What is up PartnerUp!
Mike Stocker, VP of Partnerships at CallRail, shares his four lenses for measuring partner success. He highlights the struggle many partnership teams face in terms of resourcing and buy-in from the wider organization. Mike emphasizes how this can lead to a lack of prioritization toward building integrations, which is detrimental to the company as a whole.
He also touches on the power of becoming a trusted advisor in your customers’ eyes.
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Jared Fuller 0:05
All right, what is up, partner up? We're back. And Isaac and I've been trading off a little bit because right now today, I'm super excited. I'm about to go surprise him soon as I'm done with this conversation. He's moved down to Tampa Bay St. Pete, Florida where new partner hacker reveal us state HQ will soon be coming and partner hacker studio. So I'm very excited about that. So I'm holding down the fort today. But it's all good, because I have a longtime friend, and someone I'm really excited to have on the podcast today. Mike stocker VP of partnerships at CallRail. Mike,
Mike Stocker 0:39
what is up? Hey, Jared, yeah, nice to be here with you, Ben, Ben been listening for, you know, a long time now and watching the growth of the podcast and everything. And remember you jumping up on the table last year at SAS connect, and, you know, announcing the whole, you know, partner hacker and everything. And now look at the growth that you've seen. So congrats on all that success.
Jared Fuller 1:02
We wanted to spark a movement given the opportunity that partnerships had and I mean, Mike, you've seen enough cycles. You know, like, tell us a little bit I typically don't get into the stories too much. But you've had a an interesting, kind of like partner background and experience on how you ended up but prior to call rail was roadworks, you know, next roll, like the kind of advertising space, but even prior to that, I feel like your background was a little bit atypical.
Mike Stocker 1:31
I I'd love to just unpack that really briefly, kind of, because you've seen a little bit at roll works, I was the SVP of partnerships and grew the team from just me, so one person to you know, multiple folks. But before that, was that a couple of great companies. So with that, it's now called meta but Facebook, where I was actually on there GMs, so global marketing solutions partner team. And I manage all of their strategic Mar tech partnerships, I think like HubSpot, and Salesforce and, and some of the large, large platforms and their interaction with Facebook. So that was really exciting. Because Facebook was, you know, at their heart, it's an ad tech company. They don't ever want to be called an ad tech company, but you know, they are an ad tech company. And then they don't really understand Mar tech, it was kind of this like, different world for them. So, you know, trying to bridge between a Salesforce or a HubSpot, who are large companies of their own with with a Facebook was really an interesting role. So that so that was fun and happy to kind of share more about that. But before that was VP of partnerships at Vinyard, which is the video company. And then before that was at Marketo. And you mentioned I had kind of an interesting path, right, I was actually leading our customer success team at Marketo, back in 2012 2013. And then moved into partnerships and help build the launch point partner ecosystem alongside, you know, a lot of people that this podcast probably would know. So Lou Pelosi back in the day, and Robin written our and Emir Lindo, and a lot of those folks, Andy Choi, who helped build that ecosystem. And so being at Marketo, and actually seeing them grow the partner ecosystem. It was really interesting back then, because it was it was focused more on like building apps and integrations and not necessarily on all the other ways that partnerships can impact that business. So yeah, I've had a unique journey. And then, you know, long before that, I actually founded and sold my own company. So I was an entrepreneur. And I think there's some interesting insights that I can share there that entrepreneurialism is actually really good. If you want to be in partnerships. We can certainly chat about that a little bit.
Jared Fuller 3:40
Totally. And I love that experience. And I said, you know, kind of what's old is new again. A lot of folks I published an article this week, that was just just a thought that I had, I'm like, Hey, I'm gonna surprise the team and drop a surprise op ed on partner hacker didn't even tell him and just published it. And everyone's like, Oh, you wrote a piece today. And I made the analogy that partnerships is the America of SAS. Because technically, no one actually is America, like we all come from somewhere else. And partnerships is kind of that same way. So there's so many people we meet on a daily basis. And you know, I get DMS, from people on LinkedIn on the daily of like, hey, just started listening to partnership, a partner up, I'm the first time in a partner role from CES, from sales, from marketing, from research from product from all of these various different backgrounds. And then we kind of come together, but the reality is, there's actually not a ton of people that have seen as many cycles as us. So I think, to your point about entrepreneurship, too, it's like, a lot of our best talent ends up becoming entrepreneurs. Right? So if you look like an Adam Michalsky for example, like he was doing some upgraded incredible stuff over a branch and then you know, obviously partnered and cross beam I tend to think that I'm a decent revenue leader and partner leader and then you know, go and start my own thing and you know, do that same stuff. or pika Pooja right from HubSpot, now CEO of data box, Bobby Napal Tonia, Salesforce AppExchange is now you know, CEO for hire. But I think, you know, at the end of the day, the reality is is like, why is why is there so much, you know, overlap, it's because partnerships touch all sides of the business as an entrepreneur, you certainly need to be full stack, right? Like, if you're just the sales leader, you're just the product leader, you're gonna have a hard time as a CEO the same way that in partnerships, you're gonna have a hard time, if you're siloed, into one department, when we were talking on some of the call prep, you brought up these four lenses on and how you've kind of, you know, manage the board, manage the CEO and make sure that you're placing your bets correctly, let's, let's unpack those four lenses for measuring and measuring the impact of partnerships.
Mike Stocker 5:55
Sure, yeah, thanks, Jared. And I'd like to start with actually a funny story. So I actually just joined call rail two months ago, two and a half months ago, so I was in the job market. And this came up a lot. And actually, I got an introduction from one of my previous partners. When I was at railworks, I worked with an agency called smartbug media, and their CEO is an amazing woman named Jen Spencer, shout out, Jin, shout out to Jen, Jen is awesome. One of the best people out there. So when I was looking for roles, she actually was very generous with her time. And she introduced me to someone. And in the introduction, she said, she was at a pavilion, a meet up for executives. And she talked to the guy and she's, you know, they were talking about good partner people what it took to be a good partner person. And she said, it really needs someone that's like a mini CEO in a company. And so when she introduced me, she said to this, this other person that she was making the intro to, she said, Mike is the real deal. He is like a mini CEO, like we talked about the touches on all the different areas that you need to do to actually effectively run a partnership team. And I really appreciated that because of my background as being my own CEO and an entrepreneur, is that to run and partnerships, effectively, you do have to touch on many different areas. And so So the four lenses, like bringing it back to that, you know, I I've run partnership teams, I've grown partnership teams, one of the areas that we always are we face as a challenge is resourcing, and getting executives to have buy in to support the partnership function, to build integrations, to put them on the roadmap to prioritize them. I mean, I'm sure you've got a lot of people on the podcast to talk about this is right, it's a challenge for all of us in partnerships is getting this resource. So what I did is I said to myself, alright, I'm going to take on partnerships, I want to actually have a top track, and I'm gonna have a narrative on how to look at partnerships that aligns with all the different teams of a company. And that's where I came up with this kind of a mental framework that I use, it's called, you know, kind of the four lenses. And so I'll walk through those four lenses, and kind of talk about my thoughts there. And then, you know, we can dive into it. So the four that I look at, you know, the partners drive impact from there's four areas. So the first one is increased market presence. So increased market presence is also a share of voice. Some people talk about their brand presence in market. And so this is achieved through co marketing with partners. This is one of the early benefits that you can get from any partnership. But it's like thought leadership content, its case studies, its webinars, its events, its joint Demand Jam together. So all of those things are a major lens that you should evaluate a future partnership is like, is it going to help increase your market presence through all those things I mentioned? And one of the metrics that you might want to look at is like, what are the percentage of all your marketing campaigns that have a partner involved at roadworks author the stat out, I think it was 70, or 80% of all marketing campaigns actually had a partner involved. That's a pretty high percentage. But that's what you want to see. You want to see your partner is actively involved. So increased market presence number one,
Jared Fuller 9:12
I love how you talked about the percentage of marketing campaigns with partners attached? Because there's been I'm not sure if you've seen Chris Walker on LinkedIn, kind of like marketing dark social guy been fairly popular lately. And what's he railing against? That was no pun intended with call rail. But what what's what's he like, really against right now is he's really against marketing attribution in a lot of ways how it's fundamentally broken in the new era force. Not Not everything, but just, let's say a panacea, right. It's not a silver bullet. What's so interesting is that I think near bound marketing, partner marketing, whatever it is, instead of looking at partner attribution, which is actually that's pretty Pretty tough like to say, was it this ad? Was it this email? Was it this partner? I think you just look at partner attach rate to marketing activities and for the marketing activities that have partners attached, did they convert better and generate more pipeline than ones that didn't? If they do, then continue to invest? If not figure out why. And that eliminates, I think the need for attribution is when you show that consistently, partner attached to marketing, increases conversion or pipeline or whatever metric you want to look through it. And the fact that you arrive somewhat similarly to that conclusion without his talking prior, I think is interesting. So I hadn't seen too many people measuring it that way. Tell me a little bit why you landed on percentage of, you know, marketing campaigns with partners attached?
Mike Stocker 10:47
Yeah, yeah, I think because. So. So the other metric that a lot of folks talk about is partner inputs. Right. And so partner influences, you know, was a partner somehow impactful? In a deal, right. And so a lot of times, partner influence was what was talked about as the marketing impact, like, was the partner involved in one of these marketing campaigns was it tagged appropriately, all this stuff? And then it got into these arguments with marketing. So you actually had partnerships in opposition to marketing in some cases? Because you had you had your executives, your CEO, or your president saying, so who drove the credit? And who do I allocate resources to based on that, and I said, That's a false dichotomy that doesn't work. Like you can't take resources away from marketing, to give to partnerships, because of this weird attribution thing. It doesn't work that way. If anything, like if you're looking at partner influence, or you're looking at this percentage of marketing campaigns with a partner involved, it's an overlay view. It doesn't it doesn't say, take resources from one pot and put it in the other.
Jared Fuller 11:53
Whenever I was at Drift, we did a ton of partner marketing, so to speak, or maybe this is where you might, like near bound might be more appropriate or ecosystem or something like that is with companies where we're technically we did not have any partner agreements signed whatsoever. Right. So for example, we would do, you know, events with companies like Gong, but there wasn't technically an integration. And there wasn't technically, you know, any service partnership. And it was a great relationship where we worked things together all the time. And it allowed, it allowed me whenever working with Dave Gearhart, who, you know, in DC, who are incredible marketers, you know, I learned as much from them as I have from anyone to bring things to the table that I otherwise would not have as a as a as a partner leader, right? Like, if I was only thinking about like, Oh, me getting credit. It's like, well, those aren't partners. Like, so like partner development, you can partner up with some big brands and do some cool things for events, but all the way downstream to, you know, making sure that if there is a niche topic, or there is a geo or territory, you start to realize, like, oh, I can also take some accountability for helping marketing. What does that mean? That like, if marketing isn't doing great, how do I supplement and make sure I understand their plan? So you kind of like, get ahead of the marketing plan? Like, maybe a vector by which to view like, are you aligned with marketing would be as simple as understanding? Okay, are you involved in the campaign planning process like okay, next quarter or next half year or whatever? Are you involved in those discussions? Are
Mike Stocker 13:30
you delivered it just showing up more in market? Is is how you should look at like the partnership? Are you is your brand presence increasing? Is your share voice increasing? Are you showing up more in market, I think that that's one very important lens that I look at for for partnerships and the partner impact,
Jared Fuller 13:48
it may not be the best place to start. But I would say that partner marketing, you're bound marketing and things like new events, you know, many events will have webinars, whatever. Those are the most no brainer ROI positive things to do once you've established a program there, they can have the widest impact. And if your marketing organization is doing any semblance of events, or webinars, to not have a partner involved, is to assume full responsibility of the CAC. What do I mean by that? It means that like, hey, we have partners and we could split the CAC one way, two way, three way four way and we can increase the reach 2x 3x 4x 5x But we're choosing to not do any of that. Right. Like, by virtue of it only being one company doing the marketing. It's to an audience that is already known. You cannot market your event to people that don't know you like you only market to people that do know you unless you're going to spend money on ads, right?
Mike Stocker 14:44
Or something like that. So it's it's, it's such, I think the biggest lever may not be the best place to start, but it's often the biggest lever. Let's talk about the second lens, Mike, partner source revenue partners can drive source revenue, right? And we all know that, but I think the area that you see that most successful is things like agency referrals, agency resales, resale partners. So that world that that's very well understood channel partners through agency referral, resale all that. That's really well understood and it's a big source here call rail. We drive something like 35 to 40% of our total revenue that comes through that agency program. That's awesome.
Jared Fuller 15:23
We're not talking about like dozens of partners here or hundreds. We're talking about 1000s of partners of Marlboro, right?
Mike Stocker 15:29
Yeah, yeah. So so call rail, you know, call rail has a large agency program, we have something like 7000 agency partners. Wow. I think I heard somewhere that HubSpot has 7000. agency partners. So we have as many agency partners as HubSpot sounds crazy, but yes, call rail has 7000 agency partners, and they drive that big chunk of our of our revenue. So that's a well understood motion. Right. What I think is a more interesting area that I think a lot of partner leaders struggle with, is partner source revenue coming from other places, tech and strategic partners, for example. And so I kind of wanted to chat about that as well. But there's a couple of paths that this can take. So being listed in the marketplace is that's becoming more common. So we see you know, the AWS Marketplace, HubSpot, App Exchange, Salesforce, AppExchange, or sorry HubSpot app ecosystem, that Salesforce has AppExchange, snowflakes data marketplace that they have, even a tools like test box has, where you can actually go and see different software's Nacho Nacho is another very small one, you know, where they're, they're doing some of this stuff in a marketplace. Those actually are considered partner sourced in some cases, because these are partners that you build something to and integration or you get listed in their exchange, they can actually drive deal flow to you. Now sometimes it's a lot, sometimes it's, it's not so much. But those are people that are going and looking for solutions and finding you there,
Jared Fuller 17:00
I wouldn't have expected you to open up with that comment. Because anytime, or typically, whenever you're hearing partner source revenue, especially under the auspices of reporting to the CRO, you're typically, you know, thinking directly from, oh, I worked my partner account, and I got this referral from this, you know, direct person. And this was a very different way of kind of reporting into sales revenue and source. Briefly, how does that then, like, that seems somewhere between marketing and sales in terms of source? Whenever you're working marketplaces or something like that, how do you just quickly navigate the marketing versus sales side?
Mike Stocker 17:39
Yeah, it's a really good question. So So and each of these is different. You notice I didn't say G two, for example, in the marketplaces, right? G two is clearly a kind of a marketing realm, that is where marketing goes, you get customer marketing reviews, and this kind of thing. That is a marketing area. Some of the other ones like AWS, you actually have to build a way for them to track when you're driving deal flow to each other. You have to be platformed, on AWS, for example. So there is some piece of an integration there. HubSpot, you have to have an integration with to be part of the app marketplace, Salesforce, same same kind of thing, snowflake, same kind of thing. So I'd say if there is if there is a type of integration that has to happen, in order for the referral to be tracked, and then also to be referred to you or to be sent to your business, that to me feels much more like a partnership than a listing, just a pure listing.
Jared Fuller 18:39
The other thing to think about too, if you want to get super advanced, I learned this play a couple times. And I'm not sure if you've experienced one, that's totally fine. If there's not an anecdote you'd want to share is once you get through the Marketplace kind of thing, and you start maturing with one of those partners. where things can get really fun is where you identify parts of the journey of let's say, you go through like a HubSpot or an SMB platform, let's say they have a large volume of signups, you identify a portion of their journey, where you fit in very well and you try to work your way into let's say, a nurture sequence or into an in app pop up or into like a recommended, you know, integrations. And a lot of teams are getting much more sophisticated with this, for example, like zero, so x e, Aro, big QuickBooks competitor, they got really big into personalization. And whenever you'd signed up as a customer of Xero. And you went back to the homepage, the homepage became all about integrations, for example, right? And depending on what you clicked on would kind of change the homepage. So if you knew what you were doing and trying to get more mature, you could get your stuff up in there, which then becomes more what potentially partner source revenue so big lever and it has legs. So let's say those marketplace listings kind of like hey, there's only has so much traffic, maybe gradually increasing the that play does not stop just with getting listed. You can figure out ways to get into the nurturer or like in app experience or personalization, or even marketing automation that can generate more partner sources. Well,
Mike Stocker 20:12
Jared, you must be you must be reading from my notes. And we actually didn't chat about this beforehand. But the other path that I was gonna go down that strategic and tech partnerships can drive source revenue, it's actually by embedding your product within the flow in the platform. So that's things like, yeah, it's like, you know, Pentos or messaging or within the customer flow in some way. I've seen that work really well in a number of different places. And so, you know, one example I'll give you is from roadworks roadworks partnered with a company called Open sense, they're an email signature platform, really built a deep integration into into role works, that you could actually from within railworks, you could actually set up an email signature campaign all from within the roadworks UI, and then it would trigger off and send it to, to open sense and then they would power it. But all of the setup and everything that happened and the targeting and that was actually happening in roadwork. So open sense was kind of built into railworks, if you will, and and that was able to make it so that customers could leverage both platforms, right, in conjunction with each other, get more value from it. But then we at roadworks were able to send quite a few prospects and customers over to open sense because of that tight integration. So we became actually a source of deal flow for them. And it was a really great relationship that was just one here at call rail, like we have several where you know, call rail provides call tracking capabilities. So if you think about different platforms, where call tracking could be valuable, well, it's like when you're creating an ad campaign, you don't you want to, you know, potentially have a drop down and click to add call tracking to your marketing campaigns, right? There's a lot of value in where if we were embedded into some of these different platforms, to add the call tracking capability, you know, that would become sourced, we would actually get deal flow from that, right, and it could drive it right into we're product lead growth company, so could drive it right into a free trial flow. And if it converts, then we pay a rev share off to that partner. And that's real. That's really powerful.
Jared Fuller 22:25
And this is where the comments about the you know, like your CEO experience, make make a ton of sense and thinking like a mini CEO, because I think I call them at the bottom of these plays is like okay marketplaces to like full maturity might be like, powered by partnership. And yep, powered by partnership with a minimum commit deal. Like that's kind of like the ultimate upside, where it's like, oh, I just booked $2 million in revenue, like that's a closed deal, book it in Salesforce, hey, you start to be able to do things like that that's that's partner revenue baby. At the bottom layer above for marketplaces might be integrating into the email nurture journey on a customer account or a trigger workflow. And then when you start getting into the Power BI partnership type of things. There's two things that I heard from you that I've experienced firsthand. So like, folks, listen to Mike, he knows what he's talking about. I've done the same thing. So from Panda doc, we did HubSpot CRM, we got into their onboarding journey, 50,000 emails, you know, going out a week about panda doc, pretty good, you know, like pretty good like that. That was something I couldn't have done on my own. And then, you know, at Drift, we got to a place where we were, you know, embedding six cents, powered by six cents, or powered by clear bid, or demand base, or, you know, whoever, inside of the drift app where what we were also doing is driving customers back to them. But what did that mean? Well, that meant that my reps being able to co sell or let's say, let's say run a nearby and sells play onto one of their accounts. All of a sudden, that flywheel was much more open and much more. They were not only willing, but they've almost felt obligated to write. It's like, Hey, you guys have done a lot for us. You've done a lot of business our way where we were able to actually drive a significant amount of our success on top of the ISV program. And then I might end with one other thing because I think this is such an important thing for you to think like if you want to be a great partner leader, where the entrepreneurial mindset comes in is what can that do to your product at large to help think like a revenue leader that is not just thinking about partners sourced revenue from an opportunity standpoint, what do I mean? Whenever we did this adrift, we launched drift Intel drift Intel like so what did we do? We didn't just call it powered by six cents. It was like drift Intel powered by. But that allowed us to go from Mike we had a $500 plan per month so six grand a year pretty cheap. In the SAS world. We went to $1,500 with a new plan, I was able to introduce an entirely new SKU that was 100% differentiated it solely by powered by partnerships, right? So there was a portion of that, that we paid to our partners, but it allowed my sellers and our BI business to go. We just tripled our ASP. I mean, folks like that that's revenue you can you can toss that up and go hang your hat on that, like you weren't getting that absent that partnership. So big lever to call out. I love that. These are all things that like I agree with, and no, but I've never put it into these four lenses. I'm like, This is so simple. I love it. I am curious, your point of view on let's say traditional Lee thought of, or at least currently thought of, let's say partners source revenue, where people are thinking partner managers working a book of partner accounts, doing account mapping, and trying to go Oh, you closed that customer two months ago? Getting some intel in perhaps trying to work a referral out of it? What's your opinion on that play from a partner manager potentially trying to source revenue via that direction?
Mike Stocker 26:03
Yeah, I have pretty strong opinions on this. So I think you can't be naked about it. It can't be like, Hey, you did this this way? Can you send me more you can't be, I guess what I'm trying to get on is you can't be a greedy partner manager and saying, Send me referrals. That doesn't work in today's world, right? It has to be a reciprocal partnership, where there's mutual value that you're exchanging, I mean, something like for every three, sorry, for every one referral that you send to a partner, the stat is that you'll get something like three in return. And so we all as partner managers have to realize that you have to give to get, it's got to be reciprocal, it's got to have value, right? And so just asking for, like, hey, we did this, like you have to go in with context, you have to go and prepare, you have to say like, this is what I would like to see. And this is why this is why I'm making the ask. And I think if you go in with that, and it's well thought out, then I think it makes sense. So you know, whenever I've done the kind of CO selling motion or introducing someone from our sales team, or our partner team to a, another partners, sales team, or customer success team. I always say like, write up what you want to ask. Write it up beforehand, think it through, what is your ask? Who are you talking to? Who are you working with? What what are all the different things that you want to bring that you want to collaborate on? Right? And make sure that there's a mutual exchange, it can't just be like one sided, like, I don't know who this person is, I want an intro that just doesn't work nowadays, right? You'll quickly lose partners if you do it that way. So I don't know if that answers your question at all, but like, it's gotta be reciprocal.
Jared Fuller 27:44
Bobby Napal Tonia, from Salesforce, I think one of the first pod podcast episodes, I think, actually, number two, his framework, I still love to this day, he talked about a three by three by five or a five by five, list where basically any partner that you're aligning to, and you're doing kind of like a book review, you know, if it's a three by five, it's like, hey, let's get five of your customers that are my my prospects or target accounts, you know, five of my customers that are your targets or prospect accounts, and then five, let's say net new, right, so that's that three by five. So that way you're aligning, and it feels very fair, right across across that bucket, it gives you a little bit more to chew on with a partner so that way, like, you lose one, you lose two with a partner, you lose three, you're screwed. So like, you kind of at least have some at least a win, available kind of in there to set up some success. And I think that's the thing that people need to realize is like, it can't just be like, Hey, how do I get that referral? Like you got to be a little bit more sophisticated to bring that motion to it. All right, fantastic. Let's hop into lens number three.
Mike Stocker 28:52
All right, lens number three. So this one should be obvious. But it may not be for some people, but it's broadening product capabilities. So a partnership and you know, a partnership can you can have one without an integration. But if you have an integration, it broadens your product capabilities. So there's been a lot of reports lately, where they asked software buyers what the most important buying factor was. And surprisingly, it wasn't price or feature set. It was actually interconnectivity. Does it work with the other tools in their current tech stack? I was actually shocked by that. Like, honestly, I thought, oh, it's feature set or something, right? No, it actually turned out that most of the respondents said that they evaluate when they're buying software, does it work? Or will it integrate with the other pieces of their tech stack? And that's all about partner integrations. And that's why a lot of us talk so much about this this area. So having those integrations helps you win deals, right if that is one of the top criteria or the top criteria. Having interconnectivity having integrations that helps you win deals, period, right So, for you know, there's a there's a couple of great examples that I can share with you on this. But you know, what's what's a great example that I can share with you here. railworks has a very strong integration with HubSpot, for example, that helped them win deals against competitors in the market. You know, the we're like seen as the ABM platform that worked best with HubSpot. So therefore, like they were a product market fit, they had good connectivity with data flows into HubSpot. And they were able to go in win great market share within that ecosystem, right. So that's one they've grown and seen good success.
Jared Fuller 30:40
And you had much better alignment between railworks and HubSpot, and kind of like ICP overlap and strategic reason to be there versus someone like a demand base coming from the top down to the biggest enterprise where it was just going to be really hard, like rollers obviously could serve lots of different customers of many different types. But DemandBase truly was selling you know, high six figure seven figure deals, and that's pretty rare inside of HubSpot land, right? Like it. That's right, it's gonna be difficult for them to match up. So it makes a ton of sense that you can extend that product capability and align with a partner.
Mike Stocker 31:12
You know, even here at CallRail. Like, we partner with a company called assembly AI, we've we've announced where we have an integration to help us do some of the AI work that we do to you know, they're great technology that they're coming out with, they're rapidly iterating on on AI is just changing, like so fast. But it actually helps power a lot of what we do, and it helps us provide a more robust capability set to our customers. And so that's an example of a partnership with an AI company that is actually deeply embedded into our product. And it helps us offer a more complete solution and then offer, you know, more cutting edge technology to to the end customer. Right. It helps us win deals. And so, you know, you see that like partnership and integrations in particular helps Win Win deals just just across the board. You know, HubSpot started off with just a custom audience integration in their ads thing where they would send a list of folks to Facebook for targeting right. Then they added in lead ads integration so that leads could actually flow from, from Facebook into HubSpot. So that's data going back into HubSpot. Then they did offline conversions were offline conversions actually could send into Facebook for targeting. And then they built a chat integration. So with HubSpot chat and Facebook, right into some of that, and you start to see that it's it becomes like a web of integrations and capabilities. And by having all those integrations between Facebook and HubSpot, it allowed HubSpot to actually sell more of their HubSpot ads. Right. So that was a pretty awesome thing, we actually saw a lot of growth of the partnership through through that type of deepening of the product capability. So
Jared Fuller 32:51
it's kind of funny how there is from the first lens to the second lens, there's a little bit of overlap between like, you know, marketplaces versus partner marketplaces. And then partner sourced revenue from where you're actually, let's say, driving incremental revenue, let's say through a new line of business, a Power BI feature, like for example, a drift where I were able to launch a new plan, you know, power of feature that you could monetize all the way to like, Okay, now we're extending product capabilities, where I think the, here's the biggest example of all time, and its recent is powered by Chad GPT. Right, I mean, powered by chat. GPT is the most successful platform go to market strategy. We've seen in our lifetimes, whether or not anyone wants to acknowledge that yet. Just look at the millions of results on Google that didn't exist six months ago, right, zero to millions of results. In terms of a product capability in like six months, this is not normal. But the point is, is that demonstrates the power. And now most people most products, actually here's what's ironic, is they're not actually directly monetizing, that they're utilizing that to make their applications better extend capability, it's actually viewed very much from a product lens of fixing things in the customer journey, from onboarding to usage, adoption, utilization, all of these other things where, you know, it's like, it's hard to really eke out another dollar out of that customer, but to go look, we need to be seen as the company that drives the most value, and that innovation is best served through a partner. And that's a very much strategy and product lens. That isn't quite the same as like what we were talking about with powered by partnerships. Whenever it is monetized, I think you can kind of go both you can go powered by and go, Hey, I'm gonna go after that minimum commit million $2 million deal. Or you can go hey, this really aligns with the CPO needing to fix x or y on how we best serve our customers. I think that's a fantastic lens to align with product. And, you know, at the end of the day, they're gonna have probably their own metrics, Mike around, let's say, activation or adoption of like new features, you end up becoming a multi product company. Through the extending capability. You can probably also I'm assuming overlay against some of those key product metrics,
Mike Stocker 34:58
the thing that aligns with with the product team is the adoption of the integration with the partner, how many of your customers are adopting this integration and seeing value from it? Right? So that's one metric. And then the other metric, which is the flip side is the penetration of your customer base. So 5% of your customer base is using the integration with this 40% of your customer base is using your GA for integration with Google Analytics, like that is that is those are two lenses that your chief product officer or your SVP of product, whatever they are, that's what they're looking at, like these integrations that they're building, are they being adopted? Are they being used, and then how many, how much of your customer base is using it, it's just like a product feature. It's just a partner integration, right. And so I think that that's, that's super important. And it actually dovetails perfectly, perfectly into the last lens, you had mentioned filling holes in the customer journey or filling needs or capabilities in the product set. So so, you know, the fourth lens is really around improving retention and renew renewal rates, right. And so I've been talking about this for almost four years. Now. It's sort of like my pet, my pet love. But I mentioned that I was in customer success at Marketo in the very early days. 2012 2013. But I was always interested in like, for those customers that are using partner integration. So for at Marketo, those customers that were turning on launchpoint integrations with certain partners, like what did that do to their retention, renewal rates, right. As a customer success leader, I was looking at what's my NRR? What's my renewal rates, logo, retention, dollar retention, all that. And I think what we're seeing now, so fast forward many years, right, Marketo was 10 years, and I just saw the 10 year anniversary come up, like increasing, we're getting this data that showing that for every integration that's set up with a partner, your customer becomes that much more sticky with your platform. And then we see a step function increase in the per integration and retention renewal rates. And so I think that this is really important for partner leaders to think about, because when you go to your CEO, your president, your board, you say not only do we help with showing up more in market, not only do we help with product capabilities, not only do we help with driving partner source revenue, but guess what we also help make our current customers more sticky, and renew at higher rates, through the integrations that we're building. These are the lenses that you have to look at. These are the four lenses, right, and so when you when you go in, you actually show alignment to each of those major functions. So your chief customer officer for this last one retention renewal, your Chief Product Officer for the product capabilities, your cmo for the marketing, and your CRO for the partner source, you get all of them aligned Allen Allen Adler from Digital Bridge, partners talks all about the importance of alignment with these different leaders.
Jared Fuller 37:50
He got it another one, folks, he got it easy, I cannot escape cannot escape getting Allen out of the office getting shut out Alan Levine, Alan
Mike Stocker 37:59
SATA, SATA Talon, always. But like, you know, so when I think about these lenses, they map to each of those leaders. And they actually allow the partner person to say, here's my impact each of your orcs, this is why you should care. And so then when it comes time for resourcing, or when it comes time to supporting or endorsing something that partnerships is trying to do, guess what you've got now four different leaders in your corner, that are willing to go and work with you willing to give you resources willing to give you their people and their time to help make partnerships more effective, and you will be a more effective leader because you're actually touching on all these different areas of the business where you're driving impact.
Jared Fuller 38:38
Think of it from the perspective of a CSM, all of a sudden, one of your customers, let's say buys a piece of software that you integrate with your CSM could be notified inside of you know, CRM or inside of slack or whatever, hey, this has just been purchased, then you can proactively reach out and go okay, great. Like they just bought this thing, this has been a gap for them as a user as a customer, hey, just saw that, you know, you're moving forward, this let me know how I can help set up the integration, blah, blah, blah, and build that rapport. Or conversely, let's say, you see that there's a, you know, a churn opportunity, right, or, you know, close one, like there's so many ways to align your CS organization to where you're proactively able to reach out and help people get activated, or let's say build reports. And let's say reverse dashboards. So like, one thing that I was really driving was like, hey, I need to see for these integrations, your book of business against the actual actual installs, meaning, hey, here are we'll use Marketo. Here's a cohort of, you know, 900 Marketo, you know, accounts that are drift customers that are Marketo customers. Wait a second. Really only 460 are connected.
Mike Stocker 39:54
Let's go after those other ones.
Jared Fuller 39:56
How did that happen? Like, wait a second, like did you even know it was that bad? Add, it's like fire drill, how can you know immediately you understand how important this becomes wherever you look at that delta, like those customers aren't going to be healthy. When your
Mike Stocker 40:10
customer success teams reach out, I always tell them that even partner account managers, if you're working with an agency or whatnot, if the same thing goes, which is you want to be seen as a trusted adviser. One way that you could be seen as a trusted adviser to your customer is to say, Hey, I saw that, you know, your company is using drift. Did you know that we have an integration to drift, here are the setup docs, let us know if you need help with with setting this up, but you're gonna get an additional value out of this, right, this is gonna make your your business better. And here's why. That's a trusted adviser. And by the way, customers love that they actually go, oh, wow, he, he brought that to my attention, or he or she brought that to my attention, I didn't even know about it. And it's an extra value add and then they become more sticky. And when it comes time for retention for renewal, they're not going to pull you out because you're integrated to all these other places, their workflows would break and other things. And so that's why retention or renewal goes up.
Jared Fuller 41:05
And the insight the insight that you get like one one trick I learned is like, oh, even how you send those emails can be extremely valuable here, like, here's a quick partner hack on the on the success side of it, real simple thing to do, is let's assume that there is that a reverse dashboard of the installs that are like not or the joint customers that are not connected, instead of just saying, hey, why don't you go connect this, you can ask why they haven't. And then send the docs. And what you'll find out is that actually, you'll find some customers that are unhappy with that vendor, and why. And if they're a really important partner to you, you can help them initiate a save, make the customer happy, get it connected and be the hero, right actually help. That's a good one to have on repeat, folks, if you're not orchestrating your business like that, through those four lenses, I highly encourage it, you know, hanging your hat and tying yourself to you know, company overall revenue on an annual basis I always think is like the North Star. But you absolutely need to be able to cascade that across the four buckets. 1,000%. And I think it's just beautifully articulated. Mike, so thanks so much for coming on. As long overdue. We see each other all the conferences speak all the time. Lots of the same people. And so happy to have you on man.
Mike Stocker 42:18
Yeah. Hey, Jerry. This was great. Thank you so much. active listener love listening to the podcast. So this was fun.
Jared Fuller 42:25
Absolutely. Everybody go ahead Mike on LinkedIn, I'm gonna force him to start creating more content with us and partner hacker. Follow up more of his stuff. We got to get his his voice out there. So partner people. If you're not subscribed to partner hacker daily, I have no idea how you found this podcast, go to partner hacker.com sub to the PhD today. And we will see you all next time. Partner up PEACE OUT