that look at it and that our partners involved but it's been super psyched to see how well

Justin Bartels  24:46
right it's a team effort team effort. And have you have you agreed to like work with your part near proserv or to agree on like, all right, out of all these swim lanes and things that could have, you know customer may need to get to this ultimate state maturity? These are the ones that, you know, proserv is going to be able to deliver on these are the ones that partners, you know, we're gonna rely on partners for is that defined? Or is it kind of case by case basis account by account relationship by relationship?

Isaac Smith  25:15
A bit of both, like we, this model has largely come off. Again, I reported to professional services, I have access to talk to them on a daily basis. So they've largely fueled this model as to what do you guys really like doing what you find very inconvenient? What is it that you don't want to do? Or wish we could take off your plates? And so there's not really a lot of those things are the things I wanted people to do anyway. So it's just I can try to get to find partners to, to do those. And those are becoming more standard that we are not doing. The hard part is the things that we can do. But maybe we shouldn't, because we've just in that cadence of no customer asks, we do, because that's what we need to facilitate the deployment. So it's not turnkey, yet, but it's moving. It's moving that direction. And I mean, I don't think it'll ever get all the way there. I'm lucky our partner, or our special service team has been pretty open to working with partners, and they're not super coin operated, we're small enough that we can, you still don't have people fighting for every single billable hour, like people don't mind helping for things that a little bit outside their purview, they don't mind helping a partner figuring something that maybe they haven't seen before. So it's made it a little bit easier transition, but we're still transitioning that direction, and probably will be for another 10 years. G

Jared Fuller  26:37
is that final kind of scope done by the time they're signing a subscription with you, meaning your deal sizes range from what are you 250k plus 100k? Plus 50k? Plus?

Isaac Smith  26:52
Yeah, we'll probably I mean, our sweet spot is, our sweet spot is about 500 million up in terms of revenue. So we're probably, you know, our lower mid market, we're probably 15 100k. And our larger clients are into the seven figures.

Jared Fuller  27:08
So during that process of evaluating, there's the license cost, and then there is the Okay, get this thing live, make it all work, kind of total cost of ownership? Is it completely scoped out? What the services are going to be in total, before that customer is signing with you? Or are there you know, oftentimes unknown unknowns around that? And the reason why I'm asking that question, the question behind the question is, a lot of times, account executives that haven't worked in the channel in these agency relationships, will be very hesitant to go deeper with external parties, when that pricing structure they can't control, right. So if you bring them in early, their control of price on that deal, kind of exits the picture a little bit. Do you have services always scope before you sign the customer? Or sometimes it's a little bit before after in between middle?

Isaac Smith  28:06
Question 99%, I would say yes, with the caveat that a lot of times, it's like they're talking to a partner, now, it's knowing that they are going to do something like a year down the road. So they kind of just want to know what the roadmap is. So sometimes that is a little bit more ambiguous in terms of what's priced out or even if they're just doing like, they're paying a consultant to do the technology roadmapping. And that may not be finalized. But in terms of the like, having our cadia actually configured, that would be the overwhelming majority of the time that is set in stone going in, before anything signed,

Jared Fuller  28:51
right in the key settings to bring them earlier into the cycle versus I feel like a lot of times it comes in the standard Salesforce stages, you know, solution, plans, solution validation, right? Like we're not talking about what it means to actually get this technology into your hands and utilize in your business until the end of the sales cycle, which if we're talking about additional costs, then or effort or energy. I like the concept of inverting that right, like starting the sales cycle with the what's needed for the actual lift. In fact, that's another thing that we're starting to do here is we were starting to call it business value consulting, where we're leading with that engagement, right versus leading with the the software sale in a lot of those situations. And that kind of feels somewhat similar to what you're doing. You mentioned that the services are less about implementation, and they're much more about consulting, right? And at the beginning of the process, the more consultative you're going to be, the more information you have to sell later on. Like I feel like your account executives as you go through this really in depth scoping process in the beginning, where you identify services kind of scope and strategy. How much more information do you have to close that deal

Isaac Smith  29:59
at the end Probably a lot more, right? Yeah. Yeah, no, absolutely. And it just it was, I mean, the hardest thing and I'm sure it's the same with anybody else is getting that first one like I'm my background is sales, I would not want a partner who would never been in a sales cycle to have its first one with me. That would be terrifying. So it's and that's kind of why our whole reverse of getting them involved in with our existing customers first and then kind of progressing back and having more and more less experience in there where they're experts in gaining more that allocated experience. By the time they're ever dealing with that new deal. like they've got significant experience, they can actually add significant value. And they can ask questions that either maybe our sales team wouldn't ask or just, they're not in a position to really be comfortable. So they had quite a bit of

Justin Bartels  30:46
a double click into that process really quick to use a cliche term, we've gone back and forth talking about like, what's, what's the best way to enable our channel partners. And I'm curious, you know, when you're starting on the back end of the cycle, I use usually starting with one individual out that that partner who's good, who's gonna be the like allocated subject matter expert. And then from there you blend it out to maybe a broader team? Or do you start with a team wide enablement? And then worked on what does that process look like of taking a partner who's never done anything in your platform before? And, you know, the maturity model of activating them and enabling them?

Isaac Smith  31:24
Yeah, I would say the overwhelming majority of the time it it's, as you said, it's a former of it's one person who's really interested in gets it, maybe they don't know the platform, but they get the value. And they can see how that would be applied to to other things. And then, you know, we've just kind of done that now, we've brought our first partner that has a full dedicated media practice. And that was how it started was one person who was really an expert, and they kind of trained the team around, we've definitely tried the shotgun approach, you know, let's get as many people enabled as quickly as possible. It just didn't really land. I mean, it might have maybe got some good fortune referrals out of it over the years. So it wasn't a complete fool's errand. But in terms of getting like a deep ingrained strategic partnership, you kind of really need that one person to champion it.

Jared Fuller  32:14
Is that the primary forcing function of that champion? Is that the primary forcing function? Or are there other forcing functions outside of that, he said, the shotgun approach doesn't necessarily work. You know, having a champion that's all in that you're kind of using as your, you know, indicator to go all in on that partner, right? If someone bought in and going above and beyond? Are there other forcing functions that you see in the partner lifecycle where, you know, joint account? Or what other indicators Do you see to go, Okay, this is worth investing in trying to develop a practice or functional expertise.

Isaac Smith  32:52
Yeah, the joint accounts would be the kind of the next biggest one other, we tend to look at that. More from a lens of a technology partner that you think of, we have our kind of key technology partners up here, we've got this little incubator of other companies that we're friendly with we talked to, we may have a couple integrations, we're not thinking all the time and the resources of kind of doing a massive five year co marketing plan, but we're kind of building those up. And those are sort of where we see the next line of partners to come along and then kind of look at what were their si or their consulting partners, what did they look like, and that's kind of the next incubator level of those technology partnerships, or is happening a lot of times, which is even better for us is where we can introduce people at those technologies into our existing services partners, we have turned a three legged stool into four expressions now, probably not going to catch on but

Justin Bartels  33:48
can't say, across some of that. And, I mean, you've got a number of your head, you know, how do you parse out the enablement piece and devoting your time there to driving sales? You know, does it? Are you seeing that, starting with the back end of the process actually, like, opens on a lot more sales? later on? Yeah, put on the upfront cost, like how do you balance those two motives?

Isaac Smith  34:15
Yeah, it it does. And like anything else in partnerships, it is an extremely slow process, like you're probably looking at a year plus in order to start seeing for your tree to bear fruit. I'm lucky in that the way I'm measured, like, I'm my own worst critic. So I measure on my revenue numbers, but they're more of a kind of measure of program success then or have a measure program direction and they are like that I'm chasing them and I have somebody breathing down my neck about them, which is kind of which is makes me a bit lucky in that regard. Be like focus on what I think is gonna be the best for the business like last quarter, I was way more heavily involved with our existing customers than I normally would be just due to situation and just a weird time because Our customers, what they're doing is changing, they needed help, we need to bring in partners. So I wasn't doing as much depth as I normally would be in a quarter. And that's okay. I'm sure my numbers this quarter will be a little bit down because of it. But the additional value we drove for our customers, well offsets that, and I know there's a reason why those numbers would be down and then quarter after that, but we back up again.

Jared Fuller  35:25
What's next, Isaac? What's, what's the next big milestone? So you're, you're in proserv, you're building this foundation. And I feel like this is always the question that there's many chasms that are to be crossed in partner land. And I think you've, you've probably arrived at the that first step where you have your first, you know, global size and big organizations to develop practices, right inside of the business. I mean, that's a giant milestone, because making any of these big agencies are s eyes, build a practice inside of their org, that's, that's a tall challenge. How are you thinking about planning for the future that you haven't seen yet? Right, like, what other role models? Are you looking to? How are you kind of learning where that this next phase is for building out, you know, best in class services and taking your company to the next phase?

Isaac Smith  36:15
That's a great question. I really, I really wish I had an answer for you. We are, I don't know we're coming at it at a bit of a different approach, we've acted way too much in a silo in the past. And again, I don't mind calling up my own wrong decisions. So a lot of the success has realized has come from when we stopped operating in a silo, and we let the rest of the business sort of dictate where we're going, you know, we let product say the types of partnerships that would be beneficial to where the products going, we've let our professional services teams guide us in the parts of a PSR that aren't the most lucrative and our sales team or solution engineering team say, Well, this is what we bumped into in deals. So I'm not exactly sure where it's, it's going to go. I wish I could say that I had a master plan, but it's kind of letting to a large degree, letting the organization in the direction of the market and the whole, the whole company kind of guide the partnerships. I mean, we're, they're sort of all our customers as a partner team. So they're the ones that are, you know, the same way a company can have product led growth, I guess our partner teams doing the same thing with our internal customers got us?

Jared Fuller  37:30
That is a very interesting answer to that question. Because you unknowingly you might have kind of solved a problem that a lot of people listening today are experiencing right now, which is lack of organizational buying cross functionally into the partner programs, right, especially partner programs that come in later stage. So what's that Ben Franklin? quote? I don't remember the whole thing. But I think the last line is involved me and I'll understand. Right? That's kind of kind of the takeaway here, right, is that they're involved in helping shape the future of Park The where partners are going, which means there's more context, more understanding and more working into the roadmaps in the plans. One, one thing that came to mind which we need to go have this person on to Justin was, I'll give Shawn lane from drift. One of our hypergrowth podcasts, he has operations, he interviewed the head of proserv at Acquia. I don't know if you caught that one. But it's a it's a great episode where she talks about how proserv and partner services have gotten gotten integrated. And Aqua, you know, being a 303 $50 million revenue company, probably a good role model to go look out for and you've given me a good reminder to have her on as a follow on. But it'll be interesting to see what emerges from that, I bet there's gonna be a whole bunch more creativity about how partners evolve and allocate via, you know, when you have all of those functional leaders looking at building the future versus, you know, a silo. I mean, Justin, how much can you master planning? Can you and I do without having Leo or Trisha? Or Todd or DC involved? I mean, there's really not much, right.

Justin Bartels  39:12
Right. I think it's a great calling. If, if you're in an organization that has or is starting a professional services org, start the dialogue early, and often because it only gets 10 times harder, every two quarters year you wait. And they're going to be thinking about their own five year plans and their own prerogatives, and how do they, you know, they're going to be focused on making customers successful, just like you're trying to do with your partners. And, you know, many people aren't, or they're not thinking about partners, they're going to go and try and build it all themselves naturally, right? Because they don't want to be bad. They don't want their customers to be unsuccessful. So if you're out there, and you see this happening, your organization, I think we can all agree that the better you start the dialogue and the framework in the swimlanes the better Your easier Your job is going to be long term.

Jared Fuller  40:03
without a shadow of doubt, involve me and I'll understand. That's the. That's the takeaway, Isaac. Kudos to you for getting the rest of the organization on board. And we can't wait to check in with you in the next time, the next big milestone to see what has been created inside of al Qaeda. Before we bounce. Have to remind everyone again, cloud software Association, come join the Slack channel. That's where we're gonna have follow on conversations. Isaac, you had a fantastic blog post in crossbeam. So I'll give them another unsponsored shout out. I think it's filling the blanks exercise for evaluating your partner program which will link in the show notes. I, I would actually slack that to my team. I was like, Hey, we should use this as a matrix on some of these partner relationships. So some good follow on material from the call today straight from you know, the front lines with Isaac. And then last CTA we've been we've had a couple of reviews on Apple podcast, Jesse, so we go keep those

Justin Bartels  41:01
five stars, right.

Jared Fuller  41:03
Five Star, five star only podcast, the only five star only podcasts and partnerships. There we go. There's three of us. There's that jpp not 100. I don't want to I did not catch 100. There's like three real ones. Yeah, but we just review stuff on YouTube. Just to like, comment, and we'll see you folks next time. I blast. Thanks. Thanks, guys.

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