What is up PartnerUp!?
PartnerHacker’s biggest partner in 2022 was none other than PartnerStack. We co-created some incredible experiences like EcosystemWeek.com all the way to the groundbreaking PLXsummit.com.
So it only made sense to unpack the market sh*tshow of 2022 and our top trends for 2023 with Tyler Calder, the CMO of PartnerStack. He’s not only a great partner, but one of our favorite interlocutors.
In 2023 there are no long-term time horizons for results. And yet, don’t we always say “play long term games with long term people?” How the heck do we reconcile the dichotomy we’re all faced with? Tyler’s advice: throw out the playbooks.
In our first recording of 2023, we unpack the thinking and practices that will help you help others reach their promised land and create daily progress to your goals.
Oh, and we dropped PartnerKickoff.com for the first time ever. Just because you don’t have a playbook doesn’t mean we can’t have some guidance, support, principles, and inspiration going into 2023! Join us for this half-day supercharged event.
3 Key Takeaways
Huge thank you to Eric Sangerma for sharing his takeaways from the episode on LinkedIn!
- Throw your playbook away!
The past year has proven that sticking to the same plan and strategy doesn't always work. In 2023, the key to success will be the ability to move quickly and adapt.
- Trust is built by helping people reach their desired outcome, or "promised land."
Vendors or partners who have consistently invested in and helped a company reach a better place are more likely to be trusted. Struggles will be plentiful in 2023, but the good thing is that trust is built through shared struggle.
- Adapt or Perish
The market has changed dramatically and the playbook for success from the past decade is no longer applicable.
Instead of building a new playbook, focus on navigating without certainty and becoming comfortable with that uncertainty.
Build new skill sets rather than repeating the same strategies that may have worked in the past.
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Jared Fuller 0:00
All right, all right. What is up partner up? We're back first official episode that we're recording in 2023. Isaac, that first week, I feel like a lot of us were the first week of January was like, oof. Are we really back in it and holidays are over. Like, we got to come to terms with this new world that we live in. I feel like now, second week of January, we're like, Alright, let's go. Have your year wrap up.
Isaac Morehouse 0:36
I was a little more sluggish getting into the year than I usually am. Usually, it's like Jan one, I hit the ground running. I'm ready. It took me a couple of days kind of getting over sickness. I just wasn't mentally ready. Now. We're here. We made it through that first week, got my head on straight. We're here. And we're going to talk about 2023. And Jared, if this goes anything, like our meetings that we have with today's guest, you and I will talk 90% of the time. And
Jared Fuller 1:08
oh my gosh, well, I'm repping. I'm repping the purple right now. So call back to all of my YouTube comments. For the dozens of you out there. I know there's 1000s of you that listen on the pod version. But for the dozens of you on YouTube, I'm repping all purple today. So I got the purple background, I got the purple hoodie, because I felt that what would be most important to kick off 2023 was to bring on our number one partner for 2022. And that's partner stack. So we've got the partner stack purple on the house Tyler color, CMO at partner stack. How're you doing Tyler?
Tyler Calder 1:39
I am great, guys. Thanks for having me. You know, it's quite a podcast when you'd like somebody who says very little. It's gonna be it's gonna be fun. Thanks for the shout out Isaac.
Jared Fuller 1:50
Tyler has all the all the great ideas is just Isaac and I can't stop geeking out on them once he prods us and says, Hey, I got an idea for this. And we were like, oh, yeah, let's let's go do this.
Isaac Morehouse 1:59
It's like we start going and going in. Tyler sort of sits there and the grin starts to grow on his face. And I know and then we finally stop. And he just lands like a zinger. He puts in some really great insight or some hilarious joke, or he kind of takes what took me five minutes to say and summarizes it in 20 seconds. So I always feel like, boy, I really wasted a lot of words compared to Tyler, he's so efficient with his communication. That's what I was trying to say Tyler the efficiency.
Tyler Calder 2:25
I appreciate that. That's very kind, thank you.
Jared Fuller 2:28
I have a very low whatever that ratio is of like, relevance or intelligence per word, that pro rata distributed amount. I feel like I'm on the low end. And Tyler's on the high end. That's really what we're trying to say your efficiency on word count per insight is much, much better than mine. We never
Isaac Morehouse 2:49
Sorry, I just realized that my ecosystem with T shirt on didn't even know that. Oh, there you go. There you go. Yeah. Yeah. So
Jared Fuller 2:55
for, for the OGs. And for the newbies partner stalking us. I mean, they've we've partnered on stuff since day one. So we partnered on the launch of partner hacker.com where we seeded the market with kind of the first dedicated site to the era of partner ecosystems partner stack was a big part of that. Got our first marketplace up. Then we did ecosystems
Isaac Morehouse 3:16
convinced us to do ecosystem week, we didn't want to do events he convinced us to. And thank you, Tyler, because we realized that was a really good idea. It was a really great event. And then you were one of the marquee partners for pls summit as well.
Tyler Calder 3:32
Yeah, it was a great year.
Jared Fuller 3:33
I loved it. Beautiful partnership got minted in the midst of the worst economic climate of our of our lifetime. It's like what what worked for all of us in 2022 was partnering and living in market together, right? Like, what I really loved about some of the stuff that we did, and had been doing, which we'll also talk about today, kind of like 22 what we learned and then really 23 trends is like, we create we co created stuff and what I mean is there wasn't some existing brand existed branded thing. Right? So ecosystem week, that's co created, right? Tyler's idea. And then it's like we brought it to life. We brought a bunch of speakers, we probably didn't we drove What 1500 people to that in like no time, but that was co created content, co created experience co created event. And then we, you know, tripled down almost literally and did the pls summit together and his partner led everything we brought these departments together. And all of that was co created as well. And I think that's just such a bellwether for things to come. And I'm seeing it more and more everywhere in even my consumer life. So,
Isaac Morehouse 4:39
Isaac, Tyler, I want to ask you something before we move on to 2023 So you're here. Yes, I want you to talk. So me and Jared don't talk the whole time. You're right. You know, you're selling to you're working with a lot of partnerships people and you're a marketing guy. So in both of those areas, in the world of marketing and in the world of partnerships. I want to know what did not work well in 2022, huh? That's like were there things? Were there things that kind of used to it used to be able to get some juice? And then you couldn't do anymore?
Tyler Calder 5:09
Yeah. Yeah, that's a good, that's a banger to start out with, I think I'm going to start with something that probably sounds incredibly obvious as I do. That's usually my move. Let's start with the obvious, I think what you absolutely found was doing the same thing and digging in on the same thing obviously didn't work. Right. And really where I'm going with that is planning, right, your plans didn't work? Whatever your plans were at the beginning of the year, they didn't work. Right. And so, you know, the companies that started to, I won't even say Excel, you know, I think everybody's struggled. Right. It's hard to point to any one company that I think crushed it, especially in the back half of last year. But those that, you know, built a strong foundation to come out of this thing stronger. You know, they, they just moved quickly, right? They they moved into this, this motion of testing, experimentation, throwing the plan out the window, you know, the the year long plan became a weekly plan. It's like, okay, what are we trying this year? Where are we seeing traction? Let's lean into it. So, you know, what are examples of that? It's very independent on the company, but we saw, you know, some of our customers who, you know, would be hyper, hyper, hyper focused on a very specific partner ICP, and that's who they always went after, all of a sudden, they threw that out the door, and they said, you know, what, like, let's cast a wide net. Let's see, if we're missing out on opportunities for new types of partners. Let's figure it out. Let's go get let's go get them. And then the flip side, we saw people who always had that, like, let's cast a wide net, see what comes they started to get hyper hyper focus. So really, it was the folks that just said, you know, what we're going to dig in, we believe in our plan, we're gonna see it through. They suffered, right, you had to, you had to say, you know, what? Different? It's different world. So let's, let's just start moving. Let's just start testing and experimenting. And certainly true on the marketing side, right? Like for us, we went solo a lot in 2020 2021. And 2022, the big change was, let's not go solo anymore. Right? Like, let's, let's work with you guys. Let's work with other folks. Let's work with our customers, let's work with other partners. Like everything that I can point to as a huge success for us on the marketing side in terms of building pipeline closing revenue. We did it with somebody else. Right? We partnered up on it. Certainly a few exceptions to that right. Not to get too nitty gritty, but you know, some of our paid media strategies that we pivot into work really, really well for us, those were obviously solo. But when you think of our big content pieces, if you think of big events, like we we partnered up. And that was our big change, right? And we saw traction, we leaned into it, and kept rolling, and 2023 is gonna look the same.
Isaac Morehouse 8:14
Everywhere. Everywhere I saw partner stack it was you telling stories about new integrations, new partners, customers, whether it was your stacked conference, or whether it was content pieces? It was like, yeah, it was just really interesting. I noticed that that really stuck out to me, like I don't see, I'm not coming across partner stack stuff. That's just hey, we're partner stack was talking about partner stack, it was always highlighting featuring somebody else, a customer or a partner or an influencer in the space.
Tyler Calder 8:44
Yeah, I mean, are we allowed to swear on this? Can we swear on this podcast that allow for it?
Jared Fuller 8:51
Unfortunately, my wife, my wife calls that out.
Tyler Calder 8:53
I mean, nobody gives a shit, what partner stack has to say, as a software vendor, right? No matter how hard we try, we're always going to have an intrinsic bias, and we want you to buy our stuff. And that's never gonna go away. But there's not a ton of value in that for for the world for our community. And so, you know, Jared, your piece that you wrote about, you know, kind of the promised land. You know, I think that that's what we're trying to align to, right. Like, it's not about us, it's like, hey, let's show the folks that are doing this. Well, let's kind of peel back the facade of LinkedIn influencers. Hate to call them that. But I think there's a lot of people espousing tips, tricks, advice, and they've never really been there. They've never really done it. And so we want to look at our customers or partners that who have you know, they've done it, they've done it, maybe quietly. And let's shine a light on a little bit. Let's, let's show the path that they've taken.
Jared Fuller 10:01
That's, I'm so happy. You said that Tyler made me smile a lot, because I haven't done a lot with that, that I don't know, I haven't gotten would you call it a follow on to trust as the new data. But it was just a rant that I went on, I was like, I feel like focusing so much on this topic that has that old Einstein quote, I think you if you can't explain something, explained something simply, you don't understand it well enough, right? And trying to get to the bottom of partnering and why it's so vital and critical and how to do it. There's something clicked for me there that I think is a big macro for 2023 that I think we could all use. So maybe it's an appropriate time to just expand on this a little bit with you, too, is trust comes from helping people reach their promised land. And what does that mean? What it means to me, Tyler, is if you have a vendor, that you've spent more money with quarter over quarter year over year, or you have a partner, a service partner, like an agency, a creative or whatever it security, outsource financials, whatever it is, if they've been spending money with you quarter over quarter year over year, have they not gotten you to a better place than when you started? Right. So the people that are around you, that you're doing business with are partners, right, like people in your life is that you you're inherently to a better place than when you than where you were. And that's where trust is built. It's built in that process. Isaac, you talk about this a lot in like the shared struggle. And maybe that's worth unpacking a little bit. It's like, what's going to happen in 2023, it's the people that work together that have a shared struggle to some degree, right, that are going to form tighter bonds that last the hard stuff and 23 and 24. I'd love to expand on that a little bit in terms of like, maybe a macro that we can dive into the micro.
Isaac Morehouse 12:01
Yeah, I love that. You know, and by the way, what do we call it? What did you ask? How does that relate to trust, this new data will use like jazz terminology, like variation on a theme. There you go, you're just a little, a little riff on the same musical theme. But But I love that you kind of started bringing that up started using that language, the path to the promised land or help people get to their promised land and from like a very high level. That's what I love about business in general, about commerce in general, is that you only can get to your promised land by helping others get to theirs, right? Like, I'm not going to get any value from you, unless I create value for you. That's the basic proposition of any voluntary transaction. So taking that and saying, Okay, I gotta help you get to your promised land. Well, what is your promised land? And who are you most likely to believe can get you there. And you've made this point. So Well, Jared, if you're in sales, or marketing or success, and the promised land that you're trying to get somebody to, you've never been there yourself, and you've not been in their shoes, it doesn't mean that you can't do that job. It just means you better go find you better go partner with someone who has been there. So if you're selling to CIOs, and you've never been a CIO, before, you better go find somebody who has find somebody who's been there that you can partner with, to help tell that story to help tell your customers how to get to that promised land, someone that has trust and credibility. And it sounds so simple. But I just think that's such a powerful reminder. Like you, you don't have to be the genius. But you do have to find a way to find the genius to tease the genius out of the right person and to connect it to that potential customer. So I love that. And by the way, I'm throwing a plug in here, I don't care what you say, Jared, you're not going to stop me. partner ecosystem kickoff, which is the first event of 2023. And we're doing it in partnership with partner stack. Guess what the subtitle of that event is? Path to the promised land. That's it. That's what we're talking about. Absolutely. It's the kickoff event
Jared Fuller 14:09
that, you know, I wish I would have had as a VP of partnerships, where, you know, everyone's gonna go to kickoff or is at kickoff right now listening to this, and they're gonna hear you know, 3030 30 right. 30% product, 30%, marketing, 30% sales 10%, you know, GNA, right. And partnerships is like they might get a hand raise or a slide thrown in here there. And it's like, what was what was in that for me? And so we're putting together a five hour event with Tyler partner stack, the whole crew and a great ecosystem of people to put together five hours of just jam packed. Hey, here's the kickoff event that we should have had to help you as the partner leader reach that promised land. I'm super excited about it. Be releasing some cool templates there and getting really tactical on 23 stuff. So good. Good timing. Good plug. I'll take it as it
Tyler Calder 14:55
is. That is a good plug. It's a great plug. I think Can I can I Can I say something? So, agreed with everything you just said fully. But I think it's interesting. Like whenever, you know, it sounds great. Sounds lovely. I like the word delightful. sounds delightful. But if I think about it, if I try to challenge it hasn't always been true. And I think what you just said this idea of helping other people get to their promised land in order for you to get to yours. That hasn't always been true, right. Like you could very easily take, take take, you could steamroll, like there was so much opportunity. Like there was an abundance of opportunity in the market, like you burn bridges. Like who gets shit, like, there'll be more. And you see that right, like you see that personality in like the business SPF of just steamroll. I don't think that I that that's not going to work anymore. Right, especially in the market, we're in now, I guess you're not going to get away with it. And so I think the the harder thing is to give more than you take. But it's going to become increasingly necessary to balance that and think about how you are helping others get to their end state to their promised land. If you expect to have any element of success over the next couple of years. Like I think that's a huge shift that's worth calling out. Because I've worked with people that got away with it, right? Like they never gave anything, it was all take take take. And you know, they're doing fine. Or at least they were I think that's a huge change that we're gonna see.
Isaac Morehouse 16:42
So I have a question for both of you guys. Because if you know, you're listening to this special your partnerships person. And we're talking all about, hey, play long term games with long term people, Jared talks about all the time, build trust, give to others, these are all these are all investments that given the long enough time horizon, I have 100% confidence that they pay off more than taking a more short term approach. It's the high hanging fruit strategy, right? Like everybody's competing over the low hanging fruit that's kind of low quality, build a ladder, and you can reach the high hanging fruit that's higher quality, and it's, you know, a more sustainable harvest whatever. The problem is, we don't necessarily have that time horizon, like so if you're a partnerships person, and your management's coming to you and saying, all right, I don't even know if we need partnerships department, what did you do last year, prove to me that you are influencing revenue, like, you got to prove to me in quarter one, you got to get me some numbers, you gotta get me some data, you got to you got to turn something up the pressure to go get that low hanging fruit, and to just take whatever's there. If you're not given a long enough time horizon to prove that you're going to hit that curve, after you've invested some upfront, you know, trust building, what do you do if you're in that scenario,
Jared Fuller 18:01
I gotta hop in right away, because there's, I want to challenge you right back. And this has been the biggest problem that I feel in my chord have so much conviction about what the partnerships profession is that we're trying to figure out how to hit our numbers that hit the business numbers. And then we use language like give, versus take, which I almost think is is almost kind of wrong, like what can I give these other people to help my business? No, invert that it's helped first. So go help. What are you supposed to do? You need to go help product team, figure out what is an imperative for the product org. And then you need to go figure out what is the imperative for the marketing work and help there Right. So for example, there's not going to be any one in 2023, any products that are launching a new feature that's just filling the demand gen, like the pipe side, that's just not going to happen. It's not like budgets are bigger, they're contracted. So you have to derive more value from your current customers, help them lean into integrations, have the conviction to say this is now a priority, on the marketing side, have the conviction to go in and help co create content, not just, you know, like, Hey, here's some marketing, you know, some leads we can get from another partner. That's not the way it's going to work. So if trust comes from helping other people reach their promised land, then your job is a partner person inside of your company where you don't have that track record. Well, it's because you haven't helped them reach their promised land you it is a hard pill to swallow. What I'm saying is in 2023, if you're just trying to figure out the partner mandate, sure. You might, you might be able to figure something out. That seems like a strategy that doesn't get you fired, but you're not going to make it through 2024 period. Told, I've been telling all startups I'm a big believer. I mean, Elon said this Jamal said this a bunch of people that started to say this, you need to have enough cash on hand to make it to q1 2025 period. Okay, Well, the question is, do you want to make it to q1 2025? Or do you want to make it to q1? 2024? Like, you're not going to make it past 2023? If your mindset is on hitting q1 Number, period, full stop, guess what? You're not hitting Q one's number. Like you're not no one is Salesforce even said, we're not releasing a forecast for next year, guess what? The plan that you just cut budget, you just cut the budget, and you said, we're reducing the forecast, we're reducing the revenue, you're not even hitting that plan. Promise you're not vast majority companies are gonna miss their adjusted plan. So why would we go into that mindset of like, well, now that it's harder, we need to do worse? No, your job is a partner person lean in and go help all the other departments and risk your career on it. That's my opinion, is that I believe so much that you need to be the person that's helping every department get to their promised land by what? The exact same thing is the extension of that by helping your customers get to their promised land. So there's my rant on it, Tyler.
Tyler Calder 21:08
Agreed, I think agreed. I think I agreed. Here's, here's where my head goes, my head goes, if you think of a hierarchy of needs, let's just start there. Everybody is concerned for themselves right now. Like their their initial like shelter? Can I can I pay for food? Can I pay for my mortgage? I don't know what it's like in the US. But everybody in Canada is like, oh, shit, my house, my rates just went up. Like, I don't even know if I can afford my mortgage. Right? And so human behavior, people are going to be driven to think about what the hell do I do to point to myself to say I had this impact. I'm indispensable. I got to stay. And so where I agree is I think you need to do both, right? You need to figure out how are you showing impact and q1? I agree, even hitting your adjusted target is going to be tough for everybody. But showing that you're doing something that has very tangible results, I think that's what your CFO wants to see. And then I think you also need to show how are you helping everybody else? Right, if you are taking a company first approach, to me, that's that if you're working at the right company, that is how you become indispensable long term, is you show how you're having impact across the work, not just in your specific silo. But in q1, I do think people are gonna have to show something, right, like, there's still going to be rounds of layoffs that are going to come. You need to fight the instinct to only focus on yourself. Only hit your number. But I do think it's part of the equation.
Isaac Morehouse 22:53
Yeah, it's funny, you mentioned the both of you mentioned helping others. And I, when there's a struggle to quantify, then I think rather than trying to have debates and get overly creative about how you can bullshit your way through quantifying your role, look at the quality, you know, the qualitative stuff. So if, if proving the influence you had, you know, every partner person is going to say, I've influenced all this revenue. And, you know, everybody who's skeptical is going to say, well, we can't prove that, like, what if, what if that all just would have come in anyway? Maybe we didn't even need to do it. All right. And rather than getting stuck in the weeds, trying to debate which dollars you had influence over and how, and that may be necessary, but there's a qualitative side to it. Because if, you know, let's say you're gonna get, you're gonna get eliminated, your role is gonna get eliminated. Would the heads of marketing or sales or product or success, would they say, Yeah, whatever, I don't care doesn't change my life? Or would they say, oh, hold up, do not get rid of that partnerships person? They make our life so much easier. They've helped us so no, we're in the middle of doing this thing with them. They're, you know, they're helping us cosell, they're helping us co market, they're bringing in insights from our integration partners. With those people go to bat for you, just in a qualitative sense. It's almost like it's almost like a test you can run in your head, if my job was gonna get eliminated, who would stand up and say, don't get rid of them? Because they make my life easier? And if the answer is no one, you're probably on thin ice. Right? So regardless of how much you quantitatively prove it, qualitatively, are you making are you making everybody else's lives easier, such that they desperately want to keep you around? Yeah,
Tyler Calder 24:35
I agree with that, I think, you know, sitting in the marketing seat, and this isn't unique to me. I've definitely heard that somewhere that I've borrowed. What the question of what is marketing's job? Like what always stuck with me is this notion that my job in marketing has always been to make the jobs of sales and CS As easy as possible, right? And if I do that, I'm fairly safe, right? Because Isaac to your point, like, they're gonna go back go to bat for me, they're gonna say like, like, let's keep investing into marketing. Like they're having an outsized impact, they're empathetic to our needs to get it. And I think that's certainly true for partnerships, right? When we look at our customers, the partner leaders that have just seen their careers like absolutely skyrocket over the past couple of years. I mean, that's what they're on the hunt for. They're on the hunt for how do we help other people in the org? How do we help them hit their number? How do we become indispensable in that sense? I want to and quick, quick, quick
Jared Fuller 25:43
comment, I think that's what makes helping partners exponentially easier. So for example, if you're just out there giving to the partner, like, Hey, let's go do this webinar, and I'll help organize and you're the partner person shouldering all that way. Your marketing teams not really involved because I saw this happen, I've done this, where it's like, we're doing these little partner webinars, it wasn't really integrated with marketing, nothing happens. But then you go help marketing, you build that partnership there, then marketing is also helping with that, right? Like, the the point is, is like, you put your in the airplane, they say, put your mask on first. Right? So I think that's my how we bring all of this sentiment together by helping your internal departments, right, with partnering versus like you asked, like, helping them there by by doing that, they're going to be more likely to help your partners in continuous that virtuous cycle.
Tyler Calder 26:38
Isaac Morehouse 26:40
I just had a great example of this was talking with Rachel from DJI too. And they did a integration with Zoom info. And it was just like a great like, from start to finish, it just really exemplified a lot of the ways to go about this. It involved pretty much every team in the company in both companies. So it was like, why did this get prioritized because both companies were getting feedback from customers, and this is something that they wanted, they both had, you know, good overlapping markets, it has strategic made strategic sense. So the product teams are connected and the partnerships person is coordinating this right. Then they they decide their, you know, the rollout schedule, the marketing team start working together, they start doing some teasers. They do a webinar that's not about an integration. It's just a webinar about the industry sort of thought leadership stuff in the webinar, they're like, Hey, would you be would you be interested in integration like this, anybody interested? Like, raise your hand, we'll, we'll get you on a list. They got like 100, people highly pre qualified, interested that they can now hand off to the sales team, so that when the integration rolled out there already have people who are interested in activating and kind of, again, this is a partnership, you know, partnerships team, working with all of these other teams so that you have this big win for both companies. And if you and if you go through something like that, and someone's like, oh, yeah, well, we got it. What is this partnership person doing? Everyone's like, remember that hugely successful integration, we launched? I think it was like the number one integration that zoominfo has done so far, or maybe the other way around. But anyway, all those different depart, you're gonna have so many different people who are going to be like, yes, they were helpful to me, right? That's one of the benefits of being in partnerships is, you are connected to so many other departments? If you're doing it? Well, there should be a lot of people that are thankful for what you're doing. So, Tyler, I want to know, you told us what wasn't working in 2022? What are your priorities for 2023? And what do you think are the priorities that you're seeing out there among your customers in the market?
Tyler Calder 28:37
Yeah. So I mean, I'll start with myself, right? What are what are my priorities priorities in marketing is going to be just like everybody else. Do more do the same with with less, right? Everybody I talked to they're, they're in the same boat. Targets haven't really changed if they have changed, if it's been adjusted, it's it's minimal, right? budgets are cut by 50% 60% target is cut by 10% 20%. And so, you know, the the focus is just how do we do that? Right? How do we how do we go out and continue to drive the business forward? How do we, you know, continue to to drive value out in the market, and do so efficiently? That's the high level, right. And that's what we're hearing from everybody. So what I hear from colleagues and marketing is what you hear from our customers, partner leaders.
Jared Fuller 29:36
Let me ask a clarifying and follow on question in the same vein hilar what I'm hearing what you just said is generally what I've been hearing in the CMO community that I'm a part of and pavilion shout out we had Kathleen on last week was a fantastic episode is a lot of indexing on that 50 to 60% kind of cut and spend and like the more with less, I feel like there's a big weight on the less and I'm not Hearing enough on the more or like the focus on finding the levers, what is the what is that specifically? Like we get the less part everyone gets the less part? What's the more part? How are you thinking about our our market teams is that you're, you know, you're seeing on the market, figuring out where they have leverage
Tyler Calder 30:23
the how behind it. Again, I think very simply that the how behind it is just going back to grade nine science class. And it's just testing and experimentation. Like that. That's it, like on the marketing side moving into Sprint's, right, not not unique, a lot of marketing teams working in sprint formats. But I think you're gonna see a lot more folks look at okay, over the next two weeks, here's what we're trying, here's our hypothesis around it. Measure it, if there's traction dig in, if there's not digit, right, I think, you know, in marketing, a lot of us, I'll put myself in that boat, right, we have a bit of a god complex, right, I had this idea i incubated it, you know, I put it out in the market. Like, I'm not willing to let go with this thing. And that thing could be anything, it could be as simple as a landing page, it could be as simple as, like a social campaign you're running, it could be maybe a podcast you're running, that's getting no traction, right, but you love doing it. You just gotta let go. And you got to move on, you gotta keep trying. So it starts really, from that, that thesis of, hey, we're, I don't know what the hell we're gonna do in 2023, I have no idea what the hell July is gonna look like, I barely know what March is gonna look like. What I know is what this week is going to look like and next week, and then based on that, that's going to inform the two weeks after that. The core principles that we're working under, that I've shared with the marketing team, are some of what I've already said, Right? We're not going to do things solo, we're going to partner up. We are going to tell stories. And we're going to tell qualitative and quantitative stories. So on the qualitative side, you know, really, we just want to shine a light on all of the great work our customers are doing, our partners are doing tell those stories, anchor those stories in education. Right? So it's not just about the story, it's about, well, how did you actually get to that place, the more we can put that out in the market, the more that starts to arm other people with ideas that they can start testing and experimenting with. So that's really what we want to be putting out on the market is, here's just a bunch of stuff that you can try, no guarantees is going to work for you. It's going to be very different. I think if you're the type of company that just tries to execute on a playbook, whether it's one you've developed over the past couple years, whether it's what you've seen on LinkedIn, or you're just not going to fly, like everybody needs to be focused on just creating their own net new playbook for the year. And we want to help with that. And then, you know, the other big piece for for us is, is looking at things like what are we doing with with integrations? It's been a type of partnership that we haven't explored extensively, right, or reveal partnership was the first big one, we have a couple other ones going. But it all aligns back to it's like, hey, how do we partner up to get get out there in the market? And just moving quickly, like, those are the really, really simple principles that we're working under. And those will change, right, we're gonna revisit those principles that we operate under once a month. I'll pause there for a second. I love
Jared Fuller 33:45
that a couple of points of commentary on that macro thoughts. I think what you just summarized, it's so interesting how it's actually pretty timeless. And I've always felt like because I started in the SAS world, from the the marketing side and the product side. Not like where I spent the majority of my time when I first started building SAS was on product design and user experience. And what features are we launching with what features are we shipping with? And, you know, I was a part of product scrum every single day. And I always felt like whenever you got a team shipping, and you're solving customers problems, and you're moving fast, and you're learning, that was always a product thing. And then you really get into the sales org and the marketing org and a lot of companies you're like, why are the cycles between feedback loops so frickin long? It's like, well, we really need another quarter to try this out another quarter. And it's like, we don't need six months. It didn't work. Didn't work. Or like, why are we waiting another quarter? We got to capture this now. And it's like the product teams like they got that they're making decisions like daily, weekly, you know, like in how they organize the work to be done the job to be done the frameworks. I think there's a lot to be said for that, too. Two of my favorite entrepreneurs, one SAS and then one legendary. So David cancel is the CEO of drift, my former boss, you know, that was his phrase is that our path to success is all about the reduction between cycles and feedback loops. That's all I care about as CEO. That was his thing in 2017. That reduction in cycle of feedback loops, but then you look at someone as legendary as Jack Welch, the somewhat infamous CEO of GE, right had a crazy run, as the CEO of GE, he used to say, an organization's biggest competitive advantage is its ability to translate learnings into action. Right, exactly what you just said. So like, there's something about this as it's very, very timeless as well. And I think 2023 To summarize the point, Tyler is the year where the companies that don't figure that out on the marketing side on the go to market side, they're going to be really in for a bad year. Like, that's that timeless advice is like, that's how you have to run your business now.
Tyler Calder 35:58
Isaac had a single finger up.
Isaac Morehouse 36:02
So on the marketing side, okay. Yeah, that's, that's, that's our little sign because there's like a delay in my audio from my slow internet. So I put up a finger, Jared and I, that's our little sign language. On the marketing side, that doesn't seem too hard to me. Right? Like, okay, you can do a lot of quick rapid testing. It's classic, lean startup model type stuff. What seems more challenging to me? And maybe it's because I have not been in that role. How do you do that as a partnerships person, because partnerships inherently seem to be a bit of a longer play a bit of a longer investment? How do you how do you reduce the feedback loops jarred to figure out what partnership initiatives are worth investing in before you've spent too much time and
Jared Fuller 36:44
you know, what I noticed a lot of is, it's, here's what's funny is that you might get a SAS sales pitch. And you could get it from 10 Different people at that SAS sales company, and you might get them a little bit different Discovery's going to be a little bit different, the demo is going to be a little bit different. But then you talk to 10, let's say partner, people at that same company, and the partner conversation is awkwardly similar. It's like a strange disconnect. But there's more variance in conversations between partnerships, people and their partners than there is between, let's say, sellers and their prospective customers, or ces people in their prospective customers. There's far more variance and partnerships, right? Or sorry, there's, there's far less variance and partnerships in terms of those individual conversations. It's strange, it's like, you wouldn't think that to be true. Because the partner types can vary the size, there's so much more variance in the partnerships type. Here's what's weird. Here's why I think this gets interesting is that the cycles in terms of partner conversations, how much can you really change one on one with every single partner, actually very little, but I think you can change tremendously. Let's say you talk to 20, AES 20, CSMs, you're five content marketers, and you're going, I'm failing at building partnership internally, right, to give me leverage as a partnership person to give them leverage as a seller or marketer to do more marketing with the market, hey, you could go write five blog posts, or we could interview five people and have, you know, contribution to 15 original pieces of content, right? Or interview 50 people, or on the sales side, hey, you can try to win this to these two deals this quarter. Or you could bring in partnerships. And I think that iteration on how you're helping people internally, Isaac, would be my answer to that question. That's, that's the thing and how you can reduce cycles between feedback loops is like, how do I be the most helpful person at this frickin company and help people now, that doesn't have to be the same every single time where your partner pitch? It's, you might not get 20 at bats in a week with new partners, or your current partners, but I bet you can with internal employees.
Isaac Morehouse 38:52
That's a good insight. Yeah, it's like it's like an internal testing like, Alright, let me go see what what is the most valuable? What am I going to immediately get some positive feedback on internally? What does the sales team care about that I'm capable of helping them with? Maybe it's this maybe it's not that maybe I go to Marketing and say, Hey, I got a partner that we can set up a webinar with, and they're like, I don't care. Okay, maybe that's not the one test out something else. Right. Like, that's, that's an interesting thought, like almost a, an internal testing surface.
Jared Fuller 39:20
And then here's the thing, here's the kicker. Treat it treat it like a treat like a partner stand up every day, whole partner, you know, anyone that has the mandate of partner, right, that's like full time, every single day, share that stand up 30 minutes. Hey, here's what I did. Yesterday, I talked to five sellers. When I talked to Derek, here's what I learned from that conversation, right? Like, this is what landed I was pitching it this way. And instead, I approached it and came in this way that worked, like break down the silos and get daily feedback as a group on what's working to help the other people in their company get to their promised land, if you reduce those cycles, and guess what that's going to do if you weren't visible before, because you were living in market and kind of like, you know, like, Hey, I'm spending time with the people wouldn't be spending time with. The point is, is that your front loading a lot of that effort to get all of your internal employees living in market as well. So now all of a sudden, you're one of the most visible people at the company. You're one of the most visible departments, so to speak at your company as well. I think that's like the double effect of that.
Isaac Morehouse 40:18
Tyler, you were you were going to answer this part two to my question from a long time ago, which was what? What are what are the priorities you're seeing in the market? In terms of the partnerships people that partner stack is selling into? What do you think they're looking at 2023, we've had some interesting conversations about some of these trends, Jared, and I were talking about, like, hey, maybe affiliate gets a second look from b2b that has kind of been ignored, you know, maybe some of these marketplaces hyperscalers. Like, what are some of the sort of the big buckets that you think might get more love and attention in 2023? than maybe they haven't previously from partnerships? People?
Tyler Calder 40:59
Yeah, it's a good, it's a good call out, I think, again, to stay at a high level and simply first, at least everybody I've chatted with, it is sort of what I alluded to earlier. How do I and how did our team, how does my team have impact now, while building the foundation to exploding growth coming out the other side of this market we're in? And how do we do both of those things? Because, again, the concern is if I'm not trying to impact now, what's the longevity of my role of my team's role? There are finite resources, right, that an executive team has to shuffle around. The CFO in every company is going to be hyper focused on this right, where's every dollar going? What's the outcome of that dollar? So everybody's trying to think of that? Right? How do I have impact now? And how do I build a foundation for explosive growth at the other end? And so tactically, what does that start to translate to? You know, I think you mentioned affiliate, I think it's oftentimes overlooked within the b2b world, a lot of negative connotations that come with affiliate, which I think are fair, right? I, I helped paying for my way through school by being a pretty sketchy affiliate, I'll just say it. It's how I made some money, you know, back in, whatever it was early 2000s. And so I get where that comes from. But if you don't necessarily think of them as affiliates, so if you think of them as marketing partners, if you think of them as people that just have the attention of the audience that you're trying to get the attention of, if they can open that door for you. That can drive immediate impact, right, we have, we have a customer who their business almost went under, you know, they they had a missplay in something that they were trying to do, basically tanked the business. They ended up laying off, I think it was upwards of 80% of the company. And then they leaned into affiliate, and they basically brought on a little over 5000 affiliates in a pretty short order. And they all within the year kind of built the business back up. But the premise was like, alright, we're keeping our and I was actually their marketing person, we're keeping our performance marketer, the person who has always leaned into testing and experimentation, we're gonna ask them to launch this affiliate program, right? How do we get a huge amount of reach with limited resources? How do we de risk? How do we share the risk with these affiliates, rather than us spending 50 grand a month on paid media to drive acquisition? Let's share that across this affiliate network we've built. So anyways, I that that is the clearest example of what I think you'll start to see more people lean into is how do we build an army of folks that already have the attention of the audience, we want the attention of how do we work with them? How do we motivate them? How do we reward them, etc. But how do we do it in a really, really systematic way? Right, just the way that we would AB test ads landing pages, how do we do that? How do we push that forward? And then I think you'll start to see companies lean a little bit more into folks who already love you as referral partners, right? Your existing customers, your employees. They love you already. They're already talking about you. How do you lean into that and how are you a little bit more deliberate about it? I think the conversation we just had and Isaac the question you pose. I hear this a lot, which is partnerships takes time. And certainly it does relationship building, building those bonds takes time. But when you keep hearing that, and you keep saying that it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy of like, well, we gotta give me like three quarters, he gotta give me four quarters. It's like doo doo doo we though, like, do we really like what if you didn't just go through that thought exercise? What if you didn't have two quarters? What if you had two months? Like, show me what you can do, you're gonna think a little bit differently about the tests and experiments that you want to run, right? Whatever your time horizon is, you're, you're gonna kind of fit your work into it. And so if you, I was gonna say, artificially shrink it. But realistically, in this market, like the time horizons aren't long to show impact. So I think if you go through that thought exercise, you start to think a little bit differently. And so for us, our customers, again, it just goes back to a lot of testing experimentation, like we literally have partner stack have a spreadsheet that we just call like, our revenue sprints. And it's just a list of 100 ideas that we think could impact revenue across every function in the business, including partnerships. And, you know, we're prioritizing them. We're trying to be educated about where we put effort to start. And then we just go and do it. Right. Like, let's see what happens. If it's working, keep doing it. Or if it's not, you don't do it. You just keep going down the list. And that's more or less how we're going to build our playbook. And again, the customers we have that we see, you know, growing and building the foundation are more or less doing doing the same thing.
Isaac Morehouse 46:32
I love it. I love it. Yeah, I feel like bringing this home. The bad news is the playbook. There's no playbook anymore. It's been shredded. Like we came out of a decade of up only markets for the most part, I mean, slowed down the last couple years. But capital was cheap and abundant valuations were constantly going up. You could, as long as you had enough vanity metrics that you could pay for you could get to the next round. Like I'm oversimplifying, right, it wasn't always that easy. But largely, we had it really, really good like, like, so good that it's hard to tell, you know, what did they say when the tide goes out? You can tell who doesn't have their pants on. But it was everybody was flush with this was hard to tell what's real, and what wasn't what was creating value and what wasn't. That has changed now. And so all the playbooks that worked for that market don't work anymore. So that's the bad news. But that's also the good news. That's the exciting news. Because the playbook for the next phase is being written right now. And you get to write it as you go, you get to experiment and test just like Tyler and Jared are talking about as we go as we go into 2023 is isn't about following a playbook. It's about creating a new one, or doing smaller chunks of experimentation and not even looking at a long term playbook. It's when playbooks go out the window principles still remain, though. That's what's awesome about it, you still have those principles that are enduring, and you can build and test on that. So that's what excites me about 2023. That's what excites me about the partner ecosystem kickoff event. Because it's all about that. It's like, okay, where do we go in a world where the old playbook doesn't work anymore? What, what should we be thinking about going into this year? So I'm super excited. And you've got me all the more hyped up, Tyler?
Tyler Calder 48:19
Yeah, I love that. I think I mean, this is very much a test of what's real and what's not like that. That's what this is this market. And I agree with what you said towards the end there. This isn't. This isn't about building a new playbook. This is about getting comfortable without a playbook and navigating without certainty. Right? And when I say certainty, like TierPoint, chin was easy. Like it wasn't that hard, right? People had money they wanted to spend it, it was it wasn't that difficult. And I think, you know, it's true for companies that this is the time to build that skill set of closing the feedback loops, to Jeremy's point. But the same is true for the individuals, right. Like I think one of the things and not to point to myself as as an example of success, because I don't think I'm that. But the way I've always felt about my own career is it's interesting, you get hired in a new role for what you did previously. And then whenever I start a new role, the CEO is asleep, right? What are we doing? It's like, Fuck if I know, no idea. last job, doesn't count anymore, right? Different world different market. And I see so many people, across organizations across functions, right? You get hired for what you did previously, you try to do the exact same thing again, it doesn't work. And then you're out of a job, you know, a year in like there's a reason heads of functions lasts so little time. And I think it's just that right where we've become accustomed to just executing on the same thing over and over. over and over again and it working. We got to we got to build a new skill set. And that's the opportunity. So I completely agree Isaac
Jared Fuller 50:11
I love it. I love it. I can't think of a better spot to stop, wrap up this 2023 episodes with our top partner partner stack Tyler Calder. Thank you so much for hopping on with us. I'm really excited. In the ecosystem, the community, the partner ecosystem for partner kickoff.com We'll see you there January 17. We got five hours starting at 12, Eastern, nine Pacific five hours is jam packed 11 sessions boom, boom, boom, no multiple stages on when awesome social, you know event. And yeah, it's gonna be the year where you're going to help more people than ever before in your life. Through listening to this, you're going to help more people this year than you've ever helped before in your life, reach their promised land, and you're going to teach them how to help the people they're working with, whether that's on marketing, attracting new prospects, whether that's on sales, closing customers or success servicing customers or product driving enterprise value through adoption usage and utilization, you're gonna go help them and just see this as, like so so many seeds of trust in the market by helping pave the path to the promised land. And that's what we're gonna be getting into on the tactics, the how tos. I'm so excited for it. Tyler, it was a heck of a 2022 with you. Thank you and partner staff everything we've done together. And super excited to kick off the new year with you.
Tyler Calder 51:29
Great, thanks. Thanks, guys.
Jared Fuller 51:31
Partner up. Partner up peace out. We will see you all partner kickoff.com Peace