What's the future of partner portals? Should we keep them? Should we kill them? Should we come up with a new type of partner portal?
Following a LinkedIn post that erupted with opinions, these heavy hitters joined in the ring to offer their opinions.
(Their companies, blogs, and contributions are linked below if you want to find more from each.)
Hear the Partner Portals Event recording as an episode on today’s PartnerUp Podcast, and get some insights into what the future of partner portals may hold.
To find more from the participants, visit their sites:
Rick Van Den Bosch
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Jared Fuller 00:20
All right, what is up, partner up? We're here. You can see behind me with a special event. This is a special episode. Isaac, how you doing, man?
Isaac Morehouse 00:29
Hey, I'm ready. I'm ready for this. I feel like I was born for this to keep in keeping people from killing each other. You know what I mean?
Jared Fuller 00:38
Amazing. Well, we'll keep the eye on chat here. We're in the studio here. Isaac suggested that we should have been wearing red shirts prior to hopping in. That would have been a great idea. But regardless, here we are the death of portals live. Who let me know in chat who likes this ridiculous landing page? This is the cheesiest thing I think I've ever seen. And I think it worked really well. I mean, come on, look at this. Hold on. Hold on. Look at this. That's ridiculous.
Isaac Morehouse 01:06
That was one of those shower thoughts. All of a sudden thought I heard in my head. The depths of portals in WWE style. And I was like, Oh, we got to we got to do this. So
Jared Fuller 01:22
I don't I don't know. Gosh, you got what was that? Guys? Bruce? Bruce buffers, the UFC one. These the UFC, the WWE one I'm I'm blanking on but that's basically. So you got rep. Isaac, you got rough Jared, we're here with the death of portals. Isaac, I'll let you do the intros on who we got here today. And then we're going to hop in and kind of cover the format of what this 45 minutes to 15 minutes is going to look like. We're going to end five minutes before the top of the hour. So we're starting at 1pm. Eastern time. And then we'll end at 155 on the nose just to make sure that recordings process and we got 50 people on the line. So Isaac Gerrard
Isaac Morehouse 01:57
before I before I quickly go over the format, why don't you give us your quick summary of the topic at hand that's being debated?
Jared Fuller 02:05
Oh, gosh, I get to OPI get to have an opening statement before everyone you get to have
Isaac Morehouse 02:09
a very brief like I'm talking 3030 seconds, 60 seconds.
Jared Fuller 02:13
30 seconds? Well, personally, I believe I've used every single portal PRM solution of like modernity. So everything of custom built on Salesforce communities to appear. I'm like an all bound, or like a more innovative new up and comer like a partner stack and then across beam. And then highspot. Like I've put together a lot of different tools and then partner, I could just keep listing them torch light. And I've amalgamated these things into different portals many times and let's just put it this way. I've screwed it up every time. So I don't know what the answer is. That's why I'm excited to have these amazing folks here. Talk to us about what the future of portals might look like. So
Isaac Morehouse 02:54
love it. Alright, so here's the format we're going to do. Each of our participants panelists are going to have a three minute max opening statement sharing their point of view on portals, whether they're dead or not, or what other take they might have. And then after each of the four panelists have shared their opening statement, they'll each get one to two minutes, if they want to respond to what they've heard from the others. Then Jared, and I will have a couple questions if we have a few follow up questions to dig a little deeper. And then we will move to audience q&a For the last 2025 minutes. So you as audience members, and it looks like we are up to 51 people. You can post your questions in the chat. And if there's a flurry of them, we'll do our best to get to all of them. We may or may not. But we'll try to, we'll certainly grab the ones that are the most provocative and entertaining and outlandish. So that's a challenge for you make your questions fun. So let's jump right in. We're gonna start with the raging engaging. Rick VandenBosch from Chen X for opening statements. Rick, the floor is
Rick Van Den Bosch 04:03
yours. Thank you very much Jared and Isaac for this introduction. And super cool to be here after a Leonardo DiCaprio meme and, and the February opened up a big discussion. And now we're here today. And yeah, my opening statement, I would like to start with a story that my dad has told me more than 10 years ago, which helps me to understand nowadays why a portal will never work to activate and engage your partners. And the story goes as follows. He was an director at Apple in the early 90s. And he told me that to keep their partners activated and to bring the right information to them. They had a full team of merchandisers who were solely responsible for visiting all the partners all the time and making sure that the latest marketing material and information was always there for them to share with their customers and that they were doing this full time and he told me Do you know like how often they called us to request ask for more marketing information, zero times. And I think that's where you will see why the concept of Porto is broken. Because what General has always been about proactive distribution of content and information to your partners so that they could share it with the engineers eventually. And what we see with the portal is that we have turned this around. So Park parking is always required to come to the portal, download what they need, and only then share it with the end user. And they are not doing it. And they are not doing it because they don't want to, but because they don't have the time and resources for it. Because most of the bargain is the majority, are super busy with our day to day business, and lack the resources to focus on marketing as well and get the message to the end user. And I think if you look at it from that perspective, that's why the portals are not being used, because it's not just one portal that they need to use, but they sell 20, or maybe even 30 vendors. So they have 20, to 30 portals where they would have to go and find the information they need before they can share it with the end user. And looking at that, if we talked to so many partners, and we asked them why. And they said yeah, it's not that we don't want that. But it would be a full time job for us to scroll through all these these portals and get the message out there. And I think that's really why we have to turn things around where we don't wait for partners to come to the portal. But we bring the content and the information just like it was in the physical world. Also in the digital world. We bring it proactively to the partners. So we help them to engage their end user network, we help them get the message to the market. And we help the partners in the best way to get their go to market motion going.
Isaac Morehouse 06:45
Wow, that was perfect. He came in under the three minute timer as well love it. Okay, next we're gonna go to Jay the partner Prophet, McBain who says and I'm paraphrasing that Portals will never die, you're all you're full of it wreck portals are,
Jay McBain 07:04
are here to stay might not be for the reasons you believe. So I'm gonna go through a couple of parts of my background that will kind of build a foundation upon what I just said there. One is that I built a company 12 years ago, and I raised $5 million of other people's money, trying to solve the problem. I understood the problem from the partner view in which Rick so eloquently just portrayed. And then we got our first 150 customers. And then I started to look at the problem from the vendor side out. And so that's one, two is I was an expert witness in a court case in New York, where one person was suing another for $10 million, and all this big stuff and under oath on the stand, I had to walk through 11 Different examples, in the last 30 years of companies that have tried to solve this problem, like we did, who all failed in that. And through that expert witness, I got to understand each of the 11 cases and why they failed. And it comes down to a couple of simple things. From the vendor side out, there is a set of legal reasons, confidentiality reasons, compliance reasons, regulatory reasons, as you look around the world, there is a set of governance reasons that they can't send very important information out into the ether. And I will remind everyone that if you hosted your podcast on Facebook yesterday, today you were cancelled. So for any vendor who thinks they're going to live on rented land, it's not the right way to go. Last thing I'm going to say is a portal is just a front door. And Chip and others are going to come in and say, you know, there's all kinds of partnerships, technology alliances, strategic and business alliances, there are influenced our channel partners, there's retention style, transaction, transaction assist, everybody walks in the front door, a single partner could play all six or seven roles on any given day. The fact of the matter is you need a front door for those relationships. Finally, just to cause a little bit of agitation here, the portal is not going to die or the portal is not going to be disrupted by another portal type company, another front door company. If I were to make a prediction 10 years from now, the biggest threat to portals is a marketplace. And every big marketplace company, which are trillion dollar companies today are spending billions building PRM functionality beyond private offers and beyond the things that we see today. They've got a really aggressive roadmap to pave in all of that functionality into the marketplace, as opposed to another portal. out front door. And that's something for us to think about.
Isaac Morehouse 10:06
A love it also came in. What's that? Yeah, I was gonna say also came in right under the line. Let's Let's go next to chip the C M O of Smackdown. Rogers, who I think is going to come at us with something akin to Yeah, maybe portals aren't that great? They probably won't die. But is there a way we can open them up? Can we can we make them better? Chip? The floor is yours. Yeah,
Chip Rodgers 10:33
for sure. Thanks, Isaac and Jared. And and Jay. I like that pre Buttle. So, yeah, I mean, I think, you know, great, excellent points. Jay, and Rick and, and, and Isaac, I think I'm probably in in the camp that you sort of outline, which is, hey, I don't know that, that portals are going to necessarily die. J, I think that's I think it's true, you know, sort of a front end kind of thing you want to represent, it's like a web, it's like a web page. I think, you know, the challenge is just that. These days, I think for reselling, it was perfect. It was you know, you're you've got a product, you're you've got your want to get your message out to distributors, and resellers and have them be able to come in and register a deal and get credit and things like that. The challenge is just that these days with ISVs working together, and you got GSI eyes, and you know, technology partners and MSPs. Like there's so many different kinds of partnering activity that are happening today. And it's not always, you know, when you got a, you know, an Oracle and Accenture and you know, maybe there's some DocuSign in there, and you're gonna deploy it on a cloud. You know, with Google, all of a sudden, you got four or five partners that are working together. And if you're gonna go cosell, it doesn't you can't who's poor, who's gonna log into who's portal to work together and manage that, that shared opportunity and try and close it. So that's the challenge, I think with with, you know, traditional portals in that kind of motion. And as there's more CO selling happening, building joint solutions together, managing co marketing activities, you run into that problem most what's happening is that people are running it all in spreadsheets, so they're like, Okay, well, the four of us are gonna go work together. So let's, who's doing what and what's happening? And let's collaborate on this together, we'll create a Slack channel or whatever. And, you know, but then how do you measure it? And how do you track what's happening? And how do you bring it all together to see what's see what's going on? And there's no sort of process that's built into it. So I will. I think that's my
Isaac Morehouse 12:57
you're good. You got about one minute left. 30 seconds, if you got if you got a final jab to throw?
Chip Rodgers 13:02
No, I think that's I think that's the the main thing is, is, you know, net well, okay, so another another challenge is, how are you going to connect? How are you going to connect into everybody's CRM and make sure that everything's, that's everything's current? So, you know, are you going to really build an integration? Like, if you got five partners working together, you got, what is that five times five, you got 25 integrations, and now, all of a sudden, but you don't have five partners, you got 100 partners, and everybody wants to work together. It's exponential trend and build integrations into each other. So you can log into one place, everybody logs into one place, and then into an integration into one place and have the data flow in the in the right direction, then
Isaac Morehouse 13:48
you mentioned something interesting in there just dropping this out there that everybody's still running on spreadsheets, the number of software solutions that have been created to stop people from doing things on spreadsheets, and yet spreadsheets are equally if not more valuable than they've ever been, they just won't die. There's something interesting in there that may be relevant to the to the topic. That's true. Now,
Chip Rodgers 14:08
the next the next, you know, software opportunity as well, look, let's see how see where people are.
Isaac Morehouse 14:16
Yeah, always, and they'll still use spreadsheets even after you solve it. Jimmy, hard hitting hassle from QuickPath me for is your screens. Right? Thank
Jimmy Hatzell 14:26
you. Yeah, I think that we're using partner portals as a scapegoat here for a different problem. I don't think partner portals are gonna go away, I think you will always need a centralized place to store content tools, pricing, information, agreements, all that stuff, all the things that resellers or affiliates need to, you know, use master and learn and sell your product. But what we're talking about is a partner engagement problem. And I think we're actually all in agreement on this. And what we're, what we're disagreeing on is is using partner portals as a solution to it So you need to, if you are just putting all of your things in a partner portal, and just leaving it there and hoping someone logs in and uses them, you're going to fail miserably. And it's because a partner portal isn't a a solution to partner engagement, it is a place to centralize things it is, you know, hopefully a place that that helps you and enables you and let you learn and all of that, but people need to be marketed to. So I think that you can use your partner portal, it almost like you would directly market your website or information that you market publicly, you need to internally market that to your partner place to your partner base and drive people into the partner portal to do things. And there's a lot of different ways you can do that one you can add touches across every different part of the partner journey. I don't know about other people, but for me, I need to be told something like 16 times before I actually remember it. So if I sign up as a partner, and I get some onboarding email, and it's like, Hey, here's access to your partner portal, you get everything in there. I'm not going to remember that, like I think back to, like, I took online classes in college years ago. And I didn't know how to log in and see what assignments were due and like what things were in there. If the professor eg me, would you say?
Jared Fuller 16:21
I said are you? Are you in it?
Jimmy Hatzell 16:24
Yes. A little bit. Yeah, so you need to be constantly reminded, and you need to add in reminders in the partner journey to bring people to the partner portal constantly.
Isaac Morehouse 16:42
So those are some great, some great opening shots who who wants to go who's got to follow J. fleurs yours,
Jay McBain 16:49
if you look at the portal industry, you go back 2030 years, you know, last year landed at about $495 million. There's 25 companies that are kind of spearheading that layer of the stack. You look at the 35,000 current partner portals across 27 industries, I could keep dropping numbers. The point is, it's an established industry, it has been for a long time. But it's an industry that's a mile wide and an inch deep. The reason kind of behind my tech stack, thinking of it in layers is that there's a ton of innovation, there's 222 companies innovating on top of the portal that says, you know, when you're an inch deep and a mile wide, we can do learning education, training, certification and competencies better than a PRM system can we can do incentives and motivation and loyalty better than a PRM. We can do co selling co marketing enabled whichever the 100 parts of the program, there's a whole set of innovation taking place that takes that inch, and makes it a mile deep. And that gets into the problem of the integration of all these technologies, and everything else, but there still remains a front door. So I'm going to tell just one little story because we mentioned CRM, the biggest CRM company in the world is Salesforce. And I think they when 73% of all new CRM deals, the biggest PRM company, biggest portal company in the world is Salesforce. They are bigger than the next 10 companies combined. So they absolutely own the CRM space, they own the PRM space. And in my previous company, we put them up on their marketplace, up against all the big competitors, the big trillion dollar Microsoft and AWS is and Google's we put them up against the app directs and miracles and cloud Blues of the world. We actually summarize that they had the best marketplace in the world. So they kind of have a triple hitter going right now. And what did they go and do given that to disrupt themselves, they went and bought slack for $27.7 billion, which happens to be not to compete against zoom or compete against teams, but to rewrite their software. Owning all of those, continue those spaces in those rooms inside the house once you're in the front door, and make it a collaboration first platform partner to partner to partner to partner platform. And that's an interesting thing for us to think about. You still need that front door. But of all the disruption for all the innovation that's coming for every roadmap I get to see across 222 companies. It's interesting to see where this is actually going to go.
Jared Fuller 19:26
We fell victim to the thing we said we weren't going to do which was the J McBain show because that's I'm like sitting here nodding my head I'm like yes, yes, I completely agree. So I'm not gonna I'm not gonna start
Isaac Morehouse 19:36
a portal. By the way we need a portal into Jays brain to access all these numbers that you just have off the top of your head about everything. We need to be searchable.
Rick Van Den Bosch 19:48
Of course, that's the other other side. Because I think what's funny actually is the posts of course that went viral. Eventually I was talking about the speaking to channel manager that had Just build an entire new PRM and portal for their partners. And that was actually a Salesforce PRM. And I think that's indeed the point as well, zero rise in in engagement. And looking at at it from that perspective, I definitely see like right now, indeed, there's no chance that borders will be completely replaced, but in the future, and actually, I agree partly with you on that part. J. But I think what we disagree on is that an open ecosystem platform is not necessarily that it's out in the ether. Because I think that open ecosystem platforms still need like authentication and registration and approval by defender before you can partner with them, etc, and see all the information but the thing is, you bring it together. And that's where you get the big, big difference. And actually, I think indeed your your explain, you're talking about marketplaces, and chip and I are kind of in the same market with Chip more on on with us mainly focus on the CO marketing and Chip more on the go selling part as well. And I think that's really bringing it together. But eventually, I honestly think, why would you have two different types of, of portals for your partners, and I really see the market as one big ecosystem, one big hub, and every vendor will get their own hub within it, and the Microsoft hub is going to be super big. And another SAS company that just starting out will have a bit smaller hub. But eventually, it makes no sense to have it both because I think it doesn't necessarily have to be that your information is out in the ether to be part of an open ecosystem and have kind of a marketplace. In the end, I think to be honest, works better. And clinics are in some kind of way, a marketplace with a long way to go, of course, compared to Salesforce, but I definitely think in the future that that that makes no sense to have both parallel to each other. If you look at it from an ROI perspective, and definitely looking at at vendors indeed, we also get questions all the time, like, Hey, can I also do the registration in the in the platform? Can we also do training? Can we also do certification, etc. So are quoting, so more and more gross functionality will come together? But definitely, yeah, I think there there will be a shift eventually.
Jared Fuller 22:14
Okay, I'm going to hop in with with our first question unless we got a quick rebuttal. All right, first question. This is actually a follow up to what you just said, Rick, we get asked for X feature or for y feature or for Z feature. In our applications where we are C suite executives selling partner technology, there's not a bias there at all. Not even a little bias. Here's my question. partners will always tell us what they want. But some of them that Isaac taught me six months ago is that stated preference is different than revealed preference. People will tell you all day long, we need more one pagers, we need easier deal, Reg, we need these things. And guess what happens? The revealed preferences, it didn't make a difference. So stated preference versus revealed preference, since that was directed at you, Rick 60 seconds. And your response on that on that challenge of stated preference versus Revealed Preference. We asked partners what they want, but then what they do doesn't necessarily match up.
Rick Van Den Bosch 23:19
I fully agree with that. And I think if you look at it from from my perspective, from the from the park as well, of course, all the vendors they are fighting for their attention. And they asked they asked Did I see it? And they asked they asked to them like hey, what can I do to help you I want to see you're more active? I want to see you're more engaged? And they answer because it's it's something that you're used to Yeah, give me more. Give me another I need a portal or I need more information about this. But it's maybe kind of like when you're not interested in someone who's trying to sell you something you said like Yeah, send me an email. And I think from that perspective, that's happening indeed with with stated preference versus actual preference. And we are one of my investors actually told me a story that indeed, within his company, all the channel manager said, Yeah, we need we need a port, we need a port to the partner asking for it. And then he started interviewing the partners and looking at the question behind the question, and it was not the portal, but they wanted to understand way more like what how can we actually do business together? What can we what can we do to get the most out of it? And actually, is this worth my time? And I think from that perspective, indeed, there's a big difference in the in these two types of preferences.
Jimmy Hatzell 26:05
Yeah, yeah, so um, the most engaged person you'll have is the is before they buy or, or the day that they buy. So you need to start bringing these things in the portal from the very beginning. So a great example of this is everyone wants to know how much it's going to cost them every wants to know how much they can sell it for, especially if you have a larger ticket item. And if you're like, for me, I found success in the past, placing the actual pricing in the portal. So if someone wants to see how much they can actually sell something for, or how much it's going to cost them their costs or something, they have to go in registers the affiliate and everything, they can have a general idea of it beforehand. But to actually make calculations and see what it is do that inside the portal, then the register from the very beginning, when you actually have their attention, I think you're spot on with gusto. But also, like I've worked at companies where the payroll program is buried in like, six different Single Sign On programs, and you have to like go into one a login and other makes no sense. And like I give up after 20 tries. So there is a little bit like, like you have to be, you know, it has to look good and has to feel good. But I do agree, you need that carrot, and you need to engage people at the right time in their journey where they're actually ready to put some actual commitment behind it. And there's some motivation.
Jared Fuller 27:26
Jay, I saw you do your hand up earlier. So it's good to you.
Jay McBain 27:30
I feel like I'm in a classroom here, I raised my hand,
Jared Fuller 27:33
no, just smack them down. Jay, let's hear the partner profit.
Jay McBain 27:36
So you know, Jimmy made a really good comment here. Because, you know, part of what makes up my day and talking from vendor to vendor to vendor to vendor, which I do every 30 minutes, you know, all day long, is a Field of Dreams error that everybody makes, you know, they create this front door, and then they walk on this journey of creating this wonderful mansion behind the front door. You know, every room is perfect, and, and designed and everything else. And this idea that if we build it, they will come. And they don't we get to look every year for decades now at what the adoption rates are of different technologies and stuff. And they just don't. And by the way, when you take the adoption, you actually take the logins and take away the people that are forced to come to your portal to claim money to do a deal registration or to do actual things necessary to maintain their business, the amount of people that walk into your library and go to the Dewey Decimal System and just browse around your point is zero, literally zero, nobody has the time. And so my comment in a field of dreams. And if you've seen my research over the last year, it's about watering holes. The channel is a very big place doesn't matter what industry, what kind of partners you serve, they all drink from different watering holes. And I've kind of created, you know, 14 different types of them. There might be 143, social groups, from Facebook to subreddits. There might be analyst firms, there might be associations, there's 150 events, there's 100 podcasts, I could rip through all 14. The fact of the matter is, you're spending all your time trying to get people into your front door and creating this wonderful experience behind that door. And they're just not coming. And we know that's the case. So you need to decide as a vendor, whether you're one of these very, very, very large, or you're just an up and coming SAS company, how much of your information needs to be protected. They'll talk to your lawyers, your battle cards, your price books, your incentives, algorithms. That's the stuff that you're not going to drop into a Facebook group. The fact of the matter is 95% of the other stuff that you're trying to fill into your house, the furniture and the wallpaper and you should be focusing on community grassroots approach at getting most of that stuff out of the house and into the watering holes that your partners are at. So does the portal go wait no because there's legal and compliance and, and confidentiality reasons why it can't. But you've got to acknowledge that front door for what it is, and build a nice house, you don't want to discourage anyone. And you don't want to embarrass yourself based on the type of company you are. But the fact of the matter is, you need to walk out into the places where your partners are. And through the people they trust, the things they read, the places they go, and the people they trust, and start delivering that portal experience. The communication, the collaboration, the programs, the processes, the people and the underlying technology, and deliberate where they are, instead of your Field of Dreams.
Jared Fuller 30:42
All right. Buzzer hit J. That was I don't want to read about you on that one. Chip. I see you pop in.
Chip Rodgers 30:50
Yeah, yeah. So gosh, a lot of great conversations, both both here. And then also I'm watching chat, as well. And, you know, so maybe I'll just pick up on the Salesforce conversation a little bit the J, you were talking about? I think it's and I see, you know, Christine, you know, quoted this the, you know, I think in actual Salesforce CRM implementations, it's like and Jay, you, you brought up the statistic $6 for each dollar of of software spend just to you know, bring these things live. And we have, we've actually got a lot of our customers have a certainly a PRM, but a lot of lot are on Salesforce, and and yet the challenge is that the kinds of things that people are trying to do today, again, it handles resale really well. But, you know, when you're trying to NJ I think to your point, you know, really true that you need to get out to the watering holes get out to the communities where people are talking, but that community concept of there needs to be a marrying of like, how do we all work together, but still have security still be able to lock down like I when I'm working with you and I have trust in, in you, I want to make sure that that is a trusted relationship. But I also want to work with, you know, 10 other people and they also want to work with and have can manage those trust relationships while you're able to work with everybody. So that's the I think that's the sort of the architectural thing that needs to happen to to really be able to sort of get beyond the Okay, let's all set up different portals with different different technologies and different logins. And now you got to upload data in every different portal. And, you know, since
Isaac Morehouse 32:37
there is there is there a potential future in which you can have sort of the best of both worlds, you have all of all of your stuff, and then you have on more of an open platform, but you have this kind of ability to have joint ownership or joint custody and you have controls over it. And I'm thinking crossbeam in adjacent field is a good example where you're giving each other You're putting your access to all of your, let's say Salesforce data, but then you get to choose person by person or company by company who gets to see what under what circumstances. So you do have this kind of central repository, but then you have all these different levels of authorization for different peoples you work with, is there something like that, that could sort of be the one portal to rule them all, that still allows all the differentiation case by case partner by partner?
Chip Rodgers 33:29
So that's exactly right. Isaac and crossbeams a good partner of ours, and you know, you know, for the for the account mapping. Right, that that's terrific. And then once you've mapped your accounts, now you're going to do a bunch of stuff.
Jared Fuller 33:44
One second, Jay had a quick rebuttal of that.
Jay McBain 33:48
Yeah, one of the interesting things James made a comment in the in the chat window about, you know, ecosystem, orchestrators and ships kind of alluded to this, but let people you know, over the last few weeks, we've seen some interesting things happen. We were predicting that you know, these new ecosystems, non transacting, transacting partners, non traditional traditional, would take different kinds of leadership. And now we're at the point where Microsoft, AWS, Google, you know, places like Rackspace and sage last week, IBM have now put in ecosystem chiefs. In every single one of those examples, the person that got the job, didn't come from the channel world. They'd never been on CRN channel chiefs list. The person that got the job, many of them came from McKinsey and Bain and, you know, you know, we'll talk about, you know, more consulting backgrounds, but that the fact of the matter is, you look at the program, you've got, you know, a single front door that's necessary for six different vice presidents. The Technology Alliance, you have with an ISV or an emerging tech company like an IoT, the system integration partnership you have with an Accenture or Deloitte, the MSP the VAR the there's 16 Different kinds of partnerships that have to walk in that front door. Some of them play multiple roles as we talked about. But the fact of the matter is you have to have a single program, you have to have a single front door. And then you've got to quickly service all of these different kinds of roles that they play. And that can't be done today with the traditional PRM technology. And that's why this new ecosystem part of the tech stack, which, like three years ago, started with 17 companies, it doubled in size to 33. And we're about to publish this year, it's at about 60 plus companies. Now, that ecosystem category, by the way, has grown to the size of the PRM, which is a half a billion dollars and spend. It did what PRM took 30 years to do. It didn't three. So if you talk about this as a rocket ship, or a hockey stick, there are these new ecosystem, people in new ecosystem jobs, there's 11,000 of them on LinkedIn. And they are buying technology and looking to replace their front door with something that touches all types of partnerships, not just that transactional one that chip has alluded to a couple of times. So this is happening right in front of our faces. And we're seeing announcements almost on a daily basis now of how taken shape.
Jared Fuller 36:12
The times they are a changing to reference, an oldie but a goodie. I had. I had one question before we could turn it up to audience so y'all feel free to ramp up in the chat, any specific questions that we want to hop into. To me, I just feel like anytime that we're talking about building something, and bringing people to us, it feels like this facet, this, this like legacy thing that's attached to the phrase go to market. Like we need to go to these partners and bring them to us versus like building in market. That's how I like my brain just has to think this way. So Jay, when you mentioned watering holes, but it definitely resonates with me, like how do we get there? Then I stack something like a reveal or a crossbeam on top, where I'm matching, you know, accounts and kind of like statuses. And then I have technology like Gong, or chorus that's actually taking in conversations from email or like a drift from chat. And then from calls. Can't we not deliver this stuff to our partners in real time? Like, the tech stack is there now. And I've just I've been thinking about this for a year, year and a half. And I'm like, so I'd love your comments on that. Like instead of, I almost want to completely invert this conversation from Portal to going, shouldn't this be automated by what's happening in the overlap? The account stages, the personas, and then what's happening in conversations with either company either in gong or chorus on driftin or intercom and chat over email. And then that's in real time where content or enablement or deal registration or auto tagging, right, it's like, oh, that partner had a conversation and they brought up my company on the call deals auto tag, boom, it's registered. Why are we still talking about this manual partner manager crap of like, partner managers are there to go administrate things in partner portals? So there's my controversial going off the hinge, respond to that, like, is that? Is that something that should be happening right now? Am I crazy for thinking that?
Chip Rodgers 38:17
No, absolutely. No, it's I mean, and that's, you get, we gotta get these systems connected. Right? So it's not just like, why am I going in and, and registering a deal manually in a in a portal. And by the way, that usually doesn't happen at the front end of the deal. So we can go work together on a deal. It's like, oh, we're about to close this thing. Let's register so we can get credit. You know, so it's not a it's not a there's not a discussion. There's not a clear it's not a it doesn't give you the headlights on what's actually happening. It's just like, Okay, well,
Isaac Morehouse 38:47
what actually, I just saw a comment from Andrea at data qu data IKU said, as a partner, I never want to be told go to the portal. What do you what do you want to be told instead? That's what I'm curious what
Jared Fuller 39:07
would want to be in real time based on conversations that are happening with your partners? And what's happening in the field? Like, that, to me seems like the answer the very obvious answer.
Chip Rodgers 39:19
Well, I like this, also, Steven saying because you build trust with the person that with a computer system. Right? You're connecting to your to either the partner manager on the other side, or to building this, you know, virtual account team with that includes sales teams and product experts,
Isaac Morehouse 39:37
you know, kind of reminds me of with partner hacker.com. We're publishing a lot of articles and things from various third parties, including some of you hear, and if I go to someone and say, Hey, would you like to publish an article for us on partner hacker? And they say, Sure, and then immediately I'm like, cool, check your email for how to log in and set up Your account on our CMS. That's kind of like a very cold, like, that's not the next best move. Right? The next best move is cool. What do you want to write about? What's this? Okay, how about you send me in whatever format you want, I'll go do all the heavy lifting. And then once you're already invested, you've written the article, you're excited, you've agreed it's ready to be published. And then I say at the last minute, could you go create an account so that it will have your author name and bio that you want in there? That's, that's when I introduced that equivalent of a portal, right? Where it's like a formality, go, go do the thing that you need to do to get it done. But this is after sort of like, you know, the front end has been done. So I think that's just for me, seeing that analogy, helps understand where partners are coming from Rick,
Rick Van Den Bosch 40:44
do to reply to you, Jared, because I think it's a really interesting idea in the what, like, flirt with Gawker as like, would you say actually sharing what was discussed in such a conversation or more that like they do the analysis, and that gives triggers like, hey, these type of things were discussed. And then it triggers to the other systems to like, indeed, they've talked about the deal about the word closing was in there, I don't know, three times. So now it will trigger a message to the partner or through the bargain manager, we need to get things in motion.
Jared Fuller 41:15
Actually, quick question, is anyone on this call use gong or chorus? Like in the field as a manager? I mean, game changer, right? I mean, it was an absolute game that by far the most game changing sales tool I've ever used. What's actually having the narratives great to goodbye, opinions. Hello, reality.
Isaac Morehouse 41:34
So Jared, got in the chat, the rep notes in the chat. Somebody says what about data science to recommend the quote, next best action, and then Kevin Lenihan says, oh, boy, don't get fuller started on the next best action.
Jared Fuller 41:47
So I told somebody to kick him out.
Isaac Morehouse 41:50
Give me Give me the why is he saying that? Give me the context there, Jared.
Jared Fuller 41:54
Oh, boy. Oh, boy. We'll we'll leave that for another partner of epic, okay, to teaser what it was like working with my crazy ideas and your hyper growth startup. Kevin could probably go on for a long time. So
Isaac Morehouse 42:07
how do you how do you automate jet J or saying, Hey, you can't hire this many people to have it all be human driven? How do you automate this without losing the trust? And without making people feel like this is just another big giant, you know, bunch of information being automatically spit at them? That's not very relevant and not like, how do you do that? How do you get the best of both worlds? Partnerships are very personal. They're very human centric.
Jay McBain 42:32
Let me go first, I'll let Jimmy follow up. Think of banking. You know, years ago, we went into the teller. We got a banking app on our phones, which handles about 80 to 90% of our day to day activities, depositing checks, moving money, you know, things we would normally, you know, drive to a bank branch to do? Well, the banks now are thinking of the metaverse, where you can virtually walk drive to that branch virtually walk in, you sit down with a automated bot. And about 80% of the stuff you need to do in that partner program or in this analogy that in front of your bank teller can can be handled. But once you throw them a curveball a customization a very specific account need or a co innovation question a value creation question, guess what? That automated bank teller goes and gets their manager, their manager happens to be an employee of the bank, who is also sitting in their living room, you know, wearing a headset, or whatever else, but they walk in and help you. from a human perspective, the portal has to play that same role, that 80% of the time, you're going to be in doing things regardless of what kind of partner you are. And you really don't need a human if the technology is built to that level. And when you actually have that customized question, or that need for human to human element, that's when there's an easy, frictionless way that they can bring their manager in the room. And all of a sudden you're talking to a cam or somebody at that company. And that's it. So when you get beyond the cam, now you're at 95 percentage, it's really, really a breakthrough thinking type of session. They can bring in their manager, and that's somebody from the product team or engineer or somebody else. So this is kind of the view of the metaverse, this is kind of the view of the portal, the future of the portal. But if it's not 80%, automated, you're never going to scale to the type and number of partners you need to be successful.
Isaac Morehouse 44:19
Jared Fuller 44:20
Jimmy, Jimmy Yeah,
Jimmy Hatzell 44:22
I think this goes back to something Rick said earlier about, like, you get these like odd requests or really objections for something super specific that's holding back someone from go to market or being activated as a partner. And I think you need to put a lot of purpose in structuring things and so it's like to I look at it four main parts or you have internal marketing inside of an organization. How does this company get everything that they need to be successful selling our product or whatever it is? External, how do they get the things that they need to give to their customers, and then training, packaging and pricing which is a whole conversation that's back and forth. And then the fourth thing is actually demand gen, helping them go to market and the templates and stuff. So I think that you can combat a lot of this and automate things, as Jay was talking about by creating a process that accompanies everything where people are picking, and there's an agreement on what our attorney is, here's what we're going to do over the next 30 days, here's what we're going to do over the next 60 days, 90 days. And then if someone needs something custom, you can get to the root of that issue right then in there in the very beginning, and create agreements on it from the start. And I think that that can solve both problems on you know, people objecting on activating certain things, because you get that agreement, and then to the just, you know, the human element and automating things. Chip wants to
Isaac Morehouse 45:47
take this question from Alan Adler, Digital Bridge partners. Can you talk about explicit use cases or examples of how PRM and partner platforms like Gen X and work expand? should interact? Chip?
Chip Rodgers 46:04
Yeah, so first, first, a shout out to Alan for go to ecosystem. Just amazing work that you're doing, Alan. So if anybody I'm sure, probably everybody has already been seeing it. But every day, Alan's putting out great content. Yeah. And yeah, so just I think a good example is, so Microsoft has Microsoft Partner Center, which is essentially a PRM. Right? AWS has ace, the you know, they're there. Also as a is a is a PRM, as well. Google has partner advantage, which is also actually Salesforce PRM. All three of them have said we can't we're not we're we're we can do the channel stuff. But we can't do the resell stuff. And so we have, you know, we have a full integration into partner center and, and AWS ace and, and Google soon. And engineers are working on it. But it because of that, because of this exact thing. They're trying to build more drive more cosell revenue, they're trying to get more engagement between their field and their partners. And they're trying to get the partners excited. And, and CO selling together. Right now what they've had to do is sort of do the manual entry into, into into each of the portals. And we're able to, you know, with an integration into your into your CRM, it's like a Connect, direct connect into back to the field, and everything gets updated back and forth. So and again, you're managing a shared shared pipeline,
Jared Fuller 47:44
we got a quick rebuttal there.
Rick Van Den Bosch 47:46
Yeah, thank you, Jared. I really liked what Jimmy was just saying, Indeed, about bringing the information, the right information to your partners and providing value. And I think one of the key things you can do to really provide the most value to your partners and bring the right message at the right time, is by segmentation and personalization of the content. I think if you look into a regular portal there 10,000 assets is impossible for parking to find what they want. Well, if you ask some variables at the beginning, so what kind of verticals do you target? What kind of product categories do you sell from us, et cetera, you can actually bring them the right content that's purely relevant to them. And I think that's where you can really make a big leap in bringing value to partners, if you ask the right questions in the beginning of a partnership, or when you get them on board of a new software to you, you use. And with that, really bringing them the right message at the right time.
Jared Fuller 48:36
All right, Rick, I think we're gonna go to closing statements. I feel like we started with the theme the death of portals. There's been some debate. I don't think anyone said they're completely dead. They're not they're not going anywhere. I don't know. I'm not sure who really who won that.
Isaac Morehouse 48:50
But we'll say we'll say portals are beaten, not they're down, not out. They're wounded. But
Jared Fuller 48:58
so. So given that we like to look forward, given, we look backwards a lot, especially on partner up and partner hacker, let's end the closing statement with where you think the time horizon can be years, 510 years, let's put it in this decade, whether it's five years out or the end of the decade, where does this debate end up looking standing at that VISTA and looking back at where we're at now? And we started with Rick, so let's start with Jimmy and then we'll reverse the order.
Jimmy Hatzell 49:29
Sure, I think you're gonna get more segmentation based on types of partners. And Portals will be replaced by ecosystems eventually. But I think five years is ambitious.
Jared Fuller 49:43
All right, I think chip you were next on the rotation.
Chip Rodgers 49:50
Yeah, five years, 10 years. Gosh, you know, ecosystem technology is right at the at the in the in the Gartner Hype Cycle. That's right. You know, it's still going still going up. So I think there's and they, they have, I think, a five or 10 year time horizon on it. So, and just looking at the market today, there are so many, you know, startups coming in and VC money coming in. And Jay, to your point, you know, it's, it's a, it's an active market and engage market and, you know, so I think, you know, we've hoped to be a player and continue to be a player, but I know there's going to be a lot of a lot of energy, and I think we'll all be kind of pushing each other on to, to innovate faster and, and bring new things to market, it's a great time to be in this in the space. It's exciting.
Jay McBain 50:39
Well, you know, yesterday, the MAR tech stack was released with, you know, just shy of 10,000, SAS companies, after one decade. So as Bill Gates said, we tend to overestimate what we're gonna do in two years, and underestimate what we're gonna do in 10. In this case, you know, we went from 150 martech solutions through the decade of marketing, to ending the decade at 10,000. You know, right now, I think we're in year two or year three of the decade of the ecosystem, you know, my latest view has 222 companies, I'm excited to figure out how to put, you know, 10,000 logos on one sheet, but to what shift said is this small ecosystem category, in three years grew to the revenue level of what took PRM, 30 years to do. This is a rocket ship, there are new people, there are new processes and programs, there's a whole new layer of technology and innovation here, companies that were not partner companies, before channel companies have new parts of their website, looking at this new opportunity, it's just an fascinating time. And I think you'd be surprised at what happens this decade, in terms of all of this and, and how we work with companies in the future, as every customer becomes a partner. When I set 400 new partners at Microsoft every day, the majority of those are their clients, right? Clients like restored who overnight became a tech company, to have to beat Tesla, you know, companies in every industry who are now partners of Microsoft, not as exactly clients. And that's what we're all facing. All vendors are facing today, as every company becomes a tech company, one day where the vendor one day where the partner in an ecosystem at all really doesn't matter. We all need to work together, no one can go at it alone. And I think we're in the pre banking app and pre ATM, if you go back to banking for a second. And boy, is there some money to be made and some billionaires to be made in this decade? Thinking about how this is all going to work?
Jared Fuller 52:39
Indeed, Rick, you started this, you're gonna end it?
Rick Van Den Bosch 52:47
Yes, let's do it. I think in the upcoming five years, the Portals will be the central place where founders store Eldar assets, that which, with general Ico, or with ecosystem software that's tagged onto it. So that will take care of the distribution of the content and the information. And that will give the ecosystem software vendors some time to get to the same standards when it comes to legal compliance, security, etc. To get to get the trust as well. And eventually by 2030, we will see to the portals being replaced by the by by the ecosystem so far.
Jared Fuller 53:23
Incredible, incredible. Well, we're right at five minutes before Isaac, how were our guests in the rain today? How are they? Oh,
Isaac Morehouse 53:30
I gave I gave everybody a I don't know what a passing grade. I mean, maybe this one went to the judges, it was not a knockout. So a split decision, the judges were who are also the refs one to one, they each they each picked a different winner. I don't know. I think it was great. I think it was exactly what we wanted in terms of just getting the conversation going from different perspectives and and I meant it when I said it's sort of seems like portals are like, wounded but standing like okay, there's definitely something here that's problematic with portals as they exist today. But there's also something to them that is probably not going away.
Jared Fuller 54:08
Totally, totally well. We don't know JJ did we put a lot of content TJ so remember that remember
Isaac Morehouse 54:18
that we judge artists iration trophies all around?
Jared Fuller 54:22
Parties. Oh, gosh. I know Isaac of all people does not agree participation trophies. So absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. That was a great session, everyone. Thank you everyone for attending live and then we'll have the hundreds probably 1000 plus people to watch this on partner up after the fact. So if you didn't catch this session live, you're hearing it in the streams and on YouTube. So we'll have this one up next week. Partner up, peace out. We'll see y'all next time cubes the outro music. I can never I can never actually miss it. That's
Isaac Morehouse 55:00
why we have outro music so you don't have
Jared Fuller 55:03
been told. been told we have good intro and outro music.
Isaac Morehouse 55:06
Jared Fuller 55:08
Alright, see everybody