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Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 188

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January 25, 2024

#188 Jeff Mattan: The Critical Role of Partner Ops Driving Partnership Transformation

In this Ecosystem Aces Podcast episode, Chip Rodgers, Chief Partner Officer, WorkSpan is joined by Jeff Mattan, VP, Global Partner Programs & Operations, BeyondTrust.

In this Ecosystem Aces Podcast episode, Chip Rodgers, Chief Partner Officer, WorkSpan is joined by Jeff Mattan, VP, Global Partner Programs & Operations, BeyondTrust, who shares insights from his over 17+ years of experience designing long-term, high-impact channel partner programs — and how using a strategic and communicative approach has helped him pave the way for success across several companies. 

Through his unique perspective, Jeff has been able to incentivize partner programs - through technical enablement, certifications, and workshops — and increase registrations up to 200%.

Topics covered include:

  • Transforming a legacy transactional channel to a customer-centric ecosystem - 0:54
  • Aligning teams for successful sales strategies - 5:53
  • Partner program incentives and metrics - 11:59
  • Partner enablement and certification - 18:58
  • Partner relationships and co-creation in software sales - 23:22

Chip Rodgers  00:13

Hey, welcome, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of ecosystem aces. I'm excited to be joined by Jeff Mattan. Jeff is Vice President of partner programs and operations at BeyondTrust. And, Jeff, I'm excited to have you.

Jeff Mattan  00:30

I'm excited to be here. It's gonna be fun. I loved all the pre podcast prep that gets me going. So thanks.

Transforming a legacy transactional channel to a customer-centric ecosystem

Chip Rodgers  00:54

Jeff, your role is really interesting. A few months ago, I spoke with Rob Spee. Maybe it was in the spring, who's Senior VP of partnerships at BeyondTrust. And leading the charge and talking about some ways of thinking about partnering, that BeyondTrust is putting in place and you're at the heart of it. You're the one that is in charge of making it all happen. 

So I'm excited to dive in a little bit and, and hear about the great things that are happening at BeyondTrust. You've been at BeyondTrust, about three years. Is that right? And then prior to that at Outwork, Netgear, Juniper spread a number of great backgrounds in technology and technology providers. So excited to have you here, Jeff, and welcome. 

Jeff Mattan  01:49

About 17-18 years ago, I decided to focus on partners. It was part of a layoff. I actually took almost two years off, I was single at the time and could do that. And I kept coming back to partners, and I kept coming back to operations and programs. That's what I wanted to do. So I've done that with a smattering of enablement, thrown in, over the last 15-17 years.

Chip Rodgers  02:15

That's fantastic. Well, why don't we start with all the changes and things that are in the works with BeyondTrust, maybe share a little bit about what you and your team are up to and where you are on the journey right now.

Jeff Mattan  02:36

So for those folks that might not have seen the podcast with Rob Spee. Rob owns the channel, from soup to nuts globally. And my team's role is operations and programs to actually enable that and make it happen. So Rob has been here two years, actually referred him into the company that was interesting.

And he has been on a steady march to convert us from a legacy just var transactional type channel to an ecosystem that surrounds the customer value, largely because that's what customers were asking for. We all know this, but it was happening, and we really weren't taking advantage of it. So we've done things like revamp the partner program. So now we have tracks for MSPs, GSI, service delivery programs, or for partners, partners that provide more value than just the transaction. 

And so that plus having things like badging programs, and all the systems being updated, making sure that we have services capable partners, is really what my team has been working on. 

There's a lot more in there. But one great thing that the team does, and we all love on this team is we work with almost every department internally at BeyondTrust. Plus we get to work with partners and vendors. So you have to be really collaborative, and fortunate that's something I like doing. Because in this role, you never have enough resources like others, but you have to rely on others in the company to kind of get your vision and help you. So there's a lot there, which I think we'll do follow ups on but that's what we've been doing over the last couple of years. It's a big transformation.

Chip Rodgers  04:30

It's interesting. And you're right in the thick of it, you're sort of the driving force, and helping Rob architect all of this. How do you think about that transition? And let me say like, let's start off with where are you along that journey right now would you say you're 20% in your 50% in you're 70%, where are you on that journey?

Jeff Mattan  05:03

I think we're around 40 percent. And I said Chip because we actually have a journey graphic that we have used. I think we borrowed it from one of the channel consultancies, they have posted online that Where are you and you're getting all the way to the ecosystem and partner led, and we're squarely in the middle. And when you look at where we should be, because we actually put yours on everything as the column headers, we're right in the middle, but we have a few things that we haven't done yet, in 2023. 

So that's why I say we're around 40%. We have a lot of momentum, a lot of things in flight. In fact, my weekly report, this week's gonna have a lot of things that are stuck waiting to get moving. But we are just short of halfway.

Aligning teams for successful sales strategies

Chip Rodgers  05:53

I love that as you describe it, you mentioned that it literally touches every part of the business. So though the work that you're doing is, it's a little bit of almost kind of evangelism.  And because, it's change management, it's bringing the whole organization along, and how have you thought about that? And are there some things that you put in place to sort of bring the rest of the organization along and make sure that they're on the journey with you.

Jeff Mattan  06:34

Evangelism is a good way of saying that, because we actually talk about that there's this, whether it's good or bad, there's an opportunity to be a partner evangelist every day. And so we try to take advantage of that. So little things we've done, we put in a communications plan, like we're apps and programs. 

But whenever we do anything, we have a checklist now that says, here are all the people, teams,stakeholders that need to be told and why. And we basically look at the checklist and say, which of these are relevant to this thing we're doing, whether it's a change in Salesforce, a new program, a new incentive, like, we want to make sure that we talk to the right people, because we had too many instances of people being surprised. And those people weren't just sellers. 

Sometimes they were on cams, the channel account managers, like, how did we miss that, because we didn't tell the people that our biggest customers were doing this thing like how there's also people who work on the systems, like the data management people, the Salesforce admins, they have to know what we're doing.

And so part of what we've done is that communications plan, we've also realized that the journey that you mentioned, a few minutes ago, we need to be better about telling that story internally. Because that's why we're doing this. And sometimes a lot of teams look at us and just say, you just keep telling us you need things. And we realized we didn't tell him why and what we're doing to give him the bigger picture.

So we do a lot of that there. And whenever someone has a free spot for internal communications or team call, we raise our hands and jump on it. Tell him about the newest partner because you have to refresh their memory. And part of that Chip is because like a lot of folks who probably watch your podcasts, we're a split company in terms of we have direct sales, and we have indirect sales. We came from a direct legacy where everything was done by a BT salesperson. So we have to make sure we constantly overcome that obstacle. And reminding people, here's what we're doing. Here's why. And here's what's in it for you. So we do that a lot.

Chip Rodgers  08:53

I love that. It really is a team sport getting there. So how are you thinking about aligning the teams, from  partner success teams, national cam services, cams, all those teams, making sure they know their role. And by the way that I love this, I love always coming back to the why because then it's not just like, oh, go do this. It's like, oh, I ended now I understand. And I understand what you're saying,that this is I'm helping support the overall company vision and strategy. So I love that. But how do you get the teams aligned?

Jeff Mattan  09:49

So those three teams you mentioned partner success, national cams and services cams. Two years ago, they didn't even exist. We just didn't have them. So, Rob put together a plan to carve out some new roles to support different parts of the business and different customers, different partners. So each of those teams has a remit. They have metrics that get measured on, some are overlapping. But we have that plus Rob tells the story, we all tell the story internally of why we have these teams, what they're trying to do. 

And again, what's in it for you a lot of what's in it for you is aimed at our sellers, because we want to make sure they understand, hey, you do get paid on this stuff. And if you don't get paid on it, we'll fix that. For instance, Partner Services, we're working on a program for that right now. And by the way, here's how this makes your life better, and helps you retire more quota. 

So let's look at service camps. So services camps really exist as an overlay function to ensure that our partners are skilled up to deploy, we have a backlog of deployments, we also have a PS team that's pretty small, who doesn't want to be in the services business they do have a small p&l, but they would like to do bigger, more important, custom engagements not deploy. So our services, cams have a role of making sure that they pick the right partners, make sure they're skilled up with the right training. So they're attached to the right people internally in the right training, and then communicate the heck out of, here's your group of partners in your area who can do services for you, to our sellers. 

So that's how we have their roles. And they also have to tell the cams here. So you have so it comes into the whole focus partner type setup, where we have to make sure in each category we have partners plugged in, so that a seller and a cam knows who to go to for that thing they need that provides value to the customer.

Partner program incentives and metrics

Chip Rodgers  11:59

And you put in some incentive programs to sort of measure and make sure that everyone's pulling in the same direction, or the right direction.

Jeff Mattan  12:16

We have just one caveat. I'm describing what we're doing. That doesn't mean everything's going smoothly. We're doing a lot of things. And a lot of what we do is lunch and learn. Because we want to get things out there, you're not going to get it right 100% of the time, but you want to get it out there. So all these things have been tweaked since they were launched, including the Romans talked about.

And the incentives we've given are. So my team is paid similarly to the cams and the service cams, everyone, we have, we're on the commission plan. Next year, I'm gonna move to the bonus program, because now we are in the greater go to market ops team, we moved out of the channel, but we still support the channel and partners. But the way we all get paid, including the services cams and rather CANS is we've got to have a certain amount of partner revenue. 

We've got to get so many people trained, and skilled up. And we'll do things with the services cams on in terms of number of implementations. And we're looking at doing things like NPS scores as well has to be a high score. Because we don't want just any implementation with a high quality one, because we could do it ourselves if we don't care about this, and we just want to go fast. So that's how we're doing that. We also have had some small bonuses put on our sellers. If they're at a certain amount of their quota, and they do these things with partners, they get a little bit extra. So we're trying to remind them and give them incentives for that. But a lot of what we do in the poker world is tied to specific partner incentives for our variables, metrics for our variables. And that's how we've tried to align people in their roles with doing these really important things with partners that'll hopefully develop them for the future.

Chip Rodgers  14:08

So that's for sure. Sort of internal.

Jeff Mattan  14:13

Net measurement. Are you looking external? 

Chip Rodgers  14:15

No, that was my question. But I'm going to the next part, which is, then now we talked about internal How about externally?

Jeff Mattan  14:26

Okay. We are as well, there? What we did is when we develop the different tracks in the partner program, so we don't have a separate partner program for the different types of partners. We basically say, here's the global program, click to accept it's an online agreement, and you become a reseller. But in the contract that you agreed to, you have the ability to be an MSP as well as a service delivery partner. 

So you just have to go get trained and meet the requirements, then you get that and the incentives we have there are usually you'd better discounts for the MSPs, because they're doing more work. For service delivery partners, that's where we're really focused a lot in the last year, we need more services partners. So that's where we spent a lot of time. And my team spent a lot of time. So those folks get access to a certain number of certifications. If they get to a certain level, they can qualify to actually do services on our behalf. So we actually give them contract out services to them, which are higher margin. If they do a good job, with all this, they can actually get into the program that we have that is called partner package services, meaning we skew up services of theirs. 

So they're not doing it for us. But our people get paid on it, because our sellers still retire. So what we've tried to do to simplify that is say, hey, partner, don't tell us what you can do. Here is what we need. Build this, this is going to skew up. And then our people are going to sell it to try to make it easy, because that's the first thing is can we prove the model, but partners can qualify for not only delivering services on our behalf, but having our people sell their services that are skewed up in our system. 

Chip Rodgers  16:18

Amazing. That's awesome. That's a true Co-sell.

Jeff Mattan  16:21

We're really pushing that trying to get it going. And what we do for those partners is, we measure their MPs on their implementations, because that's what the services are in this world right now. And so they have to maintain a certain score. And the score is from the customer, but also from the BeyondTrust folks who are involved. So that we get scores from a few different places.

Chip Rodgers  16:52

Love that. That's really moving the bar there? I don't know if I've seen that before. It's really terrific.

Jeff Mattan  17:03

Yeah, it's a lot of fun. We didn't know that we were a little bit on our own doing these things until Rob and I have recently attended some subchannel conferences or partner conferences and learned that a lot of people have questions for us, because they're not like, Okay, we're actually out further than we thought.

Chip Rodgers  17:22

That's fantastic. So how are you managing this all? What's talking about processes and systems and things like that?

Jeff Mattan  17:38

We have three main systems for using what I've described: Salesforce. We have it in there, we integrate as much as we can, we pull all our metrics from there. Second one is the partner portal we use. We're doing things like rolling out their partner compliance module. And we've modified it because the compliance module can only look at one partner track. But we've modified it with the help of an im partner partner to be able to show if a reseller does this, but they also are service delivery, can we show both things and see how they're doing. 

And then that's against partner program requirements. The third thing is we use Gainsight. For the NPS surveys, we've been using that for a long time internally, with our customers, we've leveraged it as the partner team. And again, the collaboration. We don't have any expertise and insights. We don't have more people to do it. The folks internally collaborated with us, we just had to ask them what we needed, or tell them what we needed. And they were able to help us. So that was really good to have them partnering on this partnering activity. So those are the real tools we use. There are some others. But those are the three biggies that we're using right now to enable track, and then then measure the scores.

Partner Enablement and Certification

Chip Rodgers  18:58

How about enablement, certification and kind of getting partners up to speed?

Jeff Mattan  19:07

I can't remember the LMS. We have. It's from our BeyondTrust University PTU. I'm trying to think through it just can't right now. But we have that. So we've integrated that somewhat with the partner portal. So we can pull through. We can get people from the portal to the courses they need for certifications, then we've actually integrated it back to Salesforce so we can measure and see how many of this type of certification they have. 

But we have that available. We've also expanded our workshops. But we found because we actually implemented a year and a half ago, a partner survey is a quarterly survey. And we found they consistently wanted partners for one of three things. They wanted, enablement, better technical enablement, they wanted simplicity. Some of our processes were really hard. Like, you'd look at them and go who did this at so we need to fix that. And they wanted more engagement. And they wanted more engagement with not just our sellers when a deal was happening when it wasn't like a relationship building enablement there. 

So that's how enablement happens at that level, but the technical enablement that they really wanted, we've done through BeyondTrust University using our LMS to serve them up certification training. But we also have done this, these things called Beyond Tech's, which are virtual and in person tech training. And the cool thing there is, it's not just training people who show up to help out the partners, Pro Services show up, our SCS show up. 

So it's all these experts that do these things. And so they're the ones actually in the rooms helping out either virtually or in person. And that flusters so much that is learning and relationship building. And that's actually where we've been able to drive a lot of collaboration internally, with partners, when some of those folks would see these really good technical partners show up for beyond tech. 

And we'd say, those are the partners we'd like to have in the service delivery program, they were really good. They did this and this and this, they wouldn't have known that, unless they went to that enablement that those Pro Services people were interested in unless they went to the enablement event and did that. So trying to do more of those to foster relationships with not just us, right with others internally.

Chip Rodgers  21:30

I was with SAP for many years and ran our tech ed program for about eight years, globally. And that was, one of the big SAP always had its education program you can go through and take courses. The value of Tech Ed was exactly what you're saying, like you, we'd have product managers, we'd have, enterprise architects, we'd have developers, we'd have the people that are actually and then get those connections going not only to learn very deeply, but also get the get the connections, they'd all be, people would be coming up afterwards, exchanging business cards and making sure that you're connecting. 

Jeff Mattan  22:12

We even have now in our price book, a thing called co delivery. So for those partners who want to learn to do service delivery, we haven't done it before, before we had this whole service delivery track, we can actually sell something called co delivery where they do some of the work. And our PS team right next to him does some of the work. 

So it's not shadowing, it's actually on the job. And we both do it. And that they can learn side by side. And it's been great as well, because it just again is a way to develop relationships. But watch the experts do the work, as well as have someone to ask questions of right, they're typically online, because you're doing it virtually the implementations, but it's just a lot easier to get things done in skill up. 

And it's easier to actually sell that. And that's something we have, that allows partners to qualify for a higher cert level, which gets them into a higher level for service delivery, which qualifies for some of those incentives as before. So we've kind of given them a way to go. And depending on where they are, kind of go with their speed.

Partner relationships and co-creation in software sales

Chip Rodgers  23:22

So Jeff, you talked about how you're working with partners and, and and Co selling in a way of like, skewing some of their services service capabilities, so that your sales teams are selling their product, they started going to market together? Are you talking about how you're, there may be some partners that have really advanced to a level where they're providing some, maybe you're seeing repeat processes where you're okay, you mentioned Co delivery as well. 

But I'm wondering about Co creating solutions together like creating solutions with partners where there is a certain use case or certain industry or a certain region or whatever. Is that happening as well, where you get some partners that are your BeyondTrust Plus partner, maybe it's two or three partners coming together to bring something to market together.

Jeff Mattan  24:31

We've started discussions there. I don't think we can't say we've actually delivered anything there. Where we got to is for services. We have co delivery. We have partners who are qualified to do it and can sell ours. We have a few partners who are skewed up, we resell theirs and our people get paid on it in terms of actually building together and integrating co development we really just started those discussions. 

But what we've been able to do is look at what are current solutions we all have, and do things called trifectas. And trifecta is largely a marketing event to go out and tell the joint story. It's led to joint solution briefs, things like that. But not products yet, really Chip. But what we found is when we do these trifectas, which means it's us, plus two more partners, and it's simply a GSI. And a reseller, or a tap, a typical alliance partner and a reseller, we drive so many more people to the events, say a typical event gets 150 people, these get 700. And so that's because the customers are already talking to multiple people to solve the problem. So if we just happen to bring multiple people into the same room, the next step will be how do we actually build products together, which also reports up into Rob's team, but they have more hooks into our product team to get those people working with the partners? That's less of what I do.

Chip Rodgers  26:06

I love that. I mean, that's terrific, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be literally building products together, integrated products, but you've got some capability, they have capabilities that are complementary, that come together, and then you're going to market together. I love that. 

So we have, folks that are watching our all partner folks who've been, you guys have been on an incredible journey at BeyondTrust, of transforming the organization, any advice that you would have for other partner leaders that you have helped you along the way and gotten you to where you are today? 

Jeff Mattan  26:58

So there's a few things that we do that I do that really helped. But it's a collaboration. You've got to get input from people, you got to tell them what you do. And you got to ask for help, too. So that's a big one. Communication is huge. Don't assume people know what you're doing. Don't assume people care what you're doing. 

But make sure you start telling them what's going on. And for us, there's a lot around pilot pilot pilot. I don't know if it's specific to us as a company, but launching a new program, hard to do. launching a new pilot. Yeah, let's pilot, let's see if it works like much. Just naming it that helps. And you also make it smaller. So that helps a lot. But just in for me, in my career I've been, if I can really talk with legal, because a lot of when you start a program, you need a lot of help from legal and understand what they do, what their processes and plug into that, as well as the system's people. Because those are where the biggest challenges are those two areas. And for us, now, we've moved past legal because we've really established systems is a challenge, because there's not enough people. 

We were a company that was, a bunch of acquisitions before. So one system of record was never chosen. And they just tried to merge things together. And so now we're kind of building on top of that. So that presents challenges. So I think it's just understanding that the challenges in the work habits of your systems, people will as well will help you. And so for me, I got a weekly call with the guy who runs up what we call our biz ops team. They're the ones who do all the things, all the updates in Salesforce, fix all the bugs, just because I want to talk to them about what's going on with them, but share with them here are my things that, they're at this scoring level, which means they won't get picked up by someone on your team actually want to prioritize those higher, they should have scored higher, can you do these and we we move things up and down. 

So it's the communication, it's the collaboration, and it's really pilot pilot pilot, but you have to understand the other groups you're working with, and what they're facing so that you can help them do their job. Way easier said than done, though, Chip, because we're all busy. We all think that our stuff is way more important than others. And I also have this theory that everyone else's job is easier than mine. Because we all constantly hear people saying, Oh, it should be easy to change this field in Salesforce but you assume it's easy. So where are you usually? So it's just a little bit of empathy.

Chip Rodgers  29:44

That's great. Those are some great words of advice, Jeff.  This has been fantastic. I really appreciate you taking us through. Where you are, where you're where you're headed and so clearly you're on a path, but you've been really successful so far and doing some really innovative things. So thank you for sharing Jeff.

Jeff Mattan  30:10

You're welcome. I think that the journey graphic we talked about in the beginning, has helped us a ton as well, because the CRO now uses that. And so having that type of person on your side is a huge plus for all of us in these roles. Because it's not just this group on the side anymore working with partners. We're squarely in the middle of the strategy. 

So when you get to that, you're doing okay. It's still hard. But that's a really good milestone. That means you're adding value to the business. And it's showing an impact. You're not fighting it on your own anymore. 

Chip Rodgers  30:52

Well, Jeff, thank you for joining. And thank you all for joining another episode of ecosystem aces for Jeff Matt. And I'm Chip Rodgers, and thanks for joining us. We'll see you see you next time. Thanks, everybody. Thanks, Jeff.

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