PartnerUp #121: It’s Math, Not Magic: Why Partner Attach is King w/ Chief Ecosystem Officer AMG

What is up PartnerUp!

This week, Jared and Isaac are joined by Qualtrics Chief Ecosystem Officer Aaron McGarry (AKA AMG) who breaks down the most difficult revenue market in a decade, why SDRs are getting crushed, and how to heroically fill the gap.

He and Jared go ALL-IN on partner attach rate (PAR) as “the only number that matters,” and defend the claim from all-comers. We get into some supporting data, and walk through how to start moving the needle now with some Nearbound plays - even if your company isn’t fully bought in yet.

Aaron knows his stuff, so get ready to take some notes!

Never miss an episode of the world’s number 1 podcast on partnerships by subscribing to PartnerUp on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you’re a visual person, sub to our YouTube, and see the full recording of us learning out loud.

Share the episode with your commentary on LinkedIn or Twitter and we’ll highlight your commentary. We love to hear your thoughts on each episode, and always comment back or respond to emails/dms. Hey! We’re real people.

Subscribe & Listen On:

  • Apple | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon | Google | RSS
  • Or literally, anywhere you get your podcasts. Seriously. Ask Alexa: “Alexa, play "PartnerUp the Partnerships Podcast” and magic…


  • What’s the state of the ecosystem? 0:05
    • Welcome to the show, Aaron McGarry.
    • The state of the market.
    • The bigger the ecosystem, the more successful the business is.
    • The next generation is all about ecosystem lead.
    • The relationship between partnerships and sales is starting to unfold.
    • Ecosystem-led deals are dramatically more qualified.
  • How much should we be pushing the full-blown strategy? 7:05
    • Goal is 100% partner-attached in the next year.
    • The three Is strategy.
    • The state of the market.
    • How to get wins on the board quickly.
  • Training and enablement for partners. 11:52
    • Training enablement programs for enterprise sales reps.
    • Nearbound is not a strategy for aligning c-suite.
    • Outbound activity is on a steady decline.
    • The macroeconomic environment is changing.
    • Why walking into a procurement blind is not a good idea.
    • Breaking free from ecosystems.
  • The key difference between scale and speed of decision. 18:33
    • Tapping into people buyers trust for intelligence and influence.
    • The key difference between good sales and bad sales.
    • The holy grail of partner attach.
    • Why people have a visceral reaction to attach.
    • Why attach is the only metric that matters.
    • Avoiding the pitfalls of attach.
  • Aaron’s take on how to measure attach. 26:17
    • Simple cohort analysis to measure partner attached vs not.
    • How to eliminate the attribution debate.
    • The reality of how a deal gets done.
    • How deals are done at scale.
    • Getting in the debate before the aggregate has even been analyzed.
    • The attribution battle across ecosystems.
  • Running a Nearbound play. 33:51
    • Recognizing multi-touch points in the buyer journey.
    • The 28 unique moments across a buyer's journey.
    • Ivory tower intellectualism vs real-life data sets.
    • Living in market vs ivory tower.
  • The importance of being hyper-transparent. 39:06
    • The importance of hyper-transparency and hyper-education.
    • When is it too late to make changes.
    • Market leaders are already pivoting and shifting quickly into the area.
    • The groundswell is happening.
  • The key to aligning partner attach and operationalizing it. 43:57
    • What it takes to be a chief ecosystem officer.
  • registration early. 45:45
    • Early registrants get special perks and free handbooks.
    • Check out the newgrounds sales blueprint.

Full Transcript:

Jared Fuller 0:05
All right, what is up, partner up? We're back. I got Isaac in the chair and my favorite thing in the world, Isaac, it's someone that's a lot like me.

Isaac Morehouse 0:16
You love you love you some you hearing another person say stuff? That sounds exactly like stuff. You've been saying. I saw that look on your face, you're like, yes. See? See, you know.

Jared Fuller 0:29
So what's up, everybody? We have Aaron McGarry in the chair, the chief ecosystem officer Qualtrics. Aaron, welcome to partner up.

Aaron McGarry 0:37
Thanks, guys, I appreciate you having me. I'll take it as a compliment that that we think very similar leader,

Jared Fuller 0:43
we got someone that's overseeing, you know, next to close to a billion, it's not quite a billion, I believe. But in round numbers, you were talking a big ecosystem. And I've seen a lot across multiple companies, including Salesforce, and now at Qualtrics. So Aaron, in our kind of like pre calls in catching up before the show, maybe we can kind of start with the state of the market, because I think, you know, everyone in partnerships, that's finally going, You know what, I'm going to make a career here. This is the new, you know, top of the hill, the chief ecosystem officer title. So, talk to me a little bit about why you think, you know, we're sitting right in the saddle of this partnerships, you know, ecosystem moment, what's happening in your alignment with the sales organization and outbound, etc. Maybe let's start there.

Aaron McGarry 1:32
Yeah. Well, let's talk about what's going on in the market. Right? When you when you think about where we're at, companies like Salesforce really figured this out, and we're pioneers around it. If you can build a robust ecosystem, when I say ecosystem, I don't mean just one partner type, right? Not just s eyes or something like that. Right? Your your technology partners, you have platform partners, co innovation partners, resellers, like the whole nine. But what Salesforce and many other companies have done really well is they've figured out that the bigger, badder and broader their ecosystems are in a more than ingrain they are in their go to market, the more successful the overall business can be, you end up seeing higher renewal rates, you see how your customers you see much larger deal sizes, much more strategic deal sizes, and attrition kind of goes to zero, right? If you do it, right, because you created an ecosystem around an ecosystem, which almost I don't want to say locks a customer in, but you kind of get a point right? It becomes so integral and ingrain into what they do. That's very hard to ship, right? It is you build a recurring revenue model company. Those are stats that you really, really, really care about. When you look at the broader macroeconomic environment that's going on right now. What's what's happening, right, it's hard to sell, right? Companies are getting very strategic, where their dollars and where they spend them. And they're leaning and working with their trusted advisors to help guide them through what technology they need to consume, what solutions they need, what problems they need to solve, right. And the ecosystem has a very key moment in history right now to do that. And then you layer in what's happened, right? All of a sudden, it's been, what, 24 months now. We shifted gears, we went from let's go capture massive market share at all costs, right? Doesn't matter if you're profitable, you can still have a successful IPO you killing it, right? Plenty of publicly traded companies not making any money. Right? Now, that game has totally shifted. Everyone cares about profitability. Everyone cares about cost of sale. And I think the ecosystem can play a huge component over the next five to 10 years to completely flip the paradigm of a lot of companies being very, very direct focus, and how they do everything from generating leads, pipeline, everything else, all the way through, you know how you close that business. And all that is very direct focus. I think the next generation is all going to be ecosystem lead, as we had in the future. So it's a very exciting time in the space.

Isaac Morehouse 4:13
You mentioned, when we were chatting before the call you were talking a little bit specifically about within the sales org, what's happening with SDRs. Chat, just chat a little bit more about that. And like that, I think that's a really interesting, like, very specific place where this shift, and the relationship between partnerships and sales is starting to kind of unfold.

Aaron McGarry 4:36
Yeah, no, it's a good question. Really good question, Isaac. So the reality of what we're seeing across the board and I'm not speaking about Qualtrics I'm speaking about the industry as a whole right? And what my peers are all seeing that's happening. For the first time in history STRS are becoming it's not working as well. Well, right, the leads are not as qualified. They're lower value and they're smaller. And companies have invested billions of dollars in that sales motion. And like in the first time in history, that sales motion starting to break, right. At the same time, what we're seeing and I, I'm fortunate, I get to spend a lot of time with mentors and peers around the ecosystem. And I usually try to have four or five conversations a week to understand what's going on, broadly out there, everyone's kind of lining up around the same stuff, which are ecosystem led deals are dramatically more qualified. And I think anyone who's listening to this podcast probably knows why. Right? So we can maybe talk about that a little bit, but I'll target for a second. We know they're dramatically more qualified. We know they close faster, depending on the company, they're three to 10 times the size of direct source deals. And when you look at a go to market model, and how do you make a profitable, go to market model that has best in class cost of sales, that legacy, SDR, BDR, kind of ground game, cold calling type of approach to drive up pipeline, and then ultimately ends up converting into into closed deals. That dynamic is changing underneath our feet, right now. And very, very quickly. You know, if you were to make investments, where would you want to make those investments? Right, right now, taking that lens would you want to invest it in a place that could make you some money, maybe a little bit, right, let's get out high cost sale, or invest in an area where, you know, holistically, those deals are gonna be dramatically larger, stickier, close, faster, be more strategic, have a huge upside that comes later that grows. I think, as people are figuring this out, now, they're all leaning into that direction. And you can see it with some of the motions like huge players, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, the way they're leaning in, is evolving and changing make Google announced they want to drive 100% partner attach as an example,

Jared Fuller 7:05
there was a another company, which I won't name, but it's about a $10 billion company, and I was on the phone with someone that used to be a direct report to Satya this company who's doing you know, $10 billion SaaS company that we all know, and was talking to their new partnerships, leader. And he said the same thing. He said, My goal over the next year is 100%, partner attached. And I said, Well, where are you at now? Because I know you guys do lots of CO marketing, but you're gonna go from what to what he's like, I think we're maybe one or 2%. I said in 12 months, he said in 12 months board level decision $10 billion company, from one to 2% partner attach to 100% partner attach. So from Google to, you know, hypergrowth, SAS companies. There's clearly something here, what one thing I wanted to call out Aaron, and maybe dissect a little bit is we use a lot of language around like, let's say, you know, partner lead, like we had our pls summit last year at 5000 people there our first event, and then your ecosystem lead, and we're part partner hacker, the ELD. Alliance. But part of the thing that I was having trouble with with CROs and CMOS was getting that adaption when it was like we're putting the partner the ecosystem first. And a lot of the times what what I'm seeing VPs of sales or CROs respond to are like, hey, what can we go do right now? And a lot of times, like getting that like first momentum to replace maybe some outbound activities with something else, like getting the answers to the test. Might there be, you know, kind of like an opportunity, like, is there an opportunity for us to get a little bit more specific about I mean, it's something we were talking about, you mentioned, for example, the three eyes, I was talking about Intel, you know, influence or intro, right? Those aren't lead strategies. Those are like, almost no brainers. Right? Like, what why would you go through? Let's say you're running an enterprise sales cycle? Why would you go through procurement blind in a multi billion dollar company when you could get the answers to the test and all of the intel from someone else? So that's, that's why we've been calling it near bound it had been resonating. Can you speak a little bit about that to us? Because at your stage, I would call Qualtrics. Pretty ecosystem lead, but not everyone's there. Could you comment on that for us, like on the state of the market, where we should be thinking and orienting? Like how much we should be pushing the fullblown strategy versus Hey, we need W's on the board now.

Aaron McGarry 9:39
Now it's a really good question. I think the reality there's a lot of weight on partner leader shoulders these days, and I feel for everyone in these shoes because you we all have to go and transform ourselves into a new mindset which aligns to what going on in the market, which is how do we put big wins on the board? How do we put big wins on the board? Quickly? And then how do we take that momentum? And then evolve an entire company strategy to go drive that? And you asked me this question about that. The chief ecosystem title and all that stuff, like, there's a lot of people that want to do that role, like, that's your job. Your job at that point is to make a company ecosystem friendly and lead over time and be able to take a concise strategy and drive it. And it depends on what kind of company you're at. Right? We all have to keep in mind that lots of people deeply understand ecosystems that lots of people do not. And that's why I love some of the content you're putting out like the three eyes is an example. It provides something that's easy, tangible, and people can latch on to it and understand it. And if they've never worked with a partner in their entire life, right, you can take that guidance, you could implement it, deploy it, understand it and see the value, and start kind of creating that that two way street, but it depends on where you are in your journey and your lifecycle, right? If you're Google who wants 100% partner attach is very clear that in their lifecycle, they've made a decision, we're going to do this right, now it's gonna take time to get there, they're gonna have to make investments, they're gonna have to do all of that. But if you're starting at a place where you're attached as the reference you gave is like one or two percents right, and you in 12 months want to dramatically change that. You've got to get wins on the board very, very quickly. And I think a lot of that is enabling training, your yield sellers. So they understand how to get started. And you're taking yourself out of your shoes and putting it in theirs. Because the reality of all they're like just epically successful enterprise sales reps, I know who have done this for 1520 years. It can be the stuff in their sleep, right? But what about everyone who's on the journey to that? Right, those people didn't start that way, they probably started having no idea how to do it. So I think we have to roll out training enablement programs and ensure you very easily consumed with the lens of putting up short term wins, to kind of give you the street credibility and the groundswell you need to go ask to make some of these bigger changes that need to happen is saying, Hey, we're gonna drive 100% partner attaches super easy, but actually doing it is very difficult and requires substantial investment in order to make that a reality.

Jared Fuller 12:41
So maybe to thread the needle then for the folks listening, because there's kind of like two, you know, two major content hubs that are kind of emerging, and like trying to help, right? I mean, that's why, you know, I started this podcast, and we started partner hacker was like, Hey, we gotta help is what I would say in response to you, Aaron, is it sounds to be like near bound is really the plays that like you can take to the sellers right now. But that's not a strategy for aligning your C suite and developing programmatic, right? To weigh things in, you need both you need the plays, because a seller is gonna go, what the heck do I do with ecosystem lead or partner lead partner lead, you're gonna have a partner lead to sell, why am I here? But at the same time, you need both, right? So it's that balance between driving a company strategy. And really being that change agent, that entrepreneur, the true executive and leader that builds enterprise value, like what a trite word enterprise value, but a great C suite, they know how to build enterprise value. So it's a little bit of both. Maybe the the next thing to kind of talk about is, as it relates to partner attach and like kind of where to start there. It seems to me like given the the sentiment around outbound the effectiveness overall, I mean, I've been on a calls with dozens and dozens of sales leaders from you know, millions of dollars in revenue to billions of dollars in revenue the past three months. And it's very clear that outbound activity is on a steady decline. Now, I don't mean the volume the volume is up, but the effectiveness is going down when it bid it up median, you know, like, since direct response, I mean, gosh, Isaac, how did you and I both start our sales and marketing career direct response, so like literally writing letters and mailing them to people so that's how Isaac and I got into copywriting and sales. We both did the same thing. 1213 years ago. 1% was the conversion rate you're always looking for. Right? 1% your normal 2% Your good 3% You're a god. It's like the same as outbound. But now we're seeing those go down two basis points. So it it seems like the appetite to replace some of those activities with other activities. So like if you're going to do the in the Bierbaum plays Intel influence, Intro whatever, you still have to do a little bit of research you have to share A little bit, right, you have to write a personalized email, you have to say, hey, here's who I'm talking to. And this is why I'm looking for this conversation or this influence. So I think that's where the enablement and the training kind of comes in, and giving them some very tactical examples. And of course, you know, the best seller for that, are sellers that have done it. Absolutely.

Aaron McGarry 15:19
I think at the, at the end of the day, when you when you think about this stuff, and this comes back to my comment on, there's a lot of weight on on kind of hardware and ecosystem leaders shoulders right now. We're at a unique moment in history that I hope everyone truly understands and appreciates. Because of the point you just made, Jared, it's really getting hard. And why is it getting harder to close deals. There's an interesting macro economic environment going I mean, pre pandemic, and you know, kind of ended the pandemic, to be honest, scaling companies was a lot easier than it is in the current environment right now. tons of money flying around, and tons of expense happening. All of that stuff. Right? Now, people really care about where their dollars are going. And they're looking very, very closely. at that. You gave the example of like, why would you walk in a procurement blind? As not a good idea? Do you walk in a picture of a blind you're gonna lose? Why would you walk into procurement with a point of view from someone who's actually worked with that procurement team before? It's kind of like, you compare it to like, if you met someone new right inside of a friend group, you would ask your friends, like, Hey, I met this person I know they're run around a friend group they see really cool, what's your experience? Right? It's that simple as your daily life? Well, when you go show up to an account in a deal, and you want them to spend money with you, do you want to be the unknown person they don't know? Or do you want you and your dozen friends or our many are circling around in that world, to all vouch for you, right? Like, Jared is the real deal. He's awesome, right? He's great to work with the EU want that kind of approach in the market, I don't think it's gonna get any easier on anyone in the next 24 to 36 months, it's probably gonna get more difficult. And I just bring it back to we have an opportunity to break free on ecosystems and really get out and run, showing that we can create a highly scalable, highly profitable, go to market that not only helps us bring in new deals and close new deals, but they're better deals, they're better ones at scale over time, they're more sticky, they're happier. And the data is your best friend and helping you do that. Because it's out there everywhere. And there's so many like great guys like you both that are putting out content, and sharing data that helps arm people, but it's sitting on our shoulders, what you can't be at this current moment, is the guy or gal that's like, Hey, let's go get a coffee. We talk about maybe doing some things, and then we never actually do them. Like you need to view yourself as a operator in this business, and how to do it, hey, go get the coffee. That's fabulous, right? build those connections. But if you're not building true business value with all of your partners right now, and getting them to lean in hard, you are missing a very interesting opportunity, just because of what's going on holistically.

Isaac Morehouse 18:33
You know, it's funny, when we start talking with people about you know, running, running these near balance sales plays, there's always this moment where it's like, okay, so tapping into people buyers trust for intelligence and influence. I mean, isn't that just normal sale? Isn't that just what salespeople do? And I think here's the the key difference, right, like good salespeople do this already. But the thing you mentioned was scale. And then also the, like, how quickly can you get to actual decision and actual movement? Because if you're running this kind of absent, let's say, a network of partners, you're kind of using either one of two things, you're putting out a generic call to some people that, you know, hey, I'm working this deal. Does anyone know anyone? Right? And you'll see this an internal company slacks, does anybody know anybody? And that's like, nobody knows what to do with that, right? And you're just you're just creating noise, because maybe one out of 20 Those people know, but who knows if they'll see it. So there's that approach, or you're just relying on, you just happen to personally know, oh, I know, these people who knows someone at this company in this deal that I'm working, but the ability to say, building and maintaining those relationships, that's what the partner team is doing. And then bringing that data together so that you're only going to the one or two right people at the right time. Like who do I need to talk to for this deal? I'm not just going to spam out there to a bunch of people. Do you know Do you happen to know anybody? I'm not just going to trust my brain to remember the right person. I'm going to actually look where it is. We have those overlaps, where do we have those relationships, and then be able to kind of dial down and like that's where you start to scale that motion that comes naturally to sellers. But you can't scale it inside your brain and you can't sell at scale it by just spamming people and asking them open ended questions. You know, can you help me? That's That's pretty interesting. I want to transition real quick, though, because both of you, I've heard you say this, and I've heard people fight you on this at least I've heard people fight Jared on this. Partner attach. Jared, we were just at an event the other day that the where we did the kickoff for the near balance Summit, which we've changed the partner led summit pls Summit is now called the near bounce summit this year. And we had an event kind of like kicking that off. And someone in the chat you said something about partner attach like that's the one I care about. That's the Holy Grail. That's the number you should be looking at. If someone in the chat was like, No, we need to fight about this. That's a terrible idea I can I can attach a partner to everybody, it doesn't need to do anything. And I would like to hear, Eric, as you said the same thing when we started, you're like its partner attach partner attach. Talk to me about that. What Why, why is that? Why is that the right metric? And how do you do that? Well, or maybe what are the pitfalls? Why do people push back on that?

Aaron McGarry 21:10
Yeah, it's a great question. And maybe let's start at why people sometimes have a bit of a visceral reaction to, to or attached, and then we'll talk about why it's so important. And by the way, Jared, and I have been in the same shoes. And I have had people saying the same thing to me. I think that you know, I were I was very lucky, I worked for a gentleman at Salesforce. He was one of the most epic leaders I've ever met. His name's Mike will amazing human being. If you don't know my, you should. And Mike told me long ago, that I need to make sure I bring people on the journey with me, and that they understand the journey you're on. Right. So when you think about sellers and attach all the stuff like you made a comment, Isaac, you're like, they're really good sales reps, know this stuff. I would actually change the verbiage a little bit. It's that very experienced reps that have worked in companies that have had really strong ecosystems, they know the power, right? Well, what about everybody else? Right? It's our jobs to bring them on the journey with us. So they understand why these days are, are so important, and when why we shouldn't do them. Now, that being said, let's talk about attach. And the journey of that I think people think attaches almost like a four letter word, right? Because they think, Well, wait a minute, you're just going to attach orders to every deal. And then those partners are just going to grab on to us and take all the value from us, we're not going to get anything in return. And to be honest, if you think about the journey, I'm sure that's happened at companies I know of companies, that's happened, and it's happened at massive scale. And that's because you did attach role. So let's talk about doing attach right, and why it really matters. So if you truly want to have an ecosystem led go to market, attaches the only metric that matters, and it only matters really are two very, or reasons. Reason number one is ecosystem is a team sport, if you want to get to a massive scale that completely changes the growth trajectory or company, then you really need to pay attention to what I'm about to say next, which is attach is the only metric that matters. Because if you want let's just pit 75%, let's say that 75% of the attachment what that means that 75% of marketing activities include our partners, that means 75% of enablement activities include our partners, just go down the list, right? Every core function of a company has a role to play product has a role to play. Now, how do you avoid the pitfalls of attach? There's only one pitfall of an attach as a strategy is that your partners glob onto you, and then they don't bring anything in return? Right? All you have to do is design your partner program the right thing. And get very sophisticated with things like intelligent revenue routing, that when you have reps that are going to attach, have them attach early in the cycle. So you don't run into this situation. You brought up Isaac, which is like, Hey, does anybody know anybody at this Barber, it's like now, if we would have brought him in at the very beginning of the game, and you would have picked the right partner, you wouldn't be having that conversation so you can solve that problem. But inside of whatever CRM tool you want, you can choose what partners you attach. So in North America, the partners whose source for you who invest with you lean in with you, and I don't mean just the big ones across all partner types, categories and sizes are the ones that are available to be attached. The partners You're gonna play ball with an enterprise versus SMB, they're different partners, you should be curating that in a different way. Same thing, like the partners in Asia and in Europe are going to be different than the ones you work with in North America. But if you can handle the one downside, right, which is making sure you only attach partners that source for you, you will create a massive flywheel scale event at your company, where you no longer have to worry about is a partnership one sided or not, are recreating that two way street, are we both creating value for both organizations, you solve that problem holistically. And then you drag the entire company along with you with what you need to scale it up. It's literally the holy grail of ecosystem metrics. If implemented correctly, I think that we all have an opportunity to really lean into that and be thoughtful around that. And in order to convince a company to switch to attach as a core metric, you really need to have those wins on the board that Jared was talking about earlier, right? The stuff that you can do near bounce very quickly. So you grained the momentum, the street credibility, to be able to do that and combine it with the data across the industry to showcase what's possible.

Jared Fuller 26:17
In one quick follow up on that everything that you just said, Folks, that's a clip to go back and play again and again, then share your setup on that Aaron was perfect to so you are native to podcasts, even if you haven't been on the podcast circuit that much lately, like wow, pay very close attention to what I'm about to say. Here's how I've been handling that objection on my side. Aaron, I'd love your take on this. Is it's a simple cohort analysis to measure partner attached versus not versus having this giant attribution debate whether it's, you know, marketing, or sales or success, take any activity, and then take any activity that's exactly the same that has partner attach. Are the outcomes better? Yes or no? It's really that simple. It's but getting in this argument of like, no, an SDR source that or the AE, did this thing or marketing did that thing or this person did this thing? The aggregate doesn't matter. Sure, it might matter on that individual one. But in aggregate, it doesn't matter at all. What matters is attach when it happens. does it perform better? Yes or no? Well, then why not do more of it? I mean, we all know that attribution. I've been on a Chris Walker kick lately. He's keynoting, the marketing day at the nearby town Summit, you know the the gadfly of the dark social world. So I've been working with Chris a little bit here and there. And we all know if you go ask Google or any GA or any kind of analytics product, like hey, where did this person come from? What are they going? What's Jay gonna say? Like organic, right? You know, Google, like search? And then the reality is, is you ask them, where they came from? And they'll they'll say a person, right? How did you hear about us a person or a company? And I think it's just such an easy way for us to eliminate that debate and the complexity from it just does attach produce better results in aggregate against the same cohort somewhere else? Have you leveraged anything like that in terms of a simple way to like, head that off at the bass?

Aaron McGarry 28:17
No, it's I love the direction you're going with that? Jared, I think that the reality of business that we're in right now is this. Yes, we absolutely should be comparing those datasets and looking at them. But there's a couple other things i i roll into that and think about. So it, it also depends on what technology you're selling, and who you're selling it to, right. The thought of a single attribution model like, hey, this came from an SDR or it came from marketing or whatever, right? You're making the assumption that we're selling an SMB product to a buyer who with one reach out, is magically going to want to do a deal with us. And that can work. Or more simple products, in more simple markets that are easier to sell to. That's not the environment most of us live in, right? Whether you're a startup, or you are a big enterprise player. I don't know none of my peers live in that world and the reality of how a deal gets done, and I spend a lot of my time and overall go to market strategy, not just ecosystem, but the direct side as well. Is in order to close big deals. They're all multi touch, right? They heard about you via marketing campaign, or SDR BDR has called into them a few times and got some books going. Our partners reached out to them. And most of the time from what I see the partners are are they have C suite level engagement serious buyer engagement on their side, it can really help you, you go much more dynamically, but it's multi touch, right? And you want it to be multi touch, because you don't want to close 100 The old, right, you want to close a 10 million. And the only way to do that is to kind of build that groundswell up. So I think having people understand like, this is how deals are actually done at scale, especially as you sell more sophisticated products to more sophisticated buyers, combined with what you talked about, which is, let's try it. And let's compare it. Every company I've ever worked at periods, since the beginning of my career, the datasets almost all look the same. We know that the deals are better, they're bigger, they close faster, they're more sticky, and they have a revenue hockey stick 1218 months out, because there's everyone's combining to make that customer successful. Right? And you need to put all that in there. But then there's also the fact of What's it costing us to spend time arguing about attribution?

Jared Fuller 31:05
That's my point. That's the point that I was making, right, multi touch or single touch, I actually don't care. It's that just in aggregate, does it perform better? Yes or no? Just answer that question for me before we have any other debate, because I always find myself getting in the debate before the aggregate has even been analyzed. It's like, I felt like it was Groundhog Day. And I won't call out the company, but as a sample size of over 200 enterprise deals over $100,000. Right? So significant sample size, right? All closed one. And in these 200 deals, the win rate when there was partner attach was 53%. And the win rate without partner attach was 19%. And I'm like, please show me another metric in the entire business that correlates to almost a 3x a two and a half x to a sales winrate. Like, am I crazy? Am I the only person that's not like, Oh, this is undeniable? Right? Like, why are we arguing about whether or not that partner did enough to get into the multi touch attribution model? They're attached, they helped?

Aaron McGarry 32:08
Well, you're 100%. Right. The challenge is, is almost like a cultural ship behind it. And I won't say what company this is from, it's not from my current employer. But I will tell you, I was fortunate not at a point in my career to see a sample dataset of 10,000 customers across 10 years. Spoiler alert, the data lined up very closely to what you just shared. But I think there's a huge debate going on. And I've talked to lots of my friends out in the ecosystem world, there's this huge debate that goes on around attribution. To be honest, to me, it's a total waste. It's expensive to have those conversations. It's expensive, operationally to deal with them. It's expensive culturally, to deal with them at the expense of teams. Because you end up having you want the full all you want your entire team to win, right? Everybody wants to win. Everyone wants to advance their careers, everyone wants to do so. Right. And if you, you end up creating this cultural reaction from things like attribution, which to be honest, just has nonstop downside. And it's something that that it will evolve. I do though, in very positive tone. I do think the attribution battle across ecosystems is going to be a thing of the past in a couple of years, because there's so many companies that are leaning in on ecosystem now that are trying to get incredibly sophisticated, that the sheer amounts of data that are going to come out to backup a we're all talking about right now is going to be so large that it's impossible to ignore.

Isaac Morehouse 33:50
I love that little while ago, you were talking about Look, these are multi touch. There's all these different points along this journey with lots of different people. And they're just a reminder, like, when you're talking to people about running near bound plays, you know, going to your ecosystem. It's not like saying hey, we want you to do some radical new thing and take a chance on some strategy it's literally just a recognition of the reality that's already happening like this is already here. So you either recognize that and incorporate that in I love Joe rally put it one time she's like outbound is interrupting your buyers right and sometimes you need to do that. Inbound is attracting your buyers, of course you need to do that you're about is surrounding your buyers. And you need to you actually can't get rid of those other strategies, but recognizing that in addition to getting their attention, interrupting them, attracting them to you, you have to surround them and be a part of what is Jay McBain say there's 28 unique moments across a buyer journey or something like that. How many of those are you a part of? Probably not many, but who else is Jason is it's five Yeah, like at most right, and who else is a part of those though? Are you working with those people? Right? So I love that when you guys were talking about attach, you know, the first question of any data set is to be like, Oh, causation or correlation, right? So this is what I love about this though, if you're like, look, deals a partner attach, all the numbers are better, everything's better. Then if someone says, Well, it could just be correlation, maybe the causality is actually backwards, maybe they're not better because you attach a partner, maybe a partner with attached because it was already a higher quality deal or customer. Either way, it doesn't matter because it's like, well, if you make partner attach the goal, it either forces you to attach partners in order to drive those, or create better deals and have better things which will result in partners being attached to them. So you're gonna end up driving the things that you want, even if it's not always the causal factor, even if it's something that comes later if you're doing things right. And you have high quality, you know, other steps in your process, the the

Jared Fuller 35:57
economics and philosophy brain of Isaac Morehouse everybody, that's why he's here. That's such an astute point, like in terms of how people evaluate data in the era, and I call it ivory tower intellectualism. So these are the, you know, seasoned CPAs, and MBAs that like come in with their models. And they try to say like, No, this is the way the world works. And it's like, you're ignoring the fact that like, All that matters is the outcome.

Aaron McGarry 36:20
I'll give you an two interesting data points on that. And it kind of draws on on Isaac's his point and yours. So my experience throughout my career has been that the ecosystem motion those accounts is 100%. That reason those are growing and happening. But even if you don't believe me, or anyone else, like me and the industry and all the people listen to this podcast, look at the most sophisticated scaling machines on the planet right now. Look at the hyper scalars. What's Google doing? What's Amazon doing? Where are they making investments? What are the announcements they're making? Do you think that Google wants 100% partner attached for fun? No, it's because they have the massive data sets and experience to know, that is the reality that comes from it. That that's kind of point 1.2. Is it's funny. Jeremy talked about the ivory tower stuff. You know, I'm, I'm going through my executive MBA right now. i People are like, You're not stupid. Why are you doing this? You don't have time for this. I have no personal life anymore. But it has been very well worth it. I'm enjoying it. But it will tell you there's a very massive difference for someone like me, I pride myself in being an operator and deeply understanding all assets, how an organization operates, how does product operate? How did he think, how does sales operate? How do they think? How does the C suite operate?

Jared Fuller 38:00
Well, in Aaron, real quick how the market operates, I want to call out what you said, you said that you spend four to five calls a week talking to your peers, we call that living in market. So that's what I meant is that the ivory tower, people don't ever live in market. So it's not to say that both isn't valuable. Go ahead.

Aaron McGarry 38:17
No, it's just it's funny, because I've experienced this real time. Like, I've loved all my professors. I'm fortunate to go to McCombs, University of Texas, top tier talent, right and stop there from the professors. My favorite professors are the ones that were operators, and then came into academia to give back versus the professors that have only been in academia. And that's what they're doing, and I love them to write, but the reality of the insights you derive, there is what looks good on potentially paper or in theory, right. And then there's how it actually plays out in reality in the field, and marrying the data sets with like real life experience, and what the rest of the market is experiencing and paying attention to what is going on. Combining those two things together is where you get it's like superpower. That's why I started this call i There's a unique moment in time, that ecosystem leaders like we all need to step up to be just hyper transparent. You need to deeply understand how business works, and how these companies are working and how the market works. So that when you have these conversations, you're coming from a place that you are hyper educated, you understand, and you can convey your points and advocate for your points in a way that resonates and lands with the constituents that you're talking to. Right. And that means you need to understand where they're coming from and where their business is coming from. I see a huge trap that lots of partner people lean into. And they always come from the partner lands or partner hat only. You need to wear them all right. You If you want to be an executive in partner land at scale, you have to wear them all. And you have to deeply understand it and drive that coalition to be able to do that. Because if you don't, you're basically going to be operating an ecosystem that's yours. And it's your world versus its core to the overall company strategy. And those are two wildly different things.

Isaac Morehouse 40:20
Implementing this surrounding your buyer bringing in those near bound plays, going, you know, tapping your ecosystem reorienting the way you think about things. These don't happen overnight, these take time. So here's my question for you. If somebody's listening to this, and their company, they're not doing this yet. Is it too late? Like, when is a good time to start doing this? I know the answer is now but like, how, like, What is the urgency? You see? Right? To your point, the market has shifted. I think a lot of people I'll frame it this way, a lot of people are problem aware, solution weary. They know the market shifting, they know they can't keep doing more of the same. But they're kind of just waiting to see, what's the next play, we'll just kind of like, Hold steady for a while, even though we're getting declining returns before we make any major shifts in our strategy or approach. Like, when is it going to be too late to make those moves?

Aaron McGarry 41:11
Yeah. I don't know that there's ever a too late. And I think it also depends on where the company is in their journey. But I come back to Mike Wolfe, and make sure you bring people on the journey with you. The data points, the views, they exist in they live today. So for people that are sitting and waiting to try to act, why all the market leaders already are, they're already pivoting and shifting quickly into this area. So you can either be a market leader or you can be a ladder, right? It's kind of up to you. But even if you're a laggard, you can still live with that and catch up later. But I just think, right, we never had this point in time where revenue has been so hard to get at least over the last decade, right, which creates a unique opportunity that we can all step into. But we have got to bring the message together an advocate or and my strategy has always been throughout my entire career. Let's put some wins on the board. Let's gain the credibility, let's build the momentum. And then let's go pitch, massive transformation. Because if you try to go pitch massive transformation, you never brought them along the journey with you personally on how you're winning and how you're getting things done. You're gonna fail, like, unless you just work for someone who just totally gets it right. And that is deep expertise in this space and all that it's pretty, you know, it's not gonna happen. And if you do have that scenario, that's awesome, good for you. You probably don't need to spend boatloads of time thinking about how to how to pitch them, right? Just go talk to them say, here's what I need to do. But I don't I love that 99% of us live in that world. I think it's a world we need to educate and bring people on the journey, so they understand it. But fast forward five years from now. There's gonna be cheap ecosystem officers every where, like, I'm not going to name the companies. But I've talked to five people in the last two weeks about where they're putting their investments, right. And these are not partner people. These are CEOs CFO Clos. And a really savvy ones are already leaning in this direction very quickly. And they're starting to pick up on it. So like the groundswell is happening. You just need to capture it and get after it. And you'll rise the entire ecosystem tied by the way by doing that, the more successes that come out of our ecosystem that we're talking to you right now. The more data that hits the street, the more proof points we have. You're actually blazing the path the next generation of you to be able to come in here and hit the ground running as hard and fastest as humanly possible.

Jared Fuller 43:57
Wow. Aaron McGarry, everybody, this is what it takes to be a chief ecosystem officer. Aaron, thank you so much for setting that bar. I I don't think that I've ever heard such a practical and just pointed in like salient, like piercingly clear point from anyone that I've had on the show is what you said on this episode today, around aligning partner attach and operationalizing that to only attach partners who source so like I think we intuitively get something like that. But like that key is so important. And I think you can get a lot of buy in there from the rest of the team kind of bringing it all home. So like, yeah, go run plays. But then that's the key to how you get everyone bought in because if marketing is getting a little something if sales is getting a little something successes, getting a little something, then they know they have to help back. And it's just such a salient point. Aaron, thank you so much for coming on. Partner up. This is going to be definitely one for the books. Lots of history shared together. Quick, quick question before we wrap. Do you know a gentleman by the name of Bobby Napoles Tony, he proceeded wolf at Salesforce.

Aaron McGarry 45:02
I know the name I've never met him personally.

Jared Fuller 45:07
It's hilarious because the same exact stuff that wolf was telling you is what Bobby told me. He was my mentor. And it was the same thing he was like, here's how I got the wins on the board to get Benioff to put as a top three company objective. At company kickoff. Benioff stands up and goes, partners are at the center of everything that we do. And he said everything changed at that point, he said, but I flipped Accenture first, right, like flipped the biggest si away from Siebel over to Salesforce. And then everything came in. So it's both and wow, Aaron, thank you so much, Isaac. Before we wrap near bound Live, everybody go register.

Isaac Morehouse 45:45
Absolutely go register early registrants get some special special perks. Free handbooks sent to you workbooks for the event. And some other some other fun stuff. And I got a shout out the blueprint, by the way, the new round sales blueprint because this episode, there were so many moments when I was hearing Erin, talk about, hey, if you want 75%, attach 75% of your activities should be focused that way. I was like Jared, it's right out of the blueprint. You open up with this, like, look, whatever that target is for you. If you don't have the resources aligned to that, if you say we want 35% Whatever it is, and you're how many of your activities are actually geared towards that, but I just thought it was awesome. So there's so much in there very much in line with this episode. But for partner teams and sales teams to start working together and to Aaron's point, like crawl, walk, run, get that win on the board, go find that you know the deals that you can influence bring partners into right now this month, this quarter, then you'll have that proof to be able to go beyond and that's exactly what the blueprint is all about. So definitely go check that out. That is on

Jared Fuller 46:51
Awesome. Awesome. Aaron, thank you so much. Partner up, peace out. We will see you all next time.

You've successfully subscribed to PartnerHacker
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Error! Could not sign up. invalid link.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Error! Could not sign in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Error! Billing info update failed.