9 August 2023

Episode 2: Selling To and Through Partners with Bryan Williams from Hockey Stick Advisory

Welcome to the second episode of B2B Tech Marketing Talks, presented by Filament.

bryan williams hockey stick advisory | Filament

The theme of this second episode is Selling To and Through Partners.

Joining our host Jeremy Balius to discuss all things partner sales is Bryan Williams, Founder of Hockey Stick Advisory and the Co-Head of APAC for Partner Leaders.

Bryan works with ambitious Tech Founders, C-Suites and Partner Leaders to develop and deploy effective partner-led growth motions, as well as establish partnership ecosystems to enable revenue growth through network effects.

Prior to Hockey Stick Advisory, Bryan was the Director of Partnerships, Ecosystems, and Apps at accounting software Xero, where he was responsible for the growth of ecosystem partnerships in Australia and New Zealand.

With such significant experience, Bryan brings a wealth of expertise and valuable insights for anyone building partner programs or looking to expand on their partner networks, as well as for partner marketers who are selling to and through partners.

Enjoy the conversation!

Connect with Bryan Williams on LinkedIn.

Discover Hockey Stick Advisory and Partner Leaders.

B2B Tech Marketing Talks is a podcast bringing you insightful conversations with leading marketing and channel leaders about B2B tech marketing. Our goal is to provide you with valuable insights, fresh perspectives and practical advice from experienced marketing leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges you face daily as a B2B tech marketer.

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Read the transcript of the episode

Jeremy Balius: Hi there and welcome to the B2B Tech Marketing Talks podcast, where we speak with marketing and channel leaders to get their insights on B2B tech marketing and effective partner marketing strategies. I’m your host, Jeremy Balius, and today’s theme is “Selling To and Through Partners”. I’m joined today by Bryan Williams.

Welcome, Bryan.

Bryan Williams: Hey, Jeremy. Great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Jeremy Balius: That’s awesome. Thank you. Bryan is the founder of Hockey Stick Advisory and works with ambitious tech founders, C-suites and partner leaders to develop and deploy effective partner led growth motions, as well as establish partnership ecosystems to enable revenue growth through network effects.

Prior to Hockey Stick, Bryan was the Director of Partnerships, Ecosystems, and Apps at accounting software Xero, where he was responsible for the growth of ecosystem partnerships in Australia and New Zealand. Bryan, I’d love to kick off with your origin story. You are living and breathing all things partner landscape today.

How did this start? Where did this come from?

Bryan Williams: Yeah, thanks, Jeremy. Yeah, set the scene. It’s a bit of a backstory, as I was thinking through it ahead of his call. So if I rewind 2007, 2008, fresh out of uni, out of Gold Coast up at Griffith up there, I went over to the UK and, I was a sales and marketing manager for a gym over there.

And so full of good ideas, theories and hunger to get going. it was a dormant gym, which I was leading around how to grow this component. And so from those early stages of my career, I started to get a lot of partnerships surrounding the gym up and running and going, at length.

And it worked really well, like we tripled the revenue in 6 months, along with the membership to go with it. And then following that, some roles in business development throughout Europe and in the Middle East, really hammered home some referral strategies and reseller strategies, working with some international financial advisors.

And. And more so in some other sales roles, I’ve always let on the partnerships components come to life. And so throughout my career, uh, I always sort of value of it. Um, but although sort of earlier days, um, at that stage. And so in terms of sort of jumping out, um, and building the business with a partnership focus, in my zero time, I noticed there was a gap, uh, in the market of A, uh, operators, people who have sort of been there, done it, um, senior experience.

And secondly, Um, for anyone to sort of be able to advise on partnerships on best practice, partnership excellence, and then more importantly, how to execute to go with that. And through that lens, that’s where I was able to sort of draw on over 400 conversations with various tech companies over my zero tenure and previously when I was the first hire at Vend in Australia.

Um, and growing, um, the app partner sort of relationships in around a lot of the key accounts a bit over 10 years ago now, as we’re all getting a little bit older and helping the next generation of companies or B2B tech companies who want to refine their partnerships motions. How do they, how can they create more impactful partnerships to go with it?

Jeremy Balius: That’s incredible. It really feels organic that the growth there within your own career, but also in your own self-education and also in terms of how you’re growing relationships strategically, tactically, and, using that in a way to grow these businesses.

Bryan Williams: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So it’s a, you know, I’ve seen, I’ve seen it happen from my own eyes and had some success early, you know, early stage and along the way through the value of partnerships of what it can bring to the forefront.

And, uh, I still feel it’s early days itself in the industry is still emerging, still evolving. There’s a truckload of partner tech coming through now, which is really exciting. Um, a downturn in the economy is really amplifying partnerships around what can you do to deliver, either protect customers, add more value, increase NPS, reduce CAC.

There’s lots of goodness to go with it. So, um, yeah, I think it’s definitely got its time to shine, its time in the market.

Jeremy Balius: I totally agree. I think there’s also a movement now where the channel partner programs, which are very prevalent globally are starting to really reconsider how they approach their partnerships and how they can use partnerships to grow their footprint in regions beyond, just the traditional channel.

Bryan Williams: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So when, when I think about channel traditionally, it’s, it’s narrow and deep. in terms of transactional to go with it. And on the other side of the ecosystem, it’s much more broader and narrow and a more interconnecting to go with it. And so you get the playbook to be able to have a bunch of partners to resell your stuff or push it forward across regions is, uh, is changing as markets change and, uh, More importantly, as a lot of tech companies sort of expand into new geos, there’s usually a land and expand through partnerships or hopes and dreams.

And, uh, however, I think the problems I see in market is, is companies typically throw their existing playbook into new geos and hope for the best. So, do they have product market fit in those regions? do they have to playbook around what’s required to the local components? And, um, interestingly, my own business over the last sort of, Um, year plus, I suppose, um, I have been working a lot of international companies sort of expanding out of APAC or expanding into APAC just without exact needs.

Jeremy Balius: That’s amazing. Tell me a little bit more about, HockeyStick and the advisory component you’re, you’re helping enter APAC, you’re helping, take beyond APAC. Are you, more focused on growing new partner programs? Are you advising existing programs to figure out how can they become more robust and best practice led or all of the above?

Tell me more.

Bryan Williams: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s interesting over time how it evolves and, uh, to get with. So the first bucket, I suppose, is, uh. What is great. So company emerging companies picture scale up product market fit well funded. The leaders kind of get that we need to figure out partnerships who can help with them and sort of to bring me in and to help advise with that around how to play and where to play and how to resource and set up a partnership motion to start off with.

The second bucket is I get a lot of engagement from partnership managers out there who are in the role, in the trenches, trying to trail blaze to go around it. They often don’t have P& L necessarily themselves, and they’re trying to do their best to sort of get along. That’s where partnership leaders is an amazing space and community to be able to help connect with them.

And I’m often connecting them into various people or resources that sort of help them grow. And then the third bucket is just as you mentioned, bigger companies such as Uber where I’m helping refine their partnership. Um, models, their strategies, how they’re going about it, uh, helping them benchmark around what are they doing against sort of market trends and analysis and how can they go faster or build more impactful partnerships.

So, interestingly, it’s evolved to the earlier stage companies getting going and a bigger end of town as well, trying to, um, just refine or be more effective.

Jeremy Balius: Yeah, it’s so awesome to hear and I think there’s probably so much more of that required out there that, partner leaders or channel leaders aren’t even yet aware of some of these issues that you’re resolving for.

So very excited that you’re out there supporting them. I think there’s a great segue into today’s topic. We’re here to talk about, selling through and to partners. it’s a great topic to unpack because it. Often gets so confused or it becomes a bit of a grey area in partner programs. As you mentioned, it still feels very new.

And, I think it’s so important to really hone in on where are these differences and how can we apply our strategic thinking. To them, that still maintains relationships as the ultimate goal and trust as the main currency there between those relationships. tell me a bit about how you would separate out the differences between selling to and through partners.

Bryan Williams: Yeah, let’s start off with selling through partners. Um, you know, in what I’ve sort of seen in recent years is as, uh, you know, the ability to sort of email to out outreach, um, outbound of various capacity, even even inbound efforts and building that engine to go with it as CAC increases across the board.

Companies are looking for more efficient ways to be able to go to market. And the way I think about it is, uh, yeah. There’s a nice acronym called, uh, OPM, and that’s, uh, other people’s money. So who can you partner with across our product, uh, sales or marketing efforts to go to market together to bring out, provide, uh, greater customer outcomes to go with it?

So if on a product side, if that’s like some features that you don’t have to build, so therefore as part of your sales cycle to prospective clients or to existing clients, to be able to sort of help them win and drive up n p s or convert deals faster, that’s a component. In any sort of marketing efforts, how can you partner up with, uh, for either webinars, content series across the board, you effectively got a whole another, if you’re able to effectively, you’ve got another whole team of resources, which are not on your payroll or under your budget to be able to have a reach together.

There’s a bunch of really exciting emerging account mapping tools, such as cross beam or reveal coming through, where you’ve actually got the capabilities to actually cross reference wherever gaps are across your customer base and use that as a basis. And then on the sales front, uh, where you’re looking for introductions, where you’re looking for, where do customers turn for the trust or respect or to have that way to decision if, if you and I go, you know, um, on holidays or we’re looking for recommendations or restaurants, we usually ask our trusted network of, uh, friends, family, et cetera, around or check reviews around to go with it.

And so how can some partners, um, how can you work with them for sales efforts to be able to sort of go faster and. Especially in the US markets with significant layoffs and downturns of VC backed companies, we’re seeing that come to light more than ever, which is really amplifying a lot of case studies, testimonials, and growing the sort of partnerships vertical, uh, much more to light than it has been in the past.

So that’s a, there’s a lot in that, um, that’s sort of just observation of what I’m seeing, you know, selling through partners. Um, anything to add to that one, Jeremy, before we get on the other side? Yeah,

Jeremy Balius: I wouldn’t mind jumping in and pulling that apart. These are really big topics. And I think what’s really interesting here is that a recurring conversation that comes up on our end quite a bit is, Who owns the partner marketing motion in organizations.

And while there might be partner leaders, partner managers, channel account managers, et cetera, because there’s multiple people potentially co selling or co-marketing, it becomes a bit blurry as to who’s actually owned it. What do you do when you advise, multiple organizations or multiple brands that are trying to partner marketing or partnerships.

Bryan Williams: Who’s driving forward and unlocking those conversations there in lots of ways, just the gateway or the API layer or the access point into these other companies. But when a magic happens, it’s really cross functionally. This is where strong partnerships actually hum. So. On a on a sales front where a partners being mentioned or coming up in conversations, how can you connect the account executives to the business development people on either side and customer support?

Where are you seeing complaints around integrations or work or components? How do you combine those team on a leadership level? What does that look like? How are we trying to achieve similar things? Great partnerships are often quite aligned in terms of the sort of similar focus. to go with it. So, you know, it’s definitely not one dimensional anymore.

The partnerships is a is a broad strategy underpinning across the company for for those who do it well. Um, and not just an isolated department between two partner managers. Um, you know, I’m going to do a few sort of ad hoc activities together.

Jeremy Balius: It’s so great that you vocalize it in that way, because we on our side often get exposed to where it is just a couple of roles trying to figure out how are we going to make this happen?

And it’s amazing to hear this, cross functional, across the business, mentality where even leadership’s bought in that’s incredible. Yeah,

Bryan Williams: Absolutely. Yeah, that really has to start from leadership down as a key core priority. And how does that sort of ripple across the organization? And the best organization to do this actually have KPIs against it.

So is there a partner involved with every deal? Is there any partners that can help on a customer support level? Is there for the account management team and what other partners can come in and help to go around it? And so the more you can do that sort of exercise that partnership muscle, then as you’re working with these partners and the partner manager, you’re making their job much easier as they’re starting to say, Hey guys, can we do some more activities in return around it?

Cause you. You know, cross functionally, you’re really bought into the partnership of what you’re, uh, and how you, what you bring to light.

Jeremy Balius: You mentioned they’re often without P&L. Is that why webinars become so prevalent and, on trend at the moment?

Bryan Williams: I think webinars is a, is an output from a COVID, uh, environment.

Okay. You don’t always have to go necessarily to an in person event, um, to go with it. We all lead busy lives to go with it. Uh, everyone’s got a customer database of some description. So for for two or more partners to be able to get together and rally together to uphold a webinar, they’re cheap to implement.

Um, there’s a recurring playbook that you’ve got to be able to sort of roll them out at scale. You can have really clear call to actions and follow ups are part of it. And so it’s just quite an efficient vehicle to sort of work with. Um. With various partners to go with it. And some of those tools I mentioned before, uh, to go with it.

So picture doing a webinar with mutual customers who maybe aren’t using an integration or working together or looking at the best practice of workflows. That’s one bucket. Uh, doing another webinar with your partners to access their customers at a time, you know, which is timely and contextual manner.

And then in return, how can you sort of unlock some of your customers to help them win for various partners? So, you know, whether it is demand generation, um, on one aspect, or you’re looking for account management or upsell opportunities, there’s a few buckets to go about it. But, uh, in terms of the playbook to get them out in the market, they’re quite repeatable.

And dependable and, and, and they’re quite familiar for a lot of people as everyone’s, you know, have a zoom course or a webinar these days.

Jeremy Balius: It is very straightforward and so effective at the same time as well. We just find that attendees of webinars tend to have already a known need. They’re able to articulate that pain point as such and therefore have much more meaningful conversations off the back of that.

Bryan Williams: That’s right. Yeah, if I attend, it’s, uh, it’s quite common to see people attend the entire webinar. So they’re quite engaged. They’re already at the very bottom of the funnel in terms of. If they’re turning up, um, from one of your partners, you’ve got that transfer of trust happening around it. You know, there’s an intent around it.

Um, there’s very clear call to actions of follow up afterwards or hear more or book a one on one demo to go around it. And so it’s a, it’s a highly effective, um, channel to market. The considerations around how to deploy it is. Uh, the regularity of how often you would, you would actually use these as a, um, as an option.

How can you include multiple partners of relevance, um, at one time, um, to go with it? And, uh, you need to be very selective around who you want to partner with, um, in terms of deploying the webinars.

Jeremy Balius: Do you find it more effective to, go to market or to, co market, between just a few partners?

Have you seen scalability to bring in, more and more partners to have some conglomerate motion together? I don’t have the right language for it because I haven’t seen it, but interested if you have.

Bryan Williams: I think in my view, I sort of see best practice is probably like three panelists or potential partners on a webinar.

You think about 45 minutes to an hour, be able to feature one for 10 minutes each and then sort of set the frame and sort of and do it by verticals and similar size. So it’s relevant to your customers would be my recommendation. Any bigger. It’s just becomes too diluted and like a little bit messy.

That’s where you can just set up a series of them ongoing and be able to features others. Ahead to go with it, um, is sort of what I see as best practice.

Jeremy Balius: Awesome, so in contradistinction to selling through partners, selling to partners. What’s the difference there?

Bryan Williams: It’s a different value proposition of what you’re trying to achieve.

So it comes back to understanding your, your buyer as per on both examples, I suppose. Um, what is the company trying to achieve? Um, what is the partners trying to achieve? Um, and then what is the person individually trying to achieve and how can you help them win? So if you’re selling to partners, um, potentially, are they right?

The right decision maker around it? Do they have budget? You’re going to need to make sure you qualify them in. How can you provide service, contacts, networks, a solution, workflows to help them achieve themselves what they’re trying to do sort of moving forward. And so effectively it is a it’s a sales methodology, but it’s a partner led sales methodology where you’re looking to actually, um, help others win who are who are alongside you and it should be a channel alongside other ones to compliment.

Um, you’re more broader offering. So slightly different nuanced approach. Um, but it also has the ripple effects because if you can help them win and get them on board, what you often see is the downstream effect of their effectively dog food in your solution of whatever it is. And then they’re able to sort of recommend it parcel as well.

So there is a ripple effect to go around it. And that’s why you see a lot of Um, tech solutions, um, so two partners deliberately and often they might give a free, um, license or user or want to get them on board knowing that they might have this downstream network of customers, which they can talk to really easily to go about it.

And as you and I know, if there’s the software, which you or I understand we can talk to around it. You’re effectively an onboarded sales rep out in the market to be able to sort of have a distributed conversation again, as well as being an active advocate of the solution that’s also not on your payroll.

Jeremy Balius: It’s fascinating. Do you see much of a difference, if any? between SaaS partner ecosystems and, partner, channel ecosystems where you’ve got a B2B businesses who are going out to integrate systems, deliver, IT services, cloud infrastructure, et cetera. Is it similar approaches or do you see them, massively different?

Bryan Williams: Yeah, they do differ. And I think this is where, um, people in partnerships roles, especially early stage, I just sort of go find opportunities to go with it. But the agency model, call it that, or system integrators or cloud integrators around what are they after? Typically, it comes down to two or three things.

Number one, picture an e-commerce agency, they’re looking for net new opportunities. Um, start off with and secondly, we’re looking after, uh, opportunities for service retainer work or to uphold that or to extend it to go through it. So if you go knocking on the door, or if you’re looking for the channel to unlock those agency partnerships, whatever your solution is, product services to go with it, you need to make sure that your offering is, um, juicy enough, attractive enough, got enough services revenue too, because you’re now competing against whatever else they’re doing, um, day to day.

So if I’ll have their whole business model against it, they’re going to have their teams trained and around it. They’re going to be already engaged and active motions. And so where I see companies go wrong is I’ve set up, um, you know, BDs and account executives to go knocking on the doors of agency partners.

So hey, go try and chat to everyone around it. They might get a meeting. They might get a lunch. They might get a breakfast. I might meet them at the networking events or conferences. But if I don’t have something which is really attractive, solves a problem for their customers and is effectively a whole new either services revenue.

Or a channel for them, um, maybe more attractive commissions or attractive, um, services out of the box. That’s really easy to frictionless, but then I just don’t make, but I struggle to get traction and generation against existing motions.

Jeremy Balius: So this is a topic that I’m. So passionate about because what we’re really getting into is how do you change habits and, I’ve been a part of processes where guys are onboarding new partners and it’s taken them a pretty seriously long sales cycle to onboard them as a, or to attract them and to bring them in as a new partner, only to find that.

There’s zero bump in revenue from those partners, even if they were a whale of a partner and what wounds up being missed is how do we excite and how do we create urgency and how do we change, human behavior within that organization to actually care about how much better Or, how much value our brand can offer and bring to their customer base and to their net new sales.

And for some reason, there’s so much disillusion that arises as a result of not unlocking that immediately and not realizing how much hard work is involved in fostering and deepening that relationship over time that people almost think that partnerships don’t work for them.

Bryan Williams: Yeah. Yeah. And I’ve had a chat to, uh, some companies along the way, which have been introduced and said, I’ve tried partnership till three times, didn’t work for us.

You know, we’ve got our top head sales guy and we told him to go get lots of business and didn’t work and we had to fire him. Even though it was good sales, couldn’t crack it. And it actually comes back to, uh, two things which is sort of done wrong that I see. So first of all, they’re given a sales type target to go extract a business without offering anything in return or considering.

So we’ve got no partnership value proposition. There’s no reason for these companies to partner. Uh, with them to start off with. And so they’re not set up for success. Right. Um, the second component is they haven’t spent the time to consider who their partners partners are. And what I mean by that is, is they’ve already got those existing motions in play.

Like I mentioned before, Jeremy around whole businesses operating on certain services or products. And then you come knocking in the door and So they’re going to be trained on it. We’re going to be familiar with it, going to have deep relationships with them. You’ve got existing motions, which provides cash flow, continuity, sustainability of a business.

And now you’re sort of coming to the forefront. So, hey, please sell or recommend our place. Like, I wouldn’t do that. Would you? Like, it just doesn’t, when you take a moment to think about that, it’s quite simple, but it’s, uh, it’s ineffective.

Jeremy Balius: Even if the commission structure is developed in such a way that is extremely welcoming by the guys and there is this offer in play to show how easy it is to sell the solution, even that tends to not be enough to motivate somebody, it’s not built into their KPIs.

It’s not built into their day to day as a such. And, It falls over immediately, all this planning, all this structuring, all this selling only for it to just whimper away. And it’s really unfortunate.

Bryan Williams: Yeah. I mean, it’s, there’s a potential to go one layer deeper as well of beyond what if the company sort of KPIs are in the department’s KPIs of like, what is the person trying to actually achieve themselves?

Are they trying to get promoted? Are they behind in their targets? Are they looking for other opportunities? Are they stale in their role and have been there a long time? If you don’t actually align on that level to your point, then you haven’t really got any intrinsic motivations of why they would want to work with you.

Um, one sort of aspirational challenge I say to companies I work with, let’s, let’s try and get all our partners promoted or highlighted or Let’s get to put them up in pedestals and make sure we showcase their work. Make sure that you can be like a really easy partner to work with, um, because they’re going to start to reciprocate in your return.

You’ve got like a really great relationship that you’ve sort of built together.

Jeremy Balius: Hey, I got a question for you about naming conventions. We’re seeing a lot of traditional channel heads, calling their channel programs, partner ecosystems, probably as of last year, it’s becoming more increasingly common.

I’m also starting to see a trend on LinkedIn of a partner leader saying, no, those are not partner ecosystems. You’re just a channel. you need to do X, Y, Z to actually become a full-functioning ecosystem. What’s your say on that?

Bryan Williams: Yeah, it’s a bit. It’s a bit of a buzzword with various interpretations and platforms and other one, which I’ll have a good rant on shortly.

Okay. Um, so I like reveals definition of an ecosystem, which is, um, which partners have access to the customers. You want are talking to or have today around it. And so my view of a tech ecosystem is all the interconnected touch points across the board, either across all your business units, with your partners, the community out there together, collectively.

Right. And so it is, it is broad and wide to go with it. Yeah. The channel chiefs out there are sort of saying ecosystem without really having the underpinned. Um, characteristics to go with it more so on platforms. A lot of companies are calling themselves platforms today, which all they are is they’ve got various features or modules of what they sell to go with it and equally, you know, platforming that tech view, uh, there’s usually should be an open set of APIs.

It should need to have governance around. How did how do you deploy that? There’s got to be value which happens on all sides around how that interconnects. So I think the likes of Shopify in the app marketplace, um, Atlassian, um, Slack, uh, various others, they’re true platforms because there’s information passing left and right to be able to make, um, all offerings even better off and for value exchange to go with it.

So I think it’s just the nature of the industry still evolving and still an argument around, uh. You know, how this is, you know, I suppose, um, defined, um, and it’s just emerging, right?

Jeremy Balius: Yeah and that gives me so much optimism as well. if there’s this much debate about the definitions, that can only be a good thing as we’re trying to push this whole concept forward and trying to create value for each other.

And, and the rising tide lifts all boats, as they say.

Bryan Williams: Yeah, absolutely. And some of the takeaways from, uh, From Crossbeam’s annual conference in, uh, uh, San Diego a few weeks ago, Supernode, I couldn’t make it. I had another conference up in, uh, in Cairns Tropical Innovation Conference, which is worth everyone checking out ahead.

So, um, good shout out to those guys. Um, but the, the takeaways I read from Crossbeam is that, um, everyone in partnerships who are coming through at the moment has really got the chance to shape. And, uh, define the nature of it because it’s still early days. A lot of people are sort of trailblazing, um, in their current roles and trying to figure it out and challenging and the partner tech is coming alongside it at the moment.

So to your point before, it’s, it’s exciting for all of us as, as we all know, it’s possible. We’re seeing green shoots everywhere. Um, but, uh, in terms of how it’s standardized in a programmatic way of how it’s deployed across various verticals is still coming to forefront, which is The opportunity for all of us to sort of lead the way, unpack and, and, and bring it to life, I suppose.

Jeremy Balius: Yeah, I agree. I agree. a question I, came up with as I was reflecting on our, conversation and my preparation, something that I think would be really interesting to pull apart is, do you see any opportunity for partnerships or partner marketing in cloud marketplaces?

Bryan Williams: Yeah, that’s quite a common one, which comes up with and what I see companies struggle with is, um, cloud marketplaces are typically they’ve got critical mass.

Yes, they’ve got a very defined partner program because of the nature of how many and they’ve got every small and upcoming company wants to work with the master. Platform orchestrator, we’ll call it, of the cloud marketplace, or how did it go about it? So, unless you meet certain criteria, you don’t earn the rights or the access to, to, to be able to partner with those, uh, the cloud marketplace itself.

So, You know, when at my time at zero, every small upcoming company would reach out. Hey, Brian, I’d love to work out. Can we do a webinar? Can we do some marketing? Can we run some events together? Can you put some budget in towards this around it? And it just doesn’t work that way. Um, the recommendations around how to go to market in that space, Jeremy, is that I sort of put forward to companies is Upon looking at some a prioritized list of all partners, you want to start to think about which actual companies are of similar size to you with similar resources, similar aspirations, which are the closest to the core of your offering.

And why I say that last one in particular is it’s likely that someone’s either using their application before you alongside or afterwards to go with it. So you’ve got a straight away, you’ve got a better together narrative. Also, in terms of my definition of the ecosystem before. It’s highly likely they’re talking to the same customers you want or you want access to to go around it and also inversely in return.

So being that they might be of smaller nature, they won’t have the full size, the opportunity, the cloud marketplace, which everyone sees as the promised land to go with it. But what I do have is they have, um, they have customers which you want to after, which are further down the funnel, which are receptive.

They’ve already got strong NPS. They’ve already built a trust relationships and there’s opportunities for just to be able to introduce yourselves. And back and return to sort of go to market. And so, um, you asked a question earlier around, you know, field heaps of partners or a select few. I’d encourage a lot of companies to go deep with a select 2, 3 or 4 close to your core and work with them in order to play by the rules of the cloud marketplace of who they are and what it’s about.

But don’t spend a lot of your efforts there because you’ll be knocking on doors and wasting efforts and getting nowhere in a hurry.

Jeremy Balius: Which is what I see most commonly channel leaders doing, right? We,the, there is the, volume need in total partner numbers, which I don’t know, attributes some type of clout or announced to the size of their program when in actual fact, it’s just a handful of partners that’s driving most of their business.

Bryan Williams: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Um, a presentation I did recently was I said, write down all the biggest halo partners you could possibly think of. And, uh, those dream aspirational ones, those two on a two. And then upon doing that, um, get your pen, pencil, mirror board, and then just strike them out. Just, just don’t spend time on them around to go about it.

Play by the rules, get within their environments, make sure you’re part of, um, the ecosystem to go around it. But then, then work with the upcomers who are at the same stage of growth of you. Which solves customer problems close to your core, you’ll get much bigger buying, um, traction and be able to sort of grow together.

Jeremy Balius: Awesome. Look, these are all fantastic, insights that you’ve provided. What’s the best way for people who want to find out more about you or from you or hear from you, what’s the best way to find you online? Yeah,

Bryan Williams: thanks, Jeremy. Um, I’m pretty active on LinkedIn, very, uh, sharing various platform using or sort of lessons or observations I sort of see along the side.

So, uh, check it out there. Also check out my website at hockeystickadvisory.com, uh, where you can find a little bit more about who I work with and kind of services that I offer sort of day to day.

Jeremy Balius: Awesome, Bryan. Thanks for joining

Bryan Williams: us today. Thanks, Jeremy. Loved the session. Thank you.

Jeremy Balius: Thank you.

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