Agency Partner

Your Partner Program won't succeed unless you know these things... w/ John Cawdery

Alex Glenn
December 15, 2021
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Agency Partner
December 15, 2021

Your Partner Program won't succeed unless you know these things... w/ John Cawdery

"Partners are there to extend Google's strategy is teaching someone to fish, both the partner and the vendor should be aligned the opportunity, and that will lead into the right incentives. We've got that now then you'll have the successful." 

John Cawdery ran US operations for Incubeta, a 500+ person agency based in London most recently, but also built a partner program at Google for 14 years, so he is able to speak towards his unique perspective and experience on the topic of partnerships. Today, John is alone on this call, which is unique for this show, because he is both sides of the partner coin in one. In this episode, John and I review: 

  • What to know before you define your program
  • Communication with partners - why it is most important
  • How to structure your team to succeed
  • Perception of "MSP" partnerships while at Google
  • How this changed after joining the agency
  • Misalignment around incentives 
  • What John would build if he started a solutions partner program today - 1st, 2nd, 3rd steps
  • What should the partner managers first 6 month KPIs be
  • What truly incentivizes agencies to partner
  • And we end with examples


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Episode Transcript

[00:05:59] Yeah, John: that's a, that's a very good point. And even the term partners, partnerships is. Confusing words, depending on which particular industry you might be in. Um, so I think it's very important to understand, um, what you mean by, uh, a partner, what you mean by the partnership and what you mean by program. And so all of that should.

[00:06:23] Very well-defined, um, for yourself as your own business, because only then will you be begin to align the right kind of strategy associated with that? Um, it's very well worth defining specific terms. So, uh, there, there are many, many different types of partners. Um, so being very specific about. Types of partners, uh, maybe, uh, parts of your program, you know, there might be multiple types of partners.

[00:06:51] You might have, uh, a specific reseller or, or sales arrangement. Um, but you might also have a set of services or solutions partners that don't actually sell your product, but they service the product. So it's very important to, to define these terms, because then you'll begin to be able to align the incentives.

[00:07:11] Correct. And you'll also begin to align your strategy correctly. Um, and then once you've defined these terms, uh, then what you can define is what the partners actually aren't doing. Now. It's also quite important to, to set the boundaries for the partners, even if it's in terms of your own strategy, because then the expectations are aligned.

[00:07:35] So I think those are, those are some good building blocks. I want to say, say that what's very important is to ensure that communication is very clear. So you've told your partners what you expect them to be and to, to not do. Um, but also make sure that that communication happens internally as well, because it's important that, um, that your other teams are aware of what this program is, what your partners can, and can't.

[00:08:03] Okay, 

[00:08:04] Alex: well, this is not on our agenda, but I do want to talk a little bit more about communication because I just published a newsletter about communication while it was about a few things. But in that the number one, uh, point of contention for partnerships that we found in the feedback that we get is community.

[00:08:21] Uh, people think that a successful partnership and partner programs, sorry, is built on a great incentives and on the back of a great product, that's not true. Uh, the truth of the matter is a communication makes or breaks a partner program. So you being at Google, uh, Google is where it's at today because the processes and operations and product, all of that.

[00:08:45] Just great. Uh, you went into a great agency that was 500 people strong, so I'm sure communication was solid there. So what do you have to say to the partner team? What is your advice when you are talking to a partner team that is trying to move quickly, uh, trying to hire a bunch of partner managers, putting.

[00:09:05] Lots of pressure to hit revenue goals, uh, which causes attrition in the partner program, which causes people to miss messages, which causes people to stop communication altogether with a new agency that they just onboarded. Uh, what is your. Strategy, I would say, but advice. And what would you say to teams that do want to just go quickly and move quickly and have an awesome program and have success there, but you know, what, what should they think about?

[00:09:32] What, what would you, what would you 

[00:09:33] John: say to those two? There's a bunch of 'em of points in that, uh, in that comment say, I mean, that, they're all very interesting. Yeah. To to consider communication is absolutely key. The most success I've had in a partner program is having very tight relationships with the, uh, the decision makers at these.

[00:09:52] Um, what would generally fairly small, um, partner organizations. In that way, being able to get an unfiltered view from the marketplace, uh, but also give a very clear set of directions to someone that has the authority to carry them out. Now they, the challenges come when the organizations on both sides begin to get larger and larger.

[00:10:17] So what you're doing is you're essentially adding people into the, into the chain. If you like between. Uh, the end client or the feedback and the innovation that's happening within your organization. So the more people that you add into that chain, the more difficult it is to get information from one side to the other.

[00:10:39] And that. Very important to make sure that that chain is as condensed as possible so that you end up getting this really good flow of feedback and innovation. So that's the first thing I would say, try to keep that as small as possible, because the longer it is, the more difficult it is to get the messages across.

[00:10:59] And at places like Google, There are teams between the sales teams or partnerships team and the product teams. So there's a team between that that will carry your messages or your feedback over to product team. But ultimately the product team needs to then work with the engineering team. So you're already three or four people away from your client.

[00:11:22] So the people that are actually making the product so you can see how difficult it could be to, to get these messages across. So that's the first thing, second point that I would have, um, that you made is, is something about prioritization, really? You know, it's, um, it's a case of. Um, to go quickly or to, to keep communications, to add process or to add or take, to keep flexibility only you'll understand with your organization, what you feel the most important leavers are.

[00:11:55] But what I would say is that the more process you have, the more accurate you'll be able to control your messaging to market. Um, and then from there, you know, you can, you can ease it off slightly, if you think that's, um, that's okay to let your partners really take the rain in market, but really, you know, if you want more control, you have to exercise more, um, direct communication.

[00:12:19] And it's about prioritizing perhaps the larger partners or the ones with more scale or however it is that you look to prioritize. 

[00:12:26] Alex: Great answer. So, um, a couple of things that I think we should stress in there and love your opinion on this as your partner program has the word partner in it for a reason.

[00:12:37] You know, imagine if you and I are partners in a business and all of a sudden you left after three. Same kind of thing. It's like when you're partnering with an agency, you have to understand that they are relying on you to come to the table with your end of the bargain, uh, in the new world of partnerships, I'd say that there are still a percentage of agencies that still look out for those commission junction type affiliate relationships, where they just know you have a great product and they've got a blog post that's ranking, and they want to get some commission off of it.

[00:13:09] I talked to an agency the other day. Uh, first in a long time, but he that's what he said. He said, I've got a video of this racking. I just need a couple affiliates for it. There's still that. But what we're talking about with partner programs and here today and on this podcast is the new definition of partnership, which is, it goes along with the term joint venture more than it does affiliate relationship.

[00:13:32] So if you have a joint venture with someone, you sign a contract, I'm going to do this. You're going to do. I'm going to bring you into deals. I'm going to have you in front of my clients. I'm going to rely on your team to do this, this and this. And you both signed that agreement or the agency signs it. I think in my opinion, both teams should sign some sort of agreement and, uh, and then you get going, but the CRO or the CEO is putting sales related.

[00:13:57] Incentives and commit. And, um, when pressure on the partnerships teams. So you think about it like that. Well, what is the incentive for the partner manager to go the extra mile on the communication side of things? There's not a lot of incentive. As soon as that partner is deemed of less value than another.

[00:14:16] They'll stop communicating with that partner. That's where things can go astray and then further listen to this and then let's get, um, let's get some conversation going around this, but the second part of that is hypothetically, you are relying on that partner. Commit certain deals on a monthly basis to maintain their status.

[00:14:37] Right? So in all that, there's just a misalignment on what the partner manager needs to do to get that partner to be a good partner, but further there's a up. Okay. Well, as soon as that partner is deemed less valuable, communication is going to break. And if that partner manager misses their debt, misses their goal for the quarter, they could be fired or demoted, which means they're no longer the partner manager and you have to start all over.

[00:15:04] Um, so let's talk about that real quick incentives. And we'll go into the sentence with this, but incentivizing the partner team to be a good partner managing. And any experience you have, which is the disasters that can unfold. Yeah. Well 

[00:15:19] John: actually you raise a very good point that because, uh, one of the incentives, um, in part of programs can be, we will give you sales leads.

[00:15:28] So if you bring us a load of deals, then we will, uh, respond by giving you good sales speeds, which in turn drive more deals. So if you're on the wrong end of that, let's say you've had a particularly poor. You know, the, the lead stop tailing off and you're, you're gonna really struggled to get back into, um, into the Heights here.

[00:15:48] And that, that is a very real challenge. And that's an example of, of where it's very important to align incentives. You know, I, I look back at, um, at Google's program and realize that the partners are there. Um, and, and this is an ad. Um, and measurements, a technology partnership program. So the partners are there to extend Google's strategy.

[00:16:13] Now that is what Google wants the partners to do. Um, so they, they Yvette to scale services or scale sales. Um, for example, in the, in the example that I brought up, which is multiple languages across Europe. So that's a great idea of they've got a particular task to do. Everyone's happy with that. I'm a math specialist within that, that language so that their incentives are aligned.

[00:16:42] Now, the trouble comes when, um, the expectations change, the expectations change, and the incentives don't change. And, and that becomes a real challenge for the partnership because it's not always immediately obvious. So Google strategy might change slightly. But the partner has not changed. Um, and now there's two things around sub-line line.

[00:17:08] It may be not obvious within three months or six months, it may be coming around to the renewal in a year. And that's when it comes up. So it's important to obviously is that same thing. Again, the communication there should be a rigorous communication or. Uh, QPRs or regular check-ins with the partners to make sure that the incentive structures are aligned.

[00:17:31] And we can certainly talk about, um, incentives, but, you know, one thing I would say with incentives is that the strategy should be aligned to the opportunity and that should be the case for both sides. So if it's truly a partner program, both the partner and the vendor should be aligned with the opportunity and that will lead into the right incentive.

[00:17:53] That's 

[00:17:54] Alex: more than correct. It's just, I hear the stories from the agency world all day long. And it's incredible to me that so many partner teams just missed the boat on that. They missed the boat on what it is they're trying to do. Uh, you know, and I think it's partially because there's not a lot of ownership in the success of a partner program.

[00:18:13] It's kind of like. The stepchild of the company that they just there it's there and someone is responsible for it one day, but then another person may be responsible for it. The next. Nobody really wants to own it. Uh, which means it can go back and forth between marketing and sales and have sales related pressure one year, but then have marketing related pressure than another year.

[00:18:39] So it's, it's, uh, it's interesting to me. 

[00:18:42] John: Uh, yeah, I'd actually another thought on that is that, um, I mean, it's something that I've had to, had to deal with a number of times and I'm sure. Um, some of the old viewers and listeners too, is that there is often conflict within the channel from direct sales teams.

[00:18:59] And, and again, that goes to. And incentives being aligned, um, mission or, you know, internal communications also being aligned your, your sales channel and your partnerships channel, uh, both there to try to improve the prospects of your business, that that should be widely known and agreed within the organization.

[00:19:20] We shouldn't be having channel conflict between a direct sales team out of part of the program. And actually that was something that we have. Unpick a little bit, even a Google. So it happens everywhere. 

[00:19:32] Alex: I love it. What I like to do is come up with our own ideal partner program if we can't, uh, incentives and how we're going to do it.

[00:19:40] So it's going to sit under hypothetically you're the CEO of Google, and you want to achieve everything that we've discussed on this episode with alignment and the right. Uh, the right incentive structure, the right KPIs, year one, focus, KPIs. And, uh, and you want to make sure that you. Create a program that is that, uh, that stepchild of the company.

[00:20:04] But you know, like you, and I know we wouldn't be in this game if we didn't know this, but you and I know how important partnerships is, and you maybe even know the value of putting partnerships ahead of some other growth strategies, like sales, SEO, and content marketing and all that stuff. Partnerships could be one of those very first things that you start to get done.

[00:20:24] A lot of our clients, a lot of our teams that we work with do so you're one of those people and you've got a team 20 to 50 somewhere in there. You've got a great product. Your past product markets. And, you know, you have to start a solutions partner program. What are some of the first things that you would get done?

[00:20:42] Uh, and then let's talk about building that incentive structure. What are the first couple of things that you would get done? Let's say you've checked all the boxes you need it what's week one of creating 

[00:20:52] John: this program. It's a lot of thoughts into this. Especially having had the experience at Google of creating these partner programs, um, going in again and.

[00:21:03] Recreating or re-imagining existing programs and then being at the partner side. So I've kind of created an established set of rules that I would say it's well worth following. And there's a lot of material out there as well. The kind of broadly agrees with this. So what I would say is that the first thing to do really is to make sure you understand the marketplace and the ecosystem.

[00:21:27] And that's all about that definition side of things as well, you know, define the terms and the players and make sure that there's a full, broad understanding that, so that that's the, that's the first step I would say, needs to be carried out. And then once you've done that only then can you begin to look at things like goals?

[00:21:48] Um, and, and strategy and your mission, you know, be clear about them. Don't try and over-complicate them, but be very clear about what they can and can't do and, and make sure that, uh, that you are able to stick to that. And then number three is a, is an area that's, that's quite tricky. Cause it might involve a lot of organizational change.

[00:22:11] But delve into those incentives, um, you know, what is it that you want to, to be giving partners, but also what is it that they will be getting outside of that, um, from the arrangement and what will you be be getting? Because sometimes, uh, we can talk a little bit about my experience at incubator. I was able to identify that some of those incentives were misaligned and it was not that often.

[00:22:38] Um, unless you're actually at a, um, a partner agency that they are misaligned because the, because everyone tries to agree to, to the way of working both the major company and the, the agency partner. It's you only need to, um, work in an organization for a little bit of time to understand why. Mr mind. So that's it.

[00:23:01] That's a key area. The incentives areas, a key area of business change. So make sure that that's, uh, an area that's, um, looked into quite a lot. Um, And then outline the potential market. It's always good to do a bit of market sizing expectations that will help you, um, define what you think success will look like.

[00:23:22] And then an area that often gets overlooked. Um, and you also might choose to overlook it slightly depending on your resources, but invest the more that you invest, either personnel or training. Or co-marketing, you know, the more successful these partners will be on your behalf. And if you can do some of the co-marketing, then it's a more cost efficient way of doing it.

[00:23:44] Or if you don't have any budget, just find the best way of being scrappy that and building it from what you do have available. And then finally, there's two more steps. I would say the, the, there are to really develop and grow the strategy and execute on your, go to market. Um, and then finally measure it'll measure success.

[00:24:07] You you've worked out what it should be now, how you defining those KPIs. Cause they're not all about the end result. Some of it is about the effort that goes in because the efforts, um, that goes in will indicate future results. Otherwise you have to redefine what the efforts. So that's how I go about building the program.

[00:24:28] And that's a lot of work. Um, I, it took me probably six or seven months to do that work from the ground up at Google. And when it was, when I was doing in 2011, that's 

[00:24:39] Alex: a good answer. So we've got a lot there. Um, I want to get into the weeds a little bit in some of those things. So first question is, okay, well, I politically on your partner manager, what are my six month 

[00:24:52] John: KPIs?

[00:24:53] The best way of doing that is to understand what your company's strategy is. Is it selling product? Is it servicing clients? Is it client retention? So find metrics that matter, um, to your organization and then have a discussion with the partner manager, um, in terms of what that looks like for them. How can you align your strategy?

[00:25:18] Let's stay at sales with what they need as an organization, because you know, only when we, when we tried to change the incentive structure at Google, um, reducing the percentage, uh, from the wholesale to the recommended price. Only to be find out when we try to reduce it. That actually there were companies that using that as a sales incentives for their salespeople so that they could get them to sell more.

[00:25:44] And so by actually. Cost-cutting in a way, um, on, on, uh, the Google's behalf, we're actually harming our end product, uh, because we were paying essentially the salespeople less. So we kind of looked at that and redefined that and came out with a much more successful, um, uh, structure. So be very careful about incentives and make sure it's a discussion, uh, rather than just the direct.

[00:26:13] Alex: Yeah. And I, I think the, the agencies listening as well as the early partner managers listening, um, would look at some incentives around revenue is the main thing. That's the big contention. So you're a revenue driven organization. Like any, I think every organization that launches a partner program, I think they're at that revenue driving state.

[00:26:34] Uh, and we're past the stage of, I just need users because I've got investors and all they care about is user growth because we're pre series a and we just need user growth. So you're past that. This is typical for partner programs to come into the game when you're in revenue, driving mode, uh, that creates a bunch of problems because if you're in revenue, driving mode and you launch a partner program, every board of directors out there is going to say.

[00:26:59] Okay, well, they need revenue goals and you need to hold them to those revenue goals. And if they don't hit those goals, you need to abolish the program. Uh, then you hire your partner manager, bring them over from sales. I'm saying typical scenario that I see. Probably seven out of 10 times, bring them over from sales.

[00:27:19] They've already been used to sales, KPIs and sales metrics, and they're already in Salesforce. So you're like, Hey, this is perfect. Then that person is a again, a sales experience. So they just create a list of target agencies. They've got a partner landing page and they've got a, their, their revenue goals, which are stressing them out.

[00:27:40] So they just say, you know what, dive in head first. I'm just gonna, you know, trial by fire this thing until I hit my goals, like any good SDR account executive would do. Um, so they start calling all these agencies and they just start pitching their product because they've been pitching their product for the last couple of years as an SDR.

[00:28:00] They do the same thing. They say, Hey, I'm with Google or double-clicked. And I I'm on the partnerships team. So you can trust me. I'm not here to sell you anything, but I'd love for you to check out the product and do a demo. And I'll give you a sandbox account and please join my program. You sign up here and you go sign this contract.

[00:28:18] And oh, by the way, in the future, you'll get potentially, you know, it could be worth a thousand dollars a month in commission. If you do all these things. And the agencies like, no thanks. And they'd go away. Um, and the world, I think you're talking about is, uh, the more one-to-one, uh, work as a true partner with these agencies and you're not in your head.

[00:28:43] So I think you agree with this. So if you're one-on-one and you're working with these agencies, Uh, to grow their business. How, as a CEO and a board of directors and the sea or CRO, how do you put revenue KPIs on that person? That's there to build the agency's business in the, in the correct world of partnerships, the successful world of partnerships.

[00:29:07] And I'll highlight some examples from HubSpot. How do you put a KPI? That's, you know, revenue of this much or pipeline of this much in the first six months, you know, how do they make that make sense? How is that? 

[00:29:19] John: I don't get it. You have to be aware of what it takes to, to build a business. You have to be supportive as the end of.

[00:29:28] The end kind of company. Um, and, and someone like Google has the advantage of being able to do a lot of marketing. So there are a lot of sales leads that you can pass on to, to your partner agencies and that begins to build their business. And you're right. There's a ramp up period. And, and you as a, as a business need to set expectations correctly internally.

[00:29:52] But there was an expectation of the partners and the partner program, and here's what you feel it can be, um, it can reach and that needs to be reasonable. Um, it could be ambitious. Sure. But it needs to be reasonable. That's why you've already done your market sizing and you're aware of what you can get from the program.

[00:30:12] Well, I would say though, um, this slightly different characterization of, of how you take the proposition to the agency though, is. You're not selling it to them. You're trying to help them to sell it to their clients. So you're trying to give the right talking points to your agencies so that they can represent that in the best possible way to that clients.

[00:30:34] And that's a slight change from the salesperson who just pitches it to an agency it's, it's less meaningful for that. It's teaching someone to fish. And so what, why would say. You know, the more effort that you can spend in the training and the development of these partner agencies, the more that they'll reap the rewards and you'll reap the rewards as a consequence.

[00:30:57] I love that analogy, 

[00:30:59] Alex: teaching them how to fish. Um, so, uh, in that world of teaching them how to fish, I'll just tell you a quick anecdote. So Steve Vaughn at HubSpot was responsible for bringing. And Richard Wood and six and flow. Uh, there, I think the top HubSpot partner in UK right now, at least, um, total units or whatever they measure, but I had them on the podcasts, maybe 10 or 15 episodes back, check it out, really good conversation.

[00:31:27] But one of the things that they did, or one of the things that Steve did in perfectly. Steve found Richard when Richard was a one man shop just him. Nobody else. Uh, this was probably five years ago and Steve brought him into the program against any partner managers, best logical decision-making routine of like qualifying Richard.

[00:31:49] He's a one man shop. He doesn't know anything about HubSpot at that stage? I don't think, um, or at least he was very new and, uh, Steve had heavy revenue KPIs, but he nurtured the hell out of Richard, got him to drink the Kool-Aid, so to speak. Richard poured everything he had into building an agency on top of this program.

[00:32:12] And now he's incredibly successful and Steve looks like a genius. Um, so. One of the things that's important. There is like Steve didn't look at Richards and company size. He didn't look at who Richard's also partnered with and how successful Richard is in that program, which was some of the things we look at as partner teams.

[00:32:32] And I get partner managers telling me this all the time. They say we're only looking for agencies over a hundred employees. You know, or, you know, revenue of this. And I'm like, why, you know, what, why, why are you just looking over there? That's where everybody else is looking. Hey. So if you're the type of person that wants to just bang on closed doors all day long shirt go over there.

[00:32:55] But why aren't you looking at this group of agencies that are growing fast, that. New to partnerships in general and, uh, are killing it on sales and are killing it on operations and are passionate about client services, maintaining this really good relationship with their clients, which some of the larger agencies don't have that close of relationship with our clients because they're just.

[00:33:18] And that's it. So I want your opinions on small versus large agencies than the value of an agency to a partner program at different any stage information that may be relevant. 

[00:33:31] John: Yeah. So, uh, Google, I, I obviously dealt with, um, partners of all sizes. Um, a lot of the partners that we dealt with were actually found a level organization.

[00:33:42] So maybe not one Batman band, but, you know, Uh, a few people, um, within the organization and we watched their businesses develop and grow as a consequence of working with us. And it's all about the, uh, the desire to want to align with Google and to have the right incentive structures in place for themselves as well.

[00:34:06] So if you've got that, you've got a, a winning formula. And it doesn't really matter what size of organization is now when you're dealing with much larger organizations that say Accenture or some of the big network aging. You've got to realize that you're dealing with a huge matrix organization. And then there are a num numerous stakeholders that need to be a party to what's going on.

[00:34:31] And it's a lot more difficult to get things changed in terms of expectations or incentives. So it's just a lot more work. Um, because there's a lot more decision-makers in, in play, but then the benefit is that their scale is enormous, so they can be rewards in terms of, of simple scale. And when they choose to put, um, uh, incentives or investments behind their efforts, then it can be very rewarding for both 

[00:35:01] Alex: sides.

[00:35:01] I agree. I think there's a couple of factors that you need to be aware of when you're launching a partner program. One of those important factors. You are using this partner program to provide both feedback and product level, um, X, Y, Z, when you're dealing with a large agency, you're dealing with the partner team at that agency, or sometimes a strategy type role.

[00:35:26] Uh, when you're dealing with smaller teams like that example from six and flow, you're dealing with the founder. So you as the partner manager or the director of channel, whatever your role is, we'll be talking to the founder CEO of that agency. Uh, also when you're dealing with smaller agencies, the founder CEO is very involved in strategy, client strategy, very involved in implementation.

[00:35:48] Um, most of the time they were the ones doing the implementations for the last five. When you're dealing with a large agency, you're dealing with someone that's totally disconnected from implementation. They are a partnerships manager or marketing manager or sales manager. They don't do the client work.

[00:36:04] So this is back to that point of like early stage partner programs. Yes. You need revenue. Yes. You need growth in units. There's this enormous elephant in the room of value that most partner teams overlook, which is you're talking to someone that is a certified day-to-day expert of implementation, implementing a technology who deals directly with your target customer base on a different level than your customer success teams would ever deal with them and their full funnel.

[00:36:34] Most of the time that they're a marketing agency mean. They put your tool in here, but they're thinking about what happens over here. What happens over here, where data's going back and forth compliance. There's thinking about things that your customer success team can't even fathom. Why are you just looking at them as a producer of units and not as a real partner and how can we, as of it.

[00:36:59] Incentivize our partner teams to start looking at them as that type of 

[00:37:05] John: expert partner. Absolutely. And one thing that I implemented was this concept of joint business plans. So it begins to be a discussion between two countries. About how best to partner towards specific and goals who is prepared to do what, in terms of, um, uh, KPIs or metrics that you're looking to measure in order to measure that effort.

[00:37:30] And it, then doesn't just come down to. She had revenue numbers or share volume numbers that there's more to it than that. That's the best way of trying to capture some of these misalignments and to remedy them. Uh, and that, that was very, very successful. And so that was it. 

[00:37:50] Alex: Uh, I love that. You just mentioned that.

[00:37:52] So we have something called a partner memorandum that we send out to all of our agencies and our tech teams. And there's two versions of it, but we're telling our agencies to get your partner manager on the phone. And go through this partner memorandum together and have them sign it. So at the point of signing a partner contract our suggestion to all agencies listening or not is to sign this, uh, partner, sorry, create the partner memorandum and give that to your partner managers.

[00:38:18] And what's in that memorandum is. Your 12 month goals, logos that you're trying to secure also what you do with your partners, what you like to do and what you don't like to do. Um, some bad experiences with partnerships, but that in there, uh, links to URLs of co-marketing, um, assets that you've developed with partners.

[00:38:38] Uh, if you have a podcast, put it in there that you're open for partners to be on your podcast or to sponsor your podcast, put that in there, um, create this partner memory. Put it into a folder and in that folder as well, put your ideal customer profile. So a one pager on your ideal customer profile, maybe put a, um, a side-by-side sales.

[00:38:59] Sort of asset in there as well. And every time a partner team contacts, you get that to them first, have them read through it. And if they still want to partner with you, book a call, but on that call, you make sure that they have read it, agree to it, and then you can move forward. So that's what you're talking about, right?

[00:39:17] The joint business plan. It's what are we doing about. 

[00:39:20] John: Really good idea that, and I love the idea of, of showcasing your partners, you know, getting, getting on a podcast, um, having them have a little bit of ad time then using that as communication for both marketing and also internal communication, just to highlight.

[00:39:39] The expertise of these partners, you know, it's often the best in the field, and it's great to be able to talk to these folks. They know exactly what they're talking about. They deal with their clients every day on these kinds of topics. And so it's, it's well worth having that expertise with the. 

[00:39:57] Alex: I love it.

[00:39:58] I love it. And we're almost out of time here. So I'm thinking about the best way to end this show. Cause it's been really good. So we've, we've talked through the mentality of it. Definitions. We've talked through incentive structure and a first six months or a year KPIs talked through a couple of the issues with hiring from sales and my, that was my opinion, not yours.

[00:40:17] So you don't have to be responsible for that, but my opinion, um, uh, the. End of the show, I think should be the, uh, the advice for new agencies looking to have a partner program or CEO's to have a partner program, um, and, uh, creating, I think the culture, um, fit for partner programs, making sure it is something that.

[00:40:38] You and whoever you put in that job, that role fully understands what their role is. And then my final advice, uh, there is just, if you do set up the role to be a true. And you let that person really infiltrate into these agencies and give them enough time to build long lasting, solid relationships with these partners.

[00:41:03] They will succeed. They will, uh, what comes out of that is success. So the question in all that is the incentive structure around non compensatory incentives versus. Revenue and commission and, and, uh, and lead sharing, I guess could go either way because you're sharing a lead, it's technically not money, but of course it could be product driven partnerships and non compensatory incentives.

[00:41:27] Let's talk about that to end the show. What's your opinion on the value there, and any ideas for the teams on creating non compensatory incentive 

[00:41:34] John: structures. Google did this very well. Um, which was that. All of those things that you just outlined, including a closeness to the product or in air incredibly powerful a company like Google, because it's, it's so well-known even Google analytics, which is presumably not known by everyone, but it's pretty ubiquitous having the inside track on some of the features or being ups up on stage when you're with, um, a Google product manager, there's a cachet to that.

[00:42:05] Companies wanted to be a part of it. So that was a value that was created, that was incredibly useful to a partner agency and it drove their business forward. One thing I would say that was, was popular. I mean, we haven't been able to do this for a couple of years now, but the end of year event, you know, the, the big marquee event that brings everyone together.

[00:42:30] Is is paid for by the, the, the overall organization. And it just drives collaboration. It drives communication feedback. All of those things that we were talking about, um, it actually is a, it's a kind of central hub for that. And I think that was incredibly valuable as well. So those things that are really important to do to foster a.

[00:42:53] Uh, an own ecosystem, um, for, for what you're trying to create that. And one thing I will point that I would leave everyone with is, you know, understanding what the power of the relationship is, is incredibly important for your organization and your partner organization. So understand what the power of that relationship is and what you can both get out of it.

[00:43:16] And what you need to do to communicate, to keep that together. You've got that down then you'll have, there's a 

[00:43:22] Alex: soundbite for sure. And then the same token on the other side, the power of the relationship also means that if you drop the ball, it is way worse than dropping the ball on a user experience, level a on a, on a user versus a partnership level.

[00:43:38] If you drop the ball on a partnership level, you could potentially burn, I don't know, countless deals leads. You think about it like this. If I'm going to sign up for a HubSpot account, I'm going to immediately there before signing up for a new HubSpot account or immediately after look for a solutions partner.

[00:43:57] And I'm going to not talk to one. I'm going to talk to multiple. Um, and I'm going to just going to talk to digital agencies throughout the span of. Existence in whatever company I'm at. So if you are burning bridges with agencies, it doesn't matter if I signed up for HubSpot and I found a solutions partner.

[00:44:14] If I talked to two other agencies or even one that I feel I can trust more than my solutions partner. And they say, why did you sign up for that product? It's awful. And they try to bring me over to whatever partner ship. Formed in place of that one, that you burned the bridge for your product and you could lose business countless times over.

[00:44:34] So same token. It's super powerful. It goes both ways, uh, good or bad. Okay. John final words, 

[00:44:42] John: I think we covered a great deal. So thank you so much for hosting me on this. It's been great to give you my thoughts. I think that we've spoken a lot about communication. I think that that's the watch word here.

[00:44:53] Really open flow of communication and you will learn an immense amount and you will have a better program for expansion, 

[00:45:02] Alex: John. Thank you very much, John cognitive .

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