Howdy Partners Episode #30: Can ChatGPT replace us partnership folks?

In today’s episode, we discuss how you can use AI tools to improve your efficiency as a partner professional. AI can be used by partner professionals to make content with partners, to create ideal partner profile blueprints, or to analyze data about groups of partners.

If you’re a small or even one-person partner team handling dozens or hundreds of partners, you’re definitely going to want to tune into this one. We get into the nitty-gritty of what ChatGPT and other tools can and can’t do for partner professionals.

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Full Transcript:

Will Taylor  00:03

Welcome to the How to partners podcast where we give you actionable insights that you can use to implement today to be successful in your role as a partner professional. Today, we are going to be talking about ai ai in the partnership space specifically. So I have some thoughts about it. But Ben, do you think AI could ever replace a partner manager? What are your thoughts?

Ben Wright  00:30

No. And I, I get like this question. Not asked a lot. But like, I can hear people getting very anxious, I feel like over the potential of AI, which is which is massive, right. And like, customer support, I keep hearing like, okay, AI could totally replace customer support. In a similar way, the AI still lacks nuance and relationship building, like it's fine if you want to ask a singular answer and get a response. GLORIA That right? But in general, when you think about the role we have in partnerships, and as partner managers, a large component of that is building up trust with the other person on the other end, right. And so I don't think AI will ever replace humans in in partnerships and, and customer support, as well, just as an as an addition. But I do think there are parts of the role where it will definitely augment and help us become better partner managers.

Will Taylor  01:26

Yeah, those are my thoughts as well, where like, the there's the fear out there of Oh, no, my job can get taken even for salespeople, they're saying that, you know, salespeople will be replaced. You know, buyers want to engage less with salespeople these days, so that might even push it further. But honestly, I think it does augment every roll. And if anything, it makes us all more efficient,

Ben Wright  01:52

kind of get it with an SMB sale, maybe you can just go through the sales cycle, sign up for a free trial, start using the product and then convert, right like that makes total sense. But you'll there's no chance, there's never a chance in hell, if you're buying a large enterprise piece of software, you're ever going to be comfortable going through a sales cycle, and paying 100 $150,000 without speaking to a person on the other end. And so I get it right like product lead growth is phenomenal customer lead growth that they do it that places like textbox shout shout textbox Ben Gen, it will never move to a fully non human sales process, especially at the enterprise level, I fully believe that. And so that's another point on why I just don't think AI will ever replace salesperson, because I want you to convince me a little bit if I'm like a CIO, and I'm going to spend 150k. With you, I want to meet with you. And have you actually explained whether what I think the software does actually does it before I put that money on the line to actually buy the solution. And so I think it's a great point about salespeople, because regardless product growth, wherever you want to talk about there's there's still always going to be a need for humans in the sales process.

Will Taylor  03:02

Oh, yeah. And an interesting example, I remember, way back when I learned about this. People don't even trust computers to fly planes, even though most planes are self driven, other than like takeoff and landing, the survey results show that, you know, if there was a 99.9% accuracy rate of a computer flying the plane, versus a pilot flying the plane, and they have, you know, a 90% accuracy rate, the report from the individuals, the people out there, they said they would prefer to have a pilot, which is so interesting, because like the error rate is clearly larger, like their life is on the line, but they prefer engaging with a person because the main element there is you can trust the person you can, you know, see the person you can feel connected to the person you can, you know, ask them questions. And sure, you can ask AI questions as well. But at the end of the day, it's it's not developing a relationship. It's really information sharing. And so maybe in you know, 100 years when we get to full AI, and then there's like these meta humans and whatnot that can emulate these emotions, and you truly can't tell whether or not it's a robot or a human maybe then, but I don't know, I think there's enough movies out there that kind of proves that wrong as well. But yeah, that's my take as well, where the people need to trust someone they want to engage with someone, even if there's quicker information, better information, you know, more accuracy out there. We want to feel connected. It's it's innate to us. How can AI help us today? How are you using it today in your day to day and then I'll share about how I'm using it. But yeah, tell me about what you think it can augment.

Ben Wright  04:53

So I think realistically, I'll go back to that piece of like AI is very good at making mundane, repetitive time. asks easier is really like, I think the core thing or the core benefit of using AI. And so when I start to go through in my mind tasks as a partner manager, that were particularly onerous that I really think AI could could help out with, you go to things like, okay at the start of the partner program, where you're really trying to figure out who your ideal partner profile is, right. And I've tried this out using GPT. Four, which is like, obviously, the newer version. And it's, it's really, really good. And I'd advise everybody listen to this, to give it a go. You put in your company, you put in your competitors, you put in the segments that you play in, and your sales motion, and it will spit out the types of partners that are a good fit for you. And if you go a layer deeper, you can actually ask them, ask it to name name specific companies as well, right. So like, again, it doesn't give you the complete picture. But it gives you an awful good starting point to actually like, because if you're starting a partner program where like, it's, it's actually a pretty difficult task to really nail down who you're going to go after from a recruitment perspective. And so I think even having that as like a guiding light to say, hey, like, this is a blueprint of what you should be looking for, I think is a really good, a good starting point. Now, again, like you want to validate that with your marketing team and other internal stakeholders, so don't take it for Batum. But get it does a lot of the heavy lifting, in my opinion, that that often goes into kind of building out an idol partner profiles.

Will Taylor  06:28

Yeah. And I was just talking to someone just before this, where they're like, I'm starting to do more partnerships, what should I do first, and I said, build your ideal partner profile, and I quoted them have a, it should take you about one to two hours or so for the whole process to you know, build the categories to find them, you know, talk about the value points, then get some accounts. And if that gets boiled down into even 30 minutes, that is well worth the time, because then you could even do that over and over and get you know, more accounts in that list. And, you know, move on to the the other value ads of hey, generate messaging for me to reach out to, you know, this type of company to start a partnership. And so, yeah, for me, it's the content creation piece, of course, you know, doing more of the partner marketing type stuff at partner hacker. But it's immensely easier to even start partnerships in the way of, you know, let's say I wanted to reach someone who was on an influential podcast, but I don't want to listen to the podcast just because you know, I don't have the time, I want to be genuine in my approach, and, you know, reference this podcast, when I reach out to them. You can take the transcript or you know, the, the link with the transcript, put that in the chat, GBT. Ask them to summarize it. And then you can read through that as the main prompt that you then use to reach out to these people. And then of course, creating the content with your partners. If you take points or pieces of value that the partner brings, or even their existing content, you can use the tools, the AI tools to summarize or to incorporate the messages from that into the content that they can then spit out as well. So that I think is another piece that partner managers could use for both the outreach and also the content creation piece. And I'll leave that point with, if you're creating a social posts where you want to, you know, tag a potential partner to open the door, or to shout out an existing partner, then you could use that tactic. Hey, here's the blog post, or here's the success story from their, you know, customer story page of your partner's, summarize that posted on you know, LinkedIn, shout them out. And now you either have the door opened, or you're showing good on the partnership.

Ben Wright  08:51

Yeah, yeah. I mean, content creation is like, I think it was one of the early use cases for GPT. And I would kind of add to that by saying, like, if you're in any partnership team, nobody can say with a straight face that they have enough partner marketing resources, like it just it just doesn't exist, to be totally honest. And so you think about some of the typical things that they're doing, which is like, like a battle card, right? Creating a battle card to get out to a partner, you can use Chartbeat GPT. To do a lot of that creation, I would say, like, add you and your partner's Better Together story and then charge them at following this format, spit out like a good battle card that could be used for this partner. In addition to like, like you said, some of the joint blog post creation, like announcing the partnership and stuff like that. And so I would agree, like some of the onerous tasks that are typically done in partnership marketing, I think you can get a lot more efficient and scale yourself a lot more by using by using AI. So I think yeah, that's the content creation piece is a is a really, really good one, I would say. And then like, I don't know, just out I'd have that I think there's there's potential AI use cases in like partner behavior, I would say as well like, and that's using the head, the API and not just typing stuff into chat. GPT. Right. But like, there's definite plays here, where at the moment, a lot of partnership teams are making do with these manual dashboards that are inserted into like, a Salesforce and used to track like, How many times have you met with them in the last month? Like, do they attend regular cause. And I think you can start to plug in chat GPT to actually work through datasets and actually spit out like a score like a partner health score, right to say like, okay, based on these factors that I've ingested out of the CRM and and how you've interacted with this partner, that's how they how engaged they are as a partner, which then allows you to be a little bit more picky and choosey let's say, or double down on certain partners just based on like how engaged they are with you as a as a partner.

Will Taylor  10:57

Yeah, that is something that I would have loved to have, especially when I was working with over 100 agencies. One human cannot manage 100 relationships effectively, especially from a business standpoint, where you have to have calls and run programs with them. And so if we're able to use that health data, I personally would have like, benefited so greatly like the partner attrition rate would have been much lower if I had something like that. And I think that would even be good for customers as well, where it's like, Hey, you talk to this customer, this partner in this amount of time, I think the surfacing of that information through AI, and the prompting, and even the recommendation of, hey, here's some default text, you know, based on your previous interactions, your previous discussions, you know, the notes that were left or the transcriptions of those calls, I think that would be that would add so much efficiency. And again, it's it's not even replacing the person because it's already hard enough to manage the book of business that you probably have as a partner manager that will just guide you on instead of reaching out to partner a, you know, in three weeks, you should be reaching out to them now, versus eventually finding out three weeks later, oh, I, you know, I should take a look here, because I just remember, we didn't follow up on that thing, or we didn't do that project that we said we would. And that is I would say like, immensely valuable.

Ben Wright  12:31

I told somebody, yesterday, in fact, we were talking about partner newsletters, and we were just kind of swapping ideas on what makes a good partner newsletter. And she's a, she's a company called loyalty lion, where they just laid off like a couple of the agency partner managers, and now she's the only one left and she loves it. But she's got like 250 agencies now that she's trying to figure out like, how do I communicate at scale and effectively, which is tough. And to be honest, like a partner newsletter is wonderful. But as we were discussing, like, there's nuance to actually segmenting those 250 partners into here are my top partners that do a lot. We have different messaging and an ease layer, the middle section, they're doing some so different messaging, and then the bottom segment, which have done nothing. And so like, I was kind of saying that one partner newsletter probably isn't going to cut it really you need three flavors, which targets those segments as different messaging, right. And so, again, with AI makes that piece like really a lot easier to do. Let's say so. So yeah, I love it, I think. I think it allows you to scale your assets, which is really like critical 20 partner metrics, we all have so much to do, all the time.

Will Taylor  13:42

Yeah. And so if you were directly managing those partners today, what would be the number one thing that you would want AI to help you with? Would it be the content creation? Would it be the health score, what in your mind would be the most valuable in terms of helping out a partner manager?

Ben Wright  14:04

So I think like, my answer is probably not going to be like a third one. That'll be very dependent on the program, like the stage of the program, we're how many partners and how much resource because I think if we go to a partner program where there's one partner manager, no partner marketing resource, right? Well, then the content creation piece for me is massive, because I need to do the partner management in addition to the partner marketing piece. And so I think that for me, it would be would be priority. If I'm in a larger program, where perhaps there's like, we have got the partner marketing resource. And really, at this point, I'm just trying to optimize my management of partners and the health piece would be huge. And I think the health the health piece is huge for anybody because again, to your point is like, we have this massive book of partners. really all you're using to determine who's a good partner is like ARR plus gut instinct, I would say, right, it's like how much revenue they bring in In addition to how I feel about how much they care about us as a partner, like, are they making calls and only you really know that right? And so having something definitive that maybe takes into a number of factors and is constantly updated, right uses machine learning to constantly update, like an algorithm to see, okay, they haven't bought any revenue then. But they make every call. And we've also done like a lunch and learn and some other bits and pieces, which would indicate that, hey, they're actually trying, maybe there's some other pizza like, again, I think Mounce would be very dependent on where you're at as a program and a team. But yeah, again, like, large partner program, get more efficient through AI, small partner program, how can you scale your efforts today? I was what would be kind of how it possible up?

Will Taylor  15:41

Yeah. My broad answer is the one that you and I talked about before, where it's like, there's so much going on, whether you're one person or, you know, multiple people in a partner program, where you're either managing a lot of partners, or you're one person, and even though you're managing, you know, a handful of partners, there's still so much going on that you have to manage, I would love to be kept on task for the, you know, the transcription being recorded, and then summarized into, hey, here are the takeaways, here's your action item, you know, reminders set, and then you know, if it makes sense, having something like a, a post that is related to that, because again, calling out your partners, and those even those micro gives of shutting them out, add to the overall amount of gifts that you would have with them. And honestly, keeping them on track with a project, in my mind is another gift because everyone's so busy. And so those two things I in my opinion, would, it would help any partner manager, even if they're not posting content or creating content, because that kind of thing could then inform, you know, hey, partner, marketer, or hey, marketing team. We just had this really good conversation. And here's this information. And it's, it's a lot more real time versus me remembering Oh, yeah, I had that good conversation. What were the actual things that we talked about? Now, I'm going to tell my marketing team, and it's a lot less real time. And I think that real time aspect, I think is really important, especially when people are, you know, back to back zoom calls and all that.

Ben Wright  17:19

Yeah. And you know, you know, it's no good given me ideas, because I have too many ideas all the time. But that what you said there, as is taken a step further, like even outside of partnerships, I think, all businesses have this piece, which is like, I wish our employees posted more on LinkedIn, right? Like, I wish I wish they posted more. And the common piece around that is like one a little bit of fear, but secondarily, just creating the content to post. And so it's really interesting to think about service whereby, and if anybody's going to build this, please, you know, partner with numeral but I might go to who knows? Whereby, yeah, transcription service, it's the back of all your calls, end of the week summarizes it like these are some of the interesting conversations you've had this week. And then here is a week's worth of posts next week, right? Like, and so serves up, serves up all the content you need. And so there's and then maybe suppose LinkedIn or schedule piece right around it, where it's like, well, now you've got to do is just hit this button. And another content goes, and all it's been based on is conversations you've had, right. And so in a similar way, from a partnership perspective, how cool would it be if you wanted to build a brand and partnerships, where sprays is every call you've had with like your product team about an integration, your actual partners themselves that your partner marketing team pulls out, like kind of interesting moments, and then just gives you two weeks, like a week of causes probably actually going to give you like three weeks of content, not a week's worth of content, right? And so like, that's just a really interesting thing to mull on around like, personal brand, really getting your employees engaged and giving them content to post on we build their brands. And so, yeah, I really, I really liked the idea. I think that's a column blocker and organizations.

Will Taylor  18:56

Yeah. The other one that how can we not forget as we wrap things up, the tool that you made that you've been putting out into the community, sidekick, helping out people to find a job, not partnership specific, but helping to write, you know, the cover letters and, and all that. Tell us more about that, as of course, a small plug to help people out if they're searching.

Ben Wright  19:19

Yeah, psychics interesting. It's like a very slight side hustle, we kind of created it over, I think, a weekend. And it was mainly based on the fact of like, it was kind of crappy, like everybody was getting laid off and we're thinking, like Kovalev shouldn't exist. I think broadly speaking, right? Like, I don't think anybody thinks that a cover letter should exist. However, like a lot of roles still require you, or at least say like optional but actually they mean like, you probably should show that you care and submit one and so all our tool does is basically allows you to copy the job description of a role and then creates like a really great custom cover letter using the company information and the job that you're applying for. And it's currently we're up to like, I think 2500 us is profitable because we've got people that aren't job seekers who we give it to free for actually paying for the tool and so and so yeah, it's been a cool thing just to see like, how, how you can productize something to help people but ultimately, like actually, it's it's fairly popular because it's solving a pain point which is obviously huge with with any any type of tech. Right. So yeah, I'd encourage people to to learn more, I think ultimately is the final point, whether you're in partnerships, not in partnerships. Really dig into the power of what AI can do. I think it will unearth some really interesting thoughts around businesses you can create how you can be more efficient in your job role. All those kinds of kind of bits and pieces.

Will Taylor  20:39

Awesome. Well, AI, use it as much as you can. It's not going to take your job. Thank you so much for listening. If you have ideas about how you're using AI, send it to Ben and I I'm sure we'd love to hear about it and refine it. Thank you so much for listening to another episode of the How to partners podcast

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