PartnerUp #112: Unveiling the Secrets to Unbeatable Customer Retention and Win-Back Strategies

What is up PartnerUp!

Today's episode is a recording from the event Surviving and Thriving in 2023, a partnership with Oneflow, HubSpot, and Avidly.

Emilia Janis, Jared Fuller, Crevan O'Malley, and Andrew Thomas join the discussion to explore the critical roles that customer retention and win-back strategies play in driving business growth in today's uncertain environment.

They share practical insights and strategies for creating a significant competitive advantage that lasts beyond temporary struggles. Discover how to turn the tide in your favor and maintain customer loyalty during tough times.

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Full transcript:

Jared Fuller: Up everybody for the, uh, dozens of you that are here already, right on time. Um, for those east coasters, you're amazing for those joining you joining us in, uh, Europe. Thank you so much for coming to the event. Uh, we're gonna have some fun today. Um, I'll give just a minute to get the, uh, chat rolling. Um, if you've attended a Partner Hacker event before, you know, I like to, uh, be social in the chat.

So, uh, everybody say what's up? Where are you calling in from? I doubt there's anyone on the west Coast. I'm sure we're mostly, uh, Europe and um, east Coast right now. So, uh, what's up? Where are you calling from? Uh, let's see, Stockholm, that's still on my list. Still on my list. Oh, you need to come Jarred. I know.

I, I, I'm gonna be doing a Europe tour actually in, uh, end of June into early July. So I'll make stock home, uh, on the list. I got a para trip. You just tell me when and I'll host you. Okay, perfect. Perfect. We'll make it happen. Dublin, Toronto. And wh where do we, where do we have our panel from today? So, um, we'll go ahead and start.

So, Melia, that's where you're currently at? Stockholm. Stockholm, okay. Perfect. Andrew,

Andrew Thomas: uh, Clithrow, so just a bit north of Manchester uk.

Jared Fuller: Amazing. Good.

Crevan O'Malley: I'm coming to you from Dublin in Ireland.

Jared Fuller: Perfect. Perfect. Well, we have quite the international crew here, um, representing, uh, some parts of the, the eu, some parts, not some parts, uh, states.

Um, uh, and happy to be here, um, to talk about something, uh, fun. We'll give it one more minute for people to roll in. And then, uh, we're gonna kick things off. Um, have a fun conversation this morning about, uh, you know, a hard topic during, you know, tough times. Um, there's certainly a whole lot of new religion around, um, Just the impact and the ability for partnerships to drive revenue in the business.

And that's where all the attention is. But at the same time, we all know that we can utilize this to impact retention, to drive win, winning back customers. Um, and uh, this event was kind of precipitated by, uh, kind of a joint partnership where we'd, uh, produced a, an ebook, right, with um, You know, uh, one flow.

So maybe we talk, tell a little bit about that too. So that would be an asset for folks, you know, afterwards to take a look at. Uh, Amelia, if you wanna, um, brief that and then we'll hop into the, the chat. Yeah,

Emilia Janis: sure. Uh, I mean, um, we partnered up together with you and, and HubSpot, uh, to make an e-book. And we didn't just wanna make a, another e-book.

Uh, and we had a discussion about what really matters to our customers and to us. Uh, and inevitably we ended up talking about, you know, the current, the current times, uh, how people and companies are scared right now. Um, you know, with the tough times for, for most businesses, many are struggling to keep customers and, um, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to win back those who, who left, um, which means that they have to cut costs as well.

Uh, and something that will affect, you know, everybody. Uh, Uh, so we wanted to create something that would help companies overcome those, uh, challenges and effectively win back, win back their customers. And we, we wanted to share something that was really tangible and applicable and not just, you know, uh, ramble on and on about just another topic, uh, led to.

To the book

Jared Fuller: Abs. Well, uh, I appreciate, uh, the partner forces coming together to, uh, help the ecosystem and the community. Um, so, uh, we'll start with intros then, right there, uh, Amelia. So there we go. One flow. Um, thank you so much for, um, helping shepherd all of us together. Um, and then also joined by Kren O'Malley from HubSpot, um, out of the Dublin office.

Um, and then, um, Andrew, um, from Avidly. So, uh, that's the crew here today. And I wanna kick it off with, um, uh, just like a conversation starter. Here, here's what I've, I've seen happen right now in the market is that partner programs have always been seen. Uh, I think if you're sa native through the lens of, Hey, how do I acquire, you know, more pipeline and more customers, right?

So almost as a source function, um, almost looked at separately. In other words, most of the time how partners are reported on is through an operating model. Meaning you're looking at kind of like, Hey, what's partner gonna do to the business? And there's some line item in there and it's, you know, pipeline.

Um, I'll kick this off as a question if you're starting there, right? If there's a C R O pressure or some sales leadership pressure that's starting there, how do you create the same kind of, you know, let's say reporting impact? And like kind of starting from, hey, what's the baseline for how partnerships impact the current revenue?

You know, if we're a 50 million arr, a hundred million a r r, let's make sure that we're not, you know, dropping a point in retention. Where would you start to kind of have that similar alignment that they're pushing you to drive, you know, source pipeline and, and deals? How do you create that same alignment on the success side for retention?

Just from a measurement or, you know, uh, tracking perspective or even like that top level kpi.

Emilia Janis: I'm super interested to hear your perspective on this. Yeah,

Crevan O'Malley: it's a, it's a, it's a great question. I think, I think the first thing I would say, as somebody who leads. Uh, an inside sales organization, the corporate sales team across AMEA for HubSpot. Um, I'm very aligned that salespeople in our organization are measured on numerous metrics, and a lot of our business is done with implementation partners to give great service, to give great onboarding experiences.

To ensure speed, the value. So that sense of productivity on the customer side is increased. And I think we have to be as nuanced about the partner relationship as we are with how we look at the sales landscape. So, you know, simply looking at our partner community as another revenue line. I don't think that's doing it justice.

I think that is part of the picture, but there's no doubt when I talk to my customer success management team, when I talk to my contract management team, those accounts where we are turning up with a partner to really go deep and deliver value and deliver a good experience to that customer retention rates are higher.

Upsell cross-sell opportunity is higher. Lifetime value of the customer is higher. Everything moves in a good direction when we turn up to our customers as part of a team. And I think the simple perspective for me on that is, you know, there was a time. In the past where in tech, especially tech companies and perhaps big tech felt they had all the answers.

I don't think the problems that B2B and even B2C businesses have today can be solved by one, two, or one platform or one company. So that aggregation of service and that kind of open source, not just in terms of technologies, but in terms of relationships and how you turn up to the customer, that's crucial.

And for a sales individual or a sales organization to differentiate, I think you need to have that type of collabora collaborative approach.

Jared Fuller: I think, um, what I just heard is, so obviously HubSpot, I think the, the initial partner program fame, so to speak, came from the wildly successful agency program.

Yeah. Um, and now I think the, the I S V and tech partner program is really starting to take off as well in, in that process. I'm curious when you're selling and setting up customers, I'd have to imagine that understanding like the. 360 view, so to speak, of their tech stack. You know, like I just saw yesterday, they announced like a, you know, an integration with, uh, outreach, for example, like on the HubSpot, you know, platform.

So like, are sellers then looking for during the process, Hey, here's the integration partners that we need to make sure post sale. Right are connected right away because that, I feel like that's where you could go from, Hey, I'm responsible for sales to showing like a clear and measurable impact on the activation and retention side.

You know, right away is by, hey, here's seven integration partners that this company has. You know, that's where kind of this near bound thing comes in. And even if they're not necessarily managing the renewal, they can be setting that customer up for more success from the start using, um, understanding and, uh, passing that off, uh, to the csm.

Crevan O'Malley: And, and I think you're right, you talked about the wildly successful marketing agency sort of history, and it continues today. It's not either or. That continues for lots of our agency partners and for lots of the customers that we CoServ. Their supports, their packages, their involvement is a huge part of that value.

And yet to go across that platform conversation we've had to broaden the scope of partners that we do business with. So tech partners, platforms, crm. All of that becomes part of the suite of options that we offer our customers. Giving them more choice, delivering more value. But I think you hit the nail on the head there, like on day one.

You may solve a problem for a customer through integrations with six or seven or nine, but this doesn't stay still. So nine will become 15, like business is becoming more complex. I don't think complex is a negative. It allows us to differentiate if it's done well, and we have to be the type of platform who are open to integrating with multiple partners and more than what the customer may perceive they need today, because tomorrow that game changes and we need to move with it.

Jared Fuller: Well let, let's talk about Amelia, maybe, uh, I think you have a good perspective on this is what about that utilization over time? Like, one of the things that I've seen is there might be that identification of, oh, there's 7, 9, 10, whatever number of integrations, uh, that this person could utilize at the start of a sales cycle.

But then, you know, that account moves over three months, six months. Are all 7, 8, 9, 10 activated, you know, or for example, um, maybe there is some utilization dropage or a disconnect or something like that. Like these are things where I feel like partnerships can play a proactive role. What's your perspective on kind of that, that time horizon post sale?

Um, around integrations,

Emilia Janis: um, no but's. Super, super important. And it's something that we also lift in the e-books. So those of those of you haven't, uh, had the chance to read it. Please go and do, but we re you, you talk a lot about the, the importance of keeping track of those indicators, those when, when an integration is gone from being enabled, but it's not actively used after 3, 6, 9, 12, 30, 6 months.

Uh, and using all of, not just. Integration indicators, but any partner related activities as indicators for health score on, on your customers. Uh, since it's not just tech partnerships, we're interested in it's, uh, agencies, um, implementators, uh, you know, whatever kind of partnerships e within the ecosystem that is a overall health indicator for, for the customers.

Jared Fuller: And over time, as you see those, um, There's almost like a, i, I don't wanna get into cohort analyses, but, um, how, how do you start to think about demonstrating that impact? Like I, I opened up the, kind of the conversation with there's, you know, as much pressure as, as ever around sourcing revenue and pipeline, et cetera.

At the same time, we know that CEOs and boards are absolutely prioritizing, shoring up the customer base. Right. Hmm. How do, what are some, you know, ideas or thoughts, things that you've seen, um, to anyone on the panel, um, around, you know, kind of benchmarking, right? So like, we, we've seen, we've all seen aggregate data, like, oh, this, you know, if there's three year more integrations, there's x y more activation, right?

Or retention. Um, how do you think about kind of benchmarking those cohorts? Have you going through a process like that? Um, or seeing anything to, to help drive those? Um, I'm seeing definitely

Crevan O'Malley: quick comments on that. Definitely an interesting space, and when we talk about customer success, we have a, a group within that theme on the HubSpot side who are focused on strategic accounts.

And this data's available for all accounts, but if we look at the strategic accounts, what we're looking at within the data and almost, you know, behavioral analytics with respect to integrations is if customer a. On point of sale purchase, five integrations, eight integrations. We can see how many of those are activated or live or if there's a dropoff.

And I think the issue is that is a signal that there's a problem with the value they perceive from product or service they're receiving. In our case, the. HubSpot platform and we need to get ahead of that. So that needs to prompt our success team to have an engaged conversation with their point of contact and not just one point of contact.

And when we're having those conversations, we need to turn up with our partner who perhaps was there during implementation and perhaps is there in terms of ongoing services, because I think one of the reasons you touched on it there, in terms of shoring up the customer base, you know, cause of the macroeconomic climate we're in right now.

The pressure to reduce costs is sort of, you know, acronym of you know, more with less. That pressure is what's causing churn in the first place because there will always be cheaper alternatives. But I think if people lean into the value of the service, which is where partnerships. You know, all of the data in our world says when we lean with partners or lead with our partners, the average deal size, what sell opportunity, the churn lower, everything moves in a positive direction for the experience the customer has.

Um, and you know, this is something that, you know, my business and, and with a partner like Aly who are our elite partner and they do this really well, and that, that's important, it's trust between both of us turning up in the right way for the customer.

Jared Fuller: So, uh, an Andrew, uh, uh, chime in with you, with you there.

H how are you thinking about kind of chasing that, you know, like measuring, hey, this is a fully connected account, this is not, and then helping, um, you know, Customers understand there's either dead tech spend or things that aren't working. So you know, hey, I see you're using X, you're using X and Y product, but you don't have these integrations connected, right?

So like, how are you helping your customers chase down that, you know, gap, um, between value and, um, And what they're using.

Andrew Thomas: Absolutely. Yeah. So just to sort of follow on from, uh, Griffin's talk in terms of partnerships, that's from the partner side, that is absolutely true. I think the way in which we work with HubSpot, not just, you know, through scoping and launching of the product, the platform, but the ongoing relationship we're speaking with the, the customer.

Daily, weekly and bringing back that, that intel to make sure that we're constantly tweaking and, and moving with the, the sort of changing tides. But yeah, for sure. I think when we talk around engagement and usage and, and retention over the long term, I think as an agency we, we package things around HubSpot so we're not just implementing the platform.

We may have some ongoing services, you know, workshops, training, delivery of, of. Campaigns and whatnot, but it's, it's about on the platform specifically looking at what is the time to value of that we are able to deliver? What are we saying we can do in the sales process and how soon can we do that and actually communicate that very clearly to the stakeholders.

Um, I think. Just as a, a best practice is, the sooner we do that in those early days is absolute gold dust for a long-term relationship that's gonna get the, you know, the 50 fifties in the room off the, off your back is gonna allow you to, to roll into the more adventurous experimentation, you know, trying new things.

Right. So I think it's just. Nailing the, the absolute must first, really having a good communication or reporting loop on how we speak to stakeholders. Are we speaking to the right people even after that first implementation's done? Um, and then on, on an ongoing basis as an agency is, is looking at, um, as Amelia mentioned, the health of that account.

So that is, HubSpot's got some great insights into usage that we can leverage, but we have our own, uh, engagement index, which looks at things like nps, finance, even, you know, how are they paying? Uh, is a project on time? How did the team feel about things and how are those goals, those results, those like marketing KPIs, tracking.

And we bring that all together and we have like a, a score out of 10 which calculates things and we use that to be. On the absolute front foot. So we're not just looking at those lagging indicators, we're, we're getting those early signs and we can jump in as a service provider and, and take that human element to the, to the customer and, and make sure that we feed that back, not just to the customer, to our team, but to, to HubSpot and, and the guys that we have a, a great ongoing relationship to.

Jared Fuller: Well, I, from your point of view too, I, I, I bet you're sitting a little bit closer because you're not necessarily the, you know, the first party in the software components, like how you're orchestrating this tech. You're really there as, you know, beholden. That's why I've always loved working with solution and, you know, innovative, um, you know, partners like an avidly is that, like at the end of the day, who is most.

Most, most, most beholden to customer outcomes. It's typically like the service partner, right? The solution partner, yeah. Right. Like you only earn your dollars by like, Hey, I got exactly whatever I paid for. Right. And software, I, I remember, um, they're not here so I, I won't disparage them. But another map that wasn't HubSpot.

I remember sitting in Sydney, Australia with a whole bunch of executives and this big APAC kickoff all from this other map. And um, they were like, Someone brought up the question, well, why is our feature utilization across the entire portfolio less than 25%? Right. So like the point is, is there's a lot of shelfware out there, um, especially in some legacy platforms, but I think as a, as a, as a service provider, you probably have a lot of intent or signals or ways that you can help other ISVs.

Meaning if a partner, if a tech company is doing great things with you at avidly, you have a really trusted relationship and you hear from one of your customers that, like for example, they're going through an evaluation. Um, like you're, they're using X technology, but they're like, Hey, we're looking to reduce spend and we're looking at other options.

That might have been one of, you know, my customers as a tech partner for, you know, a year, two years, three years. Then all of a sudden because of the economic environment, they're now looking to cut costs, consolidate, et cetera. Yeah. Andrew, wouldn't you have the ability to like, You know, help first and kind of say, Hey, fyi, tech partner.

Right. Um, tell me a little bit about that. Have you seen those types of things where you've been able to ping a tech partner and go, Hey, I think there's some risk here. We need to get in front of it.

Andrew Thomas: For sure, for sure. I think that the way that things go, as HubSpot's grown to be a, an ecosystem and a very broad platform as an agency, we've expanded and, and it's quite scary sometimes how we involved with our clients' businesses.

We become, we become an extension of the team, we become. Essentially part of that business. And that is our goal, um, for retention, of course. But you hear all sorts, you know, it might be some hiring software, it could be some stock management system. There's all sorts going on and, and I think where HubSpot or another vendor, we can see where this will work and we're gonna advise on that for sure.

They, they actually want us to bring in. A tech stack, they're not necessarily, they're looking at us as a, a technical partner. Um, and we need to, okay, we, we prioritize HubSpot, but we, we have to be aware of that. So absolutely. We, we do get ahead of that and, and we are, we're speaking to these people daily, almost to, uh, to help them grow.

So for sure that that does come back. And I think as, as a sort of the, the team on the ground, so to speak, we we're going out and visiting and, and bringing that information back from, from the decision makers, the people that are feeling that pain. And I think. Getting face-to-face with that sometimes super valuable into a vendor or a, a different software partner to, to be able to pass that on and be the, the middle man, so to speak, is, is a great thing for both parties.

It means that we can deliver that information quickly to you guys. It means that we can get in on the early developments and sort of share that in a, in a controlled way and, and gain, you know, some great feedback and, and pass that on. So, yeah. Totally into that, that sort of way of working. And there's a lot that comes out of those conversations for sure.

The, and the, the thing

Jared Fuller: I'd wanna call out, I think that's very important to, for us to recognize that may get lost in management details and ops and all sorts of other stuff, is this simple fact, if you've ever been involved in a large account, anyone here like show, show me some, uh, emojis in here. If you've ever been involved in a large account and there's a churn that's happening, what happens?

Is it like, hey, We're at the beginning of really thinking there's not much value here and we're gonna start looking at some competitors. We're gonna give you 90 days to save us and reactivate us and make us wildly successful. No. What happens? What happens? You get a cancellation request. That's what you get.

And by not working proactively with the partners that might be closer to that buyer intent, you're losing that signal. Like there's no way you're going to get that signal, that honest, like, Hey, there's a business initiative to cut. So your product utilization might look okay, right by some benchmark. But if there was a conversation where it's like, Hey, Andrew, you know, uh, I know you're our primary kind of like MarTech partner.

We're really trying to reduce our tech spend by 35% this year. Like you hear that you're gonna be like, Hey guys, you're gonna have to maybe do some contract saves, do a little bit of churn here to like go recognize some upsell elsewhere. Like that's the talk track people. These conversations are happening, and would you rather get a cancellation request?

Or would you rather have a partner that you have a great relationship going, Hey, I have some intel. You're gonna have to work hard on this account. I think I might be able to help.

Crevan O'Malley: You're, you're touching on a really interesting point there, Jared, and just a couple of comments on that. Um, And I, and I'm a, I'm a sales leader, so in the time when the economy is going really well, you know, celebrating those large deals, having an organization that has momentum and fuel behind it, there's no better, there's no better place to be.

And yet Macroeconomically, that's not our story today. That's not the environment in which we're operating in. So I agree with the points that you and Andrew made, but I would also suggest. The retention story, the ability to renew a contract, and it's really applicable in SaaS. Of course, it starts before the initial sale.

And the one piece of advice, and it's in the play, it's in the playbook, but is we have to resist the temptation to oversell on day one. Because you talked about shelfware, but if you break that trust and if you sell more than is required and they don't extract the type of value your customers from the platform or the map or the CRM or whatever it is, then you are in a difficult situation When you get into those conversations further down, because we're talking about them trying to save money, the the second thing I would say is, And Andrew talked about, you know, meeting different people across the account, you know, on a pre-sale conversation.

When we do deal reviews, we talk about multi-threading and who are we talking to. Um, if you are only talking to one person, you are, it's very easy for a customer to say goodbye to you. I mean, even in a. You know, human test, it's probably easier to walk away from one person than a group of people. You know, you have to be in and around that company and understanding the pain and challenges and problems that they're trying to solve to actually feel and turn up in the moments when you're not in the room, and they feel there's value attached to your platform.

So for sure. Once you make the sale, and this is the great thing about sass, right? Customers have choice. You have to continually earn that level of business and develop that level of trust to continue into the future. So yeah, plus ones of the comments made there. Yeah,

Emilia Janis: and I mean, it starts even, even before making the sale, like talking about the trust and the partner ecosystem.

Being a, being an up and coming is s v company as, as one flow is like in new markets where we don't have the biggest customer base yet. Without our partner ecosystem, we would be nothing. We would never even get invited to the table. Uh, so we are completely reliant on, on those partnerships to, to, to have that trust with, with an unknown brand in a new market.

Jared Fuller: 100%. 100%. And, um, in the chat too, I'm a prompting question, so, uh, folks, feel free to chime in here too. We'll, we'll, we'll, we'll bring your, you know, comments up and, uh, kind of a pin on them, um, uh, as they come through. Um, I, I, I think that's such an, an important, you know, talk track and, and realization for us to kind of have is that, um, at the end of the day, you know, you, there's only so many things that you can do, uh, with a partner at a given time.

For example, like, If you're working with a, let's say a solutions partner like an avidly and you're, you're a tech company, you know, maybe HubSpot, you have some more capacity cuz you know you're an elite partner, Andrew, right? Like you, you can work more deals, but like if you're a normal I S V and you have a friendly partner relationship and there's something happening there, the reality is, is that you probably can't work, you know, 10 accounts at once.

Right? Like, you're not just gonna do that. So what other plays do you have with your partners? And I think that's, you know, what I was kind of prompting is like, How do we have those conversations with our partners, right? Is um, uh, to like bring, bring forth, you know, not the best news, but to work on that.

Because, um, what I found is that that ended up becoming my entire talk track with cs. How do we use partners as an, you know, insight or intent signal to engage CSMs with partners directly to work on fixing what's wrong with customers? And here was the cool part, whenever we engage partners to fix what's wrong with customers, whether it's an integration or it's a service partner.

What ends up happening? Well, the partner gets educated, right? And if that partner gets more educated on the customer challenges of utilizing your tech or whatever, then are you much more likely to be able to potentially, you know, go source, uh, revenue in the future together? Right? So it it allows you to start with the customer as well.

Um, that, that has a feedback loop in a cycle, uh, back to revenue, right? Um, in fact, my number. It's kind of funny. The, uh, I'd be curious on your side, um, Amelia too, if you'd seen this, the, there's two quick funny stories on the HubSpot side. Like, the fastest growing HubSpot partner back in the day was like, uh, I believe Marcus Sheridan, like the pool cleaning company.

So it's like a kind of an insider story. He, he owned a pool cleaning company. He used HubSpot Marketing Automation. Then he ended up selling HubSpot Marketing automation to every pool cleaning company in, you know, the world became like one of the fastest growing HubSpot agencies, but, He did that by actually helping other pool companies.

First it was all success driven and then became a giant distribution channel at Drift, our top partner was, um, you're not gonna believe this, you haven't heard it. It was a guy that ran a hot air balloon company, I'm not kidding, elev. He literally did hot air balloon tours. And he used the bot to like, you know, build out his booking system, answer questions and automate a hundred percent of his customer support.

And he was, we call them like the bot wizard. This guy's just crazy. He's obsessed with these bots like more than anyone. And we just started putting him into the counts. You know, that had problems like that, we couldn't really save, and he would go build the wildest bots. Then he started charging money and then turn, he built an entire business around it.

So he had a hot air balloon company and pivoted to a, you know, a tech company. The point was, is that he became our number one, our first partner, to reach a million dollars in sourced revenue. Right? And it started from helping customers first. And, and, and those, every ecosystem. I see that like there's always some stories like that where you're like, Hey, by focusing on helping people with their problems, guess what happens?

It's like the fastest growing, largest partners end up being the ones who were helping first.

Crevan O'Malley: Yeah. I think, I think there's a, there's an interesting consideration. You know, for, for my, my sales team, when we're on deals and we're on accounts and we talk about, you know, deal and account fit in terms of products, I mean, we obviously sell a suite of products and, and a platform.

And not every deal or every use case needs the full stack. So we gotta have a, a sort of a conversation to uncover where will the most value be delivered. And I think the same is true. With the partner selection piece. Um, so for sure, as you mentioned at the top of the call, Jared partners are a revenue line and they bring lots of business to companies like ourselves and others.

But our sales team uncover opportunities. And a moment comes where we have to go, okay, well, which partner do I need to help me bring this over the line and do the best job for the customer? And, you know, You mentioned there in terms of larger partners, probably having more capacity, but I think we have to do a good level of diligence and discovery on the industry, the size of company, the growth, ambition.

There's a whole host of things we need to uncover. And then we have a relatively new role in HubSpot, our service consultants over the last 12, 18 months, and their job is exclusively to kind of sit in the middle of the sales individual. Who's got the product and the quota and all of the, the joy that comes in that role, and the partner community who have loads of different skill sets by industry, by expertise, boots on the ground in different countries, and they will help us select the right partner.

And in the same way that if you sell the wrong product, if you select a. A poorer partner than you otherwise might with all the information you're starting the relationship on in less than an optimized way. So I think we're getting more and more sophisticated all the time by making sure that we match up the customer and their needs and ambitions with the right type of partner and that kind of, you know, ecosystem approach that we turn up in front of that customers.

That's critical. And I can definitely, with, you know, loss reviews and we have lots of them, right? It happens in every business. It may be that we just matched up the wrong product or the wrong partner with the, the particular moment in time for that customer. So that's something on the way in as well. We need to spend a bit of time getting right.

Jared Fuller: So, uh, Amelia, on your side, you all see as much, you know, contract volume as anyone. And, um, I I, I wanna bring this up because, um, I can reference it, uh, in, uh, the recording whenever we republish this. Um, I'm not sure if anyone's familiar with Patrick Campbell. He used to, uh, run a company called ProfitWell and they did a lot of analysis on things like churn and pricing.

Right. So, uh, they had a fantastic show back in the day. It was kind of before its time. It was called pricing page Breakdown, which seems like the lamest thing in the world. Yes, I watched it. I would actually watch how, you know, these guys would break down a pricing page. And one of the things that they talked about was, um, people, we, we have this resistance in SaaS to letting a customer, let's say renew it, less money.

Right. Versus a cancellation and the churn data and the cohort analysis on this is like if you, if you save a customer and it, it is at, even at a 50% discount, right? It's, it's the multiple on that aggregated across the profit. Well, data wasn't like two x three x, it was like 17 x more likely that you would make another dollar from them.

So I have to imagine like, you know, during this process that like, hey, during tough times, like don't lose a cu don't lose a customer, right? Like that would be the mission and thing from partners is like, don't lose a customer. Surround them with your integration partners and let's get them a deal to make sure that they stay.

Cuz if they go, it's so much harder to absolutely get them back. So the win back play kind of starts there and I mean, y'all see as much as anything. I'd love, uh, your comments, uh, on that, Amelia.

Emilia Janis: Uh, yeah. No, no, no. You are a hundred percent right. I mean, um, save a customer at any cost, right? Because winning, winning them back will cost you way more than, than keeping them even if it's at a reduced, reduced price.

And I mean, being a software like One Flow, uh, not necessarily being a C R M or an E R P or you know, maybe the, the most sort of, um, I don't wanna say business critical, but the, um, the biggest of, uh, of, uh, business intelligence systems within our, within our customers. Uh, we, uh, instead need to look at like, how can we get that stickiness, uh, with our partners.

So even though we sort of lower the, lower the revenue of a, of a customer, we can keep it and grow it over time.

Crevan O'Malley: Yep. Absolutely. I'd love to. I'd love to add something to that. I agree with I Emilia's comment. I think the, you know, it's, it's quoted at the playbook as well. You know, if we step right back here, what we're trying to do is solve problems for our customers and in such a volatile, I.

Economic climate, the shape and size of those problems are changing at pace and at scale. And if we turn up blindly with, well, this account was always worth, you know, two, and I'm not willing to go below two. In fact I wanna go to three. It just, I think, comes across tone deaf to the challenges and. Pain and difficulty going on within the, the client account.

And you know, there's clearly a commercial point where it may not be, um, economically viable to retain a service, but I think in most cases, companies unfortunately allowed the churn to happen before they really unpack that and rescale and resize the service and the product that they offer to solve the problem that may have been reduced or increased, but it's a dynamic thing.

Andrew Thomas: Yep. I was gonna add into that as well. I think, uh, from an agency standpoint, exactly the same experience. Flexibility is key. I think, uh, the challenges people go through, if you stay with them as a partner, the price comes second to the solution. It's a low, long-term benefit for sure. I think we've had multiple versions of that throughout covid o and all the, the various things that have happened over the few years and, and the.

People that have hung around are the ones where we did go down to a bare bones service or a bare bones, you know, campaign. And then now we're in a place where that trust is maintained and you can have much more productive conversations the year after the, the quarter after. Um, if you're showing that human element, I think as, as an agency that the scaling conversation's always something we're trying to do.

But, but we've spent time to look at, let's forget about us for just a minute here and actually. Act for our customers. Let's just do something that might not make sense today, but we know that unless it is totally financially and viable, it typically really, really helps in this topic of churn and retention.

I think people really appreciate that flexibility and not backing people into a corner where they have no option apart from tapping out or.

Jared Fuller: Spending more money. Hey Andrew, maybe, maybe you can help set some context over the past three years. Cause I feel like a lot of us have amnesia. Do y'all remember Covid When everything locked down like the beginning when we had literally no idea what happened, right.

Like we all wanna forget cause you know, aged

Andrew Thomas: me crazy. 20 years that, that time. Yeah. I think just to, to dive into that, especially I think we had. Waves and it sort of built and we, we, we were talking around that this is, you know, we're a marketing agency, let alone a, a software platform. So we really are the, the first to get, you know, cut out of budgets for sure.

Um, and we were okay. We thought where things were going, and then I think overnight probably about. 20, 30% of the customers went, Hey, we, we need to just talk. We need to pause, we need to reduce, we need to do this. So, uh, we sort of, obviously the alarm bells started to ring and I think you could look at that a number of ways, which is okay, we can just cut costs immediately and stay as we are.

But we got together and just spoke to everyone on a one-to-one basis, went out and visited people and kind of threw out. I mean, we have packages, we had levels, all this sort of stuff, you know,

Jared Fuller: menus and grind. We need to reduce though, and then to come bounce back. I think a lot of businesses forgot that.

Like, hey, we just went through this like not that long ago. Exactly. You know, like, yes, we're in a longer tail recession, but the play is still the same, like reduce for a little bit and one of one of two things is gonna happen. This company's gonna be able to reach some, you know, homeostasis and then start to reinvest in growth again, or they're gonna die.

Yep. Like that's the reality. That's just the economic environment that we're in. So like if they're reducing, you have to reduce with them. Otherwise, you're not much of a fair vendor. And if they start to grow again, then you're gonna grow again with them. A

Andrew Thomas: hundred percent. And that's, that's the conversation we can have when we know that things are better.

Because you took that action, the doors are open to bring that conversation back to the table. If you just held on for dear life, it's gonna only go one way, which is probably gonna go down anyway. So you may as well, um, keep that door

Jared Fuller: open. Yeah. Yeah, build that trust. I mean, right. Like you show that you, you actually are there to help.

If you're there to help, then you have that trust over a long term. And, um, this gave me an idea in chat too. This is actually a pretty simple one, which I, I remember doing a couple times in a, a few different reports trying to report through it. But, um, it landed with my CS leadership really well. Was like, look, um, you know, I, I won't give the exact CAC number.

I was a little bit less than 27 k uh, at the time, but for every single partner save, I was like, You know that's 20 grand, right? So like every month it's like, hey, there were seven partner saves. That's 140 grand right there. Hmm. You know, like for if you were trying to measure the impact of this too, like just take your CAC and if there's a save, you just won that CAC back cuz you're gonna have to replace that with a fully burdened C of a new account.

Right. So like the, the compounding effects of churn is, um, you know, that's why the best, you know, CEOs are always, you know, wildly obsessed with customer success, right? Is that, um, once you reach a level of maturity to, like HubSpot, right? I remember seeing HubSpot's, you know, uh, some of their, I wouldn't say leap financials, but let's say publicly kind of massage, uh, financials before, you know, going public.

And then to look at the business today, you know, how much of the business is run off of, you know, new bookings versus the install base. Right. Like at some point, um, and it's actually not that crazy, you know, it could be anywhere from 20 million in revenue to a hundred million in revenue. You start booking more of your revenue from current customers, right, right out of the gate.

So like protecting every single one of those is by far, um, Griffin, you mentiond this earlier. Do more with less. Well, you know, there's a whole lot less you could do if you're having to make up the cack on the accounts that you already had in your book last quarter. Right.

Crevan O'Malley: Yeah. And it, it, it, it's interesting just that, that that space we're, we're discussing at the moment, um, I mean, hub HubSpot is not a small company, but when we look at the landscape of marketing automation or CRM or that sort of platform provider services that exist in the marketplace, we certainly feel like we have huge opportunity and huge potential.

Um, you know, there are much bigger. Providers in that space and we have to differentiate ourselves almost in a kind of disruptor type attitude. And part of being a disruptor is doing what the industry or what businesses who led that industry for years doing, doing things different. And I think tying people into what looked to all intents and purposes, like old style on-premise contracts with no break clauses and no ability to reduce, you're just not going to develop trust and have a good reciprocal relationship.

And business at its core is, you know, human to human. And you know, to Andrew's point a few moments ago, if you support those businesses and those people in their roles, in the difficult times, you will win. X multiplier long term. Um, and I think the other thing just just to state is, you know, we're in really, really crazy volatile times at the moment because we're not the only tech company by any means.

In fact, tech generally as a sector came through the covid period. Really positively now. It was hugely challenging from a human perspective and a workforce management perspective and looking after our customers and our partners, but people leaned into tech in the absence of face-to-face engagement. So what happened post tech when everybody kind of went back to work physically?

Is they probably felt like maybe we'd oversize some of these contracts and maybe we're not getting the value we need out of this product. So we're needing to turn up for our customers in terms of managing the install base in a really supportive and empathetic way, and helping to match the price of contracts we give with the growth ambitions they have, as well as play the net new acquisition game, which, you know, you're touching on it there, Jared, like it, it has a cost.

It's really difficult. And if you can look after. Your install base, that is a really healthy place to build growth from.

Emilia Janis: And I think just to absolutely tie into that krevin what you just said. I mean we talk about in the e-book as well, I think, you know, with existing customer, even if it means going to premium model and keeping that customer and keeping that habit.

Uh, from the customer using your product, uh, it means you still have a chance to turn things around, uh, further down the line. Uh, so I really think having that plg, uh, thoughts process, uh, active at all times is super

Crevan O'Malley: important.

Jared Fuller: Yeah. I'm gonna launch a quick poll here real quick cuz this is gonna be interesting.

Um, uh, Let's, uh, launch this real quick. Um, alright, so take a look at this. Um, uh, I want to, uh, everyone in the, uh, audience to come, uh, answer this. And um, so if you go to poll here, you should be able to see that and, uh, our panelists can as well. So what role is your number one source of near bound and partner revenue?

So meaning who are you getting this from? What contacts at your partners? Are you getting most of your, you know, sourced revenue from account executives, leadership, CSMs? Who are you getting this from? I wanna see some more come in.

It's interesting cuz I have a point to make. The reason why I publish a poll got a point to make here. I think it's very important. Um, all right. This is just a handful of votes here. Um, For the sake of time. So for tho, those of you that chimed in, um, let me hide this from the stage real quick. I'm like doing some stuff on the fly.

Here's why I think this is so important to bring up, is that I've always found that my best source of pipeline is my partner's CSMs, right? It's not account executives. Why? Because the account executive are typically already sold the deal, and then especially if you're talking more mid-market sales, right?

Or even if you're talking volume, you know Velocity, S M B. You know, they have so many accounts that they don't necessarily have that deep relationship over the customer lifetime, the way that a CSM or AM would. So what does that mean? Well, that means that if we're really gonna be able to drive and source pipeline, then we better be really good partners at helping our partners CSMs save their customers.

Right? So like that's kind of like the inverse play to like, think about this. So, uh, let's talk a little bit about CSMs really quick. Um, Uh, you know, near bound is this word that's kind of like, you know, codifying some motions around sales, marketing and success. When it comes to the C S M side. Um, how are you thinking about surfacing, you know, those opportunities to perhaps give some help back to partners, um, you know, from either a data standpoint or a dashboard standpoint, and proactively work out like c s m to c S M?

Right and establish those relationships because if you can, like I said, that's, you help that C S M and then they own two accounts you want to go after. You're right. That's your best path to partner source pipeline, in my opinion. Comments or feedback on, uh, the c s m play on helping them first to utilize them as a, you know, revenue play later?

Crevan O'Malley: De definitely, definitely hugely, positively disposed towards the C S M organization. And you kind of got me thinking, listening to the point you were making, um, I'm not sharing anything commercially sensitive here, but you know, we would be fairly well known for an inbound model of lead creation. And there are many.

Uh, pats by which an inbound lead lands on the table of our salesperson. Okay. The most interesting lead that lands on our salesperson in terms of the ability to close it and the value of that deal is what we call service qualified leads. So leads from our CSM team. So there's an interesting dynamic there between sales professionals and success teams that probably.

You know, salespeople and as a salesperson, I make this comment, we may not leverage and we may not use and, um, amplify as much as we possibly could. There is gold within the depth of knowledge that a CSL knows the account, which will always be to a much more advanced level than the salesperson, to your point.

So it's a really interesting point. And, and in HubSpot, those service qualified leads, Are the most valuable for us. So there's, there's definitely truth in what you say. There's interesting

Emilia Janis: for us ahead, we're at One Flow as well. Sorry Jared. It's a hundred Truth for us here at One Flow as well, like with tech partners, uh, CSM is our.

Is our best chance at, at a really high quality lead. Uh, and also like if you look at sales cycle and, and hit rate, uh, if you would compare getting a sales executive lead or an account executive lead, or a CSM executive lead, uh, I don't know the truth to this, but gut feeling is that, uh, the, it's, it's higher and better with the CSM lead.

However, with, with other types of partner, more commercial partners, I think, you know, it's, uh, that doesn't necessarily ha. Necessarily even have a CSM as a, as a title role, uh, within, I don't know how you work with titles, Andrew, at over avidly, but with, with solution, um, partners, we work closely with the consultants, which is the equivalent really, of a csm, the, the one that is out with the partner, knowing the partner, meeting them every day, uh, and has really the year to the ground.

So, so yeah, a hundred percent CSM is the way for those.

Andrew Thomas: for sure. Yeah. We, we, we have like a consultant, the sort of client success team, but they're more on the service side. But for sure they're, they're bringing the problem from the client. They're taking that through and they can feed that straight back.

And it's the discovery's done, the qualification's done it. You're already two thirds the way through the process. And, um, yeah, it's, it's exactly the same. And I think that goes back to the, the original chat on growth, generally on how we position. Growth within the platform for us as an agency, you would 100% almost just, just use that really from our side if we can.

Um, it is hard to like say, throw the kitchen sinking. If it's not necessary. We don't wanna do that. That's gonna disrupt things. So doing it the inverse way is, um, is much safer and, um, much more strategic. And yeah, it's, it's a much better approach.

Jared Fuller: Uh, I'm gonna give, um, everyone the homework is, go ahead. Go ahead Amelia.

I was

Emilia Janis: just gonna say that, and as a tech provider, the, the, the most, uh, critical thing for us is to be top of mind there with those, with those CSM and with those client solution managers. So consultants, and that's really the, the biggest struggle. Uh, but if you manage to do that, as you say, Andrew, you have a really, well, it's not the fit in the door, it's all most assigned signed contract

Andrew Thomas: already.

The, yeah, the, the, the last part on that from our side is that where the, the key is that it was a, Provider to us. If you guys train support and we have that good flow back and forward, that's the key. I think if we, you know, bring a, um, a service led lead that's wrong, like to you guys, that's disruptive. So I think having a good internal training support for our CSMs, which HubSpot have a fantastic mm-hmm.

Approach. And we have like, as a sort of customer success lead within avidly as well, speaking with people at. At, at a different level over the whole accounts that we all work on and have more strategic discussions. It's, it's great to have that training alongside, um, you know, the other types of support.

So, yeah, it's

Crevan O'Malley: key, I think. I think the theme at this point sort of suggests there's a risk in buyers, uh, That, you know, potentially we haven't completely mapped out our service. So obviously CSMs in HubSpot are anywhere they're, they're giving leads on the install based customers. So in terms of job description, they don't have a role with net new.

It's all about the customers that are in our book, and we try to retain, we try to cross, we try to upsell. Um, but in our most complicated engagements, um, you know, maybe larger deals that are on the line, you know, the, the purchasing decision is nearly. It's not easy, but it's nearly easier than mapping out what the future stake looks like, and we've actually used some of our CSM people on net new acquisitions, so I'm not talking about customers to try to win the deal, to map out and to let them see and know this individual.

This is going to be my go-to person for the long term, not you, Mr. Or Mr. Mrs. Sales executive, even though we think we do an amazing job, um, the relationship is at the service level. So we've gotta get that mix right between giving customers what they want, even on the way in as opposed to growing


Jared Fuller: nurturing.

Right, right. My, uh, my good friend Joe Row calls it, uh, every time I've accidentally called it the, the sales to see us handoff. She says, hug. It's a hug. You know, like, you need to embrace before the deal's closed. Do it live. It's a hug. It's not a handoff. I'm like, okay. Very fair. Um, and I wanna give some homework or, uh, be happy to hear this in chat, and you can ask any questions around this.

Um, this conversation really precipitated an interesting thought for me. Like, I'm actually geeking out on this live with you all right. Now it's like, How could we as uh, you know, profession proactively build some sort of program or ability for us to proactively seek, let's say for example, you have 5, 10, 20 target partners this quarter.

Whatever that number is, and really do an audit or assessment of the CS team where they're proactively listening and looking through their accounts. Like, okay, I have, you know, a hundred accounts in my name as a C S M, these 15 overlap with that customer. These three though, these are all risks, right? I see.

Like they have business problems going on, they have these other things going on, whatever. Okay. Fantastic. You have three accounts where you see as risk for that partner and you could trade intel and notes to help. Yes. Fantastic. What c s m is not gonna take an email from you where it's like, Hey, we identified three accounts where, uh, we potentially identified some risk.

Do you wanna hop on and talk about how we could, you know, potentially help save them? Um, I also noticed that there's, uh, three accounts that you have right? Where, um, we're trying to break into an opportunity, maybe we could trade some notes. You know, like that's putting your ecosystems right, like customer health and retention first.

And it's showing that, uh, I've been saying that trust comes from helping people reach their promised land. Like that's how you build trust is that you're actually going to them proactively, not with, Hey, I wanna talk to you about this account. You're going with them and saying, Hey, I wanna talk to you about two of your customers.

So I brought my C S m. I also have a few questions about a couple of years if you're open to that. No one's not gonna take that deal. Everyone's gonna take that deal every time. And I think that's why I've always had some conviction that great partner programs need to start with customer success because that's your source of leads, that's your source of pipeline, that's how you impact the business long term.

Uh, and if you're just starting on the acquisition side, just starting there like, Hey, how do we source this first deal with this partner? You're not gonna be able to get to the place that we just talked about. Right where you could go to your CSM base and like set up all these meetings with your CSMs and your top partners and really, you know, put a campaign together.

So, uh, would love anyone's comments on that. Um, in the chat or kind of q and a, we have a handful of minutes left here. I wanna thank Amelia, Andrew Gre, everybody for coming together. Um, this has been fun. It's been fun. Thank you. Hard, hard topic, but like, I feel like we're the best lever that our companies have right now.

To be able to put together plays like this and think, think about that proactively, you know, that, that intel is, you know, one CSMs only gonna have so much information about an account, your ecosystem of CSMs. Like you start to have a lot more intel on this. Yeah,

Crevan O'Malley: there's a, there's a comment just to plus one what you've, what you've said there, Jared.

I think it was, uh, asco, the, the CSO over with you, Amelia, who said it. Maybe it was not in that last chapter, but I enjoyed the last page of the playbook. I'd encourage everybody to read it. Um, But he talked about, you know, Watching this webinar, uh, reading the playbook, that's not the answer in of itself.

If this prompts a discussion by like-minded people within your business, then you're likely to end up with positive action of the kind that you just summarized there, Jared, where people go, you know what? We've got some shared customers with avidly. Let's get the equivalent person in Andrew's organization on a call, have a conversation.

Cause if we turn up to our customers like that, then we're not in that sensitive price discussion. Then we're actually adding value and we're we're solving problems. So, yeah, I think this is not a one point destination. We gotta keep this conversation going in the businesses that we operate in to try and to try and serve customers better.

Jared Fuller: Yeah. Then you start building near bound success dashboards and showing like, oh, our CSMs helped out, you know, 25 accounts of our partners last month, and then 50 accounts the next month and then 60 or whatever. And then just watch the pipeline start to come after that, right? Like, you help someone, they're willing to help you.

Um, and so that's been my new kick. It's like, help first not give first giving consent swag. No one cares about swag or tchotchkes, right? But helping them with one of their accounts. That's where you're gonna build trust. Yeah. Um, bring those things to the table. Um, I wasn't seeing any q and a, any other last minute comments?

Um, oh, uh, Tom fully agreeing with the CSM role, they also have that, uh, role of giving red flags as they know what is expected from customers side as much as what can be done internally with partners. Absolutely. Absolutely. Tom. Um,

Crevan O'Malley: I think one last comment for me, um, you know, the, the playbook says it, I think we said it at the top of the call.

It's tough. Like this is not easy stuff. And I think when you join a call like this, hopefully some people and have these kind of conversations within your own company, you just get a little bit of energy. You get a little bit of inspiration and ideas. Um, but I also think those kinds of people and those kinds of companies will navigate the hard parts.

Better and for sure economies operate in cycles, uh, for ourselves and for our customers. We need to be there when things turn, and I think the companies who lean into this type of discussion will lightly emerge, I think, in a more positive manner. So yeah, really enjoy the conversation and thanks for having me.

Jared Fuller: Absolutely. Um, well, uh, ending with that, I'm, uh, definitely taking note on going back to the ecosystem, talking to you all again about the partner, C s M to pipeline play, how to offer help and identify risk and then go back and like utilize that for like, Hey, here's two accounts that seem like might be a risk for you.

Here's how I'm gonna generate that. Um, definitely wanna produce some more content on that. Thanks everyone for attending. Um, one Flow, HubSpot Avidly partner hacker piece out. We will see you all next time. Thanks so much.

Crevan O'Malley: Thanks guys. Bye. Bye. Thanks folks.

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