692: The Growth of Alliances (and How to Automate) w/ Chip Rodgers

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Chip Rodgers, VP of Marketing at WorkSpan and host of the Alliance Aces Podcast.

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Wouldn't it be nice to have several fault leaders in your industry know and Love Your brand? Start a podcast, invite your industries thought leaders to be guests on your show and start reaping the benefits of having a network full of industry influencers? Learn more at speed fish mediacom. You're listening to the BE TOB growth show, podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. What you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources? You've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green and I'm James Carberry. Let's get it into the show. Welcome back to the B tob growth show. This episode is sponsored by Directive Consulting, the B Tob Search Marketing Agency. Today we are joined by chip Rogers. Chip is the VP of marketing at works man. He's also the new host of the alliance aces podcast. Chip, welcome to the show. Hey, Jonathan, I'm I'm happy to be here. Well, it's fantastic to have you on the show. Today we're going to be talking about the growth of alliances and the need for automation. But before we get into today's topic, and you can tell our listeners a little about what you and the WORKSPAN team are up to these days. Sure, Jonathan, Hey, thanks for having me on. This is really, really exciting and happy to happy to get a chance to talk to your your audience. So workspan is the go to market alliance, go to market network for alliances, and we are really all about strategic alliances and helping the the whole profession of alliances really to to get the one of the challenges that we've seen is that alliances are not been underserved in a way and and there really is no automation for there a lot of portals and different things, but there's nothing that's been designed for alliances. And so workspan was started about three years ago and and really focused completely on strategic alliances and and and so that's that's what we're...

...all about and I'm excited to be a part of the team. Perfect perfect. Well, obviously you feel very strongly about this idea of alliances. So maybe kind of just to just to get things started with this episode today, when we're talking about the growth of alliances the need for automation, how would you define alliances and ecosystems? Great question, good place to start. You know, alliances are really the places where companies are going to market together and you see them. Gosh, every day there are new alliances being being announced and you know it's it's things like, you know, lift work with healthcare providers so that doctors, when they want to have a patient command that the the the lift trip, you know, having them come into to the healthcare provider, is paid for through that, through that process. Or, you know, it's just many numbers of alliances being announced all the time. And yet you have alliance as being announced regularly, but it it's tough to get it to go really past the you know, the press release stage. So there's a there's a big announcement, you have maybe, you know, some executives on stage shaking hands and smiling and then okay, now what do we actually do and how does it actually work and how do we get there? Our organizations, large organizations, to work together to make this alliance work and an operationalize it. And that's really where the a lot of times that the challenges and we've found that and and research has shown that even though you know, revenue the about thirty to forty percent of a typical, you know,...

Technology Company High Tech Companies. In the high tech field, thirty to forty percent of revenue is driven through alliances and yet literally sixty to seventy percent of alliances that are announced have like never going where they fail within the first year. That's horrible. That's a terrible statistic. So we're really trying to help solve that problem. Yeah, yeah, well, and thirty four, thirty to forty percent. I mean that is that is a staggering number. In just just hearing you talk through it, obviously it's it can be. Achieving that level of coordination can be difficult. You've got to completely separate teams, both kind of with their own agenda. You know there is there's definitely a way in which they can they can help each other, but you know, achieving that that balance, achieving that coordination, achieving that communication, is definitely sounds like like the tricky part of the process. So you know, you sort of alluded to you know why these sorts of alliances are growing, but there was there anything that you hadn't mentioned about sort of like why this is, why this is a trend, why this is happening? Well, you know, the market has changed right it's very competitive and and companies are looking for opportunities to work together and they have to be responsive and angile. So, you know, it used to be that if you needed some technology or wanted to go into a new market, you just buy the company, and that still happens today, but more and more companies are rather than than, you know, making that capital investment. They're saying, look, if we can work with someone that gets us into this new market and we work well together, then it's a win win for everybody. All of a sudden, you open up the new market, you have expertise on both sides that can work together and and yet you're flexible, like you can spin up a a alliance relatively quickly and if the market changes, you can sort of shift your...

...investment into a into a different area. If you've done the acquisition, then it's you know, your your you're sort of you know that's it's now you're stuck. Are Locked in. You're locked in exactly. So in the as the market gets more competitive. And then there are technology, you know, trends that have enabled this. More if you think of just you know, it's we call it the alliance economy. Actually, where you know you've got technology is it, you're able to connect things more more closely. With Apis, you can have, you know, if you think of companies, the way that companies are formed, it's much easier to start a company and yet and bring in rather than having to create, you know, make all these capital investments and and create all of these functions. You can actually use a zenifits for HR, you know, a buildcom for you know, payments, you know, a tally for expense reimbursement. You know, you just you sort of have these capabilities to bring all these functions together and yet they work well together. It's pretty seamlessly because of everything's in the cloud. It's you connect them up with Apis, published Apis and off you go. Yeah, now you know, for any of our listeners that are thinking strategically about different alliances that that may benefit them and their company, what sort of what sort of challenges should they be on the lookout for? You know, one of the challenges is that it's a unique process. So you you as you're going to market with a partner, you need to think about it as a business process. So you have these you know, you're going to go create a solution together. Then you're going to go, you know, set up some marketing programs and execute on them, those marketing programs, and then you need...

...to align your sales teams across companies and execute on on joint opportunities and and and make sure that things that all this work seamlessly right. And and yet it's it's business processes, but it's across company boundaries. You may have two companies or three companies or four companies working together and and that's a unique problem. It's not something that we really solved for before. You know, there are great functional systems. You know, twenty years ago, for example, you know, we solve the problem of sales force automation and and sales forces have in sales leaders have great information about where they stand with the pipeline looks like and all that the let over the last ten years. Marketing Automation has just taken off and and we have very specific, you know, marketing processes, reporting in analytics to know exactly where you stand in terms of, you know, leads coming in and the the marketing funnel in alliances. There is no there's nothing that you know, we haven't really automated that that process. There's nothing there that does both business process but across company boundaries, and so that that's a really tough problem to stop. It's story time, and this growth story is about e sub, a project management SASS company specifically for subcontractors. Even though they had incredible customer retention, they struggled with growth. Being a niche service, they discovered that there was a little demand expressed for their solutions within the search engines. To take on this challenge, E sub hired directive consulting the B Tob Search Marketing Agency. After refining targeting, pre qualifying cliques within add copy and developing custom landing pages, directive was able to increase e subs marketing qualified leads by seventy one percent while decreasing their cost per lead...

...by sixty five percent. I have a hunch that directive can get these kind of results for you to so head over to directive consultingcom and request a totally free custom proposal. That's directive consultingcom. All right, let's get back to the show now. One of the first things that you know, I'm sure people will be looking to accomplish and certainly looking to measure, is just kind of what kind of what kind of revenue can come out of a strategic alliance. But, you know, are there? Are there some other goals that executive should typically have or there's some other things that they should be thinking about when measuring? Great question, and certainly, you know, revenue is always the North Star. You know that you want to make sure that you're both getting, you know, incremental, you know, reven out of out of working together. So that's you know, that's the that's the the top goal that you're always looking at. But there are a lot of interim goals and there they are some of the same goals that you might have with your sales team or your marketing teams. You Know How many leads were generated, how many activities came out of it? What's your overall pipeline look like? You know, marketing generated opportunities, marketing touched pipeline, and then you know where things stand in the sales process. What stage are your different opportunities at? How long are they stay? How long are they, you know, staying within different stages and are they progressing? So those are those are all the kinds of things that you're that you need to and want to measure with alliances. But it's tough because, again, it's you know, your you've got to pull each of the companies that are part of the alliance are running their own systems. You may have one one of the participants and the you know,...

...in the alliance that's running Marquetto and another is using alloqu on, another's using hub spot. How do you pull all those things together from a marketing standpoint? Same thing with sales. You might have, you know, one is using sales force, the others using s APCRM, an others using Microsoft dynamics. How do you pull those things together? All those those core systems are phenomenal and they do a fine, fantastic job, but they're all really focused on how that individual company how to automate the processes within that company. So why is the alliances professions sort of underserved at this point? When your opinion? You know, it's a good question. It's hard to figure out. Actually, you know, we speak to alliances professionals all the time and and they are, you know, they and and actually I ran alliances for for at sap for a couple of years early in my career and it's tough. It's a tough job because you're you know, your quarterbacking, not only folks within your company, but you also have to reach out and connect all the right people in the other in your alliance companies, and I think the reason they've been underserved as as they're sort of been this illusion like, Hey, we have a partner portal. You know, we're fine, and partner portals are are great. PRM systems are great. They have really focused on the high volume, you know, of our relationships where you have, you know, a lot of smaller partners that are you know, they log into a portal, they download marketing materials, who may register a deal and then, you know, they're often running. But when you have a peer relationship of strategic alliances, it breaks down. They just there. It's not something...

...that alliance professionals actually use. They don't use a portal because they're working together and they're, you know, creating a joint solution, they're running joint marketing programs and today, like, you know, ten years ago, they're still being run with literally spreadsheets, emails, conference calls, you know, and you go through the process. You know, for a Qbr it's miserable. I mean it's I've talked to some some of our customers said, you know, it's a week or two weeks just to pull together a qbr because you're sort of reaching out to everybody and trying to figure out, okay, well, did this program actually happen and where does this deal stand and you know, how much is this for? When is it going to close? What stages it at? You know, and it's a little bit of a crazy town to train and get together and then, you know, then you you in between. As soon as you've pulled all that information together, it's out a date right. So well, so, okay. If that's kind of where the alliances profession is now and the types of hang ups and hold those that they're dealing with currently, where would you say then, this that the industry is heading? Well, you know, we feel that this is, you know, alliances. The time has come for alliance automation and we, you know, we're seeing some research coming out from some analyst firms that are that are, you know, identified this trend and and saying, Gosh, you know, we really need to you know, a scenario that we that we haven't focused on and we really need to to go you know, that have some smart, smart people come together and figure out how to how to take how to help these underserved alliance professionals and and really put some automation in place and and help elevate the profession actually, and we say, you know, there's, you know, chief revenue officer, there's a chief marketing officer. Why isn't there a cheap partner officer today? You know, and there...

...really should. You know, they're especially with thirty, thirty to forty percent of revenue coming from partners. It's like this should be a board level, you know roll that's really driving the business so well. You know, and I mean speaking of elevating the position, forward thinking. You know, one of the things that we've been asking our guests in two thousand and eighteen, especially that we have on the show, is we want to find out kind of what, what kind of legacy are you hoping to leave behind at the end of the day, whether that is a personal or professional or even a combination of the two. Well, Gosh, that's a good question, Jonathan. I would say I would say one of the things that you know, as a former alliance professional myself, I really would love to really elevate the profession and, you know, I feel like it this is it's such a tough job and alliance professionals are doing such amazing work and not, you know, getting recognized the way that we think they that they that they should be. So, you know, if I'd be able to to make that you know, transition and and get to the point where, you know, alliances is is recognized and and really helping drive revenue even more. I mean, thirty to forty percent is Gush. It could, you know, if you really have figured out this process and and and put something in place that that helps operationalise these these processes, it can grow significantly. So that would be what I what I would say. And and some of the things that we're doing at workspan are, you know, hopefully trying to do that. We're pulling together a you know, a community of alliance professionals and we won't really want to have a place for them to, you know, talk about best practices and, you know, talk about challenges that they're having and and get...

...help from each other and and really make this profession grow and and get recognized. Yeah, yeah, absolutely well, and not just a not just a community with with workspan. But you know, certainly you've got a brand new podcast Iman out. We're obviously a little bit biased. We're helping you produce the alliance aces podcast. You're going to be the host of the show. What can list centers sort of expect to hear sort of, you know when, if and when they they start tuning into that new show? Yeah, we're going to be launching it next week. Very excited about it. And he the you know, what are you going to hear? I've already recorded six of the podcasts and and they're just great conversations to hear about, you know, talking to alliance professionals to hear about, you know, the challenges that they're having, some of the things that they've been able to do to really be successful and and grow their alliances and you know. So those are the those are the things that we're going to be talking about. You know, what's working, what's not working and how to how to really grow the growth the profession and and and make alliances successful. That's fantastic. What we're definitely going to have a link to the show. Again, we've been talking to chip Rogers, the VP of marketing at works ban chip. I think that our listeners is going to get a lot about it. Today's content. You know, I know I'm I'm constantly learning by getting to host this show. So if anyone in our in our audience, is interested in finding out a little bit more about today's episode, find out more about Workspan, finding out about the alliance aces podcast or just even connecting with you, what's the best way for them to go about doing that? Oh, great question, Jonathan. A lot of ways actually. First of all, to get to work span, it's just wwwe works band dot Com. For me, you can email me actually at chip at works bandcom. And then I'm also on...

...just about all social media at, you know, at Chip Rodgers. So twitter as at chip rodgers, and Linkedin is, you know, in Chip Rodgers, and so pretty, pretty easy to find me. Thank you again so much for your time and your expertise today. Chonathan. Thank you for your time as well and really appreciate you know, being on the show. There are lots of ways to build a community and we've chosen to build the bed growth community through this podcast. But because of the way podcasts work, it's really hard to engage with our listeners and without engagement it's tough to build a great community. So here's what we've decided to do. We're organizing small dinners across the country with our listeners and guests. No sales pitches, no agenda, just great conversations with likeminded people. Will Talk Business, we'll talk family, will talk goals and dreams, will build friendships. So if you'd like to be a part of a BEDB growth dinner in a sitting near you, go to be to be growth dinnerscom. That's be to be growth dinnerscom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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