Howdy Partners #36: Nearbound with Jason Yarborough

Jason Yarborough, Head of Partner Accounts at Reveal, joins Will and Tom to discuss nearbound - what it is and how you can use it to accelerate partnership programs.

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Tom Burgess  0:04  

Howdy partners, today we're going to talk about near bound, we're going to dig into like what nirvana is and how it can help accelerate partnership programs. But before we do wanted to hand it over to you just to introduce yourself, where you're working, and then really just dig into nearby link,

Jason Yarborough  0:19  

currently, I sort of serve as head of partner accounts at reveal, it's kind of a newly crowned position. Prior to reveal I was with a company called drift, where I was head of Global Partnerships, terminus, VP, partnerships, and PFL, where I was all things partnerships, a director of strategic alliances, I think was my title. But there I was running about 50 Plus partnerships, and so really, you know, got a chance to cut my teeth on, you know, accelerating partnerships and building the Nirvan motion out and kind of figuring it all out. And before that I came from, you know, a wide world of, of opportunities and careers. So I was working big in the agency world and learning how to build relationships with saps and Oracle's and stuff like that. So it kind of been around the game building relationships, and, you know, kind of building those purpose built relationships to produce and generate revenue, which kind of get into your points, like, where I believe, you know, near balance sits right near bound is really your ecosystem. So to say, your community, so, you know, PFL drove that was building out, you know, relationships and partnerships with ISVs s eyes, alliances, Salesforce Marketo, all the buzzwords of partnerships. And that became our ecosystem, which essentially, is your community. And if you think about it from a community aspect, it's those people that you're getting closest to, for the sake of, you know, driving some sort of, you know, return or revenue or ROI. But before it becomes that it has to start at the relationship perspective, right. And once you begin to do that you can leverage the power of your ecosystem in your community. And I think that is near bound when you can begin to leverage the power of that community and what it looks like to build revenue, and to build a proper funnel.

Will Taylor  2:09  

Yeah. And I think you've found your way into this role, for good reason, because you were already living through all of the like, near bound, fundamentals. And so first, tell us about the initiative that you had, I don't know when it started. But the the coffee chats, and how that has been not only part of the partnering and near bound ethos, but how it's actually resulted in, like hard opportunities. Tell us about, you know, kind of the origin story of that, and what the partnering result was from helping people out

Jason Yarborough  2:50

Yeah, it's been really fascinating and fun to launch, initially launched them back in 2020. When COVID, and locked down, everybody got sent home to work. I've been working from home and remote for the better part of my career since 2006. So work from home was a natural motion for me. And I knew a lot of people were struggling with it. So I started these coffee chats as a way to connect with people just say, hey, let's, let's have some conversations. Let's jump in what questions do you have about, you know, working remote, you people, a lot of people were getting laid off during COVID? How can I help you, you know, maybe find the next career get make an introduction, make a connection. And that's kind of the purpose of these coffee chats is to help and to serve in what I'm calling make the circle bigger, which we'll get to that in a second. So they went really well. So PFL, during during COVID, I was north of 30% of all new AR coming in. And a lot of that was stemming from these coffee chats. And these conversations that I was having, I was getting a chance to have these talks. But also at the same time, it became like a unexpected lead generation source and I was going to put these people in pipe have a conversation like go was PFL Oh, we kind of need that we could use that. And I was talking to partners, we were having these coffee conversations and odds and ends of people were jumping in. So they you know, ended up shutting those down, they get kind of busy, and then pick them back up during my last tenure of what I called Fun employment. So after I left drifts, I was like, You know what, what can I do to to help other people in this situation? You know, tech ribs and layoffs were very clear what's going on there. So again, how can I help? So I was like, let's let's spin these coffee chats back up. And do I did not expect what happened after I did I end up having to turn the link off? Because from me, I think it was March 24 to April 11. Every single slot that I had available so from nine to 12 in the mornings were booked solid. I did not expect that to happen. I took on the whole life of their own so I was no longer funemployed I was you know having these coffee conversations Xena and getting the chance to chat with people was a conversation as but by profession, I guess. And the weird and unique thing, again did not expect was I think 40% of all these calls, which there were 75 in total, I think, but did the math correctly, but probably didn't. But about 40% of those were people that I did not know, we're not connected to on LinkedIn, they just happened to find the post. And we're like, Oh, I see, I saw a friend comment on this or friend did this with you. And I wanted to chat and have a conversation, they got some value out of it. And so these people that I didn't know are jumping in. So the my wife and I were talking about this the other day, that what was happening was like, my circle was getting bigger as a result, like the near bound effect was taking place. People were commenting, and they were sharing the what I was doing, and the value that they were getting out of it, the trust factor, which is a huge piece of near bound was was being shared and spread, and these other people were jumping in and my circle began to get bigger. And what happens when your circle gets bigger, you have more value to add, you have you have a broader circle to, to kind of leverage the power of right. And so I was able to introduce more people to more people. But on top of that, knowing that I was starting the job with reveal, I was able to have that conversation because Jared and I already been deep in talks, and I knew it was going to happen. So I came in to reveal with, you know, essentially 17 demos to run, and conversations to launch once I got started. So like my ramp up here was like, Oh, hey, yeah, here's a list of all these target accounts that I need, or people that I've talked to that are now interested in hearing about revealed interest and hear more about near bound. So you know, as a result, this brand of conversations Coffee Chat, began to produce something actual out of it.

Will Taylor  6:49  

Yeah. And the notes, there are a couple things I want to pull out of that as like a summary is one helping created opportunities, like hard pipeline opportunities, not just for going into your next position, but the experience that you had that at PFL, like you said, it created pipeline opportunities, you know, meeting people that you didn't know. And so that is one of the, in my opinion, the most powerful things that you can pull from what Jason just talked about, which was when you help people, opportunities come your way. The second thing is, you mentioned expanding the circle and expanding like the the near bound effect. And I've had this thought to myself over the last, I don't know, five years or so on, how can I increase my luck surface area. And that's through meeting more people, because the more people you know, the more potential opportunities you'll come across, because you never know. And I think it's really interesting how, especially for you being in partnerships, and then helping partnerships, people. And not only, I imagine it was like a really good negotiation lever for saying, hey, I want to get into this role. And oh, by the way, if you don't hire me, you know, there's these opportunities that are, you know, I'm still going to help them but it's not going to be specific to you. And so I just love that so much, because it's one part, the partnering ethos and near bound. It's another part, this benefit to your career as well, that I think, you know, if there's any more junior people in their career, and I consider myself a bit more junior my career is like, that is a massive lesson that you need to take and implement because, like we just witnessed, it literally creates opportunities. And then situates you has such a, like, powerful position for consideration.

Jason Yarborough  8:44  

Absolutely. And you were asking a question before we got started around like branding and partnerships. And I think that's been a little bit of what I feel like I've done well, is early on at PFL I established kind of this brand. Right And with that, I began to build great relationships people that I'm still friends with that I partner with back then that I haven't partner with since still great friends with them. And you know, during this this time of, you know, fun employment, I was unfortunately impacted by the tech ribs when I was adrift. And you know for me I felt very fortunate in that I had a really great community had a very large circle. And once once I got word out that circle got to work right because you know when you have that circle that community when you invest time into providing value to that community in that circle, when it comes time guarantee you that circle is going to provide value to you when you need it in when you bring that circle with you have brought that circle with me to from from start to stop, stop and now it's here with me at reveal and that that has a huge impact and I feel very fortunate that my my my layoffs didn't didn't last very long at all. But you know, it's because I've intentionally build this community and and intentionally enlarge the circle.

Tom Burgess  10:03  

You can never, like devalue or like put a true value to intentionally building trust. And I think it's beyond what maybe a partner professional thinks of like, okay, you know, I'm, I'm getting to know new partners, or have existing partners and I feel like we have a good rapport, we have a good relationship. But it's, it's being able to stop worrying about overextend yourself to build trust. And I think about like, well, at our time at Vinyard, you know, I came from the digital agency side, I worked at HubSpot agency. So that translates really nice into working in a channel ecosystem where we're working with HubSpot partners. And on top of that, I've had the opportunity to like build out some net new stuff like launching a video production department on the agency side. And why that's important is like when I start talking to partners that are in the same ecosystem, or like, you know what we know the, we know the importance of video as a content medium, and we're thinking about going down this Well, now, you know, I have this pull, push and pull of well, I could push myself and overextend and build a lot more trust than they're expecting me to do, by helping to consult around what it takes to do that, versus like, the pull of is, is going outside of like my goals, my opportunities and all that to say, it's hard to find that balance. But I think it you're speaking to the leverage points of like, if you extend yourself beyond just your typical trust building exercises, it's going to provide value, it's going to pay off dividends. And I just want to kind of like were that setting

Jason Yarborough  11:34  

a kept this note on my desk for five years, the wind just blew it off, which is why I had to reach out and pick it up. But it's it's supposed to know this is value breach trust, trust, creates relationships and relationships, great ROI. Reason I keep that as like that that beginning lever to get in what you're talking about trust is that value. Anytime I've come into a new role, taking on a new role, a new program, my first client, my first thing I do is I talk to the partners, like what's an I ask them a few questions, what's right, what's wrong? What's missing? What's confused? What's what's going to make me your best partner? Where can I invest time and energy to becoming your best partner, and nine times out of 10, it's about being a resource. And what does the resource require requires you giving them value. And if you truly listen, and you provide the value that they're looking for, out of the partnership and relationship, they're going to, they're going to trust you, then you've got the relationship, and then a bit can can begin, you know, making those big ask,

Tom Burgess  12:27  

in your experience of the near bound ethos, what have been some of the challenges, I guess, more of the common challenges that you face? I mean, I'll tell you like, it can be exhausting, right? If you're extending trust, like from a personal level, it might be you know, you're feeling kind of the anxiety, stress, but just overall, what do you see as some of the challenges that people need to be aware of, as they start to think about nearby? And as a tactic?

Jason Yarborough  12:51  

That's it? That's a good question. I mean, it can go kind of both ways, you've got your your internal challenges of getting the troop buy in from nearby town, I don't, I haven't had a stop yet, where there hasn't been some sort of internal challenge and a buy in hopefully, we're going to depart a technology company, now I'm going to face less resistance on that side of things. But, you know, previous, you know, rolls, it's, it's always been an enablement issue around kind of getting the near bound, buy in and support, you know, typically you're looking at a good if you're don't have that level of buy in from the field team, you're looking at a good, we'll call it eight to 12 months. To the point like anywhere I've been, my kind of guiding monitor has been to be fully and natively incorporated into the field team's daily activities. So that I can get that for by and right. Next externally on the outside is about, you know, the call to give and get right or some partners are going to try to get more out of you than they're giving, sometimes you could be the go to one of the trying to get more than you're giving. And so trying to just trying to find a good healthy balance within those partnerships and relationships and in your near bounce strategy can become, you know, a little bit of a an obstacle and a hurdle to overcome. And then how do you begin to prioritize and operationalize the work that you're doing within your in your balance, because at some point, like, it's, it's, it's cool, it's fun to have, you know, lots of partners and lots of good relationships. But at some point in the game, you got to come to the table with a real strategy, and you got to be able to operationalize that and you got to be able to effectively build strategy around it and take it to market

Tom Burgess  14:27  

for people that that want to give this, uh, go. What are what are those tactical kind of recommendations like, what are the one or two things that you would say like, what do they need to focus on? Like, I think we talked about community and stuff like that. I'm not great at community. I'm horrible at LinkedIn. And that's okay. But what do you think are the most important pieces for our audience to take away from an advice standpoint?

Jason Yarborough  14:53  

I think there's, this is kind of all coming from my experience. There's a few things you need to get really good at. Right? I think one of those is that that community building aspect of it, right, because the other day where you're trying to build a community, and sort of within that, had he become kind of a thought leader in that community. Right, we've, we'll use our, our friend will here is an example we've all watched, we're going to rise up in the community of partnerships, and now become a trusted adviser, a thought leader is everywhere you look, you know, and it's kind of what I think part of what it takes right now to kind of gather the attention and to make the circles bigger from an urban perspective, in order to build solid strong partnerships. Right people want to be people want to be attached, those that have a great brand, that have great thought leadership, great opportunities to be to be elevated to be promoted and shared. The other things you want to get really good at is enablement. Back to the challenges piece of it, I would say 10 times out of 10, the challenges you're going to face all can be solved and are gonna be, they're gonna revolve and can be solved via good enablement. Internally, you gotta, you gotta be able to create strong enablement, you got to be able to tell the story really well, externally with your partners, you got to be able to understand what it takes to build that path of value. And a lot of that is going to be listening to your partners understand what they want. So get really good at enablement and kind of the storytelling and the narrative of your JVP they're in. And the third piece of it is I think you get really industry tied into the first one is that getting really good at marketing? I think most partner people come in are typically pretty good at the sales aspect of it, they understand, you know, driving revenue, and stuff like that, I think we're some of the missing pieces really come in as like, you know, how do you how do you how do you go faster? How do you go further faster, right, and a lot of that's going to be built on what you can do from a marketing perspective. Right? When I was at Drift I was brought in to kind of build and run the tech partner program. And having partners involved in any sort of CO marketing opportunity or offer that we call it, it was kind of an afterthought of for partners. But by the time I left it was every partner had to have every marketing offer had to have a partner attached to it. So now the goal is like 75% of what they're doing is all partner partner lead from a marketing standpoint. And that wouldn't have happened if I didn't come in. I was focused first and foremost on how to get marketing more involved in our partnerships.

Tom Burgess  17:37  

Well, Jason, thank you guys so much, and we will catch you all next time on howdy partners. Appreciate it. Yes.

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