#151 Mike Stocker: Close 40% More Deals with Partner Influence
Close 40% More Deals with Partner Influence : In this podcast Mike Stocker, VP of Partnerships at Rollworks, joins Chip in this episode of Ecosystem ...
Mike Stocker, VP of Partnerships at Rollworks, joins Chip in this episode of Ecosystem Aces to share how to build joint solutions with partnerships.
Rollworks is a leading account-based marketing platform for B2B and Sales–helping to grow revenue by focusing on specific accounts. Rollworks believes that to be a true platform, companies need to build an ecosystem friendly-platform from the beginning by partnering with other leading SaaS businesses.
In this podcast, Mike discusses Rollworks’ ecosystem model, including:
- Partnership development strategies;
- Importance of partnerships and building joint solutions;
- Minimizing management-related issues in partnerships;
- Co-selling versus partnership; and
- Measuring partnering activity, contribution, and metrics;
The Decade of Partnerships
Partnerships and ecosystems are verified to be a very cost-effective way to expedite advancement in companies, creating a remarkable shift in market conditions. This decade of partnerships and era of ecosystems makes a current upswing in the market. With this change, however, partnerships are facilitating the growth of companies.
All the great ecosystem conferences are coming back due to this market shift. Rollworks and other ABM platforms have started to see a lower cost of acquisition from partnerships, which brings much faster deal cycles and drives sales numbers up.
Importance of Building Joint Solutions with Partners
Mike uses a CDC study to prove that integrations are the most crucial consideration when buying new software and investing in tech. It's vital that the new software works with the software the company already has.
Aside from this, he reiterated that partnering is becoming a trend among B2B and Sales businesses. Many companies use Crossbeam data to see the impact of any partnership to reach prospective customers.
Through partnerships, companies can gain the answer to questions like: “What would the customers like to see?” and “What should the integration look like to provide value?” With the insights generated from these questions, they can start directing their products and solutions to what customers want–building an integration that would be valuable.
Mike said it’s worth noting that the biggest challenge for any partner manager is driving the adoption of integration. Fortunately, there are new ways for companies to bring partner integrations to the market.
Rollworks’ solution for this is integrating Crossbeam. Through this integration, they can now take a list of mutual customers and take them into Rollworks by running advertising campaigns to share partnerships.
These kinds of integrations contribute to a multi-level marketing strategy. Mike states that looking at things like integration promotion, playbook use, and other techniques to make the most out of integrations is important. Most importantly, the company must have a strong relationship with the product and marketing teams.
Issues of Reporting in Partnerships
Mike states that partnerships naturally entail crossing different functions within a company which may cause confusion on organizational and functional processes. However, once the integrations are properly implemented, it’s easy to organize the overall workflow.
“If you’re reporting to Product, you’re going to be focused on the technical integration aspect. If you’re reporting to a CRO, you’re going to be focused on net new opportunity creation and deal flow. And then, if you’re reporting to Marketing, it is pipeline creation metrics and appointment creation,” Mike said.
There are a bunch of different people that set the objectives of companies. In partnerships, however, all decision-making processes should go along all the said branches– the Product Team, the CRO, and the Marketing before reaching the President or CEO. Furthermore, the metrics vary by company, but they should not be “pigeonholed” into one particular area.
Co-Selling versus Reselling
Co-selling is very different compared to traditional reselling. Rollworks currently have different areas of co-selling, with over 200 people and the entire sales team trained to use Crossbeam. In fact, Rollworks is one of the largest end-user install bases of Crossbeam, and the company has fully mastered leveraging partner data.
For instance, Rollworks reaches out to partners using shared Slack channels. Crossbeam and Slack allow the sales team to go in and leverage partner data and connect with a partner to determine if their prospect is perhaps a customer of one of their partners. Then, they can reach out on Slack, communicate with the partner, and gain valuable insight into a prospective customer.
A direct example of this situation is the experience of a Rollworks salesperson named Lauren Bear. She was trying to win a deal when an important contact went dark on her. Lauren checked the Crossbeam data and saw that the prospect was a customer of one of the Rollworks partners. Then, she reached out to the partner, explained the situation, and asked if there was someone she could reach out to close the deal. Lauren found out that the person had left the company, and the partner connected her to a new individual so she could end up closing the deal.
Lauren’s experience demonstrates the value of partnership and co-selling. In fact, that customer even helped with later Rollworks integrations, so it turned out to be a situation where everyone benefited.
Mike further emphasized a direct correlation between sales success and the use of partnering tools. As it turns out, the top salespeople also happen to be the top users of Crossbeam.
Measuring Partner Activity and Contribution
Mike shared that 3 years ago, Rollworks’ partnership team envisioned the company to be an ecosystem-friendly account-based data platform that compliments and improves existing products. He also shared their team’s three different lenses to accomplish this mission.
The first one is by helping Rollworks drive more complete solutions for prospects and customers through partner integrations. The second solution is to show up more in marketing by co-marketing with partner companies. Hubspot and Linkedin are partners, and co-marketing with them, in turn, allows Rollworks to show up more in the market. Lastly, he mentions driving new sales opportunities with partners.
Mike stated that partners should eventually meet all three lenses for a successful partnership. These partnerships might start as integrations or co-marketing partnerships, but they should eventually evolve to a point where they can drive new opportunities. Most importantly, to determine if a partnership is successful, the vision and mission of the Rollworks team created 3 years ago should be fulfilled.
Understanding Partnering Metrics
Mike shared that he looks at a handful of metrics when deciding about partnerships. These metrics include partner influence, sourcing, and impact on sales deals. Rollworks recent partner source deals closed one-third of the time, and the conversion rate from the opportunity to actual close is 4x that of a deal that's not partner sourced.
Furthermore, he also looks at the retention of renewal rates of products tied to partnerships and integration usage.
"There's a growing body of work and evidence supporting that the more integrations you have in place, the higher your retention and renewal rates," Mike states when speaking about the retention of renewal rates. He articulates that the common mistake among companies is not allocating enough value to this last metric which is "hugely meaningful" for the company.
In between the topics of integrations, partnerships, and co-selling, Mike stresses that the most important thing is to think of the "full equation."
"Make sure that you're putting yourself in your customer's shoes and in your partner's shoes," Mike said.
He also emphasized the importance of considering everyone's motivation. If there's mutual benefit for everyone, it's a strong partnership.
Mike thinks it's important to start with empathy for the customer and partner. It boils down to the question: What is the motivation for the customer, partner, and your own company?
To learn more about Mike and what his team at RollWorks is working on, you can follow him on LinkedIn.
Links & Resources
- Learn more about how WorkSpan helps customers accelerate their ecosystem flywheel through Co-selling, Co-innovating, Co-investing, and Co-marketing.
- Subscribe to the Ecosystem Aces Podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcast.
- Join the WorkSpan Community to engage with other partner ecosystem leaders on best practices, news, events, jobs, and other tips to advance your career in partnering.
- Find insightful articles on how to lead and get the most out of your partner ecosystem on the WorkSpan blog.
- Download the Best Practices Guide for Ecosystem Business Management
- Download the Ultimate Guide for Partner Incentives and Market Development Funds
To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about modern partnering, he can be reached on Twitter, LinkedIn, or send Chip an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org