Agency Partner

Part 2 of SalesLoft + JB Sales: How Morgan Ingram and Chris Merrill from JB Sales run Partnerships

Carina Shahin
March 17, 2021
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Agency Partner
March 17, 2021

Part 2 of SalesLoft + JB Sales: How Morgan Ingram and Chris Merrill from JB Sales run Partnerships

“Sometimes you have to lead them to an aha moment of why the two exist together.”

This is part 2 of the two-part episode where we learn how Salesloft & Jbarrows were able to build a strong partnership that is built on the no asshole rule, hard work, and reciprocity. They talk about the importance of working with companies you believe in and how making sure your technologies are complimentary are some of the traits they look for in partners today.

“Sometimes you have to lead them to an aha moment of why the two exist together.”


Morgan J Ingram - Director of Sales Execution and Evolution at JB Sales

Christopher Merrill - Chief Revenue Officer at JB Sales


[00:03:12] Intro’s

[00:07:44] How Morgan uses and partners with SalesLoft

[00:10:53] How Chris qualifies partners

[00:13:34] What makes SalesLofts partner training

[00:19:00] Morgan’s poor experiences with partnerships

[00:25:30] Chris talks about alignment 

[00:26:49] How to get closer to your partners

Resources: - The leading sending platform. - Partner tracking and payouts. - A free account mapping solution.

Join the conversation inside the Partner Programs Collective >>

Episode Transcript


[00:03:12] Chris: [00:03:12] Yeah, I am. I'm looking over and seeing what my title of today is chief growth officer. And more specifically, I run the marketing and the ever evolving content part of our business. We, we are known as a, a sales training organization. I've set up probably over the last four or five years.

[00:03:27] We've really seen an opportunity to really by fabricated the company into standard professional services training, which we're known for and rooted in, but as our. Talent and our go to market and our reach has expanded. We've really built out a more of a media side of the business. I would say where I'm spending most of my time right now is really figuring out what is a media business.

[00:03:46] What are the different components, specifically? The partnerships, which I know it's what we're talking about today. Just a quick background. I've known John since we were four, John and I have also worked together for at this point 23 years. John was John, when we were. I think that was like 19 or 20. I got to go back and measure that.

[00:04:03] But John had an amazing sales job with good sales training and he was actually being paid. And somehow we convinced him to leave and to come over and run sales for a startup in the it space, which we had no idea what we were doing. John obviously proved to be a massive. Uh, influence on our success.

[00:04:20] Having sold to staples in 2006. And from there, John's gone on to, uh, be the legend that he is so thankful to be 

[00:04:26] Carina: [00:04:26] here. Yeah. That's awesome. Love to hear the background story and you guys have known each other since you were four. That's amazing. I have 

[00:04:32] Chris: [00:04:32] some good pictures. I'm happy to post. And when you do this tag of some of my favorite pictures are a lot of people don't know this, but John.

[00:04:40] On the superlatives for our high school, John actually got best hair. I will definitely get you some pictures. Okay. Yeah. We're 

[00:04:45] Carina: [00:04:45] going to need to see that for sure. Wow. Okay. Morgan, I don't know how you can now do Chris on that one, but can you introduce yourself your role and just some of the partners that you work with today and that you have a pretty close relationship with?

[00:04:58] Morgan: [00:04:58] Yeah, so I definitely can't be Chris with a story here. However, I. Started off as a SDR. So sales development rep for those maybe who don't know what that is a prospecting with cold calling emails, LinkedIn, all of the things of that nature. I originally never wanted to get into sales at all. I wanted to be a sports agent, but ended up cold calling this organization Terminus.

[00:05:20] And that's what led into me getting into this. Gaming this industry. And I got founded by John through YouTube, out of all places, I started a YouTube channel called the SDR Chronicles while I was an SDR. And what that was is documenting. My journey as an SDR and what I was doing and how I was getting success in that role.

[00:05:41] So he found me there. And funny enough, this is like full circle though, is that he met me at Rainmaker. So sales loft, so sales office, one of the partners that we work with and also was, well, he said, Hey, just want to throw this in your ear. I'm not ready. You're not ready. When the time comes, we should work together.

[00:05:59] And I actually met Chris for the first time at Rainmaker, too. So excited to Connie. And from there, he called me three months later saying, Hey, it's time. And I was like, cool, let's talk about it. And that the opportunity, what I do today for the past three and a half years, I've been working at GB sales on the sales training side.

[00:06:19] Focusing on prospecting top of the funnel. How do you break it to net new accounts with a lot of clients that we work with on top of the content that we're working on now with Chris coming into the fold as well. And so sales, also one of them gong is one of the partners that we're working with. Uh, proposed defies one of them as well.

[00:06:35] We're really excited to have this conversation and talk about how we work with these partners to make sure it's impactful for everyone. Yeah. I 

[00:06:40] Carina: [00:06:40] love it. And I think that's hilarious that you met both Chris and John at Rainmaker because I'm pretty sure Morgan. That is where I met you for the first time.

[00:06:48] And obviously. It's just, it all really is coming full circle. We have this not so small of a, of a space that we're all working in, but it is really great. And I can't wait until we can go back to in-person events so we can all hang out again. But so I know both of our companies have worked really closely with SalesLoft for quite some time.

[00:07:07] Now they, like I mentioned, have been a partner of  for as long as I've been at Sindo and I work with their team really closely. And I know that they're one of your. Close partners as well. I got the chance to interview Sean and Matt on my last episode a few weeks ago. And we touched really briefly on your partnership a bit, but I would love to know from you, Morgan, what is your relationship to SalesLoft?

[00:07:29] When did you guys really first start working together and. How do you use or leverage them or are you using them internally? Is this more of a referral resell or building services on top of what they offer? We'd love to have you dive into that a little bit. 

[00:07:44] Morgan: [00:07:44] Yeah. So on a personal level sales off run, super deep.

[00:07:48] So I mentioned Terminus has the same, like lead investor. As SalesLoft. So essentially, and they're both in Atlanta. So it was as soon as sister company at the end of the day. So I met the majority of people at sales off because even funnier, they were right across the street from us, from Terminus. So I definitely know a lot of people over there and it definitely runs deep and that's really, the relationship started to grow on a personal level.

[00:08:15] And then in JB sales, because of the relationship that Kyle and John had as well, but also just made sense. And also I'm here in Atlanta. And so in terms of the partner, I use sales off on a day-to-day basis to build and optimize different cadences, to go out and do my own prospecting, which is part of our role.

[00:08:35] And then also using that data to share out how other people can use cadences for the different clients and different people that they're trying to reach out to as well. So. I'm making sure that as a partner I'm leveraging the tools so I can speak to it. And even that they've acquired Costello, I also use their deal flow to make sure I'm running discovery calls in the right way.

[00:08:55] And I'm also doing my fault calls in the right way so I can close more deals as well. So I'm using the product on a day-to-day basis. So if someone does ask me about SalesLoft, it's like, yeah, not only are they a partner, but actually I don't want to use them as well. I don't know, from a probably reseller and services side that Chris that's where he comes into play.

[00:09:12] So really figuring out that bigger picture piece, but I come from the tactical perspective so people can relate to what I'm talking about. 

[00:09:20] Chris: [00:09:20] That was so great. That was so great, Morgan, because I was going to point back to this as we talk this through, which there's something really important and obviously with.

[00:09:28] Morgan his narrative. His story was very natural because he lived it. He was a part of, as the relationship grew. But as I'm sitting here listening to Morgan, talk about our relationship chip back to sales loft, the why, the, how the technical, the actual, what products we're using, you noticed how that was just very natural of a story for Morgan.

[00:09:49] And I think that's a core tenant that I'll get into a little bit, which is making sure that at the. The Keystone, basically the people that run their peer partnerships and the relationships, our job is to create these partnerships to make sure we understand the why, but then making sure that we know how to distill that information and push it to all corners of our organization.

[00:10:07] As Morgan is such a wonderful steward of our friends of SalesLoft and our other partners as well. It's almost muscle memory for him at this point to rattle off why, what we use it for, how people can benefit. But if you ask. Anyone in our organization, you get that, that same answer. And I think it's, I'm going to get back to that in a little bit about what I believe to be successful on the partner side.

[00:10:28] And I didn't mean to interrupt you there, but if you want to re-ask that question, but it was just really important to point. No, I think 

[00:10:32] Carina: [00:10:32] that's such a great thing to point out. And I want to talk with you a little bit more about that. Chris, what is the reason that makes you say yes, I want to work with these people.

[00:10:41] Obviously just the relationship from the beginning with a lot of these partners started off as. Friendship and really believing in their products, but what's something may be a little bit deeper that makes you want to say yes, these are the people I want 

[00:10:53] Chris: [00:10:53] to work with. That's such an amazing question.

[00:10:55] And so completely layered. I think that we are a small organization and I would say that everyone on our team aside the fact that most of us are unemployable because we are so opinionated of what we do and we've already navigated our own path. I think the core tenants that we make decisions about partnership is.

[00:11:14] First and foremost, and I think a lot of people would use the, the beer rule or something. We have to like the humans, people do business with people, not companies. And we, as a small organization, we empower everyone to make decisions of businesses, customers, partners, everything are these people. Do we feel as though that we can co-exist together?

[00:11:34] Of course we can talk about doing great things together, but partnership and sponsorship, any of that, it's still service business and it needs to. And you need to make sure that you think about the downside of when things go bad, how are we going to be able to resolve this? Is this a point back to the contract thing or get on the phone and work through things.

[00:11:50] And there's not been a relationship across the 10 or 15 companies we're close with where things go wrong, it's service. That's what we're, you know, like, and I think you can really hedge that by really making sure first and foremost, you understand the core values and ethos of your organization, but seek that out in.

[00:12:06] Your partners as well. So the first thing for us is, and this is almost like table stakes is one, excuse me. We do have an explicit, no asshole rule. We choose to work with people that no, we don't have to have that same background. No, we don't have to set the same audience. No, we don't often have to have the same beliefs, but are we good people?

[00:12:23] Do we err on the side of positivity and do we them to steal something directly from Kyle Porter? And do we have an action towards bias? Are we going to just talk about this? Are we going to go do something? And that's an issue that when I came into SAS, I realized this and John was, John will be the first raise his hand.

[00:12:39] John says yes to every partnership call, relationship call. And what I told him was as a small organization, like we have to make sure we measure the effort and we have to know why, who we're doing business with and what those outcomes are. We can't, you have to be selective across the board. So for me, it's first and foremost, the people do you trust that your relationship will endure.

[00:12:58] The downtimes. The second part of that is for your combined audience. And I'm going to say community, I'm going to say audience, not community, because for us, we are not. An organization that has in builds community. I know it sounds anti-D, but what we have is an audience. And with that audience, we know our audience really well.

[00:13:16] And we need to make sure that the narrative of two brands, two products working together is logical. Sometimes you have to lead them to an aha moment of why the two exist together, but you can really, again, hedge a good relationship to make sure that it's really. Apparent of why two organizations would work together.

[00:13:34] Point in case I'll talk about both sales off and Sentosa on the SalesLoft side. So at the root of our training, and I'd say the most powerful parts of our training really has to do with our messaging framework, where we help sales reps to the full life cycle of being able to size their market, determine the persona, and to develop a, using a framework.

[00:13:54] Persona personalized messaging that then gets deployed through all of the channels or mediums, email, voicemail, social, just so happens that too, for us to be effective, we need to be paired with a tool that allows you to do that. Hence, we came up with SalesLoft. We obviously are a microcosm compared to them.

[00:14:11] We were there when sales was more of a data tool, not a, a cadence tool, but as it evolved, they said, wow, this is great. Not only do we have a solid friendship. With, uh, Kyle and the team, the product it's very logical for us to partner because. We are the Cannonball, they're the cannon. And so it's very logical to our audience.

[00:14:30] Why we'd work together. We can do data experiments together. We can help their customers. They can help ours. It's a very logical same thing with Sindo. So right now we're feeling like emailing and calling, although super important and never let up. It's more of a challenge than it's been in the past. And therefore you should look for alternative channels for go to markets and also as a send platform.

[00:14:48] Brilliant. And so that was the. The reason for that. And that's why that's logical. So that's the second piece, which is making sure that there's a clear narrative and understanding of why two brands can work together. And then the last one would be the excitement and fun. Is there a reason that you're not just the two people that shake hands and high five and say, let's do business.

[00:15:08] What's the other side to this? Which isn't fun. Are they going to meet us when it's time to go do content or go to market? So our philosophy there. And Oh, sorry about that. We just had a, I think my power went out for a split second, but back to the fun piece, like. There has to be something that's inspirational because if not, then you just have a list of people that you have calls on the schedule.

[00:15:30] Matt Alvarez. I'll tell you right now from SalesLoft perfect example. And we've been in there form sales offs, formal sponsor program. Excuse me, formal partner program. Since the inception, we were part of the first cohort and. Most of our relationships happen more on a paid sponsor side, but at the end of the day, we are partnered and we're going to go long on this.

[00:15:48] I love just being a part of the ecosystem because everyone, they recruit in the program, very similar in mindset to us. They're, they're willing to take content risks. They don't want to do the boring. They really want to look and say, okay, that's great, but we're not a checkbox type of an organization.

[00:16:01] What can we do differently? And so I think it really has to do with pairing up the companies to make it way before you get into the product market fit. Because yeah, the product market could fit, but that might just be for a short period of time. If you figure out that the teams can work together and really stress the relationship, I think that's, what's going to injure.

[00:16:18] I agree. 

[00:16:18] Carina: [00:16:18] 100%. And I think that's also why I look at this partnership that you guys have built with them and I'm so fond of it. And I think a lot of other people can say the same thing. You can tell that you guys have similar core values. No, the no asshole rule is very apparent here, but. Pairing yourself also with a tool that makes a successful partnership.

[00:16:37] And there's a clear narrative there. Those are all, all really great things to touch on that. I think sometimes in partnerships now where we're heading, it's just let's partner with as many people as we possibly can and see how much revenue we can drive. And it's not necessarily all about that. It definitely is about finding those great relationships and expanding on them because then look like you guys, five years later, or however long later, you're still working together and you're making it successful for 

[00:17:02] Chris: [00:17:02] one another.

[00:17:03] One thing, if I could just, I want to bring up because you just brought up something really great about, Oh, what's the revenue where the referrals. One thing to me that I learned very early on is to make sure that you almost need a T account. With your corresponding partner, making sure that you understand what, what, how they define and measure success.

[00:17:23] I I'll just put it out there that most partners programs in the software space that I've been recruited or contacted about let's do a partnership at the end of the day are just people they're looking for the referral. Like they want us to serve as an affiliate. They want access to either our audience or our customers.

[00:17:39] And I'm not saying I'm not saying not rightfully so. It's a partner channel is a very difficult, but a great way to grow your business. But with that said, The first thing I do is make sure that I understand, are you just trying to get us? I don't want to take a call about partnership and an understand that you're just trying to get me to enroll in some type of like formal affiliate program.

[00:17:56] That's fine if it is, but it's making sure you understand exactly what success measurement is and how if we work together, you will actually be measured. And a lot of cases, it's great to get the financial part. If it is a financial driver, well, let's make it be about the financial driver. Let's measure it on those merits, but I think there's.

[00:18:13] Because partnership isn't so strictly defined in this space. I think that's one of the problems is that there's a lot of time wasted on disco calls and partner calls where everyone gets on the phone, but nobody has an idea of why they're there, how to get started. And so I try to clarify that right out of the gate, James on my side will tell you when he's in conversations.

[00:18:31] And it sounds like they're trying to get up to me to have that conversation. I'll push back and just say, okay, can you ask me what their, what are they thinking? What do they want to do together? How is it measured? And it always ends with this little byline and they have some really great revenue that you guys can, you guys can make 20% of revenue for every sale.

[00:18:45] That's not our model. We don't do that. Clarifying what you're willing to do and what the purpose of a partnership is really important. 

[00:18:52] Carina: [00:18:52] I agree. And you answered my question. I was going to ask you next, which was what is something that you find little in value in terms of joining someone's partner program?

[00:19:00] And I think that's something that a lot of different. Partner companies, consultants, agencies, tech partnerships, touch on a lot. That's great that you can offer me 20% rev share, but that's not the sole reason why I want to join your partner program and work together. These kinds of things also take a good amount of time to launch you.

[00:19:19] Can't just all of a sudden start saying, I'm going to start partnering with JB sales and we're going to get. 10 referrals in the first month, it doesn't work like that. There's so much more that goes into building the successful relationship. And I think that's something a lot of companies and partner teams now are like noticing to see and hopefully just changing partnerships for the better.

[00:19:40] But Morgan, I want to talk a little bit more about what the day-to-day of your trainings look like and how you involve your partners right now. Do they come into some of the trainings? Do you handle all of it? Do they hop in or have webinars with you now? And then how do you keep them involved? 

[00:19:58] Morgan: [00:19:58] What's a day-to-day look like

[00:20:03] Chris: [00:20:03] you do not want more Ingram's calendar. I guarantee 

[00:20:07] Morgan: [00:20:07] I get my anxiety, just I looking at it. So I guess it goes into three different components. So the first component is the training. So that's our corporate training clients pay for that. They'll have typically there are three two-hour sessions and with additional reinforcement.

[00:20:23] And so as part of the training, what I share with people is, Hey, you're probably using. SalesLoft or too low tool like it, or you might be using a gong or a vineyard. And so what I'm doing in the training is not the partners are coming in to train in that formal training, but I show like how to use this product on a tactical level.

[00:20:46] Hey, this is me sending a video and how to do it at this step, or, Hey, this is how I use my kids. Here is the exact messaging. Here are my reply rates. Here are my open rates. So what I'm doing is allowing the tool to have more of a tangible feeling, because now you can see the results that I've gotten. And also I'll even bring up examples from other clients too, just to let you know, Hey, it's not me.

[00:21:08] It's other people as well in the marketplace following these techniques. So that's like the first and foremost is I'm showing exactly how to use this product from a rep perspective. And so on the managers that are in the training enablement in the training can drive that adoption as a whole. Because sometimes we'll talk to clients like, Oh yeah, we got this, for example, like SalesLoft, but Hey, some people might not know how to create templates.

[00:21:29] So we'll say, okay, this is how you create templates and then add it to your workflow. So now your team can move faster. And that's what I'm doing from a training perspective. And typically I'll have three to four clients that I'm working with, like per week on, on those type of trainings. And then on the side, on the second side is.

[00:21:46] Content that I'm posting. So all posts on LinkedIn, Hey, these are the top tools that I'm using. This is how you can use this tool. Here's a way that you can leverage it to speed your time. So it's normally short bits of content. It might be a two to eight minute video, or might even be an X posts. So it's not as in deep depth as you're getting in the training yet, you're still getting a little bit of understanding.

[00:22:09] And again, I'm not saying, Hey, sales ops, awesome. Check this out. It's here's how you use it, right? Because if you know how to use it, And I'm showing you how to do it. You're going to be way more intrigued to go check it out. So on my content side through Instagram, or I'm making over here, making tech talks and reels.

[00:22:26] Now I'll talk about those products. As Chris mentioned, it is an engaging in a fun way. Now, just go check this out guys. That's boring. Like no one cares about that, but I'm saying, Hey, this is why you should check it out. Here's how you can be successful with it in your role. And I'm also doing it in a fun way for you're like, Oh wait, Morgan makes that seem really fun.

[00:22:46] How do I get involved with that? I'll give you an example of it, but went back to 0.1. So in my training, I'm saying, Hey, if you're going to create cadences, you might as well have fun. So all my cadences are named after wrap things. So I have ATA alien for Al outcasts. I have. Mom, I can fly because of Travis Scott.

[00:23:04] Like I have Rosa parks cause of outcasts. I like Burr cause a Gucci man. And if you listen to rap, you know, I'm talking about, but the whole thing is I make it fun for myself. So now I can make it more engaging. And that's part of the content that I share with 0.2 and point number three, which is what Chris brought up earlier is what we do with certain partners is webinars.

[00:23:23] So with these webinars, we focus on. An element of that product. So it could be for sales off, we might talk about cadencing or for vineyard, for example, we've done a lot of content with Tyler around videos, prospecting, best practices. We did a webinar. I think it was three weeks ago, like on live videos and we were.

[00:23:43] Talking about them, how to send a video, what should you be doing here are examples of how to do it. And then gong, shout out to Devin over there. We've been there, their stuff from their labs, and we've been taking that information and then adding context and tactical advice as part of that. And so, yeah, I love working with all the different partners because I can take their tools and add even more context and tactical.

[00:24:06] Pieces to it. So yeah, I just want to show some love to the dead out there gone. Cause like that data we use in the webinars that makes it so much more impactful because we have a lot of visuals there as well. 

[00:24:16] Carina: [00:24:16] Absolutely love to hear that. And I think that's what makes a really successful partnership and relationship in general is your.

[00:24:22] You're focusing on a handful of technologies that you're actively using. Day-to-day that you're testing out. I see some of your videos that you've posted on Instagram recently, where you're like, all right, I'm going to send an email to, I don't know, CEO of LinkedIn or something like that. And you're working with your audience and using those.

[00:24:41] Tools to see how you can get the responses as well. So you're engaged, you're leveraging it. That shows a lot that when you do have a really successful partnership, your partners are bought into your product as well. You're not just partnering because of. Revenue numbers are trying to get that 20% you believe in their product.

[00:25:00] And I think that's, what's so important for any of our listeners right now that are trying to grow out their partner ecosystem. Just start with a few partners and products that you really love, and that can really make a compliment service to your product and then grow from there. I think that you guys all said it absolutely perfectly, but.

[00:25:19] Chris, I'd love to come back to you. And just, can you share one takeaway that the audience can have just for building successful relationships and ultimately helping out your mutual customers? 

[00:25:30] Chris: [00:25:30] I think I'll go back to the point I surfaced before, which is finding. That's it seems weak, but if I dig into it a little bit more, it might be helpful to making sure that you're crystal clear on both sides of the why, and they don't have to be the same exact why in the sales process, we talk about our customer's customer a lot with developing empathy and how to really help same thing here, what is my partner's customer and that empathetic view of, okay.

[00:25:55] How can I. Truly service them and my opinion, and if I was to take away is a focus on the alignment of both the people and then for the product market fit to make sure that it's a clear narrative. And the last piece is nurture. If there's ever been anything that dies on the vine, it is partnerships left on nurtured.

[00:26:14] If you are just trying to build an affiliate program, there are an amazing tools out there, like partner stack that can help you to do that where it's high volume and. Um, transactional, if you really trying to go for the long of this, you have relatively high LTV and a complex market really choose your partners carefully and really just make sure you're super attuned of the why of it.

[00:26:32] And just making sure that the nurtured that you're constantly evaluating and 

[00:26:37] Carina: [00:26:37] measuring. I love that. Great words of wisdom and Morgan coming back to you, what is one word of advice that you can leave our audience with on how you build out successful partnerships and grow from there? 

[00:26:49] Morgan: [00:26:49] Yeah. Chris brought up a lot of great points.

[00:26:50] I think the biggest thing across the board is when you are talking about your partners, is if you have the ability to do so as really. Talk about how it evolves in your life. So sales off, I use it in my life like vineyard. I use it in my life, another partner gong, like I use gone, right. Proposal if I use that.

[00:27:09] So if you have the opportunity to like, talk about how to use it in your lifestyle and how do you incorporate that? So it creates more of relate-ability versus, Oh yeah, this is cool. If there's something behind it. So that it drives people to actually go check it out. 

[00:27:24] Carina: [00:27:24] Love it. You guys really touched on a lot of amazing things today.

[00:27:27] And I think that everything that you said is something that our listeners are really going to take home and put into effect. Thank you guys, both so much. It's always a pleasure speaking with you and learning from you. And I just think this episode is absolutely amazing and I can't wait until we get to speak again.

[00:27:45] Thank 

[00:27:46] Chris: [00:27:46] you very much. We need more of this type of content around partnerships. If anybody is interested in talking with me, Awesome. 

[00:27:52] Carina: [00:27:52] Thank you guys.

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