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Episode Summary

Today, our guest on The PARTNERNOMICS Show is Jared Fuller, Founder of PartnerHacker and Host of the PartnerUp Podcast. Jared is a market/product led entrepreneur with an obsession for startups that delight customers, create ecosystems, connect marketplaces, and accelerate undeniable shifts in human behavior. He’s also been awarded as Entrepreneur’s Top 10 Most Innovative Sales Leaders.


Topics Covered

  • Momentum: Is the pace of partnerships increasing?
  • Goals: Should partnering professionals set “stretch goals” for their teams and partners?
  • Communities: How should partner leaders leverage communities?
  • Resource Partnerships: Are they a viable option for companies?

All right. We are back for another episode of the PARTNERNOMICS Show, Mr. Jared fuller. What’s going on, sir? 

It’s great to be here. Second time seeing you on camera this week, because I was doing the course. So having some fun, glad to be back. 

Yeah, man. Well, thanks for participating in that. Definitely appreciate your feedback and your willingness to go through that. Man, looking forward to having this jam session with you, this will be fun. We’re looking forward to that, but as we kick it off here, Mr. Jared, for the five or six people in this country that don’t know who Jared is in the partnering world, tell us man, what’s going on.

Oh, there’s a lot. I thought I retired around Christmas time, but that lasted about two weeks the life of an entrepreneur, right? Just the wheels never stop spinning. No, I’m I’m really excited to be going all into something that has always come naturally to me. I love what Paul Graham says the best entrepreneurs are t-shaped, they’re really deep into functional areas. And one of those things that I’ve always been passionate about and good at and attracted to was partnering from a practical sense, winning big partnerships with big companies at tiny startups. So I’m from the tech startup world, built partnerships and sales at PandaDoc.

And then most recently led partnerships at Drift and have had a bunch of companies I’ve started in the past. 

Yeah. Awesome man. Awesome. Hey, I’m ready to dig into this. Let’s do it. Let’s let’s hammer up some questions, man. So I I’ve got one queued up for you right here. That is man. It seems, it seems like the pace of partnerships is just absolutely taking off. Absolutely accelerating. From your vantage point. Is, is that what you’re seeing as well? How does it, I mean, I, I tell people, it feels like partnering has finally arrived as like a real profession. What, what do things look like from your seat? 

Well, if you would’ve asked me Mark a year ago, if I would be spending 120% of my available time on partnerships, I would’ve said you’re crazy.

I mean, I’ve been doing this for a long time. But I did not think I’ll put it this way. I think in the enterprise you have partnering, that’s a little bit different. You have ecosystem chiefs. Well, you have channel chiefs and the ecosystem chiefs. You’re starting to see some things that you know, Microsoft, everything is kind of partnering, right?

Like it’s the perfect example. Other enterprises, maybe not so much, but. In hyper growth, tech partnering as a function has never had its heyday. In fact, it’s the most made fun of thing, or it was the most made fun of thing. Getting your mind share, or getting on this, the sales kickoff slide, where you had, you know, the CEO’s three priorities of the year.

You’re gonna see partnering a lot of fortune 500 public companies. You never see that in a hyper growth startup and something’s happening. Happening right now. And it feels very similar to 2012, that MarTech kind of revolution where, you know, people have been doing marketing for 10 years, then all of a sudden it was like, wait a second. I think we’re figuring this out. The sales people like the marketing teams, this is changing a little bit, there was an explosion of technology. There was an explosion of investment. There was an explosion of content of shared understanding. Isn’t that what’s happening right now? What’s even crazier is that I’m seeing the people that didn’t give two blank about what that partner organization did reaching across the island being like enough’s enough.

This is broken. The average American receives between 410,000 advertisements per day. And for some reason, a go to market organization, we have the goal to think that we’re gonna break through that noise. I think they’re finally realizing that, like, we can’t just have the same debate, the same debate between marketing and sales is actually what’s weird is that it’s the same debate I had in 2018.

Everything’s changed, but marketing and sales are still stuck. And I think finally I’ve seen in the past weeks, weeks, people coming out and I think they’re, I think the tides are shifting. There’s a lot. There’s a lot happening here. It’s time. 

There’s no doubt, man. You’re gonna, you’re gonna have me jump on my soapbox.

You’re gonna have to slap me if, if I do, but it feels like I love the stuff that that even Jay McBain shares and you know, talking about the decade of two thousands, decade of sales, turning sales into a, a science, the decade of the, 2010s being the decade of marketing, turning, marketing into a science with the, you know, the Pardots and the HubSpots and all those folks that are able to actually put numbers behind this stuff.

We can kind of see what’s happening to the dollars. The 20, you know, 2020, you know, this is called the decade of ecosystems, but the decade of partnerships, it is time to turn partnering into a science, for too damn long it’s been an art. We don’t know exactly. What’s going to look like this, this blank canvas that we have.

Now we finally have an opportunity to, to really make partnering, become a science where we understand what we’re going to get. And we diligently and in a disciplined manner, in a repeatable manner. We put people through our partnering process. That’s a problem. We don’t have really processes. We don’t have software solutions.

We don’t have other tech, but it’s all starting right now. We’re getting there. Absolutely. This is such an exciting time, man. This is such an exciting time. But now I think, you know, investors, CEOs, C-suites, they’re going to start to actually quantify their ROI. And then that’s when it’s really going to get interesting.

It’s gonna be fun. It’s gonna be a lot of fun and guess what? We’re the best people to work with because we wanna work with other people. Absolutely. So marketing and sales folks, listen to this out there, come over to take the partner pill because we actually wanna collaborate that that is in our DNA.

You have to, I mean, the, the organic approach, the, the soley organic approach. It’s, it’s not fast enough. It’s not fast enough. It’s not good enough. It doesn’t have enough knowledge, know how, power to, to be able to keep up. There’s actually a study that, that you and I think we both geek out on numbers, but KPMG put out a number a couple years ago they asked CEOs of all the different types in ways that you can grow right acquisition, organic partnering, outsourcing M and a these sort.

So these certain things of all these different ways to grow, what is your dominant strategy? The number was 38% to partnering B2B partnering. 38% of CEOs said their number one strategy for growth beyond organic building it themselves beyond acquisition, beyond outsourcing, beyond joint ventures, all of these things.

And that number increased to your point with this whole question. That number increased 15% in just one year. Yeah, but C-suites getting on board with partnering. Yeah, and I love it. and I love it and I love it. Awesome. Bam. We killed that five minutes. Yeah. Next question, man. Yeah, we’re gonna, we’re gonna throw this one back at you.

You mentioned something about quantifying and actually understanding and having a process and getting to you know, the place where we understand where the bar is. Yeah. Right. And I think this time of year you know, you, you kind of like looking at, okay, what, how are we, how are we doing against our, our targets?

This is where I feel like people start to set things like stretch goals. Should, should we be setting stretch goals, should partner leaders, should companies be setting stretch goals for their teams? Given the infancy that we’re at. I’d love your take on that. Yeah, man. Here, here’s, here we go. On the, the whole soapbox thing again.

So there’s an awesome book. John doer wrote it, measure what matters. And there’s a lot of really good information, a lot of great takeaways there. And he kinda lays us the framework for OKRs, right. Objectives, key results that Google made famous through, you know, his investment and his leadership over the past couple decades.

And so, yeah, so this whole stretch goal thing. So for our team, you know, say it’s realistic for us to hit whatever. I’ll pick out an arbitrary number, 5 million, right. Of sales or value, whatever you wanna call it. But there’s this philosophy out there of having a stretch goal of setting. Okay, well, let’s go for 8 million, you know, let’s, let’s really kind of go big and then push this out there further in my I humble opinion, I think stretch goals are one of the dumbest things that we have done in management.

Thought leadership and management theory over the past two and a half decades. And that is, I mean, I grew up in the world initially in the Marines and I spent six years in the Marines and my philosophy is especially in the world of partnering. By definition. People are depending on us, we are interdependent.

And so we need to make sure that goals are being hit because others are building their strategies. And they’re, you know, they’re skating to where the puck is going to be. Right. We tell them where the puck is going to be in my humble opinion, whenever it comes to a stretch goals, the whole methodology behind stretch goals is that you, you already concede from day one that.

Only half of your goals are actually going to be achieved. Well, I share in the hell don’t wanna be associated with the 50% that doesn’t get achieved. I’m a huge believer in setting goals with each partner. I don’t want my partner to gimme a call or jump on zoom or we’re meeting at a, at, you know, at a happy hour and them say, sorry, man, you were a part of the 25%.

You were a part of the 50% of the stretch goal that I didn’t meet. I hate that, set it and hit it, allow others to, to build on it and to count on it. Your thoughts? I think there’s a bunch of things that, that point to the overzealous overindexing on targets and quotas that I think B2B is starting to recoil against because it’s.

A there’s a generational shift. But B there’s a buyer shift and then C I think the people that are in those roles are, are tired. They’re tired of that 2 million quota sitting over their head year over year. And it’s not because they can’t get to the number. I think I’m gonna give you a counter example of like to, to stretch goals, which is how about no individual goals.

And you’re like, wait, no individual goals. That sounds crazy. You need to have a quota. I talked to Matt query, he’s the CEO of ROI, DNA. It’s one of the. Premier kind of ABM agencies. So they’re not an SI, but they’ve, they’ve grown like bonkers. They were in a fantastic partner to drift. And I had ’em on my podcast on that podcast.

He was saying how his entire organization has no goal other than customer success. That KPI is their target. That is their on target earnings. It’s not the sales contract. And to me, I was like, okay, interesting. But the way he talked about that and how you just align to the customer outcome as a sales professional, as a partner professional, cuz to some degree they are partnering, they were partnering with me, their, the person that was working with me, their target, their goal was my goal.

oh, why? Amazing. Amazing. I think that’s, I think that’s a good way of thinking about it. Not that we should get rid of quotas KPIs targets, but I think aligning to a broader thing where you’re both pointed in the same direction is is a much more natural and organic way of thinking about targets, goals, stretch goals, and they need to be aligned, not something that the bigger partner, you know, Figuring the win.

Like I think we could get to here because I would feel good about that. Yeah. So even in the case that you point out don’t, you have individual accountability because you have alignment to what that goal is. Yeah. There’s the absolutely accountability, but it’s the company goal. It’s the partner goal. It’s the one thing.

So instead of having one person chasing one, one number, you have everyone that’s pursuing the same thing, which is the outcome of the customer far too much from sales has nothing to do with customer outcomes. Nothing that annual contract don’t mean nothing. It doesn’t because guess what you, you blink and it’s five years later.

I think we all can agree that like time seems to be accelerating a little bit. Maybe we’ve been cooped up indoor. There’s a pandemic, but the reality is that. That doesn’t work anymore, because guess what’s gonna happen. If you cannot maintain that customer contract, like the SAS, the cloud revolution, people think it’s here.

It’s actually just getting started. If people like Jay are right. That there’s 175,000 tech companies. And by the end of the decade, it’s a, there’s gonna be a million. Yeah. Guess what if your customer’s not happy? There’s entrepreneurs out there that I know they’re gonna come take ’em so somebody will make supervising your partners and your sales people, right.

To go after things that. Aren’t about customer outcomes. That’s I think that’s my opinion. Yeah, no doubt. No doubt. All right. I’m gonna fire another question at you and that is. Communities man communities seem to really be getting a ton of momentum. You know, there’s a lot of talk on, I mean, how do communities, or how should communities fit into strategies?

How do partnering professionals use communities? What are they doing? Right? What are they doing wrong? I’d love to, to get you insights, how sure would should partnering professionals be using communities and how. It’s a, it’s very interesting. I’ve been part of several online communities before there was even really.

Software, so to speak, to, to organize it. I mean, we all have forums back in the day and the, before everything was owned by Google, you know, the Netscape browsers and the geo cities and stuff like that. There’s Hey, those were communities, right? It’s a very human thing, but in the B2B sense I think modern sales pros was the first one.

I was a part of peach CAI’s group and it was a Google email list group. Great thing. I learned a ton, learned a ton whenever Pete started that and I’m still a member And now though it seems to be getting a little bit different. It is something where people are recognizing that community is the thing that all of a sudden breaks the paradigm for the traditional go to market, the marketing and sales leader with their CFO.

Who’s kind of overseeing how much money are you gonna spend? How much are you gonna as what’s PPR? Like where are all the unit economics? And then this community thing. It’s like, we’ve been screaming as partner professionals in, you know, startup growth land at, at the go to market leadership to like, Hey, we need to be a part of this conversation.

This is not, you know, leads in dollars out pipeline like partnering is changing and it’s working differently. That ecosystem model everything’s fractured. No. Now all of a sudden though, communities are having a moment and it they’re looking at them going, wait a second. We need to rethink how we’re going to market.

We need to rethink about marketing and marketing budget and attribution, and the influence is happening presale it’s happening during the sale. Oh, wait, the influence is happening. Post sale. That’s the same stuff we’re saying that partner influence is distributed across the funnel. So I think that’s, what’s so interesting to me.

I, I don’t know that I could comment on if it’s a bubble. Is it gonna go away? There’s all these there’s actually mark over a hundred software companies selling software for community managers. Now mm-hmm , there is a community of community D managers that has 1500 community leaders in it. Like how meta can you get?

So it feels bubbly, but it it’s actually something that never changes. We’ve always had communities. I think the hard part about communities is it has to be authentic. It’s hard to scale. If you get too big, too fast, it decentralizes very quickly. It, it fractions and people have to get the most relevancy.

Out of a community. So it’s an interesting time. I’m, I’m particularly paying attention to communities because of partnerships and ecosystems, because I think it’s the wedge. That’s opening the door to conversations with my, my you know, brothers and sisters in marketing and sales that in the past weren’t, as weren’t, weren’t active listeners, I’ve been a marketing leader.

I’ve been a sales leader. I’ve been a partner leader. I listen and I think they were just like, I can’t, I have too much going on. I can’t listen to you, Jared. I can’t listen to this partner talk anymore. Yeah. Now we’re having conversations. I think communities are the reason why that’s happening. You know, what’s, what’s interesting is I think like that evolution of marketing and it, you know, back in the day, These huge corporations, right?

They would go to the Michael Jordans. They would go to these huge people. And, and that would be a part of what they would set out there with their brand. Individuals never had an opportunity to amplify their voice until really social and digital and the smartphone and all these sorts of things. So we’ve seen all this play I out where individual thought leaders.

Can stand up in these communities and have amazing amounts of influence, right. And that wasn’t available 10, 15, 20 years ago. And so it’ll, it’ll just be, it’ll be fascinating to see how it plays out, but brands connecting to true influencers. They’ll move the needle fast. The LeBron James ad in my humble opinion.

It seems more natural. I mean, just think about you know, Matt, Cameron one of my, you know, mentors, role models trained a bunch of sales people with SASY sales management just, just today was talking about like, look, I buy I’m a sales leader, but I buy by talking to people that I trust. It’s just really that simple, like the authenticity.

And I think that a, the cornerstone, you know, people are sniffing out BS faster than ever. I mean there there’s this information overload. That is happening everywhere. There’s info apocalypse that we’re inundated with information. It’s the goldfish economy. Good luck maintaining my attention for more than five seconds.

Look at my Chrome tabs. I can’t even see, you know, how many Chrome tabs I have open mark. The Fons are gone since I’ve been on this podcast. I have 14 notifications on my phone and you think you can get my attention. Good luck, but you know, who can my friend? Yeah. People, you know, like, and trust every, whenever, you know, you know, in the community slacks me.

And Sunir someone, someone that I trust when they tell me something, I listen. Yeah. Your ad your thing don’t work no more. And then if, if we have the opportunity to, to jump into an Amazon or wherever, and we can see objective reviews, right. We have opportunities to see, you know, pieces like that, that we never had access to before.

So that’s very interesting. Man’s that’s great marketing, you know, that’s what that is. Child D social proof, right? Yeah. It would be app absolutely. Interesting to see how how that continues to play out. Awesome. All right. Next question. Yeah, I’m gonna throw it back your way. Let’s do it. So this is take change of directions, resource partnerships.

Are they a viable option for companies right now, man? Awesome. Well, I think especially in light of where we are with. Software eating the world. Absolutely. So I mean, what the heck is a, a resource partnership with us? This is a tool that I love to use and tons of our clients. I mean, we’ve used it and that is typically whenever you have an engagement with somebody.

You do like a work for hire, let’s say you’re building software or you have somebody doing marketing on your behalf or research and development, whatever, you know, these, these value add pieces can be for your company. The general approach is you get the checkbook out, you contract with them, you have them do the work, and then you’re kind of off and running the idea behind a, a resource partnership.

Is to actually not invest on the front end, but invest on the back end from results from results specifically. So there’s a couple actually local marketing companies that have results based. Payments re results based share. And I think in particular, whenever I talk to, to our different clients that are startups smallers, they don’t necessarily have the 50,000, a hundred thousand dollars checks that they can turn around and write for different initiatives, a quarter of a million dollars for for software development.

These other pieces, there are absolutely opportunities and all of those. Scenarios. There are opportunities to structure, partnerships, structure, these relationships, where the pay is done on the back end based upon success. And I love that because it incentivizes both parties to work together to, to get those results.

It’s a, it’s a, it’s a great tool that I highly recommend. We use it all the time within partner Nomics, but I definitely recommend people dig into that. I I’ve I’ve seen it live in the wild. I mean, it I won’t discuss the details, but, you know, with a public market cap, you know, top, top three tech company in the world, multimillion dollar Alliance as a startup, right.

So this is a big deal and there’s things that float around in there. Things like a minimum commit, right? So like there’s a, there’s this kind of like base line, like understanding for revenue recognition purposes for juice in the numbers and, you know, whatever. It makes so much more sense. To, to put that investment from the perspective of partner success, if you wanna win in the long run, not to fit a, sell a row, a field in a financial model, and I am sick.

Of the CFO running the show on how sales should be compensated on how partner deals should be done. Not that they’re wrong, it’s because that’s how their feet are held to the fire. Right. That’s how they’re held accountable to. And I think this is where I think CEOs are starting to wake up, like as Satya who goes, Hey, guess what?

20% rev share on the marketplace 3%, right? Like. Ecosystem chief. Great, good job. Microsoft at SA is pushing that narrative. He understands, and I think that’s, you know, resource partnerships. It comes from that perspective that we have to start, stop trying to model everything, to fit the model. And we have to start modeling our business to fit how people actually work, how the market works.

Yeah. Yeah. That’s why I’ve been type go to market lately. Is that it’s about me manipulating you instead of. Ecosystem it’s about living where my customers are and then building backwards to my business. And I think resource partnerships is a perfect example of that. And it’s hard to, it’s hard to model to make your financial forecast real pretty, and you know, your books line up, but guess what?

It’s just a little bit of accounting work. It’s not that hard. Well, the thing in particular, and I know that, you know, we have a, a lot of family and friends that’s that’s in the software space, but man, what a great opportunity. I mean, we’re, we’re, we’re working with and chatting with a lot of different companies that have some real interesting knowhow and they have an opportunity rather than charge a hundred, $150,000 to do this, you know, build this module for somebody.

They have an opportunity to build this. Set it over into one of their now partners to go out, sell the hell out of that, but they get an annuity. They get a residual forever based upon a revenue share. And again, whenever you look at the life cycle of, of the value that that software provides, both sides are now incentivized to sell it and to make it great.

Going back to a point that you made earlier, focus on the customer, make, give them an easy button and make it as big as you can. That’s how you’ll win. Yeah. And that’s how you keep ’em too. Right. You screw your partner over, you try to throw some deal where you make your money up front and then they miss.

Are they partnering with you next year? I don’t think so. Yeah. Done deal. awesome. Mr. Jared, thank you for spending some time with us, man. It was good wrapping with you. Look forward to chatting with you in the future and dragging you back on here. And man, it’s gonna be awesome to watch the next chapter of the cool stuff that that you have gone on over there.

So keep up the good work. All right. Y’all.