050 - 50th episode special: the frontline of the tech partner ecosystem revolution

What is up PartnerUp?!

Can you believe this episode is the big 5-0?!

We’ve been on this partnership journey for almost two years, and we’re just getting started!

For this monumental 50th episode, we have on Chris Samila, the VP of Partnerships at Crossbeam.

As a part of Crossbeam, the largest Partner Platform, Chris has a front-row seat to the “wild world of peer-to-peer tech partnerships.”

He shares his thoughts on partnership MVPs, testing, the future of marketing, data, and the early signs of this coming partnership era.

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Jared Fuller  00:11
partner up. We're back. Got Isaac in the chair back in Tennessee no longer in person after Scott Brinker, the godfather of martec now heading ecosystem at HubSpot. So that one went live if you haven't checked it out, it's amazing. And now we have kind of is the center of all things partner ecosystem for a very special episode. A very special episode number 50 We got on Chris from partnerships, leaders and crossbeam Of course, you all know crossbeam. So what's up, Chris?

Chris Samila  00:43
It's so good to be here. Massively honored that I get to do the episode 50 with y'all, so thank you.

Jared Fuller  00:49
Yeah, totally. It was it. I want to say that it was planned. But then I look kind of looked at everything on my Wait, Chris is going to be number 50. So salud. Cheers. I will be partaking in that over the episode. It's my first one though, so I won't get too rowdy.

Isaac Morehouse  01:04
Well, I was only able to acquire a decaf Americano, which this late in the day, that might do some stuff to me too. I don't know might get me

Jared Fuller  01:12
half America.

Chris Samila  01:14
My hotel water, great water.

Jared Fuller  01:17
Alright, so I'm the only person celebrating 50. But episode 50 a partner out man. I'm excited to have Chris here and talk about I think the thing that's nearest and dearest to my heart, which is tech, you know, peer to peer tech partnerships. So Chris, you've seen a lot of this across beam, given the intersects and intersections that kind of are created between companies connecting up their databases, from, Hey, should we do a partner thing together all the way to massive scale, right? Like, oh, we have 1000s and 1000s of relationships and overlaps and segments and all sorts of stuff. So you've kind of got to see the the gambit a little bit as this has emerged, and I've also been a customer. So I've seen this happen, you know, like, oh, wow, whenever we get to see the data, here's what we can do together and had hundreds of sellers and join Slack channels that wouldn't have otherwise happened. So I think today, we wanted to unpack, you know, what's this wild world of peer to peer tech partnerships. Because it's like the big dawgs, they have their standard process. But for the rest of us that are kind of in hyper growth trying to partner up or partner down, it seems like the playbook is still being written, we're building the plane as we fly it, so to speak. So let's, uh, let's kick off there. Isaac, I think I liked your entry point, in terms of like, we can kind of go through that maturity of like the upstart kind of scaling with peers to becoming the platform. Let's start with kind of your thesis, what you're most interested in? Which would be how do we how do we test that minimally viable partnership? And how does you know data or overlap or things like that play into that? If if the the entry, the entry point,

Isaac Morehouse  02:52
no, that's always been super interesting to me. You know, I mean, again, I've worked with mostly very early, smaller companies. And so the thought of partnerships, it's like this big, hairy involved thing with lots of moving parts and a high level of commitment. And it's like, you gotta set up a bunch of stuff. It might involve, you know, product and all these other things. So I'm always looking as kind of the lean startup model background for like, how do you how do you pressure test this? How do you what's the minimum way that you can see if there's, they're there. And so I'm curious if you have like, best practices or examples, Chris, from your own, or even from customers of yours that you've seen, where you identify possible partnerships, hey, maybe there's something there? What's that like baby step, to really see how much is worth investing and going more, more deeply to do something that's, you know, a much more involved thing? What does that minimum test look like?

Chris Samila  03:45
Yeah, totally. So this is something that we, we've been spending a lot of time across the amount, just really doing this ourselves. And we have a whole partner program that is obviously working with a lot of other tech companies. I feel a little fortunate that we have a lot of partner teams that are customers, because it does make the conversation easier around. Okay, cool. How do we take our two solutions and bring them together? But I think, in any of my companies are working in the past, I've been with Optimizely, full story. A lot of it came from a customer feedback. So like being as close as possible to what the market needs. And then trying to figure out is there a kind of a v1 of any technical integration, or even before that, going and doing some joint marketing together in the market and just seeing if it resonates? And I think this is one of the things that we definitely Carolyn just came back. Sorry. No one's like, oh, oh, good.

Jared Fuller  04:40
Do we cut it or do we not cut it? That's the question.

Isaac Morehouse  04:42
Yeah. How real? Do we want to keep this? I mean, listeners, I think they like you know, I think they like keeping it real.

Jared Fuller  04:51
I think so too. I don't know what crispy the ultimate. So for those of you who don't know, Chris, Chris is the VP of partnerships at crossbeam. So they were been an early supporter of the podcast, the first 10 episodes and software that we've definitely evangelized a ton. So. And then also, for those of you who aren't members of partnerships, leaders, this is the kind of Premier paid member community. So we're giving you the mid roll, shout out and plugs, Chris.

Chris Samila  05:15
Awesome. Thank you. It's good. Yeah. Good to be here, guys.

Jared Fuller  05:20
So you were you're kind of giving us the backstory on how you've how you've kind of like dog food MVP, partnerships, given your partnerships company working with partnerships, people, you might have some theses to get to that minimally viable partnership a little bit sooner than, you know, others companies that might not have that much, you know, concentric circles of, like, partner overlap with unpack that a little bit more?

Chris Samila  05:46
Yeah, definitely. I mean, this is like, I think one of the things that separates some of the like, more agile, newer, maybe partner teams, or just philosophies around how to do partnerships, you know, I've experienced both sides of it, where you talk to a partner, and they're like, I want this territory carved out, or I want exclusivity, or you know, those types of things before they invest resources. I think, like the nature of a lot of these SaaS solutions is that we can relatively quickly probably get an MVP integration together, or at least test in the markets and CO marketing initiatives and see if it resonates, and let that momentum sort of guide you on how much you invest energy into the partnership. So, you know, we've been trying to be very thoughtful, even at cross beam as we go into a lot of these tech partnerships, you know, not creating, you know, tearing in our partner program yet or like targets for any of our partners or anything, it's really just like, let's get a legal framework in place that like, you know, an NDA, mutual NDA, let's let's make sure that you can access our API's and vice versa. You know, if we find that that integration, but make that as low friction as humanly possible, because you want to get into the moment into the mode of like, actually getting market feedback from your customers about like, is this something they're interested in, and we've had to like, we've had to beta test this a ton at crossbeam, because nobody's ever had programmatic partner data before. So we have all these like categories of integrations, and some of them didn't resonate, as well as we would have hoped. Other ones are taking off really, really quickly. But you kind of don't know until you start getting out there in the market, and talking to people about it. So I think that's one thing just to take away is like, figure out with your legal team, how to make any kind of agreement with your partners as lightweight as humanly possible in the beginning. And then in some scenarios, like even before you, you know, get into official partner agreement, talk to some mutual customers, you can use things like crossbeam, and other tools to like, spot those overlaps, so that you can actually go and talk to those customers. And sometimes the market tells you like, that doesn't matter to us. And so you know, not to spend energy in that. Or you revise your hypothesis around what use case of an integration you might want to do with a tech partner.

Isaac Morehouse  07:57
So two, two examples are popping in my mind of things I've experienced myself that are you really reminded me of because you when you said start with marketing, I love that idea that like marketing is almost like your, your first lowest cost way to test out a partnership before you have to commit to something on the product side or whatever. And so speaking of a test with a b2c company, I was running in the career space, where somebody came to us and said, Hey, we want to we're scaling up this massive Salesforce of SDRs. And we want to see, with all these job seekers, you have, you know, you guys have a lot of first time seekers, can you feed us a lot of, you know, talent for this. And we came up with this idea, it was this really like complex thing we wanted to do, where we're like sourcing the talent and sort of training them up and then placing them in and basically saying, this is your first startup job. So we have this idea. And we thought, well, before we go crazy, let's just do something really simple. Let's just go buy the domain join silicon valley.com. And let's just make a landing page. And let's just spend like a week and like 500 bucks on a little bit of targeted and see if the audience's that we've already defined for other stuff. Are they motivated by this idea of join a Silicon Valley startup. And it's a good thing, we tested that because it turns out they weren't. It was like right at the beginning of the pandemic, and people didn't want to move to Silicon Valley. And it was not, it was not clicking at all, even though there were things about what we wanted to build that I think had promised. We just been able to test for like 500 bucks, and in like a couple days, a landing page. And then another analogy on the product side, I had a developer who I was working with, and I was talking about a feature that I thought would be really valuable. And he's like, Well, what if we did this? What if we just put a button there that says what the feature is, you know, click here to do X. I don't remember what it was, but we don't actually support it. And all that happens when you click it. It says we haven't launched this feature yet. Give us your email to be the first to hear about it. And then we'll find out how many people click on it. And I was like, Oh my gosh, this is so simple. We can we can let the customer tell us if they really actually want us to Build this feature. So that's that's what you're making me think of these are these are hacks? It's partner hacking, right? Yeah,

Chris Samila  10:06
that's 100% True, the lightweight stuff that you can get that market feedback and quickly determine like, is this resonating or not, it's just going to save you so much time and energy because if it does work, then you have ammo to go to all the other people in your organization on the marketing side or engineering side, etc. To be like, there's something here like we should probably explore doing something more with this organization. And it's fascinating as, as, as we've gone into some partnerships, where the other party is not maybe interested in trying out the lightweight approach, they want to go the big heavy one, and like, you know, today that's not in the cards, you know, like, we're moving as quickly as possible. Because the markets brand new, and we don't know what's going to resonate or not.

Jared Fuller  10:50
And going big means. I think whenever someone says going big, and they mentioned the word partner, I immediately think of alliance and Alliance has other things, right? So we were talking full product build, probably some commits around go to market commercials, marketing sales, right? There are revenue implications to both companies. If you're a bigger company, then some of that revenue should be retiral. Right? It should be recognizable revenue, even. So these are things like minimum commits, which, you know, that's a whole other level of conversation. I wanted to tie this, together with a concept that I was just talking to someone yesterday about. So Brent Adamson, Brent is the author of the Challenger sale. There, he authored a very, very unique piece in HBr, a month and a half ago, two months ago that we covered in that partner hacker daily. So there's my plug, if you're not getting partner hacker daily, go sub, the only partner newsletter that has like a 60% open rate. Yeah, go sub,

Isaac Morehouse  11:45
I'll do like late night DJ voice to channel Chris boss, just sign up for partner hacker daily, just every once in a while.

Jared Fuller  11:55
So I was talking with Brent yesterday. And you know what he told me that just like, I'm going to repeat this 1000 times now. He said that I feel like everyone in b2b right now has a crisis of conviction. And if that brought me brought it to attention is because what most partner people, whenever they approach a partner conversation, kind of like at this stage, how do we do something MVP, no one really has conviction. It's like, I want your leads. And then you know, you want my leads? That's that's really the baseline by which people are starting most partner conversations is how do we generate more leads? So if a company is much smaller than you, the benefits are clearly outsized, right. But if you're about the same size, what is the partner value hypothesis that you're willing to hang your career hat on? Right? What's your conviction? That's what I see people lacking is they're not coming in and being like, Hey, Chris, here's my value hypothesis. And it is detailed to the nth degree, we're gonna knock this out of the park, and you're not reviewing some plan that's like, holy cow. This is actually amazing. What you're typically seeing, what I typically see is, how do we partner with you and get your leads without saying it that way? Right. So there's this lack of conviction that's underpinning all buyer behavior right now. Heck, even personal behavior. Amazon's Save for Later button. Do you know, this is some stuff I'm dropping right here that I just can't wait to put in some further research? Do you know that Amazon Save for Later button has seen like a 4,000% increase in the past two years? Isn't that wild? Why? Because like, then we have too much stuff. Like we can't even decide if we want to buy the thing that we're researching ourselves. So when it comes to partnerships, you better have some conviction. Here's why we want to do the thing. So tell me that, Chris? Like, if you're seeing very strong conviction and like a proposal, or is that norm? Or is it normally like more, hey, let's see if we should do a partnership, let's explore things, let's kind of dance around the subject because we're not really sure we don't know we don't have conviction.

Chris Samila  14:07
I think this is an interesting one. Because like in the world of icon tech partner to tech partner relationships, a lot of your search early efforts are going to be around potentially mutual customers. And that gives you the referenceable content to be able to go out and it starts to build relationships, honestly, between your AES and CSMs. So then you can transition in the mode of, okay, we know each other, let's help each other get into open opportunities. And eventually it transitions into Okay, I'm going to help you do marketing campaigns to net new customers for both of us are net new accounts for both of us the prospects. And so like I sort of see it as like gradients of like start with the lowest friction area where it's like, it's mutual customers, they're already working with both of us. We just needed to get them to buy into the idea that our two solutions together would create value for them. And so I think that's like once a week they buy in

Jared Fuller  14:59
less than When you say buy in, I would assume that based on some feedback, it would be great if x did y with Z, right? So if if I could do this thing with you, and with the software I'm already using.

Chris Samila  15:12
Yeah, exactly. And this is where you, to some extent, it's good to go into these conversations with a, both the tech partners should have a sort of use case or a few use cases they think might be viable. And, in some cases, you may not broach those until you've gotten customer feedback first, because you don't want to sort of tip their hand on what you're thinking, because sometimes they can come with some stuff that you never even thought of. But at some point in the conversation, you want to look prepared and have something to say, hey, here's some, here's some ideas we have like, with this resume, would this be something your team would get value from would you potentially upgrade your plan, whatever the conversation needs to lead to, to make it feel like you have enough confidence, you know, across that customer and potentially multiple to be like, alright, the markets telling us that there's something here like, we should devote some energy and actually building it, I think an area where tech partners sometimes miss and I've been on calls this year where this has happened, where they see our 7500 customers on crossbeam. And they're like, I have, you know, they come into the conversation, they're like, I have no idea what use case we could potentially do with you guys. I just want to I just want to do like marketing with you, you know, and it's like, right, that's not a great way to start those conversations, because it's like, we have our API's exposed, you know, developers crossbeam comm. We have tons of marketplace listings, even potentially companies in your category, like do the homework before you go into those calls. I think like, there's the difference. There's difference between like agile partnering and being prepared for that conversation, where it's like, we have, we're all crazy busy, you have 30 minutes, I feel the same way. Like I need to make sure that in that small amount of time, I can convince the person across the table that we should move into that MVP status and do those activities to validate we should be working together. But I think showing up to these calls, and not having some sense of what you might want to do together is probably just going to lead to a miss on both sides. I like that that's

Isaac Morehouse  17:10
an interesting combination of like, okay, yes, you start with some minimal viable thing. And you can you can do that really early, really cheaply to kind of figure out what's there. But you don't just randomly do that. You only do that where you have, you have a value proposition for something much more extensive. And you say, look, I think there's something really deep here, we've done the research, we found it. This MVP that we're doing is is very strategic. And if depending upon the results we get when we're testing this hypothesis, it tears up to something much more involved. It's not just like a random, but let's just start doing some cool marketing together just for the heck of it and see what happens. I see. That's interesting.

Chris Samila  17:47
Yeah, I mean, we definitely tell folks like, hey, like, there is a litany of things we will continue to invest more and more over time to do with you all, whether it's joint blog posts, social promotions, 80 to 80, enablement, sessions, like there's this, like, it's good to think about for your own tech company, what is that laundry list of stuff that you can deploy to support your partners. But we don't figure all that stuff up front, we just we know what we can deploy. It's sort of like you move through those phases of kind of figuring out and sometimes it's a culture fit. It's not even a technical fit. It's like, Does, does the other party actually operate in a way that you do? We live in Slack connect, that is how we communicate with most of our key tech partners. If you're not using Slack connect, and you're just using email, it's going to go a lot slower, you know, and it's just the nature of it. And I think other organizations are obviously very different. But this is where that kind of like, what's the operating rhythm of how you work together? We're also kind of figuring that out in these early stages.

Jared Fuller  18:47
100% I think what's really interesting is that, going back to the conviction point, what you just said, Chris, is identifying those value add things, not just from the perspective of the company, but from the people that it affects. So you mentioned, you know, 8080 to 80, you know, like, Hey, can we do some joint, you know, intros or like, just kind of, you know, can we work together from a sales process standpoint, can we work together from a co marketing standpoint, I find that where a lot of people get hung up is they might be able to have some thesis for the companies like, Hey, here's our an integration could work. Okay, cool. Then the integration could work X or Y way. But who's really being impacted at those companies? So I'll give you an example. And I'd love to hear if you have some of these things that where you could diagnose too. So I've told this story many times, but like, Panda doc and HubSpot, before there was even API's for CRM, right. We hacked a Chrome extension for HubSpot CRM for PanDa doc. And we ended up measuring what was the most important thing for a HubSpot CRM customer becoming paid, which was moving a deal to close one, that that inflection point was set. seven times more likely than any other indicator, right? So we tied ourselves to that. But that wasn't enough. Then we went in person to meet with all of the new HubSpot for sales account executives and explain that to them. Right? Because they're doing a plg motion, right? They only have so many levers to get a close. But if they could help them get to a close one deal in CRM, they were seven times more likely to close their deal. And I could extrapolate this under multiple situations where we're, you know, Marketo, and drift, the most important metric for Marketo at that point was net dollar retention, how many contacts are in the database, so that made the CSM really care about what we were doing? Right, we went into the CSM and said, Hey, how do you get more contacts into your customers? Database? Well, I don't really control that. Well, guess what? Now you do.

Chris Samila  20:52
Yeah, this is key. What is the other party across the business? CSMs marketing? What are your goals, and this is kind of like that, that later stage of like, you start to really explore the motivators behind your partner, and even the partner manager, like what, what what moves the needle for them, sometimes it's not revenue, sometimes they're at the stage of, I just need activity, or I need leads, or whatever it might be. And this is an area that I think, you know, the sometimes actually, I think back to the Challenger sale, when we got that training, you know, sometimes your partner has goals, that may not be the thing that actually is going to move the needle for them. So like, we are all figuring out this partnerships thing, and it's constantly evolving. And so sometimes, like getting into a conversation with your, with your fellow partner manager sitting across the table, and you're like, Okay, you guys are doing XY and Z, like I can help you move the needle in these ways. You know, have you thought about measuring your program that way? Have you you know, like, what's it? Where are you guys at in your journey of building your partner program, because you look across the space. And there's tons of new Heads of partnerships that were previously partner managers, you know, that there's just so much demand right now, for building the programs. It's kind of the wild wild west out there. So I think like going to these conversations with a bit of empathy of like, where they're at in their in their journey, and like thinking through, like, can we help you right now? Is there things we can help you with later on? It still comes down to I think, a human connection, I think behind a lot of this. So to your point earlier around, like, yes, we have a technical integration, there's value for the customers, but you need somebody who's going to be sitting across the table, it's gonna fight and block and tackle inside the business, right? What make your partnership the most important thing that the company is working on.

Jared Fuller  22:32
That's always been my secret formula is find out the company's Northstar, most important objective, as it relates to that product line or SKU that you impact. And then how the the most people at the company, whether it's a CSM or an AE, how they and their compensation and their success metrics relate to that. And can I impact that more than any other partner? If my answer is yes, I win that. And it's an alliance. And I go in with conviction, and it's a big deal. And then downstream from that, there's probably 510 1520 other smaller scale players that we can kind of integrate with and tell a similar story. Right? So if that's in CRM, if that's in marketing automation, if that's in forecasting, if that's in data warehousing, like you name the category, if I can go win that with someone that's most important to me, I can also win it with the players underneath.

Chris Samila  23:22
Totally. Yeah, there's like, it's interesting. We, I literally just took the G to like list of categories. And I like I exported all of them. And I was like, Could I imagine sending cross beam data to that thing, and then just like, marked off on this huge, multi 100 category list. And that's how we sort of initially came up with like, our rather large target lists, and then we went, I went down, I was like, Okay, well, do I know anybody at these companies? Like, what's there? We went to, I use partner base to figure out how big their partner network was. I looked at LinkedIn to figure out that they have a partner team. And you can sort of get these signals around like, okay, they don't have a partner team. They don't really like developer API stuff online, they probably don't have API's for me to do anything with them, even though they're in the right.

Jared Fuller  24:05
That was a low key drop right there, by the way, which we just discovered this the other day, Chris was partner base. And I was like, What the heck is this? And we were going back and forth. And I'm like, wait a second, that's Power BI crossbeam. Okey doke. I love those types of freemium kind of like tools. So by the way, amazing resource. I'm gonna plug that because it is great partner base.com. It's kind of like a no. How does that work? Chris? By the

Chris Samila  24:28
way, how does it work? It it's not actually crossing data. So like it is actually, it's us going out and finding all of the as many companies we can possibly find the publicly available information about who their partners are. So there's, you know, both channel companies as well as tech companies, or service organizations as well as tech companies on that list. And there's some cool enhancements coming soon to it. But yeah, like I use this tool myself to kind of like figure out like, who's my target tech partners, and can I actually work with them? And so we sort of like figure out prioritization wise, which ones are probably the least amount of effort to get into a good conversation that we could actually build an integration with, and actually do all the kind of go to market activities. But it's like, I try to make things as efficient as possible, because I don't want to spend the time spend a bunch of time doing lots and lots and lots of research, when we have all these amazing tools like partner base and LinkedIn. And you can use cross beam, you can use other tools like that to kind of figure out like, who should I be working with? Potentially?

Isaac Morehouse  25:29
I see interesting, some kind of tool. I can't find it. I was just trying to google it, where you can go look up companies and see what SAS tools they use with, what's their stack, is that built with? Okay, that's yeah, there's there's,

Jared Fuller  25:44
denies used to exist too. But they got acquired by zoominfo.

Chris Samila  25:48
There's a bunch of there's a bunch of these like, sort of solutions, discover orgs. And other one that companies buy where you have, especially for like JavaScript based SaaS solutions, you can go and scan and see all the ones out there. The only downside is, at larger companies, they may have multiple pieces of JavaScript for the same tech category, because somebody is afraid of breaking the website. And there's like, we're just gonna leave that there. And so sometimes you'll see like three competing project products,

Jared Fuller  26:17
Eloqua, HubSpot, and Marketo tags on the site, and you're like, they might actually be using three across different business units.

Isaac Morehouse  26:25
That's when you get those those emails that say, I noticed that you've been using x, and I'm like, No, I don't use x. This is not a good sales tactic.

Chris Samila  26:34
Yeah, that's, uh, this is I mean, this this is I think the future of kind of the marketing organization actually is blending that like third party data of like things that you buy, and you have a hypothesis of what's in their technology stack. And then you have like, first party data, obviously, which is things that you collect. And then you have second party data, which is things like crossbeam and other solutions in our space, where it's like,

Jared Fuller  26:56
Oh, hold on, real quick. You said second party data. I've been down the rabbit hole on third party data and cookies and all of that, given we had drift and success. DemandBase clear bit like all of this stuff happening, you know off site for retargeting. There's a debate as to whether second party is even a thing like legally. Do you have a point of view that like second party data? is the thing? If there's an argument that it's either a third party or it's first party, I'm just curious, your take?

Chris Samila  27:26
Yeah, I mean, this is this is, to some extent, this is what cross beam data is, is it is your partner's relationships with b2b accounts, you know, it's it's based on my network, can I see that they are a customer of some some company. And it is an interesting data stream, because it's very accurate to some extent, because it's like, it's my, it's the CRM data, my partner, they're probably not lying. Because if they are really mess up the way they operate their sales, organization and customer success team. We, you know, we've seen now some of our tech partners in the marketing space, especially start to evangelize this concept of using second party data to do very, very targeted messaging and campaigns. So like, the ABM solutions, especially are thinking a lot about this, because first party data is getting harder to capture. Third party is potentially getting you know, more expensive, or, you know, more spotty in some ways. And so you have to have, I think, a strategy as a marketing org to blend all three things together to really do kind of really effective marketing campaigns. Now, this is like the early things here.

Jared Fuller  28:35
So I really agree with you on what you just said. I think right now, one of the reasons that partnerships is having a moment and why this is so exciting, is because of the attack, and probably deservedly so on third party cookies, right? So you know, things like this, that can generate more fruitful or interesting conversations with your CMO. Like if you're a head of partner or just a partner manager, then you could go talk to your product marketer, and hey, let's do some partner marketing, whether you're an IC, or you're a leader, being able to speak intelligently about what's happening to marketing as the elimination of third party cookies, and that kind of data is disappearing. Let's not mince words on how impactful this is. Facebook lost $12 billion in revenue, not valuation revenue in one day. Because Apple turned off third party cookies. They lost more in market cap in one day than any company in stock market history. $236 billion gone in one day. Now that's like okay, well that happened to Facebook. No, no, no, no, no, no. That happened to marketers. They can no longer spend that money. They no longer have that targeting criteria. The crunch happened to the marketing leaders and the people deploying that spend so yeah, yeah, it was bad for Facebook. I think we we've all gone from like loving Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is great. He's He wrote, Mark Zuckerberg is evil. We hate him. Like now everyone hates Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, except when we want to deploy ad dollars on Insta and facebook, whatsapp, what wherever? Oh, shoot that's impacting our marketing budget, like the cost per acquisition inherently goes up because there's less supply. Yeah, right? Is this not a moment to where we like every partner person should be going across the aisle to like do partner marketing with their marketing counterparts. Because that second party data for the first time now is like, wait a second, we might actually really need that that's the best source for us to do partner marketing.

Chris Samila  30:40
It's yeah, it's it's a, it's such a fascinating transition we're sort of living through right now. Because if you think about the power of this, like programmatic partner data, and this is like a not an advertisement for cross beam, just like the reality is that cross beam and the other players in our space, when you start to take that data and feed it into these other organizations, it is dramatically going to change how I think partnering teams operate because we become this like essential like data layer for marketing and customer success and sales to do their jobs better. And that's like that, I think the penny is going to drop sometime here in the next year where it's like, AES are getting increasingly expensive to hire, it's rough trying to sell a loan out in the marketplace, like you got to cosell with partners, as much as you can, you can see CROs and VP sales starting to lean in on this, the best way to do that is to is to actually work with the partner team and have the data feed to tell you who you should be co selling with. And the same thing for the customer success organization. So I think like right now, our entire lives as partner professionals has been like trying and going and getting trying to get the attention of these other leaders around the business. And like kind of pleading for their assistance and collaborative partners. It's gonna flip at some point here, where it's like, we can't do our jobs unless the partner team has partnerships. And that we can actually leverage that those relationships in that data to do our jobs in sales, marketing, customer success, like this is the future, I think of how partnership teams are going to operate. And man, that is so exciting, because right now, our jobs are really hard. They're very manual, there's a lot of human interaction. And that's going to change when we actually stitch together all these systems. And credit to like Alan Adler and some of the folks in the space that are like thinking about this, like, sort of like modern ecosystem, like ops, and all the new ways to kind of stitch these tools together, because I think this is going to change how we really do our jobs and partnerships.

Jared Fuller  32:38
Isaac, we We almost made it a whole episode without Alan getting a plug. Almost almost almost. He's a smart guy. He really is, though, we got some we got some big stuff cooking with Alan. So yeah, not Paganelli.

Chris Samila  32:53
This is something that like, we live in this moment where partnerships and you know, there's there's like traditional channel partnerships. And there's all this infrastructure and tooling and things that were built to support that whole go to market model. And then you have this newer kind of go to market motion with like ISP, to ISP partnering of companies the same size or slightly bigger, slightly smaller. And we don't have tooling for ourselves like this is from an entrepreneurial perspective, we're starting to see things like partnered and partner fluid. And there's a bunch of these, like newer companies that are emerging, specifically oriented around like, how do ISVs partner with one another. And there's going to be mountain of cash made as these companies actually take off because they make our jobs better, because we've never had tooling for actually doing this motion before. So like, I'm pumped, because I can you can kind of see this emerging, I'm sure Jared. And as you guys see this to where it's like new tooling, new ways to do things, better processes. And then you have all the demand of the part of the departments around the partner team for the first time ever, like really wanting to work with us. Like it's a damn good time to be in partnerships.

Jared Fuller  34:04
It's the only good time to be in partnerships. I'll be honest, like,

Isaac Morehouse  34:08
the promo clip right there. By the way, Chris, just saying it's a damn good time to be in partnership. That's a teaser.

Jared Fuller  34:15
Absolutely, absolutely Ella's taking notes, we actually have Ella on the partner hacker team who's sitting alongside us and producer mode. So this is like the first time we've actually done this. So she's taking taking notes on the side. So that's exciting. We actually have an audience now to like, we're actually trying to do this more pro. That's definitely the promo clip. Chris, I want to I want to go one layer deeper now into that kind of like that scale up phase. And that the infamous question that I'm sure lots of people get around. And it's kind of standoff on like, who builds the integration? Right. So like we're talking tech detect partnerships. Inherent in that should be that there are products should A plus B equals C squared. I say c squared, because if it's just one plus one equals two It's trite one plus one equals three interesting. Of course, our product should be better together more than just like perfunctory. What are some tips or tricks that you could share on that standoff of like you build or we build, like, I've encountered this with multiple companies that were like roughly the same size as me. And that's where things get weird. You're kind of like in this, like, Hey, we're in the sales, engagement space, you know, and we're like a, you know, a Clary, so then you have like, high spot, or you have, you know, sales loft, or you have a lot of companies that are in the 500 to 100 employee or 1000, employee range. It's like, nothing ever gets done there. It's really hard to build an integration, when everyone's kind of the same size, who's building it. And there's this weird standoff of like, they're offended, if you know, they want you to build it, and vice versa. And all the way down to the bottom right. If you're a 50 person company, maybe you shouldn't be integrating with another 50 person company, that probably is probably a bad idea. Actually. In a lot of cases, I'd love to unpack this further. How did it decide who builds first?

Chris Samila  36:05
Yeah, I mean, we've been on this journey across beam. So like, last year, we we had to build a lot of the integrations we did have some partners build, especially in environments where, like, there's just no feasible way for us to do it. Some of our PRM integrations are of that type, where it's like they got changed how their product looks, and works and stuff to ingest our data. At some point in this happened, actually, in the last sort of month or so, we now have way more tech partners wanting to build on top of us, then we are actually investing in building integrations ourselves. And I think what happened was, you know, we made enough investments into different categories. And we got enough, you know, sort of conviction, as you said earlier, around like this use case does make, make, you know, make people more VAT, you know, more effective when you became

Jared Fuller  36:53
a platform, I have to interrupt because you became a platform using Bob's own definition. The difference between a platform feature, and a product feature is by virtue of you being in first place, the feature has more value than anyone else could copy. Right, so let's say a competitor to cross beam launches the exact same feature. By virtue of you being in first place and having more nodes on the network, it has more value to me as a customer, right. So like, inherently, I think that, by the way, that's like the most brilliant definition of platform I've ever heard. So that's why I like repeating it. I'm like, that's actually the definition of platform is that you're in first place, you open up that opportunity, maybe invert that like looking back at the market, because not everyone has that platform opportunity, right where like, your network is now the biggest, therefore, people have to build on top of you. You've created like the next phase of like, ecosystem partnership growth, like cross beam did the thing that lots of companies don't know how to do. What about looking back at it, it's just another SAS tool, martec sales tech, you know, you name it? How do you how do you encountered that issue? Or have you seen others do it because I'm sure a lot of people are coming to crossbeam. With this issue in mind.

Chris Samila  38:06
This is I mean, this is what we did it full story was, you know, we we were not a platform, per se, and it was my prior role, before cross beam. And there is, and this isn't this is also why like, to some extent partnerships really needs to roll up to the CEO, ultimately, is it's a, it's a strategic investment by the company to do ecosystems the right way. And if you get the CEO on board with that, or if you get, you know, enough executives on board that you'll make the right investments, either with your own engineers to spend that first year, maybe even two years, building more integrations to get enough momentum to show that like, people are missing out if they don't if they don't have an integration with you, because their competitor is doing webinars and field events and AE co selling and blah, blah, blah. But you got to make an investment upfront to build that momentum. And this is where like, I see a lot of new partner people getting stuck is that they they didn't realize that you got to have engineering on board, like you cannot be running a tech partner program and needing to build integrations and not have a really strong alignment with your product leader and your engineering team. Because whether you build it yourself, or you go and buy an iPad solution, like the trays and mercados and pan DMS of the world, there's still a heavy role for those for the engineering team and product team to like, support you on that on that go to market motion. And you got to have some cash to actually build these things out, or at least the hours dedicated from the developers. So I think this is like it's easy to get, it's easy to fall into the trap as a new SAS company. You might have a CEO that's never seen it fully fledged partner program running before and they're like, hire partner executive, get them in here. And then like I want to see a bunch of integrations and a marketplace and I want a bunch of source deals in a time horizon. That's probably not realistic. Right. And that happens a lot. And this is why I think we see a lot of turnover in our space is people end up in is in a leadership role. And they're like, I don't have the backing of my business to actually do what I need to do to build that momentum, to then have things flip around where it's like, I got people wanting to build on top us,

Jared Fuller  40:22
that would actually be a quick tangent, then back to your, what you were talking about, that'd be an interesting report of how many heads of partnerships stayed, you know, like, kind of 10 year over like a two or three year time horizon, in like a hyper growth company. That'd be an interesting study.

Chris Samila  40:40
Partnership leaders, there's a lot of people moving around in jobs because we teach, we have 800 plus people in the community and I, we had stats on this for last year, I think the 30% of them change jobs last year,

Jared Fuller  40:51
I bet it's even more this year. Life's too short to work for a CEO that doesn't care about partnerships, I'll say right now, and percent, sure, get the heck out of there. Ping me P me on LinkedIn, hit me up on LinkedIn, if you're a partner leader, that you need help, I get pinged all the time, by people looking for like that time, I'll help you out. because life's too short to work for a CEO that doesn't understand partnerships. That's one of the ways by the way that we affect this change is that CEOs become terrified that we just like rip out their partner leaders, because they don't care about partnerships. So like, I'm happy to make that meme famous, like Life's too short to work for a CEO that doesn't understand partnerships, ping me on LinkedIn, I'll help you get a new new gig.

Isaac Morehouse  41:33
Early, I literally just put in the partner hacker daily that I was drafting one of them for next week. A quote by Christina Cordova from her interview here, she said something like, if you're working partnerships, you better work in an organization that makes significant revenue from partnerships because that's the only way that they're really going to value you know, the partnerships or or something to that effect that like, you know, directly or indirectly they better be making significant revenue out of partnerships, or you're not going to have a very fun time working in a in a partnerships role where you're, you know, you don't matter that much, or at least they perceive it that way. Life's too short.

Chris Samila  42:12
I mean, to some extent that's that's where that alignment with the CEO matters is like, even at crossbeam like today, we're we're

Jared Fuller  42:22
we got a little Samila joining the show.

Chris Samila  42:25
Say hi, Ethan. Come say hi really quick.

Jared Fuller  42:28
We could get a little man on the show. I got my little man outside. Oh, what's up? We got the first we got Ethan, what's up?

Chris Samila  42:36
So future partner manager right here.

Isaac Morehouse  42:40
Oh my gosh,

Chris Samila  42:41
how old Ethan 15 months, and he's got his passport on the way as well. We're in Washington, DC and I'm in this lovely hotel room behind me here.

Jared Fuller  42:49
Amazing. Amazing. We I have 26 month old right now Adam and then one on the way. So I love

Chris Samila  42:57
it, man. That's super cool. It's uh, yeah, it's, it's, it's an interesting, like, going back to your, your kind of comments around like, not working for a CEO that doesn't get it like, I have even stronger sort of sentiments around this after like seeing now what it's like to work under a CEO that gets it. I mean, this is like, it's such a difference, because you do get that bandwidth to be able to build the machine, in essence, because you may not have the right strategy like, like, when we go back to Isaac, your kind of comments earlier, like the kind of growth having a growth hacking in the partner team and stuff or partner hacking, it's, it's very likely that you may make its decisions that like that doesn't work out, like you launch a program that doesn't resonate as well. And you realize, like, crap we got, we got to go over to tech partnerships instead of working on channels. And like, You got to give the partner executive or head of partnerships, that ability to like, have time to figure this out. Because it's, you're not going to strike, you know, strike out every single time and then hit a home run, you know, it's like, I think this is this is just like a learning curve to some extent that executives the CEOs have to learn and figure out is, you know, this is this is something that takes some testing to make sure that you find the right thing. Now you can hire someone that that that spin cycle of like, like figuring out what's the right answer, what's the wrong answer goes a lot gets a lot shorter. But you still got to give them the ability to like figure that stuff out without stressing them out at all. And because partner people I think generally get very, very just burnt out because they're sort of like carrying the weight of every

Jared Fuller  44:38
because it going back to the crisis of conviction. And then other other underlying kind of general statement is trust. I mean, if I if I call up someone in the space, like Isaac and I were in person last week, and there was a handful of people that we were talking about and doing deals with and doing partner stuff with that is an investment that I've made over the years of actually doing business with someone that mattered. And then judging me based on my track record. And then if I go and I want to spend that social currency, write that trust. For someone that doesn't care about that, that's a big problem, because then I lose all of that trust with that person. So if I don't deliver for someone that I delivered for in the past, they're like, Hmm, maybe Jarrett's a one hit wonder, or like, maybe he can never deliver like, it's a it's a problem. So partner, people, inherently our relationship people, if you're working for a CEO that doesn't care about you testing, and it's like, hey, look, you know, that didn't work out, cut, kill. And it's like, oh, shoot, I just left all of that social capital and social currency on the table. Man that's got this sucks to start from scratch from because then you go into the next gig, and you're like, Alright, I'm gonna call my partner contacts that I just screwed over.

Isaac Morehouse  45:51
Yeah, you know, that truck? It's funny, Jared, we, I think you were saying we were talking about some of these things. And Ellis said, like, well, how are we going to pull that off? Like, what? What, you know, why would we Why would we be able to get that done? And you said something like, Oh, just a little small thing called, like, 15 years of legwork that I've put in, right? Like, like,

Jared Fuller  46:10
literally, it was like, I was like, how are we gonna do that? And I'm like, it's literally because I've been doing business with this person for 12 years. Yeah, so I call them they know, and they're gonna do it. But here's okay. So I've been to deliver, I have a track record of delivering with that person that no one else does. And that's that unique competitive advantage. And that's when I say Life's too short to work for a CEO that doesn't care about partnerships is like, you don't get to build those wins consecutively with people that that matter in the long run.

Isaac Morehouse  46:37
Maybe we need to get a CEO on for an episode on a separate episode on this topic, because I want there's

Jared Fuller  46:43
like an episode actually. So Mr. Brewster,

Isaac Morehouse  46:47
there's a there's a devil's advocate component here too, because it's like, Okay, what I'm hearing if I'm a CEO is, hey, look, partnerships is really complicated. You can't really measure it, it takes a really long time, right? I need to you just need to give me a big budget a lot of time and let me fail a lot. And eventually magic will happen. And then as a CEO, you're like, but how do I do the accountability part? How do I measure if it's working? How do I decide how much to invest? So there's, there's a counter there that I'd love to hear. Because it reminds me of, you know, the way people will talk about brand and marketing. They're like, you can't quantify it you just got to give me a bunch of money and let me do magical creative stuff. And then people will feel good about us.

Jared Fuller  47:24
Well, I feel like that's a great transition is we can make as possible cuz I know we got to like Chris get back to his family is next week. We have Rob Brewster on from go forms who was a, you know, VP, head of partnerships for multiple companies. So SOS, Salesforce, Twilio, Eloqua, and is now the CEO after being a partner leader. Right? So he was head of partnerships at NGO forums, and now as the CEO, so I'm excited to have Rob on next week, and we'll get to unpack some of how like, he got thrown into that role. And it was like, Wait a second, I have to make sure this partnership stuff still works. But I think that's good. good segue, Isaac. I'll say that you did it on purpose.

Isaac Morehouse  48:01
accident, but we should before we let Chris go. Speaking of partner marketing, well, when by the time this airs, we'll know we'll know who it was. But the partner hacker and crossbeam little cross promo given a VIP experience to a to a younger person or earlier I see in the partnerships world given given a free plane ticket and hotel and ticket to cross beam. Pretty cool thing pretty fun. And like I said, when this airs, we will know by then I think, right? Jared? Who

Jared Fuller  48:35
Yeah, yeah, so this man that posted on LinkedIn this morning got like 5000 hits already so not not bad. Got a couple of people that are standing out in terms of nominations got some people that have gone through the the foster system, his nominees, which is pretty amazing, right, like having to it's kind of like go through, like really, really hard stuff. Have people overseas. So I posted a Post this morning, but basically, yeah, we're sponsoring hotel airfare ticket VIP experience, excited to announce the winner next week. So we'll be live by the time this airs. But you should still be super may 17 and 18th supernode. in Philly. crossbeams first ever annual conference come meet Chris. And could to geek out with him and many others like me, I'll be there. And then last one, as well as April if you're west coast, April 27. And 28th is SAS connect in San Francisco. So I'll also be there as it will be there. What else that goes to the two major circuits and then we got catalyst that's happening. You guys just teasing for August. Is that right?

Chris Samila  49:39
Yeah, exactly. So super pumped, obviously about supernova in May. And then we on the partnership leaders front. We have catalysts, which is our first major user conference or just like member conference. For partnership leaders. It's also open to the general partner community. It's bookended with a bunch of it In essence, ISVs, hosting their partner summits around catalyst. So we'll be announcing a bunch of these shortly. But imagine like bringing together all of your partners in Miami around this conference. So we're just gonna end with a crib load of partner people all in Miami at the same time, nighttime parties, boat party, all kinds of fun stuff. So, between Philadelphia and Miami, I'm so excited to actually get back in person. Because man like, It's been too long like we've been we've been online for the last few years. And this, it's time,

Jared Fuller  50:32
especially for foreign people. So we'll see you in person in all three events. I'll be at all three events. We will see you there, Chris, Episode 50. Partner up. So Cheers, man to you and a family. Thank you for joining us from DC on the road. And partner up. We'll see you in episode 51. We're past that milestone. honored. Thank you guys. I'll see y'all next time.

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