058 - The Best of SaaS Connect Part 2

What’s Up PartnerUp?!

A few weeks ago PartnerUp set up a makeshift studio at SaaS Connect.

As people were going in and out of talks, connecting and networking, and discussing a coming shift in partnerships, we invited some of the best to stop in and chat.

This episode is the second compilation of those conversations.

Never miss an episode by subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you’re a visual person, sub to our YouTube, and see the full recording of the episode.

Share the episode with your commentary on LinkedIn and hash #partnerup #partnerhacker. We love to hear your thoughts on each episode, and would love to comment and share back!


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Isaac Morehouse  00:11
All right, Samia, from reveal, you are one of our launch. Sponsors, by the way revealed so much excited to sit down with you. You guys have been a good time so far and fastconnect

Samia Moutawakkil  00:22
Super good time. And we're super glad to be sponsors upon No, hacker. Sure.

Isaac Morehouse  00:26
So huge news reveal, just raise a $50 million Series A, which to my knowledge is the biggest series A I've heard I mean, that's that's massive. Guys like I mean, that's crazy. Tell me about what led to I mean, what's working so well that you're able to go raise a round like that.

I mean, I think it's it's it's really a confirmation that something big is happening in the market and like in the partnership community. We're not like we're seeing that all over the market with like other companies getting great fundings and like VCs getting interested in into the market. So I think what's happening is that people are finally realizing the power of partnerships, basically. And like how much you can impact a company's growth?

Isaac Morehouse  01:15
I mean, yeah, there's, there is no better way to prove the thesis that we've been putting out there than to see around like this. So I was just chatting with you before this. And I said, How many people are on your team? And you said, 50. So only a 50 person team right now, but you just raised 50 million? I gotta imagine you're hiring. You're looking for a ton of great talent. Oh, yeah. In the US,

hiring brands in Europe and the US all over the place. All kinds of roles. Um, reach out to me reach out to anyone in the team. We're interested.

Isaac Morehouse  01:49
That's good. Yeah, that's good to know. I think the opportunities are just huge. And like, one of the leaders like reveal, having, you know, building your team up from 50. To would you say in the next year or two, you're trying to get to 100 100? A year? Yeah. By the end of the year? Yeah. So we got a lot, we got a lot of opportunity partner up listeners, you are also the source of many a wonderful partnership meme. Yes. Which you have supplied. So is this just like, are you just like, this is like a hobby, you're like a curator of all the best names,

I've actually created. Some of them myself, you're the creator. Yeah, I've created so I spent nights doing. I haven't mean passion.

Isaac Morehouse  02:34
I love it. See, that's dedication. You're, while you're laying in bed, you're dreaming of partnership. And that's why I reveal is now raising this huge round. The contributor to that success.

I mean, Humor has always been part of like our brand, etc. Like from the get go, we were using memes and like, having fun. And I think what we're trying to do is really deliver a message to partnership professionals, we want to resonate with the frustrations that they're having. So like, we talked about this kind of frustrations, and what better than memes to convey that message.

Isaac Morehouse  03:05
That's a great point to the, the idea of humor. So the, you know, the partnership space, sort of like traditional, the old school sense of like channel partners, etc. It kind of has like a stale corporate ease, sort of feel to it, you know, and everyone's kind of doing the it's almost like it's a formality like we're partners or partners, we give you leads, we do this. And I just see something happening where there's like a realness a genuine human connection. I mean, our slogan trust is the new data. And one of the ways that you form that and build that trust is by being real. Yeah. And by having those cathartic moments where like, you laugh at the frustrations, partner, people often feel like the neglected abused department. And, you know, being able to just share those moments of like, look, we know what it's really like, I think that's a massive part of brand and connection that gets under appreciated.

I mean, it goes, it goes with, like, the brand that we're trying to create, where we're building the new worlds, you know, the new world of partnerships. So like we're getting, we're saying goodbye to the old school way. Yeah. And so part of it is like, also, you know, being fun and being able to be real. It's really like part of what we're doing.

Isaac Morehouse  04:14
That's why you're such a good launch partner for us, because we have a very hard time being serious for very long. So we're going to try to keep it fun, keep it real, as well. Samia, this is this is super exciting. Great news. Congratulations for you guys. And again, they're looking they're looking for talent. They're hiring as we are, if someone is has never worked at the partnership space, but they see this kind of momentum, and they're curious and they're like, Hey, maybe I want to go look at joining the team at reveal or something similar. Leave us with one piece of advice. What's what's different about working in this market than another market? What's What's something unique?

I think the uniqueness of it is the impact. So like, I think we're just like really starting to explore how much impact this can have. And it's amazing, we're at the beginning of something, I think like, the best analogy that I can give is like marketing 10 or 20 years ago, there was a huge misunderstanding of what the impact could be. And, and like it was completely overlooked. Like, you know, it was the team that was creating presentations and like, you know, having fun, and and now fast forward to now everybody understands that, you need to have an amazing marketing team if you want to, like generate great pipeline and great revenue, etc. This is exactly what's happening for partnership professionals right now. People are finally realizing that they can have impact on the whole revenue funnel from, you know, increasing win rates and lead generating pipeline to creating more customer retention and customer stickiness and customer satisfaction. So it's the right time to go into partnerships.

Isaac Morehouse  05:51
I love that. I love it. Thank you so much, Samia, appreciate it. Thank you. Hey, we are live here at SAS Connect. I'm talking with Jason from App bind. And Jason and I were just talking about content. And agency agencies as a part of the market part of the partnerships ecosystem that needs to get a lot of love needs to get more love. Yes, I agree. Absolutely. And content as a way to do that. So you come from an agency background? Yeah,

Jason Fleagle  06:20
I have 10 plus years of an agency background experience. I mean, everything from computer programming to content marketing, I did a lot of paid advertising for a period of time, worked with large enterprise level clients, like Abercrombie and Fitch, Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank, and then did a lot of SMB work. So small businesses, startups, midsize businesses, as well. So

Isaac Morehouse  06:44
you come from a big part of the audience that a lot of these companies here are trying to reach trying to partner with? What? From an agency standpoint, what do you wish some of these companies were doing differently to make it easier for you to partner with? Yeah,

so I mean, most agencies are kind of on a treadmill of health. So they're trading a lot of time for dollars. And agencies are in an interesting spot, because they're one of the, like, rare companies where when you scale, it actually can hurt revenue growth, and it actually hurts scaling the company. Because when you're in a treadmill of hell trading time for dollars, what you have to do when you start getting more clients is you have to hire more people. So that increases overhead. So unless you already have systems in place of like managing, you know, SAS subscriptions for clients, doing a service, billing, like things like that, those are common issues that agency owners don't really have a good solution to. And that's where with Alpine, we've been trying to provide, you know, a managed service subscription for purchasing SAS subscriptions on behalf of the clients that

Isaac Morehouse  07:51
allows it allows those agencies to when they're when they're offering their services to clients. Yes, they're connecting them to the software tools, but they're doing it for one removes a lot of friction in that process. But two, they have the chance as partners with these as tools to get the recurring revenue exactly right going so that they don't only have to build for hours. So from a from a content, so you're a content guys, and you're trying to basically help create content that helps agencies succeed. And I would say this is desperately needed in the partnership space, I would say in the mahr tech space, HubSpot is like the shining example of they have this amazing world of content that's like, hey, we'll teach you how to win as a marketer, marketing it, you know, what is your vision for that equivalent in the partnership space? What's needed? And how are you going to build it?

Yeah, great question. So I mean, that's kind of what we're talking about a little bit offline. But one of our goals with Alpine especially is, you know, our focus was in creating a great solution to agency owners, you know, Dev shops, any consultants, like companies purchasing subscriptions on behalf of their clients. So when we started to build out a network growing that, obviously the SAS companies, the vendors want to get in front of those partners to then have them resell, you know, you don't really have to do anything. It's frictionless. So what we started to do is focus on the agency side of things. So we, you know, Sue near our CEO, founder of cloud software Association, he's a natural connector. So he started the podcast agency connect, where we interview agency owners talking about how they got off the treadmill of hell, like how did they scale out bind kind of was a good solution to them as well. And then eventually, our goal is to also do the same thing for Sass companies to be able to be like, Hey, if you want to get in front of your partners, here's a good kind of way to do it. So some of those like insights secrets would be creating content around that, you know, show YouTube channel, maybe a newsletter. So that's kind of the thought and idea.

Isaac Morehouse  09:53
Oh, I love it. And that's a big part of what we are doing here at partner hacker at mine is one of our launch sponsors, shout out Thank you guys for being a part of it. And there's gonna be, I without giving away too much I can already tell we're gonna have some, we're gonna have some deeper partnerships going forward because that that message getting the story of how to win beyond just the walls of the partner or into the agencies, and it's held those threads. That's a big part of what we're doing. We want to cover this entire ecosystem. And so sharing the wins the stories of agencies who have done it, well, highlighting those providing resources to agencies that want to level up and do it. Well. That's a big part of what we want to shine a spotlight on. So I'm sure you'll be hearing Jason and outline on partner, Jason. All right. I am here with Aaron from built for partner ah, I like it. It's always good to know people are are listening, or you just heard Jared say that in there. And I'm a big listener. Big fan. I love it. So you told me this the first time you've been to SAS connect, right? Yep. Okay. Why? Why are you here?

Aaron Bailey  10:59
Well, yeah, it's, it's a good question. So this is my first time it's probably been a part of cloud and CSA plus offer association for about three months now. So relatively new member, but actually bought a ticket last night. Oh, wow. Yeah, so I know, y'all, we're gonna be here.

Isaac Morehouse  11:18
For the partner, hacker after party.

No, it's it. There's very few events that are focused on our relatively niche industry right now. I think it's going to be one of the fastest growing industries in SAS and in b2b. And the next decade, I mean, the decade of ecosystem, you know, Jim McMahon always talks about that. So

Isaac Morehouse  11:40
tell me about Bill. First, what I mean, we, we use built first, if you go to hacker hacker.com marketplace, where you can find all kinds of deals from a lot of these companies here are launch sponsors that are exclusive to partner hacker members. We're running it on Yes.

Prescription for that. Yeah. So it'd be marketplace infrastructure for partners. Starting the VC accelerator space, we got hundreds of different VCs and accelerators offering b2b Sales and Service deals to their portfolio companies. And then we went to communities next, so we call business communities has kind of been our next vertical, got a lot of financial institutions on their banks, really anyone who is who has attention, and you always say trust is the new data. These are centers of gravity, these partners are centers of gravity for buyer intent, because they own all the attention, right, they own the influence and the attention. And people trust what they say. So, you know, we really believe that that is going to be a big part of future of b2b commerce. So

Isaac Morehouse  12:36
it sounds like you started with a market of VCs and accelerators, where they're not looking at this as a revenue source. But as a value add to their training. What changes when you move into some markets that may be looking at it as a revenue source,

so called passive and active marketplaces, so a lot of VCs and accelerators have what we call passive marketplaces, right? They're not actively promoting doing a lot of the partner marketing, that partner that that the vendors would want them to be doing. Right. But yeah, they get good number of redemptions from their portfolio companies, mainly because of the offer that's associated, These offers are super, it's 90%, off HubSpot 50% off Salesforce. So I mean, that was, I mean, this startup ecosystem that we're building infrastructure for or that we have built infrastructure for in the past, very soon will be our smallest ecosystem, right? There are a ton of these business communities. A lot of sass companies are doing the partner directory thing. Now, we don't necessarily do partner directories as much as we do partner marketplaces. I think there's a big difference there. I think offers are really big piece of the difference. And then also, we you know, we want to help kind of bridge the gap in the partner marketing playbook. Right? So when we're talking about passive and inactive kinds of marketplaces, y'all partner hacker has a very it's going to have I mean, it hasn't had launches tomorrow, it's going to have a very active marketplace, right? I mean, you guys are going to be writing stories about these different parties, these sponsors, so you know, they're going to be promoted on the pod in a very native way. Right. And

Isaac Morehouse  13:57
these are our keynote, to your point about trust. In our case, these are relationships that we already have, we're we're going out and talking with partner stack and saying, Hey, let's come up with a true partnership, a deal that really is unique to our community. It's a vented community, where you're getting people you know, that are that have an actual profile that meets your needs. But then built first as this other side, which I think is really cool. Where you've got a bit of a network as well, where like the I can go on there and browse sort of pre existing deals, so to speak, or deals that are more broad in their appeal. And I can use it not just as funny when I was talking to partner stack about this to use it not just as a way to manage existing relationships, but also to find new potential partners to add to the market. Yeah,

it's funny that the vision for me for the product is I want high relevance, right. So when you go into that vendor librarian you're trying to find new partners. Relevance is key. I mean, the curation shouldn is super important. And making sure that you find relevant partners is really important. And the other piece is dopamine. Like there needs to be a hit when you see the like the partner marketing stuff that comes through as a consumer. And when you go and find a new partner for the partner hacker marketplace, like I want there to be a dopamine hit, and I want you guys to like, do the job that you're, that's, that we're trying to.

Isaac Morehouse  15:24
Yeah, and yeah, just bringing the and this has been a theme you hear a lot here, bringing the betta C quality of experience that we've all come to expect and demand, bring that to b2b

I when we when we went out our fundraising, it's so funny, because a lot of like division in the slides that we have in our fundraising deck that talked about the market, I heard so much of that in the in the first three four talks, and CSA was like, okay, good. Like, we're hitting the right trends, we're getting the right themes. It's a good feeling. I

Isaac Morehouse  15:51
mean, that's the things we've been talking about the the era of the ecosystem trust is the new data all even like we've got an upcoming event debating the death of portals. All of these themes are just popping up in everyone's thought. It's like, there's a narrative here that everybody's sort of coalesced around in an organic way. So it's exciting to be here covering it. Well, Aaron, thanks for stopping by. Alfred Adler, the

Allan Adler  16:18
man himself. Hey, dude, Isaac, how are you?

Isaac Morehouse  16:21
The Gospel of go to ecosystem at SAS Connect? How's it going? So

Allan Adler  16:24
it's so cool. This is so great to be with everybody and to like, actually touch and shake people's hands and like, say hello in person. It's just been great. Let's do it right now. It's

Isaac Morehouse  16:32
amazing. It's amazing in the flesh. And Alan is on our ecosystems council for partner hacker. So thank you for being

Allan Adler  16:42
absolutely I'm so psyched to and I like I read the list of all the people that are on the council. I said like I'm on that list. Yeah, that's pretty cool.

Isaac Morehouse  16:49
Great. Less than you had a column and Alan's doing a weekly column for us. Column, just published today on on the ecosystem

Allan Adler  16:58
maturity or a partner. Yeah, we are so psyched. We launched this a maturity model I just talked about yesterday, and we're actually doing this in concert with partner, a partner hacker and we're gonna be launching a lot of awesome content.

Isaac Morehouse  17:10
Okay. final final question for you. Yeah. Who's got the best swag game so far? At this conference? Any standouts?

Allan Adler  17:18
Oh, well, I mean, the best swag I think, you know, I think partners deck basically has a cruise, right? They got the ultimate swag, right. I think I'm gonna take the boat home. Yeah,

Isaac Morehouse  17:27
you can't. You can't really take the boat if you have made a yacht. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. crossbeam has a lounge over here. We got some cool knickknacks, but you can't meet a yacht. So yeah, shout out to partner stack. They're also one of our launch partners. Yeah,

Allan Adler  17:39
I just have to say how psyched I am that we finally have a media company for the era of the ecosystem. And we can stop reading all that stuff about channels, which channels is cool, but ecosystems is way. Cool. So hardware hacker is totally the place to

Isaac Morehouse  17:53
go matter. Most people say so. Okay, so you guys are just like, covering channel stuff. I said, No channels, that's part of it. But what what's going on here, it includes channels, but it's so much bigger. And there's this kind of moment where the merging of kind of a startup culture around sales automation from 1020 years ago, marketing automation is now blending with this kind of older partner culture, which has been around for a long time, but in a different form. Now you're kind of bringing together there's sort of like some new energy and some new things happen. Absolutely.

Allan Adler  18:26
Cover it. Yeah. And all your partner leaders out there, man, you got a big job to do. Because I said yesterday in my, in my little keynote, that, you know, SAS is in trouble because integrations aren't so great. So let's make great integrations. And let's get our companies to really embrace these end to end solutions. Because once we get that to happen, not only our company is going to perform, but you guys are going to be ecosystem chiefs and report to the CEO and have really, really key jobs for the future. So

Isaac Morehouse  18:53
you hammer on that so much that it's got to start with the CEO it's got to be a company wide commitment to this ecosystems approach. So I think we're gonna see a lot more of it and we'll be here to cover it.

Allan Adler  19:03
Yeah, super psyched to be with you on the journey. Yeah,

Jared Fuller  19:06
that's Yeah, yeah, we're recording right now getting the shot shot in here. So what's up? What's up, Jesse? So you have been relying so SAS connect because

Isaac Morehouse  19:15
Jesse Jesse will have a column in when we launched right and have a column from from Jesse live on day one. So yeah, you want to you want to sit?

Jared Fuller  19:26
You don't even registered yet. So we're doing illegal things right now. You just flew in you got in this morning. Wow,

Isaac Morehouse  19:35
give us a teaser about about your first column for partner hacker. The death of the one pager

Jessie Shipman  19:40
definitely the one pager. Yeah, okay. Here we are. Yeah,

Jared Fuller  19:45
we're live. We're gonna do the things.

Jessie Shipman  19:48
Yeah. So, you know, when when partner hacker was announced and as a follow up to, to partner up, or really is like an encapsulator Right, right. Right, right. Around partner up, there's so many amazing things that have happened through partner up actually has been a huge connector for me in the partnership space. But one of the things that are felt like, maybe it wasn't missing, but it was could be a value add was like, the enablement aspect to domestic part. Um, it's actually just not talked about that much, right, like, so many partner managers have to do it themselves.

Jared Fuller  20:27
I call it fit fo that's where I tell people all the time, pinto beans figured the fuck out. Like they had to figure it out

100% And they, you know, God bless partner managers, right. But they're from sales or marketing. And they don't necessarily have an education background, but they, they do their damn best, right, they've been doing a pretty good job so far. But in this new age, in the new age of the ecosystem, like, it's gonna have to be better, we got to level up the enablement piece of this, because it's going to be hugely critical

Jared Fuller  21:03
for the entire business. So I'm excited about the stuff that you're working on, there's sure more to come. I don't know if we're going to be talking about that in the launch version, your posting, he's talking about the solution that you're working on. And your posts are not yet. talked about it yet. I'll be for another one. We'll do like a grand reveal. You tell us when you're ready. And then we'll, we'll pop it.

Close. Yeah, for sure. Very close to this. So

Jared Fuller  21:25
the one pager, I think you're talking about more real time enablement things. So like hitting that hitting that field person that at the partner manager, whoever's in that moment, getting them with what they need in real time.

salutely. And, and it's, it's so much it's, it's enablement that is streamlined into the work rather than like bolted on or tacked on

Jared Fuller  21:48
or like you have to go to training for like hours. And then a month later, when you're actually engaging with an account with that partner, you're like, Wait, what was that thing that I learned a month ago? Like, that doesn't work?

Right. Right, and how many others came in between now and then? Right? And how do I know which one fits in which one doesn't? Right? Um, so, you know, I don't think one pagers are are bad in and of themselves. But when they're delivered, how they're delivered, you know, that they're really focusing on what the joint value proposition is, you know, what the, what the thing is, what the partner does, like, why we have the partnership in the first place? Was it just something to fill in OKR? Is this really valuable? Right, totally. Or a KPI or is it really valuable? So, um, you know, I think there's a lot of rethinking that's going to have to happen around partner enablement. And I'm just stoked to be part of the conversation. Yeah,

Jared Fuller  22:43
it's gonna be a blast having you talk about all things, partner enablement in the column and partner hacker.com. So Jesse, welcome. fastconnect It's good to meet you.

Jessie Shipman  22:50
Yeah, I'm so stoked. So, so good to meet you in person? Absolutely.

Isaac Morehouse  22:53
I was just complaining about what a bad angle it is here. It's not my good side. Well, the lighting is also like, your position so that you're it's on your good side? Well,

Will Taylor  23:03
I like most sides are good sides.

Isaac Morehouse  23:06
This is a visual metaphor for what partner hacker is all about. We want to make you look good. We want to make the partners the stories we tell we want to make them look good. And in the meantime, we will happily allow ourselves to look inferior just like this setup. So I wouldn't

Will Taylor  23:24
say inferior, you do look great. I like the green as well. We're very much so on brand.

Isaac Morehouse  23:28
So well, Taylor, newest addition to the team and partner hacker just came on board like a week ago and things are moving fast. Yeah,

drinking from the firehose, it's a whirlwind, but the best whirlwind usually were winds aren't good, but this one is the best one. And I'm thrilled to be a part of it like, it is blowing my mind. It's still surreal. Oh, and

Isaac Morehouse  23:49
you met a mentor here at SAS connect, you're doing a lot of these one on ones. What kind of stuff? What do you hear? What are these conversations about? What do people want to talk about?

I think what a lot of people are feeling is the the moment that we talked about where they're realizing that partnerships is the way to go for the go to ecosystem approach. And I don't mean this because I'm biased and I my partner hacker, but it's an actual feeling that people are expressing through the work that they're doing and how their businesses are thriving. And that part is the the most exciting to me, because like, I'm a sponge to it, and I believe in it as well. And it's so good to see that validated with these other people in their own experiences, and through the actual work that they're doing as well. So when we get into the weeds of the conversation, they're talking about the actual programs that they're executing on. And the theme has been, we have to make our partners successful for our business to be successful. And the buy in from the org. There was actually one conversation it was it was super interesting where they have a good business model. It's an E calm business, they have a good revenue stream, and they were talking about potentially going public. And their board was basically like, if you want to become public, and like really grow this company, you have to build and tap into ecosystem, or else you're not gonna get there.

Isaac Morehouse  25:19
It's coming down from the board. Now that's a good sign. Exactly.

So that is like very good validation. But then also the fact that these companies are thinking about this as the accelerant to their growth, not just the traditional ways, those are still important, but the accelerant to everything that they're doing is partnerships and the go to ecosystem. Yeah. And I've always believed in that. And I once I got the taste for it initially, I'm like, this is huge. How is there not more people talking about it? Yes. Hey, this

Isaac Morehouse  25:47
is the thing I've been talking about. Exactly. Oh, man. I'm so glad you're a part of the team here and really excited. And if you if you want some input on your partnerships, org, reach out to well, we got a services page on partner hacker.com. You can go book a time for free.

That's right. And our focus is always partnership success. So if we're partnering on the person to make you successful, and it's baked into who we are, trust is the new data, so

Isaac Morehouse  26:14
they dropped it flawlessly. Talk to you later.

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