Agency Partner

How a Category-Leading Product creates Partnerships-Sourced Wins by Enabling Power Partners

Alex Glenn
October 6, 2021
Listen this episode on your favorite platform!
Agency Partner
October 6, 2021

How a Category-Leading Product creates Partnerships-Sourced Wins by Enabling Power Partners

You're either in an affiliate program or you're a partner program.

How a Category-Leading Product creates Partnerships-Sourced Wins by Enabling Power Partners

With me today is Anca Bujor, Head of Biz/Dev and Strategic Partnerships at Unbounce. And one of the few dedicated landing page services agency founders Nic Scalice, CEO of Earnworthy. 

I invited these two onto this season of Make Them Famous to chat about how an already Category-Leading product like Unbounce generates success from partners like Nic who would promote the product with or without the partner program. It’s scenario all top of their class products have to understand so this podcast is for those great products out there. 

What we’ll learn from this episode is:

  • How to get agencies to focus more on the revenue they could make on your solution.
  • How Anca splits up her partner activities between her active, inactive and net new partners.
  • Changing the narrative around your “tool” to turn it into the basis of a scalable service platform.
  • The pie chart of enablement components.
  • What makes Nic continue to want to call himself a “partner” of any of the tools he uses.
  • What is valuable to see in a partner newsletter from the partners’ POV.
  • Partner communication best practices - frequency, type, Slack, newsletters, recurring…
  • How Nic works between client referrals, tracked links, and PRM.
  • Product aspects tied to partnerships - branding, sub-accounts…
  • The future for Anca’s partnerships agenda.
  • Nic’s advice to partner teams.


Sendoso - The leading sending platform.

Partnerstack - Partner tracking and payouts.

Reveal - A free account mapping solution.

Episode Transcript


[00:00:00] Nic: You're either in an affiliate program or you're a partner program, 

[00:00:02] Anca: first of all, how is the agency account collaborating with other clients or other accounts? 

[00:00:06] Nic: Put a lot of effort into what the name of the program is and how that's going to be represented. 

[00:00:11] Anca: You need to understand that it's not going to be a one size 

[00:00:13] Nic: fits all, and it's this constant push of what you should be promoting.

[00:00:17] And these short-term incentives, which I get, it totally works well if you're an affiliate and that's all you do, but it does get to be annoying after.

[00:00:29] Anca: Welcome to make them famous. The podcast about partner enablement, the 

[00:00:33] Alex: only podcast uncover both how partner teams enabled their partners, 

[00:00:37] Anca: how other department leaders enable their partner teams to achieve success. 

[00:00:43] Alex: Hello, and welcome back to make them famous. We're on season two. So thank you all. If you were continuing to listen to this unique type of podcast where we invite.

[00:00:53] People from both sides of the partnership equation to enjoy some great discussion where we deep dive into what makes it work and what doesn't work today is no exception or continuing this trend in the season two, where I invited head of business development and strategic partnerships for and one of her few dedicated landing page service provider partners.

[00:01:19] Founder, Nicholas scallops, CEO of earn worthy. I invited these two onto this season of make them famous to chat about how an already category leading product like Unbounced generates success from partners like Nick, who would promote their product with, or without the partner. That's the unique aspect they would promote it with or without the partner program.

[00:01:48] It's a scenario all top of their class products have to understand and have to wrap a program around. So we wanted to record this podcast for all of you that are dealing with these category, leading products. What we'll learn in this episode is how to get an agency to focus more on the revenue they could make on your solution.

[00:02:13] How ANCA splits up her partner activities between her active, inactive, and net new partners, changing the narrative around your solution. To turn it into the basis for a scalable service platform, the pie chart of enablement components. What makes Nick continue to want to call himself a partner of any of the tools that he uses?

[00:02:42] What is valuable to see in a partner newsletter from the partners POV? We've talked about that before. Partner communication. Best practices, frequency type slack newsletter, recurring, not recurring, et cetera. How Nick works between client referrals, tracked links and PRM. Product aspects tied to partnerships, branding sub-accounts, et cetera, the future for partnership agenda and Nick's advice to partner teams.

[00:03:15] Thank you again for listening in to season two. As usual, before we kick things off, we would like to share some information about our amazing sponsors for sponsorship we aimed for not only great products, but tech use to power. Some of the top partner programs. We've invited partner stack share work and send DOSO to be those sponsors.

[00:03:37] Partner stack for those of you, unfamiliar is the leading partner management platform or PRM for SAS companies like Monday Unbounce in our comm and web flow. And it is a company we've worked closely with. We advise many of our post-program market fit clients to demo partner stack when they are ready to scale revenue through partnerships.

[00:03:59] And we've talked a lot about co-selling in this podcast. So please check out our sponsors. For co-selling share a free app that allows partnership managers at top companies like Qualtrics FullStory smart recruiters and Sentosa to easily generate partner sourced and partner influence deals.

[00:04:20] Thanks to real-time and unlimited account. Share work is offering all, make them famous listeners a three month free account to map unlimited accounts to generate leads and attribute revenue to partnership managers efforts. You use the link below to sign up for that offer. Finally, the top sales and partnerships teams around no of our third partner syndrome.

[00:04:46] The leading sending platform send DOSO is the most effective way for revenue generating teams to stand out with new ways to engage at strategic points throughout their customer journey. By connecting digital and physical strategies, companies can engage, acquire, and retain customers easier than ever.

[00:05:06] Founded in 2016, some DOSO is trusted by over 500 companies and has a vast global footprint with presence in north America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Learn So thanks again to our amazing sponsors. Now let's get back into the episode. All right. So we'll start the conversation with ONCA uncle.

[00:05:27] Why don't you introduce yourself? The state of your partner program. Talk a little bit about what's going 

[00:05:32] Anca: on. Sure. It sounds good. So I'm, I work at Unbounce and I'm head of business development and strategic partners. Big title with a lot of responsibilities. Essentially my role, uh, in Unbounce is to help us, uh, you know, create these partnerships that will help our platform thrive.

[00:05:50] Um, our platform is a conversion intelligence platform powered by AI and ML servicing SMBs, and trying to democratize access to all this amazing data insights, um, and knowledge that we've gathered over the last one. Um, the main focus of our agency program, which is one of our core programs to date, um, is really working with our agency customers primarily, but also other agencies that are interested in, um, using our landing pages and, uh, AI writing tools to expand their business and how they could work with Unbounce closer together, build this partnership to get further ahead and to really like benefit for brand association and business growth.

[00:06:33] Alex: Awesome. And speaking of using Unbounced to get further ahead, Nick, uh, Nick, introduce yourself and then I'll mention how we met and how this all came to be. But who are you? What's the agency name mentioned some of the main tools that you use to service clients. And then, uh, who are you partnering? 

[00:06:54] Nic: Sounds good.

[00:06:55] Great to be here, Alex. Great to see everybody. Uh, so yeah, my name is Nicholas. I'm the founder of earn worthy and we are a small boutique agency that started in 2015 and we specialize in landing page optimization and we're also getting into some marketing automation work. Um, but really landing pages is our core focus.

[00:07:14] So we are announced agency partners. We've been in the program. Um, I think from the very beginning. And it's just been a terrific opportunity to really focus in on a need that we saw in the marketplace, which was, there was a lot of other agencies out there selling marketing services, but they needed a strategic partner who could assist with landing page optimization.

[00:07:34] And there's a lot of folks out there. Unbalanced. And that's what we focused in on and it's been going pretty well. We're also in some other programs, probably the, the most popular ones are that we work with our, um, active campaign. So we are, uh, active campaign certified consultants, and we're also in the, um, call rail agency partner program.

[00:07:55] And then we also are, uh, landing. Uh, experts land bought is a, um, a very, really flexible chat bot that actually works very well with Unbounced. So those are the core tools that we work with, but I would say the majority, the vast majority of the work we do is within the Unbounced platform. 

[00:08:13] Alex: And we, we met a couple of years ago, maybe a few years ago now, and I've been kind of following your success and it seems like.

[00:08:20] You know, where most agencies tend to go pretty wide. They seem to just add more and more types of services and they become these generic, digital marketing agencies. You've stuck to your guns and gone really deep into, uh, the earn worthy business model and building that around an awesome product like Unbound.

[00:08:38] It's rare in this circumstance. We see it a lot with HubSpot and Shopify, where you'll have an agency building out a lot of services on top of one of these major platforms. But when you think landing pages, you don't typically think I'm going to build an agency out of landing pages like Nick has done.

[00:08:56] So I wanted to get you guys on and talk about this because it is that unique. So ongo, I want to learn a little bit more about the program. So the question that I have. Is, you mentioned leveraging unbalanced, the tool to get further ahead. And how do you build a program to help enable agencies like Knicks to become power partners?

[00:09:20] So if I just did PPC. And I use unbalanced as landing pages over here, but my core business is over here. I'm not really focusing on getting more of my clients and building more revenue on top of unbalanced. I'm really focused somewhere over here. You know, how do you look at the program and how do you conceptualize and even staff and even build incentives to help me look more towards the landing page service.

[00:09:47] Yeah, 

[00:09:48] Anca: totally. So I think it's, it starts with understanding somebody's business, right. With Nick's Nicholas is example. It's very interesting how, you know, it started with landing pages, but in most cases it doesn't, um, like you said, right. It starts with PPC and then you think of landing pages. Um, but truly when it comes to these conversations, I think, um, what I always hear with agencies is that they're thinking of it differently.

[00:10:13] They're starting to see a whole new opportunity that they didn't have before. And it may just be because they didn't have access to this information. There was no education out there. And when they decided to build out this services, they went for. The basic bare bones kind of approach and marketing. Um, they do all the things that likely that their clients are don't want to tackle.

[00:10:32] But then when you start talking about what landing pages are, um, they're not just like a page where you guide people, right. There's opportunities for alert for experimentation, um, to really increase. Um, the, the reach of something or decrease the cost per leads. So really it's, it is a marketing folks in itself.

[00:10:50] And I use Nicholas as example a lot because he has such a unique approach in it. And this is why. A partnership with him actually to us means that we're learning from a true expert, our customers and customers like Nicholas, they use our platform in such a unique way that it gives me learning and opportunity to say.

[00:11:12] This is, this is the best case scenario. This is the best use case that I can then present forward, you know, and I encourage Nicholas and other agencies to talk about this story and to really help others grow, uh, because they're really better at explaining this than I am. Uh, you know, so, 

[00:11:28] Alex: yeah, yeah, yeah. I think that's, that's a huge point.

[00:11:31] It's making sure that you. Allow Nick to talk about how he does it and what she saw, things like this podcast. Perfect opportunity to do that. Uh, and then Nick, I mean, you know, you have a lot of different options out there. You have a lot of different ways. You can take your agency, but you have stayed very focused and you have been enabled to an extent to really work closely with Unbounced as a product and as a partnership.

[00:11:58] And I wanted to hear, you know, what is it specifically about this product and the ecosystem that has you, um, feel safe and feel comfortable and feel encouraged to go deeper with the product and the services. 

[00:12:13] Nic: Yeah. I mean, we've evaluated pretty much every major landing page platform on the market. And I think the one that works best for our clients is Unbounce.

[00:12:21] Uh, I love the collaboration features. It's very easy to get multiple people working in an account. Um, it's very easy to share content and sh and create. Easily. There's a really nice, um, support element to Unbounce that is not present with a lot of other builders. Um, I mean, what other company can you just get on the phone with somebody or do a live chat and, you know, everyone is super nice.

[00:12:45] So that's what originally attracted us to the platform just as users. Uh, and also. The, it started way back in 2009, which was when I was getting started in marketing. So it's sort of, we've had this journey where I've always admired unbalanced as it continued to grow. And, um, you know, when the opportunity presented itself to create a deeper relationship with the Unbounce, uh, team through the partnership, it was like a no brainer cause we were already using the product.

[00:13:12] And so. Uh, it's just another way for us to have some additional credibility when working with clients when selling the product. And it also is mutually beneficial because we're able to take some of the, um, the support load off of unbalanced at times where, you know, maybe there's a client that, uh, signs up with unbalanced and they need some additional help.

[00:13:32] And it's not really a good fit for, uh, for the Unbounce team to work with them directly. So that's where the partner ecosystem can also be beneficial. Um, so it's just. A really good mutually. I hope, you know, mutually beneficial relationship where, uh, it keeps getting better. And 

[00:13:49] Alex: I want to ask you this to Nick, because Unbounce is really unique in this aspect, but you have a number of tools that you could use for everything in your stack.

[00:13:58] And I wanted to hear from you, what would be the pie chart, the ratio of what is. Attractive and the options are, you know, product and integrations, um, support and training, and then compensatory incentives like commission, right? So if you're looking at Unbounced versus blank, you look at all these things, how much weight would you give to product and integrations versus how much support and training they provide you and your team versus how much they give you when you refer them to.

[00:14:33] Nic: Yeah, I would say probably 70% of it would be product, um, and integrations and innovation. It's, it's an amazing product at its core. And that's something that we take very seriously. Like I don't want to be working with a product that is clunky or outdated or not, uh, up with the times. And I mean, we all can see the progress that Unbounce has made just in the last six months with all of these new innovations, they're really leading the leading the way with, um, with AI machine learning and.

[00:15:01] You know, there's a lot of other tools that are stuck in the passwords, just the landing page builder. And that's the other thing, Unbounce is more than just the landing page builder. It's a, you can do popups, you can do sticky bars. You can use AI power tools to create better copy. So, uh, from a sales perspective, having all those additional features and having this AI element is it makes it so much easier to sell the product to potentially.

[00:15:24] Um, you know, buyers and potential customers and clients, because all you have to do is mention AI and it's just, it, it starts a great conversation, uh, in terms of some of those other categories support. Definitely. I would say that's probably, you know, 20% of the equation. Um, and then the remainder would be the, the compensation.

[00:15:41] Really the compensation is probably the least important because we were going to work with unbalanced, no matter what I mean, even if the. Affiliate or the partner commission was like, you know, a penny, it, yeah, I'm just, you know, I'm exaggerating here, but that was not a decision factor here because we knew we wanted to support the product.

[00:15:59] We were already recommending the product even before the partner program. So we would continue to do that. But thankfully, um, you know, the, the commission structure is very 

[00:16:07] Anca: generous. 'cause I feel like, um, having a product like make, describe it, then it's just like, oh, so beautiful to hear those kind of words come out about that.

[00:16:16] And it's like on one side, it's so exciting for somebody in partnerships, because this is how people talk about on bench. This is the kind of things we hear all the time. Um, and you know, it helps us. It's kind of like that engine is already there, which is fantastic. Uh, but on the other side, you know, it gives us like that, uh, crazy.

[00:16:34] Um, and really difficult challenge to then find ways to encourage people like Nicholas and others to really like amplify that message, like help us really talk about this more. Right. So how do we bring up, um, you know, pieces like training to be more prominent so that they feel like more supported and more supported as an agency partner versus.

[00:16:55] A normal customer and things like that. So definitely still challenging. Um, even when you want to have a 

[00:16:59] Alex: fantastic. Yeah. And, and that is a perfect segue to my next part of that question. Part two is, okay, well now you've decided to use this product and let's go back to before you were technically partners.

[00:17:11] So the phases are you. You're researching. You have a client that has a need. They push you to do the research. You look at all the options, G2, crowd, Google, whatever you want to use, go to some slack groups. You get maybe two options, maybe three, maybe four, you decide on one, use it. You do the implementation.

[00:17:30] Client seems happy. Product seems good. Now you're starting to poke around on the partner page. You're starting to look or maybe even. An outreach email from ONC and her team asking you about partnerships. Um, now you have to look at the partnership aspect versus just being a user. Um, and you decide to go down the partnership track with them.

[00:17:52] Now, what, what would be the new pie chart like I'm in their partner program and I'm getting all this pull from other products and services that are similar. And what keeps you really close and being, you know, not exclusive, but at least saying, you know, what I'm going to Unbounce is going to be our go-to and I'm going to continue doing all this further, partnering with unbalanced.

[00:18:16] What, what aspects are really valuable for you? What really stands out about their program and about what they've done to enable you to stay in the program? 

[00:18:24] Nic: I would say it's probably the, the product itself, and I think we're, uh, a nontraditional use case here because. W, you know, like you said, we specialize in this, um, you know, Unbounce already makes up such a large part of what we do at earn worthy that like we would still be using the product for our clients, uh, regardless of whether the program exists.

[00:18:43] So it's, uh, it's probably not the best answer, but, um, you know, because of that, this is just such a. Next logical step for us to say, not only can we recommend unbalanced, but we're agency partners and we're able to recommend it in a specific manner and help you get onboarded. And, um, and I think the, the, the clients that we work with appreciate that because then they know that they're going to get onboarded in a very specific manner.

[00:19:07] That's not just them going out and purchasing the product on their own. Um, but it's something that we've done many, many times. And so it sort of puts them at ease. We can offer some additional training, uh, but it all comes back to, it's just a really good product that our team is very well versed in. And so it just makes sense to continue promoting and offering that to our class.

[00:19:29] Alex: Okay. I think we just reached our theme for this episode. So a category leading product that has diehard customers like Nick that are registered for the partner program. And now on CO's job is to really get more out of these partners to really work with them, to spread the word, to get more people. That were pre nixed position, more agencies to be more like Nick.

[00:19:53] Right? So now you have to enable Nick a little bit, but more kind of wrapped his use case and NOAA model. And you've got to kind of build a model out of it, or at least hopefully you want to write. So product's great. You've got that box fully checked. Now it's really about just working with these partners, doing stuff together, to get your brand side-by-side in more places, more often to get more agencies to want to be like Nick and get that out of it.

[00:20:18] So onco, when you're looking at your program, you have that benefit. Our product's awesome. A lot of companies don't have that, so that alleviates a lot of stress, but then you have that other component of like, now I've got to do more stuff with them to get growth just from partnerships so that you can say that was us, you know, that wasn't product.

[00:20:40] That was us. Um, what are you doing? What are some of the strategies? What are some of the things that you've had to change a little bit, or maybe look at different? Because Nick is going to be a partner, whether you do X or do Y. But if you do, Y you're going to get more of Nick and you're going to get more people to want to be like that.

[00:21:01] Anything come to mind on that strategy? 

[00:21:04] Anca: Definitely. And I want to highlight kind of what Nick touched on about the product is like one of the pieces. Yes. Like top of the market, it's like a highly used, highly sought after product. But what he also brought up was support and training, which is also very important.

[00:21:20] One of the things to know about Unbounce is just how we treat our customers, the value that we give. So it only makes sense that whatever else you build that touches on any kind of customer has to be aligned. What I'm going for is the relationship, right? This is number one. And I, I know it's not monetary.

[00:21:37] We cannot really track it. But the point is to really build this understanding between, you know, it is a partnership. So how do you partner, it's not one sided that needs to be a win-win. You need to understand that it's not going to be a one size fit. Um, and that's how I approached agency program because yes, Nicola has specific case.

[00:21:55] Now the company has a specific case, of course there's buckets and there start, you start to see patterns, but in general, um, having these conversations, having, uh, you know, one-on-one discovery calls as early as possible from somebody that's interested in the program. Is really unpacking that and understanding what it means for each aid agency in itself and things that I am covered.

[00:22:16] Yes. The revenue shared becomes exciting, especially considering there's not a change in workflow. There's not a change in much process that you have to do for agencies just on top. So they like that. They want, they want that because it's an easy revenue source that sticks around even if the customer of their clients leaves.

[00:22:32] So that's always juicy, always exciting. Um, and it's good to know. But make them aware of this. Um, even from the get-go, even if it's, um, you know, the percentage that be give could change over time so that knowing this always helps. Um, but then the other side is how do we get this like, amazing product that they love and news to help their brand.

[00:22:52] So this brand association part, and I'm talking about agency director, I'm talking about, co-marketing running a webinar together, giving a badge, anything that we could do to kind of give that, um, um, sort of support that, um, is behind this. Hey, like when you pitch to a client, you know, this is not just somebody that uses the product.

[00:23:10] This is literally a partner. This is somebody that has us on speed dial. You know, like Nicholas is even in our slack, you can like message me anytime and then reach out to ask a question. So opportunities like this are really show valuable, um, that this is my go-to. Um, and then afterwards we've built.

[00:23:27] Okay. You don't want to learn something else. You want more training? You want more educational pieces. All of these are built. Um, but I think like understanding these two pieces of which one is more important than how much they weigh for each agency is really what I strive to find out in the early 

[00:23:42] Alex: days.

[00:23:42] You know, figuring out what's valuable to Nick, where he's at in the life cycle, in the whole ecosystem, what he's using when he's not using, um, digging out some of that data. And then using what you know is attractive and, and that could be different for every single partner and doubling down on that. And, um, and it sounds like you're very one-to-one, especially with Nick, it sounds like it's a very one-on-one relationship, but you do have these incentives that are just available for all partners like commissions.

[00:24:09] And so I would, I would ask Nick, so of all your partnerships, you know, you have. I think what five maybe or so you're pretty tight with a few of them. Um, but there's things that you like and there's things that you don't like, you know, there's communication aspects, there's certain incentives, there's stuff that matters and there's stuff that doesn't matter.

[00:24:28] Um, what would you say are some of the similarities between. All of your partners, Unbounce included of the things that you really do enjoy and you kind of have to have to call yourself. 

[00:24:39] Nic: Yeah, I think there's a lot of things that are beneficial. Probably the most important is having a, some type of communication channel open with the, with the actual team behind the product.

[00:24:50] Uh, that's been super helpful, not just to learn more about the product learn what's working, but also, you know, if issues come up for clients, it's sort of like, You know, roll out the red carpet and our clients appreciate having, uh, just a little bit more access through us as partners, if issues do pop up, which is very, very rare.

[00:25:08] Um, the badge that, that OCHA mentioned is actually a pretty cool thing. I love being able to put the Unbounced agency partner badge on our, on our website, it's front and center. Um, we put it on social media. I mean, I think that is a very simple thing that partner programs can do that. Um, probably a lot of them overlook it.

[00:25:26] Like I see a lot of partner programs where the collateral for those badges is like super small. It's like a JPEG that's, you know, really pixelated and like really take some time and put some effort into designing a badge that you would be. For your partner to display. Cause there's been badges from other programs that we have not displayed because it's just like ugly or, you know, they don't give enough variety or different types.

[00:25:49] So I think Unbounce did a great job there. Some other things is like the co-marketing opportunities, the opportunities to write a blog post or jump on a, a webinar. Um, You know, any type of material that we can share with clients to give them a deeper understanding of the product. Those are all things that are very, 

[00:26:06] Alex: yeah.

[00:26:07] May make them famous. The reason why we titled this podcast make them famous because one of our investors, advisors, Pete Kaputo who built HubSpot's partner program now at Databox, he, uh, he used to tell his team. He's like, all you have to do is make your partners famous. That's what they do. You know, and that'll will keep them engaged.

[00:26:26] Um, so on that note, I want to talk about SLPs and then we'll go back to Nick on, you know, how, how important these are and what, what sort of level of impact it's been. But ONCA some of the things that, you know, have worked and you want to replicate in the future for partner teams out there that are listening to this.

[00:26:43] If you add some advice in line, do this on a monthly basis, do this on a quarterly basis with two different partner types. And this is the struggle. I think for most partner managers, they have. Bulk partners. They're just, you know, the 80% out there that are floundering, then they have the 20% that are like Nick.

[00:27:01] And then they have net new partners and you can't involve everybody with everything. You can't do everything with everyone. How do you like to kind of split up between that? I'm going to try to enable these 80% and get some of them back engaged versus I'm going to scratch the back of Nick and my 20% versus I've got, you know, this growth area and I've got to get them involved.

[00:27:22] So. Give them something. How do you break it up? How do you kind of work? Yeah, totally. 

[00:27:28] Anca: Uh, it's a lot of work and I know it's daunting because, um, when you see so many different buckets, it really, it becomes like how, where do I start? Right. Um, and I say, it's it's so it's so important. It's really crucial to the whole strategy to understand who your personas are.

[00:27:45] Yes. We talk about even 20%, 10%. Sometimes I know that's what it's like. Sometimes it's only 10% of active or whatever percentage you have, but that doesn't mean it's one type of partner. So it's important to understand each. Um, and what you're doing is you're learning. You're building this persona. You're not going to have from the first moment you've launched a program.

[00:28:03] You're not going to have separate workflows for each. That's not doable. You S you're still going to apply like a one size fits all the point is to be, um, uh, flexible afterwards and start creating that next flow that then splits them up. So, you know, I think standard always have a proper onboarding, right?

[00:28:22] Uh, make them feel welcomed from the very beginning they joined. They need to know you're there. You want to talk to them? You are a person. You're not a robot. I, like I said, I tried to do it a discovery call and the first week when it. This is also standard. It is an email from me. I know a lot of people think I've maybe I'm just sending it out, but I actually do email directly because I want to talk to these people, especially if they have some kind of, uh, you know, Unbounced experience already, we can see that in our platform.

[00:28:48] So we know we've, we have an actual suggestion of something to work with, right. So I'm not going to waste their time. I'm actually going to talk to them about something valuable that I've seen in their account. And lastly, it's like, all right, there, they become. Then have some type of nurture campaign, right?

[00:29:03] Create a place where, you know, you constantly should have reminders to them. We can't just assume that if they onboarded, they know what to do, remind them, you know, send, uh, a monthly updates and a newsletter newsletter is so crucial to everything. Um, you know, create any kind of opportunities for them to talk to you or you.

[00:29:24] From them, um, ask them questions, you know, Sarah content, uh, portal is like how many people are reading your newsletters and things that she really tried to learn. And also, like one thing that was very funny to, to realize is that your newsletters are sending to every partner from that point on, they had joined just before.

[00:29:44] And then you can't assume like everybody that joined after you said that newsletter, I didn't get access to it. So make sure that, that content and the things you're sharing with partners consistently that they live somewhere else. We have an advantage because we can build a page quickly. So we put that up, but we created like a resource center for partners, but essentially.

[00:30:03] Get all of this available for them at any point in time. And even when you map out your, your onboarding flow, right? Uh, other than the few first emails that you send out, but these crucial pieces of content that you've heard actually make a difference, like space them out through their partner journey.

[00:30:18] So that's. Easily use those when it, when it makes sense. 

[00:30:22] Alex: Awesome. Awesome. No, lots of good stuff in there. I do want to ask Nick about the partner newsletter, but before I do that, I wanted to ask you one kind of caveat question to that. Is there any CRM data that you try to look at periodically to uncover partner opportunities?

[00:30:36] I've heard. Looking for like Unbounce accounts that have multiple different email URLs tied to them as admins. Like if it's the Unbounce account for earn worthy, but then Nick has like other admins that are under different emails. Then you look at those emails and you'd see if any of them are also agencies, then reach out to those.

[00:30:57] Are there any CRM activities that you've. Uh, main repetitions to find partner opportunities. Yeah. 

[00:31:03] Anca: So we have, um, actually internally we, um, we even asked this question on a customer on boards, if they are an agency, a small, medium, large. So we have that data already mapped out, which is very, very useful. Uh, and then, yeah, you're right.

[00:31:15] Like then we look at account structures. So how is this collaboration happening? First of all, how is the agency account collaborating with other. Or other accounts that's one. Yes. That's always a new, interesting conversation to be had because I want to learn how that is set up and why it is like that.

[00:31:32] Um, and then the other side is also, um, if there's multiple people in an agency team that always says, um, especially if they sign up for Unbounce, let's say seven years ago, they say small agency, but suddenly you see 20 users. That means that the agency has grown. There's an opportunity here. We should talk about them.

[00:31:50] Did we have a part in that? Is there anything else we could do? Like how do we help them increase that success even 

[00:31:56] Alex: further? So find out in onboarding, if there are an agency or not, then you try to find out how many users or sorry, how many, um, employees that agency has, if they've grown. Those are key indicators of potentially more valuable partners and reaching out to them and doing your thing.

[00:32:12] Um, Nick, uh, she mentioned the partner newsletter. I'm sure you get a lot of them. Um, we see a lot as well. Some of them are better than others. But what components of a partner newsletter do you actually find valuable? And, um, as there been any times when you've unsubscribed from the partner newsletter newsletter, so w Y 

[00:32:34] Nic: yeah, I'll start with that.

[00:32:35] Um, you know, cause we're in a lot of other programs that are. Even though they call themselves partner programs. It's really just an affiliate program. And that's not something that I like. You're either an affiliate program or you're a partner program. If you're a partner program, you're more than an affiliate program.

[00:32:48] But I think a lot of companies just don't get that. And they still, all they do in their newsletter is push, Hey, here's the, the sale of the week or the, you know, the flavor of the month club and it's, and it's this constant push of what you should be promoting. And these short-term incentives, which I get, it totally works well if you're an affiliate and that's all you do.

[00:33:05] But it does get to be annoying after a while. So the main thing I love about the Unbounce newsletter for partners is that it's, it's none of that. It's really focused on, you know, what's working, how can we help you reminders of the, all the resources you have access to. And, you know, it brings you back into the product, helps you stay on top of what's changing because that's going to give us more ammunition.

[00:33:27] When we're talking with prospective clients of, you know, selling them on the platform, you know, we want to stay updated. So I think that's a really important thing to include in all partner newsletters is don't just talk about the program, talk about the product, because that's going to help your partners take that information.

[00:33:43] And then disseminate it to their potential prospects and 

[00:33:46] Alex: clients. I think too many partner teams lose sight of that aspect of like you are in the business of servicing clients. You have to know what's going on with your product and you have to be very, uh, very aware of what's coming and how that's going to impact your services, uh, especially around on.

[00:34:06] Um, even HubSpot's guilty of this and in many occasions where they've released some stuff without notifying their partners in advance enough in advance. So if, if you have a power partner like Nick, and I'm speaking more towards the audience than YouTube, but you have a power partner like Nick he's built his entire.

[00:34:23] Agency business off of your solution and you roll out features that could, or even account level features that could change the way he onboards a client or services a client, or affects his relationship with his client accounts. You don't give him six months notice. Um, that's going to be detrimental to his business.

[00:34:42] So, um, be very aware of that. So when you think about a newsletter and you think about updates, I think product first and foremost, um, think about, uh, any new things that could potentially add service revenue to his business. I like to advise that, um, and then highlight, uh, some other agencies that are doing new and different things.

[00:35:03] So Nick might not know that this other agency out there. Is doing this new mobile XYZ and it's created this whole new service line. Nick may want to do that too. If that agency is okay with it, put it in the newsletter, highlight that agency agencies love to be famous and to be appreciated and that, so it should be okay with everybody in the Nick gets that knew, Hey, we should be doing this type of a, of a kick in the butt.

[00:35:26] I don't get anything. That ongoing communication, not just newsletters, but like, is there anything that you guys like to do or maybe even some things that you did and you learn real quickly not to do that anymore. Around partner communication? 

[00:35:39] Anca: Uh, a couple of learnings, many learnings, actually, I feel like every day is about this, but, uh, the core one is make that time that you have with an agency, make it very valuable.

[00:35:49] I would think like, if you can just get your message across in five minutes, why do you need an hour call? You know, um, really don't waste our time. You may think you're, uh, you know, you have the best product, even none that's case. I don't think it's good to get like too much in our own heads about how amazing the product is.

[00:36:05] Oh, I definitely have something useful. I think like, I try to think from their perspective as much as I can and really make, make sure that. Well spent, you know, um, that's why newsletters get very long. They talk about all sorts of things are really not going to change their, you know, business in that day.

[00:36:20] But if it's something that can, or it makes them think about something or wants to make them want to talk about something, I think that's so valuable. Yeah. And we constantly learn like things that you have mentioned that. Um, try and announce early, you know, um, really don't expect that they will react instantly to something that you sent, um, or, you know, the fact that it is that we have a launch or if we have any kind of new thing coming, you know, don't tell them last if at all possible.

[00:36:46] Um, and this is something that I recommend to people because. Comes back to like the go-to-market strategy central of the channel and what you're discussing internally with your product marketing marketing teams, because they should see the partnership channel as a actual go-to-market strategy. Right?

[00:37:02] So essentially they need to be part of that. They need to be in that playbook when you're planning a launch, they need to have a place there and it could, you could tear it, you know, you could have. You're Nicholas is in a special, special, special bucket that then have a, you know, an announcement earlier than everybody else, but just be mindful that they are part of that and they need to be, um, and if they are, they're not had that conversation 

[00:37:25] Alex: today, if you can.

[00:37:26] And just so I know, and everybody else knows, um, we are sponsored by partner stack. I think I'll mention that before this even starts in our recording, but, uh, you guys are users of partner stack. Um, but from Nick, from your perspective, um, what is the workflow. With regards to lead sharing and adding of referrals and tracking all that.

[00:37:47] What is your internal process? Do you use partner stack to submit those referrals? Do you send an email over to ONCA and say, Hey, we've got a customer, here's the name? What do you, what do you like to do? 

[00:37:56] Nic: What's your preference? Yeah, we have a few different approaches because we also do some more of the more traditional, like affiliate type stuff.

[00:38:02] With the announced partner program where, you know, we have a whole separate brand called growth marketer where we're writing content and sharing content about unbalanced. And so for those types of engagements, it's really just, you know, clicking on that partner link. That's going to start that, that relationship.

[00:38:19] Um, and you know, that's usually more of a hands-off type engagement. Um, for the other work we do on the, on the agency side, since it is a one-to-one. Um, engagement with a prospective client or with a current client that is now becoming an Unbounced customer for the first time. We'll usually, uh, onboard them over a zoom and they'll go through one of our links.

[00:38:42] And I know there's some other ways to do this as well. Although we, um, you know, we're sort of stuck in the old habit of just, you know, use our link and then we'll walk you through the process. And that seems to work out really well. Um, I have to say I love partner stack. I didn't even know that you guys were sponsored by it, but I think it's a, it's a, it's a terrific platform.

[00:39:01] Uh, having seen so many other platforms and how, um, difficult they are to work with. Uh, it's no surprise that Unbounce is on partner stack and that a lot of the major programs that we're in, uh, like call rail and pastel and. There's probably some others that I'm forgetting there. They're using partner stack because it's of all the programs we've worked with.

[00:39:23] Uh, that's the one that is the easiest to work with. And yeah, I just wish everybody who was on 

[00:39:27] Alex: partner stack, shout out to Brandon and the parsec team. Well, we'll have to create a little soundbite of that, uh, uh, for those guys that was really good, but you're right. I mean, it's a, it's a situation where. As long as your other partners are on there and you can log into one portal and just quickly click down, call rail and bounce.

[00:39:46] I mean, it makes your life a lot easier. We talked to partners. Everybody has a different sort of perception around referral tracking. I've talked to big agencies that get referrals all day long and do get a lot of referral commission, but they'll still email their partner manager and just say, This person's coming in the funnel and, and they just, they just don't like to, you know, send them a link and do that whole, that whole business.

[00:40:10] So, you know, Nick, you guys have created a system. I think this is one of the things we talked about like a year or two ago is you have a link and you are sharing a link. It's clearly biased, but you have a point in the sales conversation where you do ask them to go through the link and maybe you're even still on the call with them when you're doing that.

[00:40:29] Well, what is your process for other potential agencies that are listening and partner managers to know like how you guys like to do link sharing when it's clearly an earn worthy, tracked link? 

[00:40:40] Nic: It really depends on the, on the conversation we have. Clients that they have no idea what Unbounce is. And so at that point, um, we would first do like a quick demo, bring them into the builder and all of this would be on like a one-to-one call.

[00:40:52] So whenever possible, I try to do this a one-to-one cause I've noticed if you just send someone a link, there's a good likelihood. They're just going to Google it or they're going to forget about it. Um, so whenever possible, my advice would be if you are doing the, sort of the link sharing method, uh, to get them into that, into that program and get credit for it, then try to do.

[00:41:11] One-to-one there are cases where that doesn't work out and we will send the link in an email. Sometimes we've even sent it along with a proposal. And you know, that often works. We have seen in some cases though, that you know, that that doesn't work and they somehow, either the tracking got stripped out or they didn't utilize the link.

[00:41:29] So this is an area that we actually want to improve upon. I don't think we are doing everything in, in this, um, Area as well as we should, because I know there are other ways to onboard clients. I know ONCA has reached out to me a few times about this and, you know, it's one of those things where you're sort of stuck in, in the habit of doing something, but I would love to, uh, continue to improve our processes where Alex, like you said, if we could just say, Hey, this is a lead that came in, we just educated them about Unbounced, they're going to be signing up.

[00:42:00] Uh, here's their email address. And if, and then we don't have to worry about it anymore, no matter how they enter. The sort of the Unbounced pipeline. Um, that would be something we would certainly want to move to. Yeah. 

[00:42:11] Alex: It's just, it's sometimes it's a situational thing where you don't want to look too biased and you don't want that client to know like, oh, I'm going to get paid on this, so make sure you do it.

[00:42:21] But then I think, I think you guys do this right? You do a partner, um, link discount. If they come through Nick's link, there's something that the client gets, right? 

[00:42:30] Anca: Yeah. So we try to make it attractive also for the clients, because they're essentially choosing the agency of. Oh, the way I see it as like a tool for the agency to use when they do onboard a client and they wouldn't get it otherwise.

[00:42:41] Right. So that's also exciting when Nick was sort of touched on in the workflow wise. I think it's like, it's important to understand, like back to the same thing, right? How some agencies work in a certain way. Um, we did build a workflow that is automatic, which actually involves like handing over that.

[00:42:57] The quote unquote, in the sense of like you're filling the email address of, you know, your agency and then the client join onboard and they've, we've automated everything afterwards. And the way we've done that is also using the, uh, partner, uh, uh, logo on top. So essentially we, it would look like it's an agency email and the agency has always included in this communication or the account managers always included in this communication.

[00:43:20] So we do try and give them opportunities on how to onboard fine. Potentially help them. Um, and we're always looking for feedback on that flow or if there's any other opportunities that we can explore, there is always good. 

[00:43:33] Nic: Um, so what I really like about Unbounce is that it really is a great benefit for the, for the purchaser, because we tell people like, this is the only way you're going to get this discount.

[00:43:42] Yes. And we're transparent. We'll say, yes, we do. Um, you know, a commission from this for referring you, but you are honestly getting an incentive that you would have not otherwise gotten. So if any partner manager is listening to this and they are on the fence about that type of thing, it, it makes it so much easier for a partner to share.

[00:44:01] A link, if there is an incentive for that, for that end user. And you know, at the same time, you're still getting the free trial as well. So it's like a, it's a such an easy decision, uh, for people to still get that 14 day free trial. And if they decide to stick with Unbounce, they're going to get this additional incentive that they couldn't have otherwise gotten.

[00:44:19] So that's why it's been such an easy conversation for us. 

[00:44:21] Alex: Yeah. That's huge. Uh, I think too many partner managers rely on them, the partners sharing their links, but they didn't really give them a reason. Yeah. And you have to understand how awkward that is for the agency to say, no, you have to use my link.

[00:44:35] Otherwise I don't get credit. Like, no, you don't want to make them say that you want to say, use my link because the only way you'll get 20% off and you'll be tied to me as a partner, which will extend your support offering and yada yada, yada. Um, so I really liked that, but on the product side, after that, so now I'm involved in you, us three, you know, I'm the clients on, because Unbounce your.

[00:44:59] Uh, you're you Nick and I have used your link and now we're working together. What does it look like from your perspective? What is partnerships related on Unbounce? Both the sub-account system. Like how does it work for you when you're working multiple clients and what do they see? What do you use? Um, inside of the unbalanced ecosystem that is partnerships related, branded stuff.

[00:45:21] Sub-accounts that kind of thing. Um, 

[00:45:22] Nic: you know, honestly, I don't think there's that much, that that comes to mind. I think it's really, we would be their point of contact, but they would still get their ongoing communications and onboarding information from, from Unbounced. Cause we're always encouraging them to sign up for their own.

[00:45:37] Um, you know, we do a lot of training when, when clients want that. So we have our own Unbounced, uh, course that we give people for free. Uh, and so like, I think a lot of times it's just up to the end user. If they want to either come to us for support or go directly to Unbounce, I think the trend is they come to us first, which is probably a good thing for, for Unbounced.

[00:45:57] Cause it takes a little bit of. The pressure off of the support team, because those inquiries, I mean, we just got one today from a client where that would have become a support ticket, but we were able to handle it for that client. Um, so hopefully that's another way that partners can give back to the program.

[00:46:12] Alex: Awesome. Awesome. Uh, anything on that? 

[00:46:16] Anca: Definitely there's the account management piece, which really helps with like the collaborative work. So yes, on one side is the agency client relationship and how that's managed. Uh, it could work, you know, within one account they could work with like two standalone accounts and how the communicate, it could even work with like a free account and a paid accounts.

[00:46:34] You know, we have that availability and the same time. You know, Nicholas could add all these teammates or any agency could add all their teammates. And so that you can assign, you know, an account manager on each place, like all of that is possible. And luckily we already had that there, so I could take advantage of it when setting up the program.

[00:46:51] Um, but yeah, looking forward to learning and building more partnerships, specific opportunities within the, within our platform 

[00:46:58] Alex: as well, easier, you can make it to. Nick to just manage his business and manage supports, um, the enablement factor of course creation. Um, I think Nick, you did that on your own, but one of the things we advise our partner teams to do is find those power partners like Nick that really know the full funnel around your product, not just your product.

[00:47:20] Which you and Unbounce can teach product feature benefits. You've got plenty of documentation and all that. I can learn all about unbalanced just by going to Unbounce, but how do I learn how to make Unbounced work with other tools I call rail, how do I involve unbalanced in a campaign and what happens with different traffic sources and mobile versus this.

[00:47:40] And, and that is something that an agency has. So some of the partner teams out there doing this really well, like Shopify, I think they paid one of our agencies, five grand to create a course on how to build Shopify plus into this, this campaign ecosystem that they do. Other partner teams will enable their partners by promising to include a link to that course.

[00:48:09] In their user onboarding, which to Nick's point is like an advantage for the company. Because again, Nick and whoever that agency is, they're teaching full funnel. They're not just teaching about the product. So if I want to make sure that my users are better, users are going to. Retain higher retention rates going to be up there going to quickly progress to a premium account, which is partner source revenue.

[00:48:35] If that is a partner source deal, I want to make sure that they quickly get affiliated with one of my partners that has a course on how to do all this stuff, because that's not stuff I can rely on my CS team to do. I mean, going as far as not paying them, maybe like what Shopify is doing with some partners.

[00:48:52] And I think big commerce may be doing this too, but, uh, but enabling them. Hey, I'll, I'll put a link here. We'll talk about it in a little bit of a press release. It'll go out in our newsletter. You've got a course on our product. We want people to go to it, um, and, and sending them there. I've heard that happening and we advise that it's, it's a huge partner enablement piece.

[00:49:13] So you're doing that, Nick, um, and aunt get anything in the future. Anything coming, anything that you guys have your eyes and your strategy focused on for 2022? I know. Shifting majorly as a platform, but how does all that relate to partnerships and what's coming and what's, what can you talk about related to partnerships?

[00:49:33] Anca: Yeah, so many, so many things that I want to say so many things I cannot say I'm so imagined, right? I think. You know, we have a lot of models in the, in the digital world now with companies that do have like bigger ecosystem and like, they, they look like they are a whole universe in one business, and then you see it from the beginning.

[00:49:52] When you look at it, for example, HubSpot, you know, you see how their partners co-exist and how they work. Um, and that's my goal for next year, for sure. I think. You know, you think about our, our tool and how, um, there's so many other, uh, uh, products and SAS companies and other kinds of businesses that compliment our products.

[00:50:08] So, you know, you start thinking about integrations and how that can build on it. Um, then you think about, like I said, all of these partners, um, agency partners to fit, these are channels to go to market, right? Like we'll, we're leveraging them. Um, to expand, to really grow, to really understand what we can build in our product to make their lives better.

[00:50:28] Um, then also like, uh, you know, uniting on a customer focus and really delivering a story on that, for sure. Uh, one of the things that I really want to do, and I encourage everybody. Yes. This education piece is so valuable. Um, user partners have been, you know, put them in the spotlight, give them that visibility, um, and also learn from them, really use that because I think.

[00:50:49] Uh, strive to, you know, wait for marketing or wait for other resources to do this and to deliver things for us. But we have them already, you know, especially when you're working with marketing agencies, there's nobody more equipped to talk about your product. Um, so that's definitely something that's coming in the pipeline and also just food for thought.

[00:51:06] When you think about tools together and how, especially when they're integrated properly and they work together. Um, opportunity to look into co-selling. So how do you expand you and the other tool that both agencies, uh, use, how do you expand that? How do you then kind of unite forces, you know, and help these companies go to market together?

[00:51:27] When the tool that you sell as it is then becomes, you know, a part of that process versus just standard. I 

[00:51:34] Alex: love it. Especially with agencies like yours, you can get involved in that pipeline and do some major co-selling with that ecosystem. So hopefully you guys have some plans to do that, but Nick, uh, what are maybe the top few things that you would advise partner teams to do or not to do when developing their partner?

[00:51:56] What are the main things. If you were a partner manager, you would make sure to do, 

[00:52:00] Nic: we're not doing putting me on the spot there. That's a, that's a important question. Um, I would say, uh, focus on, on a good plan. Again, going back to the partner stack. I think you can't go wrong there and I'm not getting paid to say that and believe it or not.

[00:52:13] Um, you know, that's, that's really important. I would say the whole badge thing is really important. Like put a lot of effort into what the name of the program is and how that's going to be represented. And then, um, keeping the communication. Open and, uh, you know, not going radio silent for six months and like having, uh, a direct line of communication.

[00:52:33] I think what's really cool, uh, with unbalances I'm able to communicate with ONCA on slack as she mentioned. So, you know, there's that communication there. It doesn't have to be that direct, but just having something where. Uh, we feel like there's this direct connection, uh, to the team behind the program.

[00:52:48] I'd say those are probably my top three, 

[00:52:49] Alex: uh, that just make sure you get to know the agency persona to that. If you have no experience with agencies, get to know them, read the same books that they're reading, go and take part in some of the stuff. You know, webinars that they're taking part in. If there's a group that you can access, read through the feed, check them out, get in the community, collective dot partner

[00:53:11] All we talk about is how to work closer with agencies. So check that as well. And of course, if you're an agency listening and you're doing digital market, Unbounced as partner program. If you're a tech team that thinks you have something to offer Nick, Nick, how do you like to vet partnerships? If I come to you like, Hey, we were tight for them.

[00:53:30] We've got a brand new thing that's coming out on top of Unbounced. Let's talk about partnering. What 

[00:53:35] Nic: do you deal with type form, by the way, how do you ask them? Yeah. You know, it's really case by case every, every great partner program that we are in that we actually utilize is a program that we. Um, so that's why we are a little bit selective.

[00:53:49] Like I'll join every program, but the ones that we actually promote and, and utilize are really just the ones that we are, um, using everyday here for ourselves and for our clients. But yeah, if there's ever any opportunities out there, feel free to connect with 

[00:54:03] Alex: Thank you both then

[00:54:07] ONCA I believe it's still. 

[00:54:09] Anca: Um, yeah, sure. Just email me. It's reach out 

[00:54:16] Alex: anytime. Thank you so much for this. We're a minute after, so I'll let you guys get to your next calls. Thank you again. And thanks to everybody. You're going to listen. Take care, everyone. .

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