#24: Bryn Jones, CEO @ PartnerStack, on how to build a profitable partner program


What's up growth nation welcome back to scaler die the show where we uncover proven growth strategies from CEO's and growth experts behind some of the world's fastest growing start ups I'm your host, Dave Logan Moser today I've got Bryn Jones Co founder, and CEO at partner Stack formerly grow sumo company that we use that as an online platform to basically give you everything that you need to build your own partner program, turn your customers and fans into your own distributed sales sources the way I look. At it so we've been using them for a while now, very cool product and I'm excited to talk to you Brian about kind of how they've grown that to something. So cool. So Brennan, welcome to the showman also Dave. Thanks for having me on here. That's something to look forward to be fun. So we're talking to partners stack here and where you guys at today in terms of some of the revenue numbers that you track or customers or employees numbers just where he has that right now. So we're we're about thirty people right now we've tripled the teeth unlocks bonds. We've run revenue close to forty percent You know like on a on a on a steady track to go through and. To continue scaling up this year, we expect will probably double the team size by year. So be somewhere in the range of fifty five or so. So life is good and growing since sometimes hurt is let go through say but our having a lot of fun. Very cool. He hasn't been doing this about four years now, right? Yeah. Yeah. So I guess going back to where we started is two thousand, fifteen co-founders and I we found another company and it. Was Like slack for nonprofits and the one recommendation I always tell people is never build slack for nonprofits. It's not a business that you want to be in. Should you be anything for nonprofits or is it the nonprofit part? That's the hard part you know what I think it was yeah I think bill for nonprofits as tough. So people don't really good job at it's not what I can go through to do is what we went through and learn. And so it it started with that are before us we started. Really working hard on a problem when we graduate school and. Learn very quickly that that was not business that we wanted to go through to. A Park actually vaulted about our carver channel was actually like what I like to say the only thing that was working inside of our business and that's how he got started. Back in two thousand fifteen and you guys did Y see we did Y. C. were winter two, thousand, eighteen a year ago Did you guys take partner stack through Y C or is that the nonprofit slack bill? Yeah. No. So we applied to Y C twice before with the nonprofit slack deal and definitely didn't get in we got in with partner. Stack. It was like. February two thousand fifteen was when we first started working on just as an idea we went on, did a whole bunch of customer discovery made application into why see we got in? Really as an idea was very fresh when when we first got in there, did you have no customers when you've got snow customers, we didn't even have a functioning platform. So we got into I. See we actually put Atlantic page together and we reached out to you know forty SAS companies and twenty of those forty six companies signed up for platform within two weeks, and that's the only thing that work by the time we had our first meeting with Aaron, Harris, Kevin Hale, and cast. It was an uphill battle after that for sure. So what did you think of why see like? What was your experience looking back on it? I mean I think that why sees I mean their model is incredible right? They put them all together where they bring investors all in one place in the becomes like very easy to raise financing in a very short period of time the things they teach you inside of their setting goals. And trying to go through it targets. Are Things we still use today. It's how we actually go through in train all of our managers who come on board really game like the playbook. To go through the scale up the business and like what what do you mean by that one example of the goal setting that you're teaching your managers that you got from Y C. Yeah so I think that like you know the. Setting a goal for where you want to be end of year working back from that and How the house like everyone knows how to do that but like to actually conversations that keep you accountable and how like feedback is really really important. and. I think that. Part of why you you're doing group office hours two weeks, and you get to have the hard conversations in front of a team of in front of eight other groups and you to see our conversations that they're having a have shows that like everything's broken. Always, it's no point of you know like. You know bullshitting Be Honest with what's there and I think that that's like quarter go to our business in encoded quarter who we are in the White Sea partners love hard conversations I mean just like I, always feel like why c talking to somebody's like jumping into an icy river it's like this is GonNa be tough and I'm GONNA be a little bit upset at the of this, but it's always yeah. So good and that was a shock for me I think going into I see. Yeah Yeah. No, it's like I. Remember I conversation. First. Meeting. First Conversation we sat right next to you Kevin Hale and he turned to us and I knew that we're going to get picked on to go through in like explain why business news like listen. This is a safe space like tell us everything that's wrong and like we had no idea what we're doing right like. Founders done accompany before really had gone nowhere I turned to him and I was like you know the truth is. Operatives, completely broken it doesn't work in our customers are going through play and I remember just getting. Just, walking over hot coals but the look on his face. And so. Thankfully that was I. don't think it was the last time we saw that look but you know we got we got used to it and learn. The hard way that this is how you got to grossed out. I remember we got our our welcome call from Dalton and we so excited. He's like you know. So pumped is like the next sentence was. Honestly your churn is atrocious. It's GonNa kill your whole business and like you guys have to fix that now. was just like one sentence of life. that. It's like the hard truth from here on out yet. But it's like we knew that was true and it was kind of the the emperor has no clothes time for moment and it's just great. Thanks for sharing that. Yeah. Yeah. So it was an awesome experience in. The network after the fact, like you know it's anybody's gone through it. You know. There's always things that can be done better, but I think the core thing that why c does and the thing that they do so well, is it just focus on what they're good at an Kinda like add to it in our constantly experimenting and taking those same types of things and taking that application putting our business as well as the now thousands of companies that have gone through it it's been only beneficial. Yeah. Yeah. Very cool. Okay. So what kind of companies get the most value from you guys here you're trying to work with and what are you really setting up with these companies? So we work with BB SAS companies. Typically it doesn't really matter the size of their CV can be low, it can be high it works the same way. What matters more is you know the appropriate time of trying to start Harsha. Channel. Early days we found early stage companies would come to us and they would say we wanNA build our channel but if you don't understand the union economics. Your Business. Ready to turn on multiple marketing channels. If you don't understand how to go through it, sell your platform, you're not ready to go through it enable other people to sell your platform, and so the companies that typically work really well, for us, probably on the low end it, you know a million to two million dollars are. and like our sweet spot or are companies that are between one, hundred, hundred people like that were really really well, those mid companies typically at that point is a lot of partners at that are reaching out to them and there's different types of partners reaching out to them. But we've seen it work early we seen at work late at the end of the day, the problems like exist right across everything. I'm right across the spectrum, but it's you know, do you have a real business? Is that business repeatable and until then just point in trying to go through and start par program since partner programs basically, they're just opening up and saying we'll give you a percentage generally of all the sales we make if you go and promote through our own funnels and all that kind of thing is that essentially how it works for all your customers. Yeah. So part of progress can work in three ways. There's the marketing partners there's a referral partner, and then there's a reseller. Each of those partner types have traditionally been like. Into multiple groups at we define partner Channel S. channel as as a whole as those three main drivers, and that's exactly what it is like. If you're opening a channel, your effectively putting a sign on your business that says, we're open to doing business with. Third. Party? Members. And you have to work with those third parties to do everything you can to enable though. So if it's a reseller, they'd probably want sales and marketing documentation I. It's an affiliate they'd probably want like banners and rules commissions. So, whatever you can do the same way as you go through in support a sales marketing team number, and like the process of on boarding them to be successful what you WanNa do with your partners as well. Interesting. So I got my start about five years ago, the Internet Marketing Space, and in the marketing space, there is kind of this CD underbelly that is affiliate marketing and it's been kind of get on. There usually you know working from home trying to start the business the first time that I don't have a product. I'M GONNA go like jv Zoo and I'm GonNa Sling some of these products knowing anything about and it's just like not the most attractive or transparent world and I think you guys have kind of come in to that space and curious how much you feel like you're part of that space offered a really great product. And a really great company and you're not like attached into that world in my mind. So I'm curious like how have you guys navigated that and do you because that's been your experience or is that just my experience of working in marketing before the Sas Oh? Yeah. No. Like affiliate marketing like like all that stuff is where the industry's been for a long time. Right phillies really like the lowest rung of partnerships and why is I. It just has. You know I think that there's a lot of negative connotations with it like it works for products that you know. You wouldn't talk around the dinner table about with your parents. And and that's where I think that that's why it's got such a bad rap. But at the end of the day, like affiliate marketing is actually a tremendous growth tool for a lot of bb SAS companies. And more and more where I mean there's A. Total number solutions that are out of the market and your sales reps your team's GonNa go through the truth but you actually want to be able to turn to whether it's you know like somebody on Youtube or somebody that could run advertisements on the row you Wanna be able to earn to Bam and let them speak that story when you're ready our view on it is we don't enable affiliates we enable distribution channels. and. So a distribution channels very different than somebody that's just running ads for you or someone bats. Doing like Youtube views. Distribution Channel is a cost effective way to go through our customers. And technology companies have traditionally been very bad at distribution. The reason being is it's very easy to go direct to consumer. You know it's easy. Go target early adopters but the reality is the majority of the market actually sits in those late adopters late majority and those are generally people that you can't reach or cost prohibitive excuse me cost prohibitive to reach so you're better to go through a third party. To go through and reach them. What's been a big success that you guys had a company? That's easy. You guys like what does a really great partner program look like how well can it work? What kind of numbers in our company Seen District people that are out there that are thinking maybe we should start to tack this on our business. So I'll give you two examples one at an early stage and then one at a late stage I won't use the specific company name, but I'll tell you how many people are inside of it. So there's an early stage company at when they came to us they were five people and the fifth person had just joined and was working part time and I WANNA make a big bet on on on on the. Partner Channel, and they're a CV, is about one hundred, twenty dollars a year. So not not huge. But that's about what they're a CVS. He came on board and we're actually responsible for driving. Now eighty percent of those are totally bootstrap company they're doing. You know well over two dollars ar at this point in time, and we're the ones that drove eighty percent of backgrounds and it was all because that person that came on. Early days with the. And is now their marketing He took a bet on an insult opportunity there and it seems. Seems like bootstrap company would find this model really attractive a lot of the companies I know those are doing really well, they're using this because they it's a little bit better for cash because you don't have to pay out the money typically until after the sales already been made, you know thirty or sixty days or whatever is that something you guys see is that it tends to be more bootstrap companies didn't really excited about this early on. Early it's bootstrapped companies because they don't have the cash. They don't have the cash to go through it in by ads like they're not going through and doing Matt's like more and more readily seeing later stage companies and so you know like the average SAS company thirty percent of the revenue should be done through channels. and. So if you're not, if you don't have a channel program, you don't have a cocker program today you're just giving up on potentially thirty percent of your revenue. And it will be impacted some time. You can look at big companies like hub spot forty percent of their new revenue comes through channel. Shop is closer to thirty percent at this point in time and ultimately the thing that let's go through the scale out. So we worked with early stage companies of four people that still twelve, and now we're working with companies as big as into it. With the reason being that this is an incredibly hard beast to go through in handle, and so now we have customers coming to us that have overpaid their channel partners and that have massive holes in their programs. And you know at the end of the day, we just give a framework where we could turn channel and turn partnerships into a science Today it operates very much like an art interesting and what percentage do you see loest good sas companies giving up to their partners in order to make the sales? Yes. On the low end a twenty percent on the high end. People. Go upwards of forty percent at those are typically for resellers unload not only the acquisition costs with the poor costs tied to it. So we have like enterprise customers on our platform and the LTV of their customers that they bring on boards that come through our channel partners is two hundred, fifty percent greater than bTV. Of they actually onward, and it's because the channel partner is their hand holding doing all the training and is there to support the cow and. Yes. Oh you know we see upwards of forty percent and as as low as twenty anything that's under twenty. Chaba, whether you're actually GONNA be able to recruit the right people. You certainly have to incentivize people the right way. But yeah, that's what we're seeing right now and I launched proof two years ago we started at forty percent referral fee because we wanted to go kind of the market quickly and we were trapped at the time but we were like you know what? It's worth it worth more to us right now a lot of quick traction as part of what got us into why see was like we had a lot of tracks early on and systematic we scaled back I. Think we're at thirty percent. It. Back thirty percent, and then for agencies we do a fifteen fifteen split can pass on fifteen percent to their climbed get fifteen percent themselves and their percent think feels really good to US feels right at the stage where. Yeah Yeah It's if you try to undercut, you're not gonNA bring on the really good partners at the end of the day. Parties is a unique thing. You're not actually selling. The big mistake that we see companies go through to do is you're not actually companies are most companies are really selling the product, right? But in a partner program, you're actually selling a partnership and so like what is the upside for the partner in working alongside of you? Right. You can't just say like, well, you have the luxury of doing that there should be like a monetary upside and the should also be a solid working relationship. In technology is really important about it up until now. You just hasn't been enough to go through support that I mean you wouldn't go through and onboard a member of your team and not bring them onto slack or give them email. I'm how can you possibly expect your partner to be successful? You're not going to support them the way that is required. Seems like to with affiliates like it's the eighty twenty principle but it's like ninety nine you know one where like All. Of the revenues and all of the sales come just from a few affiliate that we've said we were talking about a guy named Irwin has in one of our biggest biggest affiliate for a long time we found talking with you guys that like this guy's an affiliate for like a ton of companies and it's like they kind of like this guy, this is what he does like really really good at it. Have you seen that across all the accounts that it is super long tail of people that have referred one person maybe two people and there's a few of the top that. You all the sales and is that kind of the model that people should be going after? So partnerships isn't even eighty twenty rule. It's actually in ninety tenths. and. So mistake people often make is they always go out and they say like to recruit this like one super affiliate or we're GONNA recruit this massive agency or get this partnership with this financial institution, and that's GonNa cure all like there's no silver bullet in partnerships, you have to create a framework and then dump the chips in and support the people that are engaged and and that's why you need technology for to happen because really never before have you been able to do that accordingly. So we see that right across programs interestingly, if you start trading a lot of content and that content its. Agency partners, the level of engagement could actually be quite high. But on the agency partners, the trick there isn't again to sell your product or to sell the commission, but it's to be talking about their business hubs spot in great job at this, I always point to them as like. To go through in just go and look at what they do as far as content goes, and if you copy that take a framework, you should be able to provide a really great agents era bill. Really, Great Agency program interesting what investors think about the revenue stream that is like a partner revenue stream do they think it's better? They discount sale that's not as good as now some other type of revenue stream one of the things. Yes. So I, mean. Investors think of it is and the way we pitch it is like sales was an art and Ben, it was a science right like. Changed the game they're excels. Operations wasn't even a staying until salesforce came along. It was always you know vp came in they either playbook implemented the playbook. Same thing happened with marketing with like Google ad words as well as with marketing automation solutions like up Slot Marquette Oh. Piece. Beds just recently happened is with Customer Success Zenda ask Intercom it got thrown in intake in but was an. Internet into this ice, and so investors look at this and what we talked to them were like, are you not having a conversation about where thirty percent of its revenue should happen like the last time you ignored thirty percent of the revenue in a boardroom, and so the way the investors are looking at it now is they recognized that with the increasing number of solutions that are in the market. There's GonNa be partnerships is incredibly important of what their. Challenges Investors don't know how to fix it, and so there's always some like whore soul that's pointed to that's doing a really good job in their in their area of expertise whether it's in sales or marketing and somebody the executive group says like taps on the shoulder and says, Hey, we're gonna give this really great opportunity you run partnerships and like it's just you and you have no resources. So it's actually our responsibility and I think we need to do a better job at it's beyond us to educate that individual to have that level conversation and how to push the conversation to the rest of the executives team. I think it is challenging. It's challenging concept even internally and you know we've been doing running. Perfect. Can have always had partner program and we've kind of ebbed and flowed like how much relief effort we put into it and. Myself I've been skeptical of the amount of value that we get out of our partner program. You know doing a ton things you know kind of set up the big webinars we'll do the webinar everyone promote for it. We'll krill these assets and you know we get some meaningful revenue out of it, but for us not nearly as much as we for the effort as we would. Get from facebook ad or add words something like right now but I feel like there's so much education. We just don't really know we're doing you know there's not a lot of information about how to really do this well, and I can see how once you can get a company to like realize that and recognize that and then train them up on that that could become. A main channel for them when some of the other channels probably start to get less effective and less efficient. I always point to shop a by the if I started investing in their program in two, thousand, ten eleven and. I talked to people that started running it there for soft and they said twelve months of bitter art program had eight active channel earners. Right, like that's nothing like anybody looking at that on paper is going to say like Canada like not worth it. Absolutely, not worth it. They doubled down on it and I mean the first conference shop ever ran was their partner conference and you know in their perspective when public harder in channel was the main driver of what's in there because you know chef is actually built not only shop apply in all their ECOMMERCE. Stores, which bill businesses that services e commerce stores, and so what do you think more broadly but with the opportunity is and the Roi that provides a partnerships channel is something that you need to do is just not going to show you that immediate return facebook or building at a sale. The reality is long term. It's going to be the better solutions seems that there's more of a moat around that channel as well. There's a real relationship there there's affinity there's brand relationship and facebook ads obviously don't have any sort of attachment to me and my company and they just want the dollar and we'll sit back whenever they can. But you build up the slight community of partners night. That's GonNa keep going not going to switch to another company near easily soon, that will have a lot more staying power. Yeah. There are shopping five partners that have fight tattoos. This probably more shop with life partners that have shopped the flight tattoos in the shop apply employees that have shop applied tattoos way into like that's the type of fanaticism you can kind of tap into if you make the right investment, is that a lot of people built their entire business around that like they've built the life of their dreams because they're just reselling shot the fire hubs spot or whatever it's totally transformed their life when Most people don't get that after opportunity. Yeah I think more software companies can do that if they serve up the content of the right way, right like it's a bad having a conversation it's not about equipping to through your platform. It's it's just opening your employee base without having to carry the overhead of salaries but you still have to give them. More support than you probably originally set. Okay. So so you guys recently made a name change as far as I am aware you were gro sumo when you switch to partner stack, what's the story behind that and how has that gone? So at our last company, we were called at first unite in eventually pod. It was unite with the why and we want to go to office hours when Y C came to Waterloo and We sat down with SAM and SAM's only feedback. Unite is awful name like unite with a why is is awful and we spent like I don't know like four or five months trying to repurpose fine like which named made sense there So the only rule for we made the pivot overdue. Grow Sumo. We were only going to spend five minutes on selecting day and so we wrote a whole bunch of names up on the blackboard onto the whiteboard rather we went through it and looked. At. What was the most affordable domain was in grow sumo was twelve dollars. So that is how we selected grow. That's what we went through work done with I. Think it's the right way to do it I mean, do you regret that looking back I? Think that was the way to go. That was absolutely the way to go like there's so many things that matter in your business name at some point in time matters for your brand. But again, like what matters if I is like finding product market fit and that's so hard. Who cares what your name is if you don't have product market set yeah So when we when we hit product markets data could see approaching product market set. We went on this longer search to go through and find a domain anybody that's done any type of domain searches know that you know six figure domains pretty common practice these days So we found partner stack because we think part ultimately partnerships are part of the technology stack instead of technology companies and it just made sense. And truth be told like domain was actually pretty affordable. So that certainly had a at a at an impact and how has it been like rebranding has been a big pain sounds a lot of confusion just what is it like because i? Think I think a lot of people probably thinking, Hey, it'd be nice versus which are name at some point, but it also seems like a huge headache. Have you found that to be true yard team did a really good job in the truth is. We don't do much as far as marketing because our partner channel drives so much revenue for us. We just tried to our partners so that to happen, we just equipped them with the right assets and then they just change everything. It was actually easier than we thought. We had a you know how people have like swear jar we had a a gross sumo jar that if you said grow suits partner stack. Yet you through to put some money in the jar. That was probably the hardest part of the whole thing is you know in pitches ordered customer calls with jumping, talking about grow sumo when it was really partner stack and that's the only thing that caused confusion but to be honest, it was a lot easier. And so I'm really happy we did it and it's been really well received from our new customers in our existing customer. It's better than so yeah, I like it the you change like right now all your APP and everything is still on grows up dot grow sumo I. Think it is. Are you planning light changing that or did you dislike doesn't really matter figure that out later that's something that I think we're going to go through to try to tackle a bit in two, thousand, twenty There's some reasons why we can't necessarily do that right now like from a from a tax standpoint but at the end of the day, like it doesn't really matter too much we don't get a lot of people going through it and even like one of those, maybe half dozen people that would ever go through notice a and so. You know at the end of the day, like we are like our brand is what grant is our marketing pages what our marketing pages in at work time you get inside the APP probably you you already get your soul I had early care. Yet. No. Exactly. Okay. Very cool. I WanNa talk about your guys growth. You've been doing this for four years but then at the beginning you've shared these like crazy numbers from the last year. It seems like something has clicked something has changed very recently that is just causing big growth like what does that growth journey been like? Yes. So it was so hard at the beginning like it was so hard I mean I remember Y C. Is We went in as effectively no product. We're talking about the total number partners that are on our platform and I remember one of the conversations was while we zero or we have nineteen partners on our platform and. We sat in in office hours we walked through all wheel nineteen partners and what am I co founders Johnny stepped up and they said like, what do you do for in two weeks from now and Johnson you need five hundred partners on our network my co founders said like one five thousand. And then Kevin Hill said, yeah. Why not? Five thousand? We came to back two weeks. Later we came back and We had seventy nine partners on our platform, and we were just like palm and I. Think I, remember the look cabin space was like, aw man you guys are GonNa make. Sure like that was the question of the and we felt like super excited about it so. We actually had great growth right before Demo Day. From a revenue standpoint. But from companies coming in signing up, we launched on product on and as an enterprise software company were voted the third product out of the day which did watch on product. So I highly suggest for early stage. Comfy said, do it no matter how it goes? And then we went back to really you know. We we pitched on day our poplar. Really didn't work like it kind of felt like vaporware because it Kinda was and I feel like everybody. It's like some state of that was two, thousand, fifteen You know like pretty much everybody that came through signed up is now at the door and probably onto what what they did next. So we spent two thousand sixteen really being deliberate in building products our biggest mistake was growing. Putting too much of an emphasis on growth. Four, we had product market set right? Like we didn't need to launch on product. When we went launch on product time, we had really great companies we're working with and I think the rainforest tells a very similar story what I've got thrown in heard i. wish we just stuck to those customers longer instead of giving into pressure to grow at all costs I was just thinking our team recently and have the exact same thought is that you know why? Why See I? Mean one of the best things they do is tell you. Ten percent week over week. But then we kept doing that and all the sudden we just hit this like. This wall we're like we're trying to grow faster technology is just not ready like started turning out and it was just like we're spending all this time like fixing stuff and trying to scale and like couldn't go deep those first people that we had on that like cared so much about it and I've got the I have the exact same feedback that sometimes it growth at all costs can can actually Kinda kill you or at least slow you down vitamin. Like growth cures everything until it doesn't. Lantana breaks everything until bag. Yeah. Yes. So mean are are turning point was we went back and did heavy heavy work we went to some of our investors might be with them every bonds and they say like, okay, like what's the update and for a while like the update was like we're going to the dentist like no one wants to go to the dentist, but everyone has to and. That was the same update I think for like three months in a row. Like we're going to the dentist for doing the hard things were making the hard decisions from a product standpoint to get point where we have product market set. So we came out in two thousand seventeen, and that's when we really started to commercialize the product wasn't probably until the mid two, thousand, seventeen early late two, thousand, seventeen was when we found not only product market fit but excels market fit we know who to go through and target. What the buying process was like materials that they required shell. Internally. And that was really something that changed everything. We'd never done. Much of anything on marketing spans be invest in our sales team and we invested in our partner channel and that's driven everything, and then the referrals that we go through in grow get from it has I've been incredibly valuable. So it's very much. So you know product market fit and then like sales market set at some point in time, we have to work more on the marketing a product. But our partner channel works so well for us right now that like that's Kinda That's are bits been our crutch and do you feel like you have hit product market fit now? Yeah. Yeah. It feels. Feels very real and I think that the. I I think you hit product you hit product market fit. All of a sudden you start having all these really good problems to have. And they feel like the way the world is on your shoulders but like objectively like really good problems to have and so. I think that that's how I would describe. If we know that you have product market set, it's like, Oh, this really great company wants to work with us and we're doing all this new stuff for them but they're gonNA pass ten times more than anybody else evade us like. Huge problem to have also amazing problem to have. Yeah. We had software like or analytics down it didn't work. It stopped working what happened Oh we dove into it is because one of the companies that started using US like ten axed Channel revenue in a day. and. We're like we're not expecting that whatsoever and we're like oh man I I. Guess this works like I will go back and fix those analytics after the fact. So. Those are good problems to have wait a moment like that recently when. Are Logging wasn't working because I was overloaded obviously, you should have a good log in process in your APP, but we kind of back and looked at it because we saw traffic this huge spike in O- Oprah started using it yesterday and like ran this huge launch on it, and like you know more traffic than the rest of our customers combined or something like that like that's a problem. Yeah Yeah and I think that that's a hard perspective to keep in mind. We always try to put like heart problems like good problems to have in in context. So it's like, Hey, last year this time we close like this type of revenue and like this fear in this same period time we close like five x what we did last year. And everyone might be feeling the heat from that. But like this is a really good problem to have we've been really good at being able to keep the employees around that join our team like we don't really have much of A. The people that come and stay with US generally stay for very long periods of time and they're able to provide that context and and we actually let them speak to the rest of the team as like. What two, thousand, sixteen, when they're six people in this office this is what it looked like and I've been part of effectively four to for companies still at the same values with forty four companies under last and I think that's been pretty valuable to. The mistakes that you've made along the way there've been any at one two or three that really stood out as a can that was somewhere that we messed up. Yeah. Jeez. I mean. I mean I is like we put too much of Anton Growth. We lost like. I, mean we had at the time. Were there a bigger customer for US based around like their recently acquired by the desk we the moments, a customer and? Their team said, we will walk you through exactly what needs to be bill in order to support our channel program. We learned over time like Bay stuck with us for two months they try to make it work and it just didn't work out. We learn over time that base ended up driving more than fifty percent of their revenue through channel partners. And huge mistake to ignore that in favor of routes like. The result of that probably put US six months behind realistically. I mean, there was fundraising mistakes that we went through. Back on that, would you have just built what they wanted you to build and said, we're going to really put focus on this one customer here. Yeah that's exactly we would have done actually sample gave that advice fine five customers make them happy and you'll build an enormous company and I feel like we did that we started to do that in two thousand and sixteen, and we started like twelve months to light. And it's just because we gave into the pressure from VC's and everybody around us saying row at all costs. There are some businesses that you should grow all costs whatsoever and like often it's enterprise software. You should be very deliberate in the way that you go to market and you should go to market sooner. But. You can sell to people in work those relationships. and. Learn how to upgrade the accounts rather than just trying to like bring on new customers like. Dance with the person went to the dance with don't just try to bring someone new. So give me to here when we first launched proof have we kind of just went really big, really fast or really talking to our customers just like get more get more, get more get more or now launching years in a new product on experiences allows companies to basically personalized maybe fast can be a personalized their marketing funnel and this time we're flipping it. We're. Going really really slow or working with two people right now for the last couple of months, we're going to bring on two more here this week and going really slow and my hypothesis is this is GonNa work way better at school to hear you say that kind of reaffirms that decision here early on because it feels so different than the way we we launched initially. Yeah. That's like I think it's a hard lesson to go through and. because growth feels good like the nice graph up into the right feels good. It's an easy easy measuring stick but you know if I was to do it again like that would be the advice that I would provide myself five years ago actually growth only matters when you're ready to grow, and before that, it could just kill you and so ignore the noise and just like heads down and get to work. So. So that was definitely one area that we went to struggled with. The other mistake that we made was we needed to invest in our sales and marketing stack earlier like the tech stack that went through support that. We were really unsophisticated with that. We tried to go for the cheapest. We tried to go for the cheapest solution all the time and what we learned was we would go through and make the purchase on it. We never get it implemented and it would always work like sort of not all the way and we started to realize the breakdown when we started to bring more people under the team when it wasn't just founders when bringing on eight ABC's SDR's marketers. would. You need to invest in your marketing and sales stack more than anything? So we eventually brought on a sales operations person before hiring a sales manager and it was easily the best decision that we've made in our company totally change our trajectory and one that person do just finger out all the flow, all the integration. How does this whole process work from a tech level? Yes, we actually of I tried to do it through consultant and like don't work salesforce consultants. was like ultimately the the takeaway that we went in had So he he figured out, you know what was going to add still have somebody dedicated to this that goes through and revisits everything about once every six months. Makes Tweaks but then like truly like redes-, the entire sales flow and sales funnel and how steps passed off So the first thing that Sean came through an did was he cut I think like six platforms that we were going through using match their names, but they were cheap platforms and he said like listen if we're going to be serious here, vertebrate company that can it's up when it's time do off a million dollars they are the sooner that we transitioned over to. Something, like salesforce like a professional, like as soon as we can do that the better and isn't and is it truly something like salesforce or is it actually sales source that yet salesforce this ad serving get onto salesforce center will be here? Yeah, and and the reason being is like there's so many wraps that are trained on just how to use salesforce I know that there are other people that play in the market and it can work but I wish we'd done that earlier. I really really do. And I'm really happy that we did I. also wish that you know we were just if we if we wanted to dedicate time towards something like whether it's a building product or like launching a marketing channel or scaling at the sales team a certain way. I wish we would have just invested all I wish we would have gone all in on it right? Like you don't know if something's going to work unless you truly go all in on in, it's not enough to just hire someone to go in and do it right like you have to actually give them all the resources required for them to do their job. And we see that all the time in partnerships, right like people like dipped. They're telling the water and they like realized like Oh, my whole body is not warm. It's like, yeah let's you're you're you're telling the water like you have to go all in on this. If you think that this is something that's GonNa work it probably will it matter when and so? I would have made fewer investments gone more all with those of US investments. You feel like going all in a lot of time looks like you as the CEO been really interested in really involved in something instead of just being kind of handed off to somebody else in but you're not really thinking about it or like keeping up to date on it. Yet. One hundred percent. Absolutely like If I go all in on it like it has to be a priority of mine I have to be. At least at the very least involved in the project. Probably, at least thirty days and then do the handoff in and hold people accountable to that for at least a quarter and then have them go through and change whatever the reporting structure is. You know. That kind of leads into the next thing is like I had way too many opinions as a CEO and. I think that after you hit fifteen to twenty people, those opinions that you have. They actually hurt your business if I say something now and I think that all like. For example like this button should be bigger like we like I think that that's something that we really need to go through to do. Let the that's the thing that's going to go through to get work done, and the reality is our stage for thirty people I know what's happening in the business but the day to day of the day-to-day specifics like I don't know, and so I try to actually not share my opinion as much and try to force by team to share that opinion. So that was a huge lesson and it's a lesson that I. See a lot of our managers having as well now as they go through and build their teams like. have. Fewer opinions and when you have those opinions. The communicate to the team is something that you strongly believe event or is this just an idea and and and differentiate? Something that heard recently from Wade Foster Co Zap year he was a on season one of scale die but he tweeted out I. Think he heard from Dr Mash from hub spot where at the end of his communication he'll put like a Hashtag. Different levels of what he means what he's trying to say he is like a Hashtag F. Y. or Hashtag recommendation or Hashtag like strong recommendation 'cause he was saying. He didn't really care that much about it like, hey, that bud should be bigger F wa Wa for him means. Is the suggestion I don't really care if you do it or not I'm not gonNA follow up on this and you have freedom to do what you want but then it Kinda got extended more and more and that was one of the best things he did a Si Yo and growing because he was having a hard time saying things because. Taking so seriously and I'm with you, I've had to kind of start to like preface things and I say like, Hey, like, I, really don't care if you do this or not like I trust you here's what I would do if our you but yeah, I think that's a huge part of CEO's learning. How do you communicate and like? Yeah share lesson opinions as you grow. Yet it's a, it's a tough thing to go through to do, and then also manages at some point in time. Right when you're a manager managing managers which were kind of getting into the phase of like you know it's it's and it's hard thing to do. It's a very, very, very hard thing to do. Yup So when we wrap up here with what I call the salty six, which is six very salty rapid fire questions just for us to get to know you a little bit better some personal, some business by promises to salty a set of questions you ever had you ready for it. I'm ready it. All right man number one. Outside of building partner channels, what do you do for fun? I like biking cycling I gotTa Blake last year and I mean it's just been awesome. Actually have it in the office and so. I can get a lot of snow and so I know that I'm GonNa go through it in cycle after work at least three times a week. Lunch or can you Siphon Toronto. Probably. Six more than you think it probably depends on how tough you are I'm a little bit softer and so like you know when it's not like sweltering hot outside, you know like I. I find myself to the office. Okay number two, do have a morning routine and if so what is? Yeah, I mean by guilty thing is I check my email as soon as I wake up. Unfortunately at I go then make my coffee. And then just go for walk into the office typically grab breakfast on the way in and I need like five minutes when I get here just to reorient myself so. I'm very guilty at checking my email and I feel like that's not something you want to do. In the way you want to start your day off. The dopamine it feels good it guessing now addictive habit. Okay. Number three. How do you focus during the day when you got something you really gotta get done. I go for a walk even in the snow year in Toronto like I make sure if I have something that, i. need to sit down and get done i. make sure that could go for like a five ten minute walk beforehand and then I'll just quarter myself off right. If I, there's something that really needs to get done like. My status on slack that says like don't bother me and if people walk up and tap me on the shoulder I, totally ignore it It's something that had to learn to go through an do and it's something that you know some of the other people in our team have gone. Ferenza Don. But I think a little bit of physical activity before like sipping down and going arden heavy on something is really important and I also think the same thing to after physical activity is is super superport at number four what a book that has impacted deeply in the last few years. Ooh, what's a book that enacted me deeply I mean like I, I love like. Things it's really well told story as much as anything. Any gross book like absolutely. Incredible. And all of our managers have to go through read, it can be dry at times so like so impactful. But. Does a really good job at telling the story that high output management I'll put management. Yeah. But haven't started yet. Yeah. It's it's we actually start. Our managers do like a like a book club where they'll go through and read a chapter at a time because I didn't quite frankly trust everyone to go through industry the book of the round like. If it mattered and it's a book that we go through inning gives like we'll do a book club around it. What's the best purchase you've made recently under a hundred and fifty bucks. ooh, that's a good one. I bet this like really awesome pumped. as as as weird as it sounds. Yeah it was I. think it was like eighty dollars. More than even new plan on going and spending the whole office uses it. Now, there's a lot cyclist here in the office. and. That's been. That's been great Levin. Okay number six. What's a trait or characteristic that you have that has led to the success that you have today. Probably might capacity to. Be Perseverance. I think that. Dot is what matters most in this there's an element of getting lucky. But the end of the day you just have to kind of withstand really hard things. And not lose focus. So perseverance I because I'm focused and not perseverance like never gets the end of what I need to. Work on, but I can persevere pretty much through everything in anything and that's what kind of learned. Really to build a business is a lot harder to build a business in have a successful personal life. And You know. Like it's like I, I think that everybody kind of knows that it's just not something that's talked about too often yup I remember that I see there's Michael. Flammable Talkin he said the only way your business dies is stop working on it like by definition if you wake up and you start working on it that day your business is still alive and so Can you just hunker down and persevere long winter through the dips and actually keep working on it until you get a chance to tell you that lucky spot you know because I do agree I think there is some luck. Do think there is some things hit that you couldn't have predicted but can you stay around long enough to actually read some of those awards? Yet I totally totally agree we'll brand. This has been awesome man how much for coming on this has been really great conversation good to finally meet the man behind one of our new favorite software tools as well. Here let's meet our customers and it's been great talking with you. Thanks for having me on I really appreciate it. Yeah. You people want to find out more about you. Do you tweet Nadu stuff a medium or can they look up? Just email me. Apart or stock dot com I got rid of my social media. So I can focus on the business APP to twitter off my own just email me feel free to reach out anybody anytime. If I can't help you, I can put you in touch with someone that can. And so just just reach out, and if you want to check out, you know our company dot com best go through find sweet especially on Brennan Awesome and estimates for watching. We'll see you in the next episode.

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