Friends With Benefits #12: Leading with Empathy With Charles Crnoevich

Charles Crnoevich, SVP of Business Development and Partnerships at Bombora, joins the show to discuss his career in partnerships. From conversations with customers to starting with empathy, Charles shares his perspective based on 9 years at Bombora.

Charles, Sam, and Yarby dive into OEM resale relationships, the importance of community, and understanding how to execute proper partner motions. Charles emphasizes the importance of using a community to build partnerships. He also stresses the need to experiment when building a partnership program.

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  • The importance of empathy in partnerships. 7:41
  • How much of his time as a sales director came from sales? 12:02
  • How important is it to have a partner sales team? 18:31
  • The key to building healthy partner relationships. 24:18
  • Treat this like a community instead of a sales channel. 30:02
  • The importance of proving value to your customers. 34:56
  • Leading by example and vulnerability. 40:19
  • The difference between advocating for partners on a strategic vs. strategic level. 45:57


Jason Yarborough 0:09
do welcome to the Friends with Benefits podcast, a business podcast about revenue generating partnerships, not a podcast about business time with friends. We're your co hosting couple. I'm Jason.

Sam Yarborough 0:23
And I'm Sam. Welcome to the show friends.

Jason Yarborough 0:25
Welcome back to the episode friends. We are we are in this we are what is I don't know what episode we're at. We're at the point of the podcast where I've lost count of how many to ordered 12 That's about as high as I can get. That's higher math, whatever they call it. So welcome back. This is awesome. We've got some some fun plan today. A guest. I mean, you know who it is because you've probably seen the title already. But I'm thrilled to have with this man who doesn't do a lot of these interviews. I feel like we're getting a man of some mystery.

Speaker 2 0:55
No, nobody asked me man. Geez, what's wrong with me?

Jason Yarborough 0:59
The dark man of partnerships. We've got with us today. The N two everyone's intent. A hawk. See what we've got the one and only trust corner vich, SVP, partnerships and bizdev. But Bombora Welcome to the show my dude.

Speaker 2 1:17
Thanks for having me. Yeah, that s is new this year. So you know, I've got a big ego now. So you'll have to go this style. Ooh, well, I know it's like this this thing still me? Yeah.

Sam Yarborough 1:31
You just set up a separate email address for satis isn't it?

Unknown Speaker 1:34
Exactly. It started like chronic edge.

Jason Yarborough 1:38
While those virtual assistants that you pay for out of your own pocket is actually a bad idea. It's so so we go back aways Chuck. We were actually just talking for the show that one year ago today. You were actually here in Montana. And you and I were playing a big sky golf course together.

Speaker 2 1:54
We were working very hard that day. Jason. We didn't play any golf. No,

Jason Yarborough 1:59
no, we were playing golf working hard on the course. Lots of wheels discussed. Now you were looking for all your golf balls. And I was trying to get you to you know, do a deal with me or something. I don't know. It's actually the other way around. We do it to be honest. Yeah. We got damn close. Outside of Yeah. Anyway, moving on. So Chuck, I know a lot about you guys. You know, we've been around together for a while. I know that you're you're about to get married. I know that you're a big golfer which is evident and by the gloves you've strategically placed in your background here. But tell us a bit about yourself, man, tell us tell the listeners who the real trust content is.

Speaker 2 2:38
Yeah, now first pleasure be here. Thanks so much for inviting me. I I really do love this podcast. I am one of those people that pretends to listen to a lot of podcasts. But I actually do listen to this one. So thanks for putting this on and doing such a great job. Yeah, me Charles Donovan loves long walks on the beach golf clubs. That peloton has been written like three times so

Jason Yarborough 3:02
yeah, I just got it a day ago.

Speaker 2 3:04
The show has actually been up on Borah almost nine years now started as starting sales when we were a super super small company where I was one salesperson started to work in partnerships probably four or five years ago I haven't looked back since now said that I defined myself by Golf peloton in my career but I guess that's the intro

Sam Yarborough 3:30
and long walks on the beach and long or long walks to clean juice either one

go for it.

Jason Yarborough 3:44
Well inside inside joke here when Chuck was staying here in Bozeman, which is where Sam and I live. Chuck you you tell the story. Go for it.

Speaker 2 3:54
Well, I live in New York and you walk everywhere in New York Manhattan's you know, a pretty small place and I'm always on a yet healthy kick even though I'm not that healthy. So I was like, You know what, no, wake up. Go get a green juice. I google Where's a juice place? So I guess it looked like a mile two miles away. I didn't really think about it. And I ended up walking across like a highway. Like five different subdivisions. I finally get there. I'd use I tried to walk back and even with Google Maps, Apple Maps Waze, I got lost and I'd call an Uber to take me back to my hotel so yeah, you take me out in New York I'm pretty lost. I guess.

Sam Yarborough 4:32
The moral of the story is Bozeman is not as walkable as Manhattan. So

Jason Yarborough 4:37
right only only the only the trails are walkable.

Speaker 2 4:40
Well, when I got on the plane of Bozeman, I, this is going to share my only coastal knowledge of the United States but I'm like, Alright, go to my Chesapeake. Right? Like it's probably you know, just a little northwest of Chicago and I get on the flight and I'm like, Oh, God, this is this is a five hour flight. I'm not sure I prep for this, but that was a great trip.

Jason Yarborough 5:00
Yeah, flying across the country, though, it's always surprising how long it takes to get here.

Speaker 2 5:05
Yeah, now. Wow, I appreciate the shout out. But my upcoming wedding I just got back from Vegas for my bachelor party last weekend. And it was a short flight getting there and a very long depressing flight back. So there's always a lot more fun.

Jason Yarborough 5:19
A minute that that Vegas regret is a is a thing for a lot of people. But we what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, we will keep that off air.

Speaker 2 5:28
I came home on time and in good physical health. So I call it a win. There, you're

Sam Yarborough 5:34
nothing else matters.

Jason Yarborough 5:35
You know, yeah, we'll get we'll get into the heart of the matter with the people that are here for.

Sam Yarborough 5:40
So you kind of mentioned this. You've been at Bombora for nine years, you said? And you've moved into the executive seat? What has been the secret to your longevity at Bombora? And in this partner role?

Speaker 2 5:55
Rob Ribery clearly No, I think it's honestly, I think there's a lot of people out there that are they're super smart. And I think it comes down to people just put the market and you know, grind every day, any job sales, partnerships, marketing, whatever it is, there's, there's gonna be highs, there's gonna be lows, you're gonna get frustrated, just keep going. You know, I sound like a self help book. But I guess just not not get too high, not get too low. And just unfortunate that I work at a company that appreciates what I do. I've always loved the people here, we've had a lot of people here for a very long time, I was one of the first employees that wasn't at the company, when they spun out another organization blanking on the word, but a small number of people spun out of another company called Madison logic. And I was one of the first external people that came over. And almost everybody from that spin out, is still here, and a lot of people that started to so you know, we set up a good team of people that trust each other, and everybody makes mistakes all the time. So just be honest, own up to it. And you did better at redact,

Jason Yarborough 7:12
being there that long, and being on the first end, you've clearly had a opportunity to meet everybody that comes to the company, how have those relationships played? I guess, to your advantage over time, and what you've been building?

Speaker 2 7:29
Yeah, I mean, being at a company for a long time, I think helps you in a lot of ways. It's, I pretty much done every job at Bombora. I mentioned that I started in sales, but there was no partnerships, hardly any marketing. So like, very liberal, like customer operations stuff. So you've been little things that are probably siloed and arguments. Now I've done them all. So it helps to kind of just know how to do something and also know what people are going through. If you ask them to do something where it's their job now, and then, you know, just having a personal relationship, kind of like I was talking about before, it helps if there's ever a tense moment or you're dealing with something and you know, a will with friends at the end of the day, we we've been there for each other. So relationships will go especially, especially when you're in a difficult situation, kind of like partnerships.

Sam Yarborough 8:21
I love what you just said there, I was literally just on a call before this was somebody who's kind of looking to get into partnerships, and they were talking about like, what kind of background do I need? And you know, what, what should my resume look like? And I love what you just said about having, you didn't use this word, but I'm gonna put it in your mouth empathy for all different departments within the organization. Because we've talked about this, in order to be successful at partnerships, you have to be able to provide value across the organization. And I think one thing that you have to your benefit is you've been in each of those organizations. So you know, what the day to day looks like, you can see how to add value. And that's awesome that you have that experience.

Speaker 2 9:05
Yeah, and I know you guys have had so I will some long longevity. It started upstairs. I know, you're right there with me. It's yeah, the guy, especially during COVID, where, you know, it became one people were hiring a lot, too. Obviously, we didn't see each other very much. So there's a lot of new people and like a lot of people will just become, you know, icons on Slack or like some kind of sending a JIRA tickets and replies back. It's good. Just try to take a step back and put yourself in someone's shoes, like dumb things like when you played a request, get them all the information they need. So they can do the request. Well, like, yeah, just common decency, eyeball it, but empathy is probably more wanting 20 word.

Jason Yarborough 9:47
I would imagine that, you know, while a lot of programs have the quintessential problem of getting buy in and establishing trust or in the partner programs like being there If you can lead the program been there for a while, that trust is kind of already pre established for everyone that starts because you know, you're one of the first you're one of the few you're running the program and people will come in they they see Chuck at the helm. And for whatever reason, you know, they've got trust in Chuck.

Speaker 2 10:19
Yeah. You know, it helps like it helps the credibility, obviously. But you know, there's still a Yeah, justify yourself almost every day. I'm sure you guys feel this way too. Like, knowing your numbers down. I've made the mistake of listening to stalkers podcast earlier this morning with you guys. And I was like, Man, this guy is so good. All of his answers are either better, or something I hadn't thought about. But he brought one thing about just like, having your numbers down colds. And I'm like, yeah, if you do that, it can justify what you're doing in a data driven way, that also buys you some credibility to say, hey, this one's a bit of a projection. This one's a little bit of a roulette ship that could pay off. But, you know, the track record of performance does help you like, people have some confidence when you come with LM is something that's maybe a little bit more out of box. And also, just if you're opening it, like, hey, this one might be a shot in the dark. So tell me. I mean, do you guys run into that do where? Maybe I'm the only ones dealing with that?

Sam Yarborough 11:28
No, I had a big one of those this year. Yeah. And it didn't work out? No.

Speaker 2 11:34
They rarely do. But I'm waiting for that big one. You got to you know, it's a whether they call it a it's a risk by birds,

Jason Yarborough 11:42
the whales?

Speaker 2 11:45
Yeah, I mean, you use what's the Wayne Gretzky, Michael? Michael Scott, quote, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take as long as the outside of taking that shot, miss, like, isn't that bad?

Sam Yarborough 11:55

Jason Yarborough 11:56
Yeah, as long as you're okay with it. I feel like a lot of that, that risk. And that willingness to risk comes from your time as, like sales director, like, how much of of that role like would you manage at sales were you able to bring into establishing this partner program?

Speaker 2 12:14
Yeah, it was some in my partner program is probably a little different than like the classic partner program, like somebody's not in the business and just thinks of partnerships, they probably think of, you know, referral programs and alliances like with our channel program, it's, you know, partners, selling our data or embedding their data into their offering to hopefully make their product stronger and higher performing. So even when I was in sales, we didn't really, we knew we had a good product for partnerships as a data company data, or it's really well in software. So I wouldn't say I lead some partner deals there. But I watched our co founder, Mike Bergen, who's our SVP revenue, still my boss. He did some partnerships and out there just because it was just me and him for the beginning of it. And yeah, I guess the experience, you're still you're still trying to sell people like, our data can help your product perform better help you sell more deals, and then often you're training their sales team, their CS team, and it's kind of, you know, here's talk tracks. Here's the vision, you want to pitch to your end customers. So it's, it's still a very salesy job in my mind.

Jason Yarborough 13:29
Yeah, no doubt, especially in those kinds of OEM resell relationships. So, going back to the Sales Director thing, and I've, I've seen Burton on the thing is departed podcast. Yeah. You know, so was it was, it started this? I feel like that's a theme here. Was who who started the program? Was it you em together? Like, how'd you end up in the partner seat?

Speaker 2 13:56
Ah, I'll give it. I'll give it to Mike. I'll be honest, when I first started up on board, is my first time and really sales tech martec at Tech. So the first six months I was like, Man, I don't know what he's talking about, especially when it got to the advertising piece. So I was like, how does that ad get on my computer? So my, it's in my was definitely running this.

Jason Yarborough 14:20
What's the cloud?

Speaker 2 14:22
Yet? Exactly? Yeah, I was lucky that we were small and we've always been self funded. So there isn't the pressure that comes with like, Thomas landing right away, gotta produce. So we started small and slow, and I just got to learn a ton. So Mike definitely started also Eric Malik, our CEO, he's always been a very, you know, partner centric person, which is also helpful for my longevity here. And then we another colleague called Dale Jarrett, who came on probably four or five years ago. That's also a BP partnership senior that works really closely with me on some different types of partners. trips. So I learned a ton from him. And then, you know, he's kind of got to do it a couple of times and feel uncomfortable and be like, this makes sense to me. But I might be an idiot doesn't make sense to you. And then you realize, like, No, I know what I'm talking about. People think I people think I have good ideas. So it's kind of a combination is good. And you can surprise yourself nups The combination of like osmosis, and then just yucks trying it.

Sam Yarborough 15:26
And also, I love what you said there about having the ability to like, admit you're wrong. Yeah, that's a big thing, too. And change course, if needed.

Unknown Speaker 15:36
So, again, sorry. Oh, go

Sam Yarborough 15:38
ahead. No, no, go ahead.

Speaker 2 15:39
No, I was just thinking of like, back in our early early all hands meetings with plenty of us. I think I think it was my or it said, we're gonna be around a lot. And that's okay. And I was like, alright, that's cool. This fog is we want we're honest about it. And again, it's not so Rocky, but it's super detrimental. Like, especially in the early stages, you do have to try some stuff and figure out who you are. And we're still trying to all of us, I'm sure.

Sam Yarborough 16:05
Yeah. And having the transparency like you just said before, to be like, hey, this might not work. But I'm going to try it and saying that from the get go is going to set you up for everybody to be on the same page at least. So it's not a big surprise at the end of the day.

Speaker 2 16:19
Oh, my bar. Yeah. Yeah. Well,

Sam Yarborough 16:24
um, okay, so you've been in the partner role for four or five years now? Is that correct? Ish.

Speaker 2 16:31
Think so. Feels feels longer than that. But that sounds right.

Sam Yarborough 16:35
I think we all feel that way.

Jason Yarborough 16:38
All the time. But it adds like a point five to sass time, which is already like two or three years in advance. So it's like two and a half times that of normal time. I

Sam Yarborough 16:47
agree with that completely

Unknown Speaker 16:49
made it to another Christmas, let's go.

Sam Yarborough 16:52
So that being said, four or five times in the partner, or four or five years in the partner role can a lot can change. In your time here, how has the company's perspective or strategy changed in terms of partner?

Speaker 2 17:07
You know, it's a, it's a good question. I'm gonna chips was always important to us, because we always, you know, not just me, but like I mentioned, my colleague, Dale, fierce other partnerships around some of our audience solutions products are more ad tech products, and it drove a lot of revenue for us always, we kind of thought of it as our VC money. Because, you know, we had these great partner program where we could drive a ton of revenue without a lot of internal people having to manage it, which met a great kind of like, cost of customer acquisition for us. But Partnerships has become more important. We see the sales and marketing landscape the technology growing the market, getting more sophisticated, more types of customers, they give new ways to use data and software to dry really high performing sales and marketing programs. And our data is watched enough to be like a big part of some of the stories in that space. So what we've seen is in a, we can cast a wider shadow in bed like our just our internal organization can do on its own if we build strong mutually beneficial partnerships within a type suppliers. So partnerships only gets more important for us as the market evolves.

Jason Yarborough 18:31
And I feel based off what I know that is exceptionally true for Bombora and that a thorough recall your new role has you going to manage in some of the cells org and BD org like it's now exceeding that of just the partner team gret

Speaker 2 18:49
Yeah, you know, we we will for you need go to market where we kind of like through our OEM partnerships, we often distribute some of our data in a limited capacity it's basically here's a good deliverable of intent data, you might need more if intent is a big part of your strategy and we above built the team to call it our partner lead Sales Team pls where their job is really working closely with the partners closely with their end customers to help them one you know get the most value out of the attend data that they can gap through our partners and then see if it makes sense to use more doesn't make sense for everybody but we've seen that you know, a lot of our market or a lot of the market has the interest in growing over time. So yeah, there's a sales org under me a account management or hardware support arguer enablement. A lot of that a lot of one on ones these days. All what a jar either is I got

Jason Yarborough 19:56
those those days are over with a grown up out of those days. I felt like that just kind of like signifies how important partnerships are to Bombora. Alright, to build that level of team under you, it's no longer just about having, you know, a partner account manager, who's just kind of being a glorified BDR. But you're running a full blown like, partner sales org, and you put time in. And I think that comes with that longevity in what you've done in your time with Bombora, the trust you've built and established and, you know, the ability to fail and learn from it. So like, I love the fact that Eric and team have placed that level of value on your partner team.

Speaker 2 20:39
feel like there's a bug coming here ERP, no one says this many nice things about me before before the hammer drops, but Well, you got a man?

Jason Yarborough 20:46
Well, listen, listen, I've I've actually, I've have had the opportunity and pleasure for me to partner with you in the past, for quite a while, right, we had a really, really strong partnership by during my time at Terminus, and you kind of, you know, you feel the value there. And so should you feel like we may have been one of your top partners, or at least that was treated as such, right, you know, at least. So, yeah, that's what the Christmas gift, I got the box of chocolates or something on. You know, and with that, you know, you kind of feel as a partner, like you feel that level of value coming from you guys. And that can only come from the top down. Right, that has to start with Eric does start with you start with, you know, the team that's influencing, you know, the greater partner team. There's no, but there's just the fact that I think you guys are doing a good program. Now, I'm

Speaker 2 21:38
pretty sure and so I never good to do a thing guy like capital. So yeah. If you're if people feel that.

Jason Yarborough 21:47
So to that point, like I said, I've been a partner and work with you for a long time now, like we back when I was at PFL. Thank you. And I started working together, maybe around 2018 2019. So, and I feel like Bombora has a lot of those longtime partners. Right? If we're kind of getting back to the core of what this podcast is about relationships, let's talk a bit about long term relationships. Right? It seems you and your team grow. And more so you retain your partners, and you're able to grow those partners, more than most that I know that are out there. Right? What would you believe is the key to maintaining those long term relationships with your partners?

Speaker 2 22:32
Yeah, not definitely. Jason, it's waiting, waiting to see what happens after this podcast dropped. But now it's, it's true,

Jason Yarborough 22:39
like the power of editing man.

Speaker 2 22:43
It's corny, but I just like such a honesty. I guess at the end of the day, like I'm probably my personal life got better, I had to go back then that you kind of know what people want you to say. And sometimes it's just easy to tell them what they want to hear. But that stuff out, I not no one's perfect. But just try to be upfront and honest as humanly possible. Especially, you know, in our space, we do partner with a fair amount of companies that compete with each other to some degree. So there's a lot of tough conversations that come with a partnership job, not just mine. But you buddy, and I think people respect you, if it's not the answer, they want to hear, like, tell them the truth, then this isn't all the time you're telling people bad news, but find that those tough times are when you really establish some credibility and trust. And I'm not sure a lot of people see it that way. But that's the time and I'm like, this is this broad, most important time to just have an open book and be honest with people. But other than that, you mentioned, or maybe I did, too, but just not make it me, you know, have other people other execs understand the value of our partnerships have their own relationships with the CEOs or other members of our leadership team. So that's not just you know, this funnel of information are in sheperson on one side, partnership versus near side, and then trying to make sure that each other's executive teams understand the potential or the value here. So I guess that answer is just not to your jobs slack off and let the CEOs talk to each other every once in a while. But it's true. You know, it can't be can't be just siloed with you, because you'll get to that eventually.

Unknown Speaker 24:24
Yeah, I think that's

Sam Yarborough 24:26
great. I one thing I think that's not a lot of thing that a lot, not a lot of people talk about that. And you know, we say it all the time, like don't don't partner alone, because a it's not going to work. But another huge facet of partnerships is facilitating other relationships to happen and doing that with executives across the board. Jay, I don't think anybody has talked about that on our podcast yet. So there's a first Oh, yeah. But I think it's huge. I mean, that's a that's a huge thing. So aside from that, So you've talked about a little bit how your partner program is really based on OEM reseller relationships, primarily. Aside from honesty, what is the key to building these healthy relationships? And, you know, making sure that your customers keep coming back to you and your partners keep coming back to you?

Speaker 2 25:23
I mean, it's a great question. I think one, products got to be strong, good outlet, I believe we have a good product. I'll be honest, when I first started working here, and we built our first the first year last year, we actually didn't have our product now called surge data. So I was working with kind of a team to help build that. And first couple times you This is selling directly to customers not so partners, but you're selling this data product yourself spreadsheets, like like every data company when they start. And I remember when the big gap and I probably shouldn't say or they weren't, but they were testing it through like, Hey, we're gonna run an email campaign, do the emails at companies, you said we're showing intent? Do they perform better than these other ones? And I was like, are we selling vaporware? Here is not again, I can't do this. And every time I start, have any crisis of faith, the data just works. So that's great. But I have faith in the product. We have an amazing product team that's always trying to make it better so and partners validate that too. So when I guess it's a good product. Two would be you mentioned a Jay said You're being too kind, but probably just like the level of willingness to help. We have a great team under me, that's kind of like partner enablement, partner development partners, or, and we kind of go out of our way to make sure that we set up Slack channels with our sales teams, partners, yes, teams, just and we're not we're not bugging them. I think some people might worry, like, you're gonna spam people. But it's really just kind of an open forum or like, if you have any question big or small, there's going to be some big Lunch and Learn training, but we want to be in the trenches with you to try to help you guys win and that deal with the losses if we weren't part of that last two. So it's probably something that maybe doesn't make it up to like the executive level, but you have just the commitment to put our effort into it, too. So it's not just here's the data, right. So Jack at the sell some? That goes a long way, I think.

Sam Yarborough 27:26
Okay, I have a quick question on this, because I bet you everybody on this, who's listening has set up joint Slack channels, with partners. And then it's just like crickets. Yeah.

Speaker 2 27:38
Think back. Oh, guy. This one? I bet you off.

Sam Yarborough 27:42
No, I mean, what's your like? So do you continually? How do you make sure that it's not spamming, but it's still an active, productive conversation?

Speaker 2 27:52
Yeah. And like, I've seen those two, for sure I count of the comes down to like the work you've done with the other side to like, really say, is this partnership worth it? Is it meaningful to both sides and added to where you go with a call. And there's really not that I would say there's not much there. But there's no like driving force. But sure anybody could be like a referral partner. And any point in time, let's have a Slack channel for salespeople. But there's not that much commitment on either side. It's kind of a half hearted thing, just knowing that some people are mutual customers, if you don't put the kind of like work in to train and establish a value prop across a whole partnership. That's where you get crickets or there'll be this random person reaching out to one of your like strategic CSM to be like, Hey, I see your account. This is a customer of yours, like, what can you do to get me in there? I'm like, No, it's not really earned. You know, there's just a lot of good point, a lot of groundwork best to happen before those kinds of relationship work. In my mind. I didn't say um, you seems like you've built a really good program around that. And like I, I still struggle, like our channel business is equally strong, but some of those like referral relationships, co selling relationships. Those are always those are always a struggle. I don't know. I'll flip the switch. Like, have you seen those? Those kind of like crickets, Slack channels actually become unproductive?

Sam Yarborough 29:20
Yeah, I mean, I think you said it, you have to earn the trust. And it's not just like, Okay, now we have a Slack channel with 400 people business is gonna flow. It's like, No, unfortunately, if anybody has figured that out, please call us. It's taking those conversations one off and like building them individually. And then when you do have a win, or you do have a great relationship that has, you know, landed a whale or a big expansion account, then you go into that slack channel and you make that person seem like a frickin hero. And you start to like, build excitement and you know, relationships that way. It's not one to the masses, it's one to many.

Jason Yarborough 30:02
Oh, I'll add on top of that, as well as like when I started back in a drift, or drift in six inside a massive shared Slack channel, and it was just, who knows this person who knows that person, there's really no real engagement. So now reach out to our partner marketing manager, shout out to Nick Sol. And I was like, Nick, let's, let's take some of these channels that have, you know, a lot of people and we've got huge potential, and begin to treat this like a community. Right, let's begin to treat this, like, it's not just a sales channel, but more of a community, you know, to Sam's point highlighting some wins, right, let's, let's share some content that we're, you know, maybe we're talking about each other, or that is relevant to the relationship or relevant to the industry. Let's share some events and stuff like that, and how do we get conversation moving and flowing, you know, amongst each other, or maybe some of the leaders that are in there, that's not just, hey, I need an intro here. And he's there, right, which is great. But, you know, again, when you begin to build a relationship, you begin to earn that trust. And you know, you can't have Russia without the trust. And, you know, that comes by building, you know, the community and the engagement.

Sam Yarborough 31:18
And doing the groundwork, like you said,

Speaker 2 31:20
Yeah, it's like, I think it's a good sign. But like, it can't be a one sided partnership, because then no one cares. Like, there's got to be something that both sides and yep, doing the work, like you're already saying, even if it's just like, not dollars yet, but it's like, let's make our mutual customers super successful. And let's make a case study about that. kind of elevate that. That's the kind of ground I think it takes a lot of time to like, get to a bigger better place.

Jason Yarborough 31:49
Yeah, that's, that's the value that that we talked about as well, on this podcast quite a bit. That speaking of the one sided two sided relationship up, when it kind of took a little, little turn here, a little bit of a bend in the road. You're so you. Exactly, yeah. Little Game of Thrones reference, which is kind of relevant to this next question. Peter Dinklage, for those that know. You're kind of like the Cyrano de Bergerac of sass. If I may. Right.

Sam Yarborough 32:25
Okay. Okay. Stop. Who is that?

Speaker 2 32:29
I only know that reference. I knew was like a play back in the day. But there's like a movie The guy like a huge nose. Am I think of the right guy? All right. Yes. Okay. There we go. Um, culture? New Jersey?

Jason Yarborough 32:40
Yes. Correct. Back in. Way back in the day, I think. I think Steve Martin plates.

Sam Yarborough 32:47
Are you making a comment on Chuck's nose?

Jason Yarborough 32:50
Wow, no, no, may get a GM as well, just to delve into a different place.

Unknown Speaker 32:55
That's fired on a Friday. Geez.

Sam Yarborough 32:57
I don't know what this person is.

Jason Yarborough 33:00
So he was I think believers, it was a play from the early 1800s. Perhaps I have to look up the date, but I don't really know. But Cyrano de Bergerac basically believes that he's in a jog. This is not a long run, go with this. But this is the context in the back story of Senator Burr Jack, he believes that he's kind of unlovable, right? Right. He's kind of got this big nose and just thinks that guy, you know, nobody's gonna like me, nobody's gonna want to talk to me. I can't follow up with a woman. So I'm just gonna stay at, you know, in the background. So because to help kind of his rival I think his name was Christian, to talk to women.

Speaker 2 33:35
He's like, how to fall in love is yeah, that's going back. Yeah,

Jason Yarborough 33:38
gotcha. He's in the bushes like whispering to a Christian of like, how to talk to Roxanne. And really Cyrano de Bergerac he's in love with with Roxanne but so as Christian, his rival, right, so he's telling Christian how to talk to this woman. So we're getting at with this coming full circle, you guys, at what I what I like about what you provide to your partners is is the data, right? You're essentially supplying data to your partners and their customers that allows them to have these relevant conversations. Right? And these, these these conversations about how to how to get their customers to fall in love with the base of the knowledge that you have of these good prospects, right? Have you, you know, being kind of, you know, somewhat of the frontman for Bombora have seen you do some webinars and stuff like found yourself in scenarios where you're working with partners or their customers on how to actually use that intent data in a relevant way. For example, like how to build an effective sales relationship using the intent data.

Speaker 2 34:48
It Yeah, I'm taken out of that. That analogy got there at the end, but I'm

Sam Yarborough 34:53
gonna say your marketing team feel free to use that. Yeah, like your bushes. So

Speaker 2 35:01
now, it's especially when you were lucky, you've gotten this point now where like our data and our brand as a as recognition, but especially in the early going, especially if you're working with salespeople, the most skeptical people on the planet, myself being one of them. Yeah, you got to prove it to them, you got to show them it works, often partners will use it themselves. And I think that goes back to the level of depth of support and guidance we provide to kind of teach them step by step, here's how it works. And then they're putting their reputation on wine when talking to their customer and selling them, this is a great thing for you. So you're giving them that competency showing them case studies, you know, you just kind of being involved and let them know, it's gonna be okay, to some degree, I think goes a long way. And then the proofs in the pudding if the customer comes back and is super happy with I think, Sam, what you were saying earlier about getting wins. Yep, shouting them from the rooftops, people can be skeptical, but then when they see something work, then you know, it does flip and like, Oh, if they can do it, I can do it too. If this gift for my customers then have to find something new to sell them. So yeah, it's, it's especially in the early days, it's still now even it's, you know, a lot of proven value before something becomes big for either side.

Jason Yarborough 36:28
Yeah, and it gets that too is a whole lot of like, talking in the bushes, if I may, to your, your partners and resellers on how they can spin these stories up to their customers using this data because like, you've got the, the relevance that they that they need, right? In any relationship, you got to want to, you know, these days, you can do some research, aka some stalking to find out you know, more about this person you're dating or you're courting or going after or your prospects, right, and you guys are helping really expedite relationships. And I kind of love that play from from an intense standpoint.

Speaker 2 37:04
Yeah, now it's it's, it's funny, where we started where I got laughed out a lot of meetings early on at Bombora. Like if this data was real, and now there's, you know, Forrester Wave about it. Like it's recognized as a real thing and a real category. So it's cool to say that it's been good. I give you a lot of the grad Jason from from all the pitch Bombora better than I do actually.

Jason Yarborough 37:30
Had a lot of experience back when I was at Terminus, we did a lot with you guys.

Sam Yarborough 37:34
That's because you are in the bushes, Chuck. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 37:36
that's it. I was feeding Jason line. I'm like it could be

Jason Yarborough 37:42
Chuck. Chuck's always been a malicious man, and you get your friends with benefits, man. It's exactly how I envisioned this podcast going.

Sam Yarborough 37:50
I want to go back to your comment of being laughed out of meetings. I mean, yeah, data is always changing, always moving. It is a little elusive out there. So going back to 2017 2017. What? Going back to yourself in 2017? What would you do differently? Knowing what you know now?

Speaker 2 38:14
You know, it's great question, probably, I mentioned a little bit before, but just be better at tough conversations. Like, it's like anything, it's like even asking your first sale, like asking for money and getting inside, it's like really uncomfortable the first couple times. And then when you do it enough times, you're like, oh, people want to buy these things, or they want to at least like have the opportunity to or some of the partnership stuff where sometimes you'll just say something that you know, will get you out of a conversation not that's like our Ira thing, but you don't address things head on. I think that's something I've learned to do a lot better over the years. Just confidence to that comes with doing things for a while where you're like, yeah, maybe I shouldn't say this, because it's stupid. And my favorite thing will be to start something where I actually I'm not sure if it's a stupid comment, I'll be like, Guys, feel free to ridicule me if this is super dumb, but have you ever thought about this, and just, I feel like being vulnerable sometimes when you might think it's a good idea, but you're not sure is often also something where I try not to leave, trying to leave in the tank, or at least, you know, maybe you're onto something really cool. So those are probably some of the things I've got better as

Jason Yarborough 39:30
how much of that ability to really be vulnerable in those team meetings comes from the the culture of, you know, not being afraid to take risk and failing.

Speaker 2 39:41
It's it's up there I mean, you know, it's so as far as things where you want to like, again, to Mike's point, you want to have a good foundation, even if you don't being vulnerable to get there. I think if you're just one of those people that's up low art and like says things like the loudest voice in the room and just says it with confidence, like, just last month people in this industry they're gonna see through us. So if you're not sure, you know, say you're not sure, but you know, you get this, it only takes one great idea sometimes. So if you have to go through 50, crummy ones to get there on smelly all the matters.

Jason Yarborough 40:19
You do you find yourself leading that charge? And in these meetings of like being vulnerable? And if so does that kind of

Unknown Speaker 40:26
I usually I'm the first guy meetings. Yeah.

Jason Yarborough 40:31
And I feel like I'm the first to get texted after you cried in those meetings.

Speaker 2 40:34
Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of now, I mean, I think me, I think we have a good culture of Bumble, especially with people that know each other a long time. And that just like that relationship over time also really helps because you don't have to put on any kind of fraud or anything like that, like, even then they know you. So I'd say it's just kind of a needle with new people. Like, I think after you work with a lot people or companies a while you realize like you go isn't a big thing at our company. So and again, love them wrong isn't the worst thing in the world. So I would say I'm leading charge by them. Definitely. One of the people that that find value in just be honesty, but owner ability?

Sam Yarborough 41:17
Well, you've been there for you know, since you said you were one of the early people, and that's that's a culture that takes commitment. And like, you can't just like stay. We're okay with failing. And we're a vulnerable company that you have to like, show up every day and prove that day in and day out. So how do you like, within your own team? How do you lead by example? How do you help people handle internal conflict? Like, what are the actual like, day to day actions on that?

Speaker 2 41:49
Yeah, I'm probably making a sound like we're at we're was just super vulnerable and messing up all the time. Like, we do have some good, so I'll put that out there early you do? I think it's a good question. I think it's like, I've never not a Bombora. But I've seen job situations at other companies where my boss would give me something that they have no idea how to do or just didn't want to do. And I, I would rather buy it, you're giving somebody some some work, like what know why it's important. And often, like do it with them. The first however many times just to show them like, Hey, this is how it can be done. And especially if there are things that are difficult or nuanced, you know, show them you that you're not you don't want to do some nice job for them forever. But I think taking the time to do it with them, the first several times just shows them like, oh, it can be done. This is how it's done. You know, the way he does it, I could do it slightly different. But they're not no one's putting me in the situation. That's impossible. So I think just, again, going back to empathy, putting yourself in someone else's shoes and shower. Mm hmm. It's going to be okay.

Jason Yarborough 43:06
So, back to the vulnerability thing. How do you are you find yourself, helping your team, right holding your team's hands, or coaching to vulnerability to allow them to feel safe enough to take those risks? Ask those seemingly, quote unquote, dumb questions and being that person on your team that's been beside you. I mean,

Speaker 2 43:31
probably just leaving, right. Like, there's a lot of things where we have initiatives and strategic initiatives where yeah, we're confident, we are very confident they're the right ideas, seeing them or and I think also, if there's ones that aren't quite at that level, just, again, be honest with them, like, what do you think about this? Don't force it down their throat? Ask them, give them your opinion, see if they think there's validity to it. And then yeah, just constantly measuring and I guess, being able to admit that you're wrong. I think that's the thing like no one to cut bait on some things that aren't the right idea that's just not in this quagmire forever. Yeah. And I think that just shows people that it's okay to bring up ideas and sometimes you'll have to, not so much on my team because they're, they're pretty honest with me, they know they can give me the real but you know, those meetings where it's just dead quiet, at the end of it sometimes just gotta be like, guys, is this silence? You're telling me that this is a really stupid idea? If so, let's talk about it because sometimes it's up to us just to be super upfront.

Jason Yarborough 44:40
Yeah, I've worked with you and Anya long enough to know that you kind of you know, you mentioned earlier like honesty and being brutally honest and straightforward. Like I feel like you're that's genuine to who you are. Right. I think that's what makes you know, the team, the program your build, you know, successful and like it requires, even at that Your level now and Bumble are like that honesty and openness to talk to the team and have those conversations like he got to bring that into the conversations right, then an honesty is, is really only an extension of being willing to be vulnerable, in my opinion.

Speaker 2 45:17
I agree, man, honesty, hard work. And you know, all the dumb ideas don't make it cost the cutting room floor, if you like, get feedback from your teams, you know, exact members, like, you know, that's probably the art they do. Like, I have a lot of ideas, but maybe don't trial, you know, especially if you're the only person that thinks it's a good idea. Like, don't shove it down people's throats. You got you only got so many let chips. So while we share them. Yeah, exactly. I'm like, I think this is a dumb idea. But I can't sell my TI ERP, maybe? Nothing? Yeah, how would you share it if it's a good idea company in

Jason Yarborough 45:55
has so good.

Sam Yarborough 45:57
So you just kind of mentioned that you have an S in front of your name, which is awesome. So you're on the exec team. And that's fantastic. What? And I sit in this chair, too. So I'm curious to hear your thoughts, like the difference between advocating for partners at that level versus more of a strategic level? How have you seen that change in your role? What are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 2 46:22
You know, I'd love to hear your answer it for me, it's, it doesn't change that much. To be honest with you, I, I've always had a good relationship with all the execs. So it's felt like I had that kind of voice for yes, this crucial, crucial letter, but probably just have to, honestly, like answer a lot of questions for myself, that may be my boss would be answering for me. But definitely, just learning, I think probably one of the biggest things people learn in business is just how to say applying concisely, which I'm sometimes not, probably haven't been great on this podcast about so just, you know, trying to drill down to the most crucial part of it, you know, the things that really matter and not going to too much of the, the dating MMA or whatever. So I think that's probably something that always needs to work at. But what do you think, Sam?

Sam Yarborough 47:23
Yeah, I couldn't agree more with what you just said, about being concise. And that's something I'm working on my team is working on. But I mean, PFL, there's 300 employees. So it's, it's much bigger than I came in, you know, I don't even know 270, I was not one of the first. So move, being able to move into the exec team was really helpful for me, because it gave me a much larger picture of the organization at large and you know, being actual peers, with the CMO, the CRO, the CTO, understanding what's going on, I can insert myself a lot easier when they don't see a need for partners, it's a lot easier for me to just say, I can help there, or we're struggling with pipeline. Alright, let's get all our partners involved. So it's not so much like pay attention to me, it's like we're very aligned. And that's really helpful, just to be helpful to see how partners can really influence across the org rather than just fight to insert ourselves.

Speaker 2 48:28
Now I make sense. I think it's a very long the podcast before and I think it's a common thing for a lot of people in partnerships to say like, if the execs don't get it, or the CEO or the CRO doesn't get it like, yeah, you're not in good shape, because some of the metrics are outside of like the channel revenue, which is great for me because it's just like, here's, here's the revenue. Here's what it is. We I also track more alcohol it just you know, what a stereotypical Arden metrics, partner source deals, partner influence deals like it's it's more than pertinent influence is such a, it actually is a real valuable stat. But it's one of those I feel bad for my marketing colleagues sometimes because marketing influence marketing touch, but there's always some level if you don't have the right executive team most and is that really real? Like was that really mean? So?

Jason Yarborough 49:22
I've been I've been I've been told to the squishy before in previous roles.

Speaker 2 49:26
It's a good word. Yeah, it's, I think, I think it was Elliot that told me this one time, Smith from sixth sense. And he was saying, like, you know, if you get alignment from the right people at your company, you can just be like, yeah, it's a little squishy, like, in some parts, but like, if we agree on the criteria of what this really means, sure, sometimes maybe it's a little less important. Sometimes it's super crucial. And you just felt, you know, the aggregate of the system you've designed like speaks for itself, and you're doing it in a volume where you're like Yeah, sure there's some small sample size on either side of the spectrum. But you know, that we agreed to this definition. So, yeah, hopefully you see, ya

Jason Yarborough 50:09
know, it's it's helping advance pipeline and find some velocity to it then like, there's no argument there that's kind of have won the argument over time. That previous roles.

Speaker 2 50:19
Yeah. Little heads, have the metrics ready. And I think it's probably that honesty thing again, if you start to get the sense of someone being like, this is super squishy. Like, let's talk about it. Let's, if it is, yeah, no point to let me know.

Jason Yarborough 50:35
Well, yeah, go back. One of the things you said about the exec team, like, and we'll close with this is like, I love what you said, like being able to answer the questions for yourself. Right? And the question that you normally ask your boss, you know, if you bring if you're able to answer the questions for yourself, you're answering the questions of like, is this revenue source or influence valuable? Is it showing the right value? Am I pointing my team in the right direction, bringing partners along the right time and doing all these proper motions with partners that actually provide value to the company and you're able to say, you know, adequately answer that and say, Yeah, we're doing the right job. This is what's going to matter when I get to the table with with the rest of the exec team then yeah, you know, instead of just kind of trying to guess or you know, bring it to the team to see if this is what's working for them. So like dads are let's let's let's bring it home. We like to end the Friends of benefits podcast as you probably know, with a little fun little unique question to the to the world of partnerships more closer aligned to you the person Charles corner which the golfer Charles Kona vich boat let's say you're going out for your dream day on the course you've put together the ideal foursome who is like it could be anybody who's your ideal for some that you're gonna play golf with that are not partners.

Speaker 2 52:02
I'll man's as a really good one. We're gonna have to edit this podcast so I can think for 10 minutes. I'm gonna go with Tiger Woods. Tiger would be great.

Unknown Speaker 52:17
Comfortable would go with Eric

Speaker 2 52:18
judge. I love Aaron. Smile. Go Jeff Bezos share Jeff's made a couple of buddies that he paid for the round.

Jason Yarborough 52:28
Yeah, fair. Absolutely. That's a that's a strong

Speaker 2 52:31
we need it. We need one rich guy actually three sponsor. Yeah.

Jason Yarborough 52:36
That's that's a strong force, man. I like it. Some big big hitters all around. So excellent.

Speaker 2 52:42
That's true marriage really judge it on so I can be the lawn driver. Yeah.

Jason Yarborough 52:46
I've seen Chuck drive. It is, you know is impressive. Gotta got a big driver. So nice work. Chuck Charles. Mr. Coronavirus. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. This has been a blast and I look forward to do it again next July 28. Because that's obviously our day.

Speaker 2 53:03
It clearly has now. Thank you guys. Thanks for Thanks for having me on. Thanks for doing this. I look forward to listen the next couple guests.

Sam Yarborough 53:10
We appreciate you immensely. We'll talk soon. Thanks, friends. We'll see you next time.

Jason Yarborough 53:16
See ya

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