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Building Together: The Power of Partnerships in 2024

Today's discussion teases an upcoming industry report on partnerships by Albound, Reveal, and Superglue. The focus is on businesses shifting to relationship-based co-selling, marking a deliberate change in strategy from traditional inbound and outbound methods. Tune in as Will Taylor (Reveal), Rob Rebholz (Superglue), Ben Wright (Partner Fuel), and Robert Kielty (Allbound) talk about how the buying landscape is evolving.
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The Transcript

Robert Kielty: Welcome one and all to another episode of the Partner Channel Podcast. This episode is entitled building together the power of partnerships in 2024. And you know, This is a special episode.

First and foremost, it's the first time I've had the pleasure of hosting but more so we have a hugely exciting topic and an absolutely top notch panel stacked with a vast array of partnership expertise. We've got Will Ben and Rob on the line.

Gents, to kick things off, I might as well have you guys introduce yourselves. 

Will Taylor: Absolutely. Thanks, Rob. My name's Will Taylor. I am the head of Nearbound Partnerships over at Reveal.co and Reveal is the account mapping software that every partner team needs because it gives you focus and clarity on the accounts that you need to target.

And I'm excited to drop all the knowledge today and also, of course, the tactics and how we can help people. 

Robert Kielty: Super. 

Ben Wright: Ben? Yeah, thanks Rob. Happy to be on this panel today. My name is Ben Wright, founder of PartnerFuel and my business, I help companies build out their very first partner program.

So, bullish on partnerships, always have been, always will be, and so, yeah, great topic for the for the kind of webinar today as well. 

Robert Kielty: Fantastic. And Rob, to cap us off. 

Rob Rebholz: Yeah, I'm just excited to finally be in a webinar with these two guys. I'm the founder of a company called Superglue.

We're a partner activation and co-sell orchestration platform. And obviously love working with PRMs, account mapping tools. I even brought my Reveal mug to help partner teams drive more revenue. 

Robert Kielty: Super. Well, guys, absolutely so excited to have three of you on together. I know there's been a lot of conversation between all of us as a partnership group over the last few weeks.

And this discussion today is a precursor to a really exciting industry report that we're all working towards that should be published end of Q1, potentially early Q2. What we'll do is we'll put a pre order link for the report and the description for this podcast as is available.

So stay tuned for that. But I'll set the scene very quickly. Obviously, we're calling this the year of partnerships.

This has been on route for a while I think, but today we're saying that this pivot is very much where businesses are making a sort of march transition to this relationship based co-selling, and I'm very deliberate change as opposed to something that might've always been operating in the background.

Robert Kielty: We're saying this is the year of partnerships, but obviously doing business through partnerships has always been around. So why this year is it different? Why is it different in your eyes? 

Ben Wright: Yeah, I can jump in first. So I think you mentioned it in your introduction that partnerships have always been around. You look at the traditional channel, you look at some of the largest companies in the world, the Microsoft, AWS, they're built off the back of, partnerships, right?

So I think to settle there on the fact that partnerships have always been a thing. I think one of the things that is happening at the moment, especially in the world of ISVs, people are really struggling to hit their numbers across the board. You look back at the last year, people are not hitting their quotas and trying really hard to generate demand.

And so I think people are looking for a viable option to generate replicable revenue. I think those things are the main reason that partnerships are suddenly coming to the forefront across the board. And why I definitely agree with the statement, you know, 2024 being the year of partnerships.

I think it mainly has to do with the struggles that typical demand gen tactics are having and are really forcing people to look long and hard at what they're doing and what they're not doing. And really focusing on partnerships as a lever to drive you know, replicable growth across their pipeline.

Will Taylor: Yeah, I completely agree. And the overall sentiment that I've had in my mind is if you can show me an organization that's doing outbound from five years ago and still being successful. Then, they're probably a unicorn, but I imagine most organizations have needed to up their outbound efforts, either through AI or through automation.

And that's a bandaid solution. It's not a sustainable solution. 

We all know on this podcast that partnerships is a long term strategy for a business. And so in the world of short term gains, the businesses that knew that playbook and implemented only that playbook are now struggling because capital is not as easy to get and those tactics are more crowded than ever.

So very similar sentiment to what Ben said, and it's with that idea of, if you're doing outbound, that's fine. You still need to do that in a business, but if you're doing it, like you were five years ago, you're probably struggling. And if you're not, then come talk to me and I want to hear about what you're doing so special. 

Robert Kielty: That's excellent. Yeah. And Rob, your thoughts. Yeah, I obviously 

Rob Rebholz: agree that outbound is incredibly difficult right now and it's only going to get more difficult with, with AI, et cetera. At the same time, I think there is a bit of a window of opportunity because we have new technologies.

I mean, Reveal, right, like account mapping has gotten a lot more sophisticated, which means that we have a lot better second party data that we just didn't have in the past. 

And that opens the door to do this in a more sophisticated manner. I do think the whole [00:05:00] partnership function is evolving and that is creating opportunities and that's driving awareness, right?

In the past when I built my first partner program, I didn't have a clue what I was doing and felt like a lot of others didn't have a clue either. And we're just messing around and it worked really well. We ended up driving 70 percent of revenue through partners, but it was just very messy, took a lot a long time.

It was very hard to communicate how to build that predictable revenue engine. I know people are tired of hearing about predictable revenue But to some extent that's what we have to deliver as partner teams and, I think we've figured a lot of stuff out. I think we are still figuring stuff out I think this will be the year when we're Building more sophisticated processes and with blueprints, et cetera, and that just opens the door and raise a lot of awareness in the C suite.

And that's, what's necessary to get this to the 

Robert Kielty: next level. A hundred percent. That's interesting because I think you've all touched on it, this notion of doing partnerships has always existed, but the bedrock was still outbounding and inbounding in its more traditional forms.

But I think what's interesting, literally as we've turned the corner, there's been like a paradigm shift. Technologies and now are more designed, like we take how Reveal Ben, your business, and of course, super glue, they are more partner led or often partner centric technologies versus maybe a more traditional sales led or demand gen say focus. It's interesting that there's a really concerted effort to cater to where we know there's more predictable and likely more stable, stickier revenue, I suppose.

And by extension of that, I guess from your own perspectives, is this really exciting shift to partnership led technologies just a blip on the radar or is the real long lasting change in, this pivot? 

Rob Rebholz: What I always found interesting is if you talk to sales teams, they have dedicated software that makes them more successful. They have the tools that they need to be productive and efficient.

You talk to the marketing team, to customer success, they all have their tools to properly do their jobs. And what always shocks me is that when you talk to partner teams, even big partner teams or relatively big partners teams or established partner teams, they're basically, you know They have a free Reveal account.

They have Salesforce and a couple of forms, you know, that's just not enough. So I think we need to get to the point where tools are not a solution, but doing everything manual definitely is not going to enable you to create scale and be successful in the long run either. 

We're understanding that the use cases that we have as partner teams are just not the same as the use cases that other teams try to implement, which means their tools are useless for us.

Unless we get unlimited rev ops resource, then we can build that stuff. But as we all know the partner teams asking to. 

Will Taylor: Yeah, from a customer market standpoint as well, I feel like customers are demanding this where they don't want their inboxes flooded. They want to be actually taken care of because if there's 10 companies just like you, then why would they only listen to the one that's emailing them as much as they can and trying to just churn them out as revenue to grow their business as much as possible versus the competitor that is actually servicing the client and enabling the ecosystem that the client is in and really understanding their world. 

We have a quote in our business where we say the customer is your boss. You know, you do have a boss as well, but the customer is the one effectively that pays the bills. So, you have to treat them with the utmost respect and really focus on their world. And that's where the overall culture of the business world is moving to as well. 

Jay McBain talks about this a lot where millennials are becoming the decision makers and those millennials typically don't look at the mainstream media outlets. They follow podcasters and influencers, so there's a little bit less of this trust in the establishment and more in the individual. So if your business isn't surrounding them through Nearbound with the partners that are already servicing them or the people that are already listening to, then, you know, again, your business might do okay for the next few years, but the more and more that we see this cultural shift in the buying behavior, then that all leads to this partnerships approach and this focus on value for the 

customer. Whereas those traditional methods were not as value focused as partnerships are. And I see that as a economic shift and a cultural shift together as a demand from the buyers themselves.

Ben Wright: Yeah, and Rob, you said something interesting at the end, which is will this stick? Is this a blip or, or will teams fully appreciate partnerships? And I think once people have experienced the power of ecosystem growth, of nearbound, seeing what it does to their core business metrics, time to close stuff like that.

It's almost undeniable. And so I think what will have happened in the last, year, year and a half with people focusing on partnerships as a go to market motion is they're starting to see these really fundamental changes to their core business metrics. And so when you ask the question around, will it stick?

I think it's undeniable that it will stick because once you've kind of tasted it and you've realized the power of partnerships and what it can do to your underlying metrics, I think it becomes undeniable that you continue to do it. 

Right. I mean, I know Allbound is seeing some pretty incredible things internally with advocated deals and what they're doing to your sales cycle. Right. And so once you present that to a CEO or to even a VP of sales, that's used to direct demand generation and how long it takes to close a deal, those things start to become a lot easier to talk about.

And there's more investment that can be put into that notion as well. 100%. 

Robert Kielty: It actually is fascinating. I love the way you mentioned it there. It's not just a business shift, like there's a cultural shift. And, this move to partnerships, is driven by our bosses, the customers in that sense, because of their understanding of when they're being marketed to and then the inherent trust if it's a partner that makes the recommendation or the referral to a business versus just being absolutely bombarded with media collateral. 

For the most part, there's that inherent trust in even just a friend referring you about a partnership scheme. That is what we're trying to zone in on here. 

Ben Wright: You mentioned something really interesting there, which is like, let's just take a step back and think about B2C brands, right?

When you bought your last, I don't know, I just bought some golf clubs, right? I'll use that example. What was my, what was my purchase journey? What touch points did I ingest to actually make that purchase? Right. And it wasn't from somebody at Callaway, cold DM and me and saying, Hey, Ben got some golf clubs for you.

I went out, read reviews, asked friends that have also got those golf clubs and then made a purchase and there's direct comparisons to B2B in my opinion. Which is if I'm going out and looking for a PRM software or for co sell software, I'll ask people like Will in the industry. I'll ask people like Rob, what do you use?

What experience have you had? And if it's largely positive. I'll probably just go ahead, take the demo, and buy the software. I probably won't even think about additional options. And that's the other interesting thing to consider is, are we moving into a world of B2C tactics being more applicable to B2B than they ever have been before.


Robert Kielty: 100%. Even at a more rudimentary level, there's huge trust in reviews, like actual users of a product, that applies both to B2C and B2B, of course.

And that's almost like the precursor to this more wholesale partnerships pivot. And I will also just one quick point to add, I think if you're purchasing Callaway Golf Clubs, I'm expecting to see you in Augusta, maybe in, 

Ben Wright: I'm terrible, mate. I'm terrible, mate.

I'm hoping the golf clubs improve my game, but it might be false advertising. Who knows at this point. 

Robert Kielty: We'll see. It's no better place to start though. 

We've all recognized this pivot, but I think when people hear, this is the opportunity to make a huge business change or significant kind of process change. And they've been told that this is where things are going. I know even for, for Allbound, we live in the partnership space, but it was only by realizing that 30 to 40 percent of our businesses was being advocated that has been the sort of canary in the coal mine or the alarm bells to tell us we need to make this change.

But of course we were wondering, how do you make this change? What are the activities that people can do to start to make this shift from traditional B2B and B2C initiatives, this more partnership advocacy led motion? 

Will Taylor: I wrote a post about this yesterday and a bit about it today and I actually had a conversation about this with someone yesterday as well. And they're basically doing an analysis on the market on what do businesses need to do to get ready to hire someone in partnerships and ergo start a partnership motion.

The starting point in my mind, number one is a mindset shift for every business unit. Every business unit needs to be ready for this idea of partnerships to come into helping to generate revenue and sales and marketing, being part of the product roadmap success. Integrating partners into , the workflows that they have and their conceptions of value for the customers.

I think that's very core and I would be hesitant to join any organization as a partner professional that didn't have this mindset change, even if they don't know everything about it, they're at least ready and open and understanding that we need to deliver value in more ways than just our direct approach.

The second piece I would say is. If you truly want this to be a business function, you need to resource this effectively. Meaning you need to have the right tracking for the attribution for partners and the right processes for partners already documented. And I'm not saying you need to build the partner program and put the cart before the horse, but you need to have your ICP built.

I'm surprised at how many businesses don't actually have an ICP. You need to have all of the sales metrics recorded at the historical and what you're projecting as well. Marketing, same thing, success, same thing. Look at the metrics. What is the LTV? What is the CAC? Literally every metric, because when you bring in partnerships.

You're going to realize that there is going to be an effect across the business entirely. And if you don't have that foundational business layer, then putting in partnerships, they're going to have to work backwards. And you're going to have a lot of wasted time in building the partnerships program. And then you go, where's my revenue?

Why is this taking so long? And then you of course say partnerships isn't working. 

So if businesses want this to be a successful business motion, they need to have their room clean for lack of better words, and make sure their house is in order. And then they can, invite this idea of partnerships in.

Rob Rebholz: I'm very aligned with Will on pretty much everything. So on one hand, I absolutely agree. Partnerships is more holistic function and everybody needs to think about partnerships. We have to have figured stuff out and how we want to work with partners to then start working with partners and driving revenue with partners.

At the same time, I have a bit of a contrarian take on all of this stuff, because what I've seen is that a partner, team comes in and they're like, Hey, everything needs to change. Selling is changing. Direct selling code out. He just dead. And you now have to do this new thing that we invented or that we think is better than what you're doing and here's the data that proves that this stuff's better.

And I think that creates a lot of friction. If you look at sellers what they do on a daily basis, they still close deals, they're incredibly overwhelmed from all sides, right this AI stuff is so exciting for them and this and that and they've got New third party data sources and now there's somebody else is like and you have to change the entire process.

So what we have to do, I think, as partner teams, we have to from a different angle and be more service providers. So rather than tell these people, here's, this is the future of selling. You got to be like, Hey, by the way, that deal that stuck, this partner could help move it forward.

And all you need to do is you need to tell me that you want assistance. You know, I, by the way, that company that you're trying to reach this company can help. It's a bit of the give to get internally. We need to change the way people work, not by forcing them to do things differently because.

Good luck trying to achieve that, but rather we have to integrate Nearbound data into their workflows, make it almost trivial to leverage partners. And then over time, in two, three years, we're going to be sitting here and everybody's going to be like, Hey, this is, I don't want to do the old stuff anymore.

I want to do this. This new approach to selling because I've heard that it's more fun, but we're not there yet. So I think that's an important mindset shift in partner departments. We can't be like the people that I constantly, you know, screaming like, Hey, this is, this sucks.

And you got to do this differently, et cetera. So that's, that's my take on this stuff.

Ben Wright: I'm somewhere in the middle of both, to be honest, I think I agree with both points. The interesting thing that I think every company can try before they go out and hire a full time resource. Because again, like if you're hiring somebody to start a partner program from the ground floor up, it's costing you, you know, 150 K let's say, which means that person is put under immense pressure to immediately return results.

So it doesn't work for either party in a lot of circumstances. Stuff like partner co marketing, right? It's such an easy thing to test. And I go back to Rob's point about showing the value of partnerships early on.

If you ask any marketing team, how difficult it is to put on a quality webinar, it's very difficult, right? You have to call guests. You have to do a bunch of outreach. You have to snip stuff up at the end. If you're doing it with partners. Do it with two partners, one partner, it becomes infinitely easier, double audience reach half the effort and stuff like that starts to build the use case internally that actually like partners, partners are great, right?

Like we just put on this webinar, instead of reaching 10, 000 people, we were able to reach 50, 000 people cause we could tap into three, four databases of data. 

And so I think when Rob talks about those small wins that can happen before you hire a full time partner resource, right? Like you don't have to hire a resource to test partnerships out, you can do it in small increments before you go out and put significant investment into a, into a partner program. 

So I think I'm somewhere in between the two, which is the eventual state, really robust, mature partner program.

Yes. Everybody has to come on board, but I'm also in Rob's camp of like. Hey, let's prove that certain things work and partnerships are awesome before you go out and make a significant investment in the role. 

Robert Kielty: It's like this really tricky balance, right?

You can't drive a square peg into a round hole as it were, it has to be sort of conducive to the team. I know for us, for example, we've had to present this as we don't want partnerships to come in all guns blazing, just steam roll over existing processes or sales teams feeling like we're going to get absolutely flattened and expected to pivot our entire process to cater to this partnership team when really it should be this completely collaborative, kind of like a partnership, if you'll forgive my French. 

Ben Wright: Rob, let me, let me ask you the question then. I know you're interviewing us, but let me ask you. That's fine. 

Robert Kielty: Go for it. I'm all ears. 

Ben Wright: Why is Allbound transitioning to ecosystem first, right? Like that's a, I mean, that's, you're doing it, you're living it at the moment.

So like, so why, why are you doing it? 

Robert Kielty: Well, there's a lot to unpack, but I'd say when I joined the business maybe about three months ago now, by the time I got to the company, there was already murmurings of like a big change coming because we'd identified as a business by working back through existing closed one deals and the deals, especially that close quickly. 

We were averaging between, for a whole quarter of revenue, you're talking about 30 to 40 percent of those closed deals were advocacy led in some shape or form.

 And this was with the amount of data that we could just glean from what we had, you have to go through just historical notes to see, okay, well, what are the, what were the partner interactions like here? And so even at a very basic level to have 40 percent of a quarter being discovered as partner led after the fact when there was no deliberate partnership motion is well it's just honestly astonishing.

Robert Kielty: Like that that reverberated the whole way up to the board and hence the business changing accordingly.

We've identified this is clearly a new direction we need to go in but then it's like okay well how do we pivot the business and get that buy in to go along this journey with us and it's about satisfying Both the existing business practices and you're not steam running the sales team and also making a thoughtful but deliberate process to layer partnerships on top of existing processes.

We use the term horseman in our business. So you're talking about outbound, inbound, direct sales, et cetera. Those are the main drivers of the business we've simply kind of given partnerships that same status, but as a fourth horseman.

Of course, when you're seeing, when you're starting to see numbers and revenue and pipeline appear on those dashboards, it also further reinforces, Oh, well, like we're implementing this because it exists.

We're not doing it for the sake of it. 

There was kind of like a shock to the system in the sense that, Oh, this is really happening to them being at a very deliberate, thoughtful process to implementing those changes to existing practices in the business. It has to be complimentary.

We're really seeing the, seeing the benefits of it. You know, we partnered with all of you guys just from an industry collective side of things but there's so much to be gleaned from that benefit as well.

I think people also need to recognize the partnerships is more than just about the revenue.

It's about how you're contributing to that community as a whole. How are you contributing to the thought leadership that's in this space? And I think that's what we're trying to very much provide with. Folks today, like this is just what we're experiencing is our CMO Pete is also doing like a bi weekly on our own journey as a business as we make this pivot.

So we're literally living this as it's as we're speaking right now. But we're noticing the benefits and it's an important change to make. And that's why we're trying to essentially share this, this knowledge and expertise with everybody else. 

Guys, I want to open the floor. Is there anything else you would like to add in terms of other businesses that you're working with?

Maybe interesting challenges that they've had as they've been making these changes? 

Will Taylor: I've seen a good amount of founders reaching out and engaging with our content, which is a change from the partnerships people as it was, you know, two to three years ago. And last year, definitely more salespeople. Even when I look at, the analytics of my followers on, LinkedIn, most of the people that look at my content are founders. 

I've spoken to a good amount of founders where if they're starting a business today. And they're a younger founder.

They're basically saying this outbound thing isn't going to work for me in its entirety. 

And that's not to say that they are not going to do this outbound motion, but they're basically saying, I don't have the capital available to invest in this like companies could before. So what should I do? And that's where I tell them, , as a founder, you can start building some relationships with other organizations that are servicing or ICP.

And then something as simple as creating content and just being more visible where you can start to be in orbit of the people that you're trying to reach. And, you know, it's great to see that all bounds doing that as well. You just alluded to, your CMO going out on LinkedIn and doing these updates.

That's going to help out others in the ecosystem. And that's putting you in this orbit and that's an executive doing that as well. So you don't need to do a specific formal program per se. You just need to be more engaged in the circles that those ICP folks are actually engaging in. And so yeah, I'm seeing it across founders and established partner programs.

So small companies to larger companies that they're shifting more towards this partnership strategy. I still believe it's an early adopter phase because not every business is going to immediately go. It's 2024. Let's do partnerships. 

You know, as much as I would like them to, but There's definitely a theme where there's more engagement with even just the content in general about this.

And I think that's a very good indicator of who are they turning to? Well, it's probably not the voices of the past. It's, you know, what's more, more prominent now. And that's our circle essentially. 

Ben Wright: Yeah, it's so you said at the start, Will, which was really interesting is like, there used to be this recipe book for early stage companies, which especially if you're PLG, right.

And I was watching a webinar that they called open view partners, they talk about PLG and the way to generate demand from a PLG perspective, very much used to be like SEO, a few other bits and pieces, but now. People are putting partnerships into that first bucket of things that you should start to focus on early doors.

And so I do think that is starting to drip through into the VC and the investor world as well. When they're advising companies on what tactics to generate demand from an early stage, it's right alongside some of those more traditional tactics , for businesses to generate demand.

And so I think that would be the piece that I. I'm definitely starting to hear more of, and I've got a real life example. SendSpark, who does video prospecting software, they've gone for a partner led strategy almost from day one, building out integrations. They've got a really good affiliate program. And so I think you're starting to see earlier stage founders really adopting this notion of partnerships and making the most of it.

It's becoming a part of the recipe to grow businesses. 

Rob Rebholz: 100%. 

So I like the the VC angle, right? The investors. I remember when we raised the money two and a half, three years ago, a lot of people were like, what is this thing? Partnerships? That's just a minor trends. And I have the same investors now coming back and be like, Hey, you know, when are you raised the next round?

We realized this is changing. Jason Lemkin tweeted, I think today that he doesn't understand why earlier stage companies don't leverage partners more. I've had a lot of conversations with salespeople over the last year. I think there's still a lot of reluctance. Like I said before, right.

They're just so overwhelmed with a lot of stuff and I try to figure out like, how can we change that? And an interesting audience that I'm talking to a lot lately ref ops leaders. So, you know, ref ops, I think historically has served mostly the sales team, right? And have them become more efficient, build better processes.

And I think a lot of these teams are now looking at partnerships. They don't really know what to do. How do I make that partner team more effective? They do realize that historically a lot of partner teams have just scaled by hiring more people which created all kinds of issues and now they're interested in partner tech. What are the specific use cases the the topics that they can contribute work on to make this a holistic process and approach and go to market function.

And it's exactly what you described as well, Rob, right? Like when you talked about. you guys working on your Salesforce setup, right? Getting, getting the basics right, as a foundation to then create scale. And I think that's the big topic. And that's why RevOps is such an interesting audience. Without them, if we remain like the partner departments, and we're trying to do our little thing, and we have a silo here, a silo here, and to work around here and, work around there, that just, that just creates issues.

So that's an interesting kind that I think is happening right now. 

Robert Kielty: A hundred percent. And you know, RevOps is interesting because they are the cornerstone for a lot of those teams. And I think they also have to have that buy in. It's very important that they feel like this also just makes business sense, this pivot and that the technology.

Rob Rebholz: They also have to budget. 

Robert Kielty: Yeah, they own everything. The gatekeepers are more than just the processes. 

Rob Rebholz: Well, that's, that's how it is, right? You need to pull everybody in. And I think historically partner teams were that great at that. Right. I think now partner teams didn't have a seat at the table because we don't have a lot of experience in doing that stuff.

And that's changing. And now we're winning everybody over step by step, which is crucial. 

Robert Kielty: Yeah, absolutely. 

We've identified that this is very much happening, this change. Will, you very much rightly pointed out, we're at that early adopter stage in terms of this really concerted SaaS led change to like investing in partnerships as a key arm of businesses.

We've given folks some tactical insights in terms of these are the considerations to make. I think we would all agree that the KPIs ultimately are often more or less the same, it's all about, you know, generating effective business and just making sure that it sticks.

I know one thing we often say is this is more of an aside is how. Often actually the sales cycle is often one of the key changes when it comes to partnership selling . You're still following all the same metrics, but it's that reduction in time because of the advocacy that we've seen.

And I think that would be the only thing I'd add onto all your expertise around, you know, you're walking not running, making sure there's alignment with sales, with rev ops, making sure that it buys into the existing system of the business before. There's like wholesale change and introductions of these fully fledged partner functions across marketing and sales.

But I'm curious, we haven't maybe crossed the chasm yet. If we're going by our early adopters scale here, where do we see the future of these technologies and these practices going? Have you guys got any sense what you, what you see coming? 

Rob Rebholz: Personally I think what we're going to see is we are going to see more better blueprints, better processes. We're gonna see people leverage tools like automation, ai. All of that new stuff, in a more sophisticated manner and more efficient manner. And this is all part of a shift from partnerships is an art to partnerships is a science.

I think there is not another contrarian take maybe, but I don't think you can get a seat at the table. If you tell your CEO that what you do is an art. Because that's a huge risk. You have to get to a point where you're like, Hey, this is a science and there's a certain degree of predictability. Yes.

These are, you know, this is a bit more complex than other things that we're doing, but ultimately if you don't go from art to science, You're not going to get everything that you need to be successful in the long run. So that's, that's an important kind of shift development that I'm seeing. And everything we just talked about with processes better understandings all plays together in that in that move.

Ben Wright: I'm totally aligned with what Rob said. I think more time to do something means that there's more maturity in the processes that people are building out. I think something that Rob said, which was really interesting is I keep hearing people say, Hey, every organization should have a chief partnership officer, right?

That's something that a lot of people are pushing out into the market. And I would actually probably argue against it at this point, because like with a head of marketing, for example, you can put X money into something can get X result, right? We're not at a level of maturity yet. And I do think it comes down to not the right tooling, not the right blueprints, not the right playbooks out there to replicate.

Whereby I don't think there is a need for a chief partner officer at the moment because you still have to prove your value, prove the revenue that you're generating for a business. And so I think what we'll see the kind of the next couple of years is maturity in partner managers, maturity in the profession of partnerships.

And, and more people generating more revenue for their businesses with partnerships, which in turn will lead to this kind of really nice. Thing of Allbound being a billion dollar company, Superglue being a billion dollar company, Reveal being a billion dollar company, because people will be able to correlate revenue to the tooling that they're purchasing.

And I do think that will, that will come. And I think it's happening kind of as we speak as well. 

Will Taylor: Yeah. And to take all of those points home, it shouldn't be something that's terribly complex, like it is in terms of the things that are being done and like the programs and all of that, but in terms of the tracking, at the end of the day, and this is a very common theme in the narrative around partnerships is you're building a business within a business.

So what metrics matter? Effectively, every business metric matters that's related to revenue. And so we always talk about how partnerships and the Nearbound methodology is an overlay to the business. So, if you're starting a partnerships program, of course you need to compensate, your partner people on something.

So pipeline generated and source revenue, very good starting point. And then in terms of the KPIs. Think of it as a layer across your demo to deal ratio, your leads to demo ratio, the LTV of a client, the CAC, and all of these metrics should be compared of what is the normal or what was the normal of no partners involved and what happens when there is a partner involved.

That is going to inform your business. Should we invest more in partners? Should we invest less in partners? Where should we invest more in partners? Oh, there's a really long lifetime value. Maybe we should take a look at that. And so you don't necessarily need to have all of these, again, very complex tracking pieces in place.

I always try and simplify it to one report, which is what is a report of revenue one without partners. And what is a report of revenue run with partners. Look at the metrics, how do they differ? And then that gives you and your CRO levers to pull to say more here, less there.

So just to bring all that home, every metric matters effectively. If you want to compensate specific ones, pipeline generated from the partner team and sourced revenue that's closed as per coming from partners. And then also pay attention to every other business metric that's being impacted because.

I have no doubt that you'll notice that there is impact across the entire business in some form. 

Robert Kielty: Yeah, yeah, you have to. That's beautifully succinct, Will. I think what really says that for me, there was just that sense of recognizing it's there and then making the changes.

That's the key takeaway for me. But Jens, We'll come to a close here. I think that, Oh wait, Rob, give us something else. I would love to hear some more. Go for it.

Rob Rebholz: No, I just want to thank you for setting this up leading this movement within partner tech.

Cause the interesting thing is partner tech companies very often didn't. Like you said, right? Leverage partnerships. So thank you for doing this. Thank you for like co marketing with us because you obviously kind of proving the point, right? 

I think that's very important. So that's, that's a set, I think sends a strong signal because everything that you learn, everything that you achieve, everything that you do also makes you better as an organization or same, same is true for us.

Robert Kielty: Well, our pleasure, of course. And like, likewise, like, really appreciate everybody taking the time to come on. I think it's, we, I keep using this phrase, I think I've played our sales team with this phrase, but I keep saying like a rising tide raises all ships. So we obviously enjoy working together. I keep saying for the folks in this call, it feels like almost an extension of the old band team because it's just very sort of natural collaboration.

It's not to your point, Rob, it's not, it's about kind of proving the point of just sort of nurturing and growing those partnerships. But yeah, gents, 

listen, thanks for your time. I think, you know, for the listeners, absolutely highly encourage everybody to follow Will, Rob and Ben on social, particularly on LinkedIn.

They're just sharing a wealth of industry knowledge virtually every day of the week. I quick shout out for for Rob who recently had the superglue referenced on Times Square. That was, that happened, I think an hour or two before the, we started chatting, so that's very fresh in the mind.

But you know, it's a, we would highly encourage people to follow those folks, you know, and you know, Reveal partner fuel and super respectively as well. 

Thanks so much again for joining and I'm sure we'll catch up again soon. Another webinar podcast down the road. I can feel more of these coming.

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