Building Partnerships Teams in 2024

April 12, 2024 | 47:28

Season 3, Episode 6

How should companies think about investing in partnerships and partnership ecosystems in 2024?  In this episode, Barrett King, the Senior Director of Revenue at New Breed (an Elite Hubspot Solutions Partner) and a former Senior Manager at Hubspot, shares a view of partnerships that ties it directly to a focus on the customer and understanding their needs. 

 His insights underscore the importance of aligning partnerships with customer-focused outcomes, offering listeners valuable perspectives on leveraging these relationships to drive business success.


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Transcript Text

Chuck: All right. Hello everyone. And welcome to the talent GTM podcast, your source for real conversations on hiring and building exceptional GTM teams today. I’m really excited to have as my guest Barrett King, who somebody I met recently, I think via LinkedIn Barrett, welcome to the show. Thanks for your time.

Barrett: Thanks for having me. I’m a big fan and I’m excited. I love the fact that you and I met on LinkedIn, had mutual things in common and we get to have a cool conversation. This is like the best part of that platform. It’s great.

Chuck: Absolutely. And, I’m really excited to kind of learn from you and give our audience an opportunity to say a little bit on, on Barrett. He was based in South shore, Massachusetts. he is a result driven leader with over 10 years of experience in building partnerships and executing on go to market strategies for SAS companies, started his career in hospitality, found a passion for go to market and SAS worked as part of a couple of startups and saw a company through the exit.

Chuck: And he also spent over eight years at HubSpot, a company I think many of us know now, leading provider in marketing sales, CRM and, a lot else. And, Barrett is currently leading revenue teams at New Breed, a top GTM consulting and solutions partner in the HubSpot ecosystem. Barrett, I would love to start, this is kind of something we do consistently on the show here.

Chuck: I’d, love to start with a question about your narrative and how did you originally get into sales? What, were you thinking? Why was sales interesting? Tell us about Your start there,

Barrett: Yeah, I appreciate the intro. I mean, it’s interesting to hear you say it back. I think my story is different in that it’s not straightforward. It’s not linear, right? So, like, I didn’t, I mean, I grew up, my father was in sales and so I was around the profession in that sense. for context sake, I’m 39. So this was the, like, 70s, That sales was this sort of interesting profession.

Barrett: You either were great at it and made a bunch of money and, rocked your suit and your weird colored tie and sort of went off to the job every day. Or you weren’t. And it was like this kind of skeezy thing that I think, unfortunately, folks stigmatized to be the opposite of what it was, which is important in business and in go to market overall.

Barrett: So I sort of rejected initially, I went into school for art and design and music and business and really wanted to get involved in another side of the equation. But the more time that I spent around companies and around people and certainly earlier stage startups, I realized that I just enjoyed the human interaction piece of it and that I could craft my own version of what sales meant to me and find companies that believed in a mission that was more than just.

Barrett: Pushing product or pushing service. So if I go back to the earliest days, sales was, to keep it simple, a part of my upbringing, a part of my blood, I was fortunate, as I described, to have a parent, my father, who is in sales. And then I think from there, actually this very definitive moment, I don’t know that I share this very often, but I’d like to hear.

Barrett: I was in art school, I was in for music business and, sort of entertainment business originally transferred into a digital design degree. And when I was graduating, my, one of my peers was at this incredible art show. He had done this like very traditional, beautiful drawing of Janis Joplin and, Eddie Vedder and, a few other musicians.

Barrett: And I remember standing next to him. He just won the award. He just won the whole show. Stay next to him. His name is Peter and Sandpete, man. This is just such an incredible talent. I admire you. I think it’s so cool. You get to do this for a living. And he looked over me. He goes, you admire me. I wish I was like you.

Barrett: I’m like me, I’m not talented. And he kind of laughed and he goes, man, your words are your art. Never forget that. And that really stood out to me. I remember in that moment, feeling inspired and sort of anchoring in this idea that language could be an art and conversation and communication could be my art and my career thereafter.

Barrett: I sought out things that help bolster that skillset. I was in restaurants because frankly, I graduated in 2008 and there was no economy. But then I realized that restaurants was a great way to hone problem solving and creative thinking and dynamic persona based interactions. I got really good at interpersonal communication in restaurants.

Barrett: So when I went into technology, because I was a student of tech anyways, I liked the technology just as a product of my life. I combined it with this experience in people. And then all of a sudden I realized I could sell, this could be kind of cool. And I got hooked on the money, certainly like we all do.

Barrett: I, enjoy, making cash cause it helps me afford a lifestyle for my family, but more than anything. I really liked the human interaction part of it. And so most of my career over the gosh, almost 20 years now has been, tied to this idea that I could go out and I could use these skills I’ve developed to take something that I believe in.

Barrett: I have to believe in it and, deliver it to a market in a way that helps people. And it’s really been a passion for me ever since

Chuck: That’s really interesting. Have you had this conversation with your father?

Barrett: I did maybe when I was younger. And, I think he, was different, right? He was a, he does, I think he had a, Art degree, actually 1. 2, I haven’t thought about that. That’s so funny. No one’s asked me that. but it was one of those things where he also was passionate about people you had a, no, sorry, a psychic degree.

Barrett: That’s right. Psychology degree are minor. And so, for him, it was helping people and it was being a part of that dynamic. And then when he realized you can make great money. with all due respect to the psychologists and therapists and such out there, it’s not necessarily the most cash friendly, industry to, to be a part of.

Barrett: He had a family who wanted to provide for in a lifestyle he wanted to create. And so I know that, we’ve talked about that for sure.

Chuck: That’s really interesting. I mean, it’s, I often talk to people, in technology sales who, sort of anchor their narrative to, discovering a love of technology and, understanding being good at technology and being able to, construct technology based solutions for buyers sort of requires that one learn and then later embrace sales.

Chuck: But I like that. You’re kind of talking about just the people side of it and certain aspects of it that, probably been a part of the profession for some time. And, and there is an arch. I think that’s a really interesting connection that you made there.

Barrett: Yeah. I, always thought about it that way for its worth. Like it was, it’s an art and a science and I, I never understood the science until I get older. I always thought it was just the art. And then you start to figure out that the, the KPIs, the metrics, the programmatic way of doing it actually bolsters your ability to deliver more art.

Barrett: And that’s how you sort of. hone your skills. But yeah, to your point, it’s an interesting comment in that I didn’t enter this into, sort of with any intent to sort of happen to me along the way. And now I reflect back and can see the path I carved out.

Chuck: Really interesting. You, had a great run at HubSpot, there for over eight years and I, if I recall, you didn’t start in, in, in the partnerships team there. I’m curious if you can talk to us a little bit, what was it like interviewing with HubSpot? I think if you joined back in 2015 or thereabouts, like talk to us about, interviewing with HubSpot at that time.

Barrett: That is such a fun story. I haven’t told this in a while. I, so when I joined, so I was a, restaurant general manager in Boston. We had opened this restaurant very successful. I was burned out. I was like 28, 29 years old. my now wife, but then girlfriend and I were, we’re living together. We’re starting to think about starting our next phase of our lives.

Barrett: And I remember thinking one day, like, this is not the life I want to live working from 3 p. m. To 3 a. m. And. It’s just not the environment that I want to spend the next 40 years or whatever my life. And so I did something that I had never done and I quit my job. And I remember saying to my now wife, I’m going to quit.

Barrett: And she’s like, you’re crazy. I said, no, I’m going to do it. I’m unhappy. And I know I can do something else. And she said, okay, like take the summer and figure it out. And so this is like, call it 2014 kind of mid year. And. I’m at a restaurant a couple weeks later for a friend’s birthday and she introduces me to her new boyfriend and who’s now one of my literal best friends.

Barrett: It was the best man in my wedding. Like he’s the guy. And, in that moment, he looks over me. He goes, Hey, I know a guy. I’m like, what do you mean? He’s like, I know a guy that could use your talents. Like you open a meeting people that now I fast forward. I know this is his personality. Now he just connects people, but long story short, I land at, this is pre hub spot, objective logistics.

Barrett: The little company I was at the startup do a year and a half, two year run. And then we sell it. And I’m sitting there going, Oh my gosh, I don’t have a job again. Like it’s been 18 or 24 months or whatever. What do I do? So it’s important context because now in less than two years, I’ve been without a job again.

Barrett: And the same thing happens. A friend says, I know somebody at hub spot. I told him about you. He wants to meet you. I didn’t know that the friend at HubSpot was Brad Coffey, who was at the time, I believe he was the chief strategy officer or SVP of strategy. Like I, what do I know? He’s just a guy, right? Then I go and have a conversation with him.

Barrett: just we meet over email and come chat and check out the place. And, we have a combo and we spent, It couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes together. And he’s just a brilliant guy, absolutely incredible brain on that human. And he just pitches me on this idea that like HubSpot changes people’s lives.

Barrett: HubSpot fundamentally impacts their business, their lifestyle, who they are, helps them grow. It fundamentally changes their lives. And through that conversation, I remember feeling incredibly inspired. So I’m like, what are we doing next? And he goes, we’ll be in touch. And I walked to the front door and I got on the green line, which is like two blocks away.

Barrett: And the train leaves the station. So call it 10 minutes later. And I get a LinkedIn message from the director of sales. And he’s like, whatever you just said to Brad, it worked. I want to meet you. Can you come back at three o’clock? This is like 11 AM. Great. Let’s do it. So I go home. I changed. So I’m not in the same clothes.

Barrett: I come back four hours later, basically. And now I’m sitting in front of him. Now this, Well, I’ll use his name. It’s fine. His name is Brian Thorne. Go look him up. He’s a totally incredible character, brilliant guy, but definitely startup sales leader. Like he’s got that vibe to him. A little bit of grit, a little bit of like, kind of push and shove and a total just passion for getting this right.

Barrett: And I remember falling in love with the idea of working for him. And he said, in that interview, you’re either the, the best liar I’ve ever met or one of the best salespeople that we’ve ever interacted with. Like, let’s see what you got. And of course, now my ego is through the roof. I’m like, this important person wants me, this is great, this is the best moment ever.

Barrett: I’m young, right? Like it’s my first big tech job. I’m supposed to like 400 people or something like that at the time. And it was seven more interviews before I got the offer. It was a phone screen with a recruiter. It was, I think it was three rounds at the time of, one was a phone interview with a manager, potential manager, who wanted to hire, two more in persons with individual managers.

Barrett: my math is right. Two more After that, that were group interviews, talk about the gauntlet. They’d have two managers sitting across from you in a room in a tiny little conference room, and they would just grill you for like 40 minutes. I made it past all of that. And I were thinking like. This is going to be the worst or best outcome ever.

Barrett: Like if I’ve made it this far, I must have done something right. And I go to the final presentation, which is to present to HubSpot about HubSpot. It was a brilliant move on their part. Like they nailed this interview process. No one was doing it at the time. Like it was totally innovative. And so I go into this conversation and it’s that director of sales.

Barrett: I mentioned it’s the manager who I believe is the one who’s going to hire me and two or three other managers. It’s a top sales rep who I later befriend and get to know. And lo and behold, Brian Halligan, the company walks in and I’m like, Oh gosh, like, what am I about to, what is about to happen here?

Barrett: And so I do my pitch. I’ve got about 20 minutes and I, I talk about HubSpot and I, there’s a whiteboard and I’m like, I’m going to use the whiteboard stuff. And I’m just, I’m all in, like, I’m either going to win this thing or lose it. And at the end, they’re like, all right, thanks for your time.

Barrett: we’re going to have a chat. Okay, cool. And Halligan stands up and he goes, huh? Okay. And he leaves, like, I don’t know what that means. Right. And the managers kind of get up and they go, okay, cool. And they leave. And I’m the last one in the room because the director of sales that talked to me in the beginning is chatting with me.

Barrett: And so everyone kind of leaves. He was clearly holding me back and he goes, Hey, nice job. That was incredible. I said, well, thank you. I feel really good about it. He goes, no, like how much of that was bullshit for you again. And he calls me on it. Right. And I go, well, I think I have this thing that I’m doing that you’re picking up on, which is like, I connect with people and he’s like, yeah, maybe you do.

Barrett: But that was awesome. I’ve never seen anybody do that before. You’re so complimentary. Right. And he goes, I’m not sure you get the job, but you know, nice try. And I’m like, what? See you later. We’ll be in touch. And I find out later on after I get the job, he’s just messing around with me. It’s just what you got to do to like, kind of at the time, make sure you get the grit and the, the chutzpah and can you really hang on tight because working in a startup is hard and we didn’t have all of our act together in our process and our people.

Barrett: And so anyways, long story short, I guess, long story longer, it was quite the interview process. They did an exceptional job making it fair and even keeled and objective. And then. At the same time, injecting personality because these were some of the smartest, most charismatic and invested people. I got to work with the interview process really demonstrated that

Chuck: Really

Barrett: I got the job, by the way, for it’s worth, I got the gig a few days later, I got a phone call.

Chuck: Well, how long was the process ended? How much time elapsed from that first yeah, that’s a good question. It’s probably about two, two and a half weeks. I think it was something like that. Maybe three all in with scheduling. Again, they were four, 400 people at the time. And. they later described, Brian said to me, I knew that we were going to hire you after that first interview that you and I had, but I wanted to make sure you could actually like do the work and you could stand up to it.

Barrett: We were excited about you and sort of that commitment. It took me a while to humble myself. I was fortunate, like I joined in a role acquiring partners, building a book of business and did 186 percent of my number six months in. And so of course now I’m like bigger ego again and everyone’s like, Oh my gosh, how are you doing that?

Barrett: And so the. I think he was a VP at the time. The VP of sales comes to me and he’s like, before you make too much money, I’d love to have you come be our first head of partner sales training. Like we don’t, we want to figure out how to make other people successful. The program had just developed to a point where it made sense to hire somebody.

Barrett: And so I took on that challenge at that point. And, again, I started to learn more about the interview process at that stage because I was a part of it. I was taking part in these interviews and seeing the rubric and seeing the details of it. And so anyways, it was a really exceptional process.

Barrett: I mean, I was, young and excitable and it helped, but just really, set us up, I think in many ways for the right dynamic and the right way to be successful moving forward.

Chuck: Actually, maybe we can talk a little bit about both your experience as a candidate going through that process and then participating it, as a hiring manager as well. I mean, what, there’s a lot of understandable talk and frustration, on LinkedIn and in other, communities around the way that, hiring processes, feel like they’ve gotten more convoluted, multi step in nature as companies are, You know, maybe more worried about making bad hires or just more tentative because they feel like they were overhiring in the past.

Chuck: What, like, how do you balance, or maybe that’s different. what’s to like about the process you described where it sounds like. They had like a strong assessment of you early as someone to go forward and then, put you through, six or seven steps like, is that something companies today should be emulating?

Chuck: Like what do they do well there that you might say like applies to hiring for sales and channel roles today?

Barrett: I think it’s about clarity more than anything. I actually mimic a lot of what I learned in my interviews and interviewing and being a hiring manager at HubSpot now at Newbreed. So I’ve got a hiring rubric that uses core attributes. That’s objective. That’s clear. The leadership team and the members of my, my business unit and the entire org for the most part have agreed upon.

Barrett: What are the core skills that are necessary to be successful? How do we define them? How do we interview to uncover answers that are clear that articulate that someone can demonstrate that ability? So we use a star interview method. Another thing I learned through HubSpot tenure. So it’s situation, task, action, result.

Barrett: I want clear examples and stories and let’s actually anchor in that. I went through that at HubSpot and. What I was so impressed by, which is why I emulate it now, why I use it, is that it was always about, I described it as I’m going to give you the keys to the castle. It’s your job to storm the castle the right way.

Barrett: And so a lot of folks would show up. I use a castle analogy with like a ladder and be like, I’m going to climb over the wall. And I’m like, cool. I gave you a key to the gate, but you can go over the wall. It’s fine. Or folks would show up and be like, I have a catapult. I’m going to try and knock the wall down.

Barrett: I’d be like, cool, you’re not going to get through it. Cause I can see you coming a mile away. And so I think what was always fascinating to me was this idea of like, let me make the path very clear. Let me lay out my expectations for how you’re going to achieve, that, that opportunity, that outcome that you’re looking for, which is to come work with me.

Barrett: And throughout that process, let me demonstrate objective and consistent. Viewpoints to ensure that I’m being very clear about who I’m hiring. And then I think the other piece of it is while there were a lot of steps, it was transparent steps, as I described with the objective, attributes in the process that they shared.

Barrett: The next piece was the applicable stage, i. e. the actual presentation. I still do that today. And, when you, at the time, when you joined HubSpot. You would come in the door, you’d have your job in doing bunny ears. And now we’re in a podcast, but you’re doing bunny ears, right? you get your job and then you go through the gauntlet 2.

Barrett: 0, which is now you’re in the training of learning the product. building a website, learning how to market, learning how to use the sales tools. It wasn’t full blown like it is today when I got hired. And so I all of a sudden had to be a marketer and a salesperson and a technical lead. And I mean, I like tools.

Barrett: So this is interesting to me. I lean in, I learn it. So now I’ve gone through. a six or seven step interview process with multiple face interviews, in person interviews. And in this final project where you have to pitch HubSpot, you get the job and then they go, cool, you got 30 more days to like, basically prove yourself again.

Barrett: You go through product training and then the final presentation is in front of all of these important people. Again, Halligan shows up or Dharmesh, the technical co founder and heads of sales. And the SVP of sales showed up to mine, like just walked in the door in the middle of my presentation. And I was presenting a website that I had built.

Barrett: And the inbound marketing campaigns I had developed and the go to market strategy I had kind of architected around the sales motion over the course of those 30 days. And what I love about that and what was really valuable was that it, yes, it was about weeding out. I think that people that weren’t capable, sure, but it was about giving a real world application and truly like demonstrable experience of what it meant to be successful there. They had clearly defined that. and I do that here at new breed. I’ve got a very clear plan where you get the attributes and you interview based off of those group and singular. And then you go into a final presentation where you run a discovery call with me. And it’s very clear.

Barrett: And I’ll tell you recently, I had a candidate. It did such a good job. They nailed the interviews, got in the final stage, and they showed up with a deck and this deck wasn’t like, something that they had just kind of scraped together. They had done research on our brand and our content. Like our decks aren’t really out there.

Barrett: There’s no reason for it to be like, we’re presenting solutions to customers, those customers have them. And we looked at each other and said, did this person like call one of our customers and get our deck? They had done such deep research that they had architected a deck without our feedback. And it sounded like, and felt like it acted like our brand.

Barrett: And so why I give you that story and why I think it’s important is your question of are hiring teams and managers going too deep? I still think they can go deeper because I do think to get it right now is more important. The stakes are a little bit higher in the, to your point higher at a feverish pitch kind of methodology doesn’t work.

Barrett: Let’s build an architect processes that are transparent and fair and objective, but are integrated in deep and meaningful so that when you get hired, not only the right candidate, but you’re actually set up for success.

Chuck: Yeah, I think you make a lot of great points. I mean, going back to the first thing you said, I mean, I think the key word in all of this is. It’s transparency as an enabler of rigor, right? And I like that the notion of you giving candidates the keys and the way that they ran and probably still run and you’ve emulated at new breed like a rigorous process, but not one like.

Chuck: Anchored in deceit or throwing people off kilter. I think so many hiring

Barrett: Yeah, exactly.

Chuck: Get that wrong, right? Where it’s really not about that. Instead, be clear and transparent on in your case, right? Like why they were interested in the conversations and where they saw HubSpot could be transformative on your career and then throughout, helping you understand how you would be assessed in a way that, they were raising the bar, right?

Chuck: Versus hiding it. And I think that’s really valuable. I am. I mean, your points hit me really interesting on HubSpot, demoing HubSpot and similar, we’ve done a new breed. I think that certainly can work. And obviously as well, I think you alluded to this, but the advantages of then not only being able to hold someone to a high standard and see how they perform, but also like you’re probably accelerating time to ramp in the process, which I think a lot of companies could benefit from.

Chuck: I, I think some companies, there’s an argument, can benefit from approaching some form of show versus tell differently, depending on their maturity and the materials they have. But, But yeah, I think you make, certainly make a great case for approaching it the way that they have, and you are a new breed.

Chuck: I’m curious if we can, talk a little bit about, you mentioned sort of working in the channel side, and I might be getting these details wrong, so please, of course, correct, but I think you had some experience there, kind of working on, more of a direct sales capacity, and then moving over to a channel sales role.

Chuck: Can you talk a little bit about, if I got that correctly, like making that shift to channels, like, why did you make the move? And, what was important to HubSpot and channel sellers in the organization versus those who are maybe, working directly with buyers.

Barrett: Yeah. Yeah. So actually I came from direct sales prior to HubSpot and when I joined, I was building a book of business around partnerships, but I quickly moved into specifically, the training lead role, right? So my job was to, lead and develop an architect, the training motion at HubSpot.

Barrett: When I left that, I went back into channel went back into partnerships and a lot of the characteristics that I had demonstrated in terms of being able to work with these partners, but also build programs and systematic growth was part of why I was incredibly fortunate to work with some of HubSpot’s top partners over the next few years.

Barrett: That was my reason to move back into the channel. As I had that same executive leader, I mentioned before, it said, come be our, training guy, come figure this out for us. Say, I have another thing for you and that’s to help us figure out how to support and grow and enable our top partners. I had a training background now at this point, I had learned HubSpot’s product really intimately and I had architected programs, that benefited those partners as well.

Barrett: And so I had this sort of nice combination of training and selling and support. And I had perspective on those businesses too. When I think about what made. The next couple of years unique is that most of the most, a majority, I should say, excuse me, of the most successful partner managers were folks that had a little bit of business background, a little bit of creativity and a whole lot of grit because I was trying to figure out how to more.

Barrett: I think in an approachable way, integrate into an ecosystem that was evolving in its own way and be intentional around identifying sellers and supporters that were dynamic and were flexible and had this figure it out factor, the idea that they could help support the growth and the future growth of the business over the coming days And weeks and months and years.

Chuck: Can you talk about that ecosystem you’re looking to plug into? Can you talk about what that was at the time?

Barrett: Yeah. Yeah. So HubSpot had a prior to this sort of stage really focused on SMB marketing agencies and around 20. I’ll quote me the dates. If you know these accurately, someone’s listening, right? I think it was around 16 ish, 16, 17. I was thought went to market with 16, went to market with the sales tools that eventually became the sales hub that became the CRM that it is now.

Barrett: And so they asked these agencies to sort of move their. Their direction a little bit, become closer to them and adopt the sales methodology and co selling and really supporting the sales tools as a part of their core go to market. So you had marketing agencies that were good at like content demand gen, and social media being asked to do.

Barrett: It wasn’t CRM to be clear, but it was like sales enablement light. It was still content. It was still assets and things around that. It just wasn’t, to that like sort of next phase in terms of what it has become, which is obviously CRM. So the ecosystem was. agencies that were becoming solutions partners, which is an interesting evolution to be a part of in terms of the dynamic.

Barrett: They were trying to figure out, and I guess some ways still are as they evolve how to help those businesses scale more effectively. So there was some incredible people, David Winehouse, Dan Tire, Ashley Cox. there was a bunch of folks that jumped in alongside myself at one point and other channel managers to figure out how do we build programmatic bootcamps and ways to scale and enable these folks globally on, building a go to market motion with a totally different product.

Barrett: That evolution was really interesting because it was a combination of enablement and strategy and, empowerment and motivation and all these things that were intrinsic combined with just like a need because HubSpot now had a product and market that needed to be supported. And it was a very interesting dynamic to, to be a part of the persona that they were hiring had to evolve too, because as those agencies became solutions, kind of integrators and partners in the sense that they were solutions providers, they’re actually doing more than just the tactical work of marketers.

Barrett: Then we had to upscale and then we had to better co sell and we had to better support. And there’s all these just kind of layers to it that continued as the business evolved. And so the persona of who they hired had to as well.

Chuck: In other words, the persona of the, I’m using the term generically, but the persona of the channel managers or partner managers that you’re bringing to HubSpot as you went from working in maybe with agencies in a more relatively mature market around marketing services, inbound marketing, now, as you were rolling out new solutions that ultimately became part of your, CRM offering. You need to find a different breed of channel manager.

Barrett: Yeah. Because it was less about co selling. I mean, it was always about co selling to be clear. That was HubSpot’s model in terms of go to market, but it got away from just package price and sell the software as a part of your, offering to, we’re going to help you design your offering. We’re going to help you actually, I vividly remember this one conversation, big, segment wide meeting or whatever.

Barrett: And one of our leaders, I won’t say their name on this recording says, something to the effect of like, Damn it. You can’t keep calling yourselves consultants. Like you’re not consultants. You’re not business consultants. You’re here to sell with them. And I remember a few of us raising our hands kind of saying, no, it’s actually more than that now we’ve evolved because we’re asking so much more of our partner.

Barrett: We’ve got to think differently. And to HubSpot’s credit, like they did a great job thinking about the enablement piece, which meant you no longer were just selling the dimension. In terms of, selling is the wrong term. Like you’re no longer just bringing in a personality, a persona of somebody who could sell and who could, work alongside these business owners.

Barrett: But now it’s somebody who can empathize with them and support them and help them to actually grow their organization differently. And so, yeah, I think in some ways, if you look at the hires that took place between like 16 and like, call it 2021, That persona had to evolve.

Chuck: There was a lot of basically evangelizing of your partners to change direction.

Barrett: Yeah. I mean, that was part of the need that the market showed us and our customers commanded it, that the partners wanted it. Like it wasn’t us telling them that they had to, this is all like, I think in many ways, public knowledge, like HubSpot had done a great job listening to their customers.

Barrett: One of their core tenants was specifically to listen to the market and survey get feedback directly from customers on where they should go next. And that’s such a brilliant way to build. a platform, a solution, a tool that really helps your customers. Like do what they’re asking you to do.

Barrett: It’s such a brilliant idea. Right? And then you get these partners that are saying like, we’re servicing these customers and they’re asking for us to help with this new product. What do you want us to do HubSpot? And HubSpot saying, let’s help you help them. It’s just a really nice, combined to go to market.

Barrett: And they really nailed partnership as a methodology at that time.

Chuck: Maybe to shift gears a little bit, it’s just the topic of partnerships. I. I think we talked about this before, schedule this podcast. There’s been like, a general, like resurgence or growth of interest in partnerships, that I’ve seen over the last few months and maybe the last couple of years.

Chuck: sometimes this is called, near bound or like ecosystem led growth. Sometimes it’s still called partnerships, but like the general idea that company should be like, Investing more in, in finding, new pathways to, to buyers that go beyond like traditional, like, inbound lead gen and traditional outbound selling that’s becoming more challenging.

Chuck: And I might be grossly oversimplifying it, but if you’re at least partially bought into this, trend has changed, like, what’s your point of view on like, early stage B2B tech companies today, how should they be thinking about whether it makes sense to be looking at like, channel motions like, and possibly even making that first channel higher?

Chuck: Is this something that there’s certain things you should be looking for within the business or the certain categories where this makes more sense versus others? Like, how in general would you think about that?

Barrett: Let me go a step above for a second. I want to kind of layer up. I think it’s important to define as an expression that I use a statement, a framework of partner market fit. That’s being very clear on who the businesses and organizations are around your customer that are supporting them in their go to market, whatever that is.

Barrett: Like maybe they’re using your tool or service. Maybe they’re not, but there are guaranteed. Like I would stake my, next meal on this. I guarantee that those Customers are that you have that you’re excited about are working with other businesses. That’s your first step. Go identify who those, businesses are, what they are, what they do, how they interact with your customer.

Barrett: That’s that, idea of near bound, the idea of like building value around your customer base. It doesn’t always have to be channel. And I think there’s a misconception when folks think about partner, they immediately go to like resell. They immediately go to like, can they market for me, sell for me this idea of do for me when I think we actually need to be more intentional specifically around keeping the customer.

Barrett: And the customer problem, most specifically at the core of what we’re trying to do. And we’ve got to build that, the value triangle I’ve heard it called, but this idea of like, I have my partner on the left. I have my company on the right. And I have my customer at the top, if you will, that triangle in the middle of it is the mutual problem that we’re trying to solve or outcome we’re trying to achieve of some kind.

Barrett: And we start to think about that holistically. Whether you are a five person company or a 5, 000 person company, it’s an easy question to ask, who else is my customer working with? And the more that you ask that question, and you continue to ask that question, the more this idea of partnership starts to evolve, because maybe it’s not 10 marketing agencies that are helping your best customers use your software or HubSpot’s early identification was that Amazon’s early identification apartment was that Salesforce too for that matter. Maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe it’s like all of my customers or all is a strong word. Half of my customers, whatever it is, are using this other company’s integration.

Barrett: Because that integration does X or Y or Z. It doesn’t matter. And that integration actually, as it turns out, makes my product better. Gosh, there’s your first partnership. Let’s go. Let’s go have that conversation. So it’s not always about resale or margin.

Chuck: That’s really interesting. So in a way, it’s almost like a rethinking how companies like early on had I would imagine companies have thought about like, what are, getting quickly to their, like their competitive advantages and moats and figuring out what those are investing in those.

Chuck: And this is almost like a very different way of looking at it. Right. Instead of like, you’re rushing to like define competitive differentiations and, moats, it’s about like understanding that if a problem, tell me if I’m stating this wrong, if a problem is deep and resonant enough that to establish partner market fit or even explore it. Think about who else in any capacity is helping to solve that problem for that company. And that could be the foundation of a channel program of some sort.

Barrett: It’s some, it’s such a deep seated part of who we are that like we all crave human connection and we create this interpersonal sort of world that we’re trying to build. You see it in social media, you see it in most companies, but we forget when we think about our go to market relationships, how this is just people helping people.

Barrett: Like, I, I don’t mean to devalue it too much, but like, if I were to, say it out loud, right. We’re literally just people helping people here. If we keep that at the forethought of what we’re doing and we’re intentional around it, I think it’s pretty straightforward to work under the assumption that if I look left and I look right and there are other companies doing something really cool or helpful that supports the same goal that my customer has or adds value to that base or, changes their outcome, whatever that, that function is, they’re probably good opportunities for partnership.

Barrett: Because if I think about even just that integration I described, I’m not going to go to them and talk about, how you’re going to resell my software and how you’re going to market for me. And like, probably not. But I would wage a bet that they’re probably already talking to your customer, maybe sometimes before you do, and they probably have your customers trust, perhaps in a different way than you do.

Barrett: So there may be a way for you to find a mutual ground where you both benefit, but it has to be about this specific concept more than anything. And it’s the idea that, one plus one equals three, which I used to believe was about. Adding more value to your customer. It’s actually about adding more value to the partner themselves.

Barrett: So we work under the assumption that we want to build channel because it helps us to sell more or market better, make a customer stickier. That’s the by product of it. So it should be a, call it a one or two or three X multiple on our investment. It should be a five or seven X return on the partner investment.

Barrett: So they should get a huge multiple in their services. They should get a huge multiple on their own customer retention by working with you.

Chuck: Is your point of view that, more often than not, this should yield a strategy here, or is it possible that in doing this partner market fit analysis that you may come away with a different conclusion, which is to say, like these, there are other companies pitching services and products in our space that are immediate competitive threats.

Chuck: And we get sort of explore partnership opportunity, or we could double down on product development to. Build faster, our differentiators to lock them out of the market and again, not in a cynical way, but to better serve that end customer we want to pursue. Like, how do you think about that?

Barrett: I think it can uncover both. I mean, I’ve seen it go both ways. You have to be established in your own product market fit. In the beginning, you have to have some customers to sell with and sell to like those boxes are important. So you’ve got to be an established company. And if you are, you probably have at least an understanding generally of who your competitors are or might be.

Barrett: I would look at them as well because they’re, if they’re not ahead of you, they’re next to you in the market. And they’re going to probably inform some of your partner strategy as well. Cause they themselves have likely started the same exercise. They may call it something different, but this is what I do.

Barrett: This is how, like, when I consult, this is usually what I’m doing to help companies. And ultimately speaking, it distills down to this idea that it is a fact finding exercise. Like we’re going to go and learn a whole bunch here and you should never stop. If you’re in B2B tech SaaS or otherwise right now, you’re listening to me talk and you’re not talking with your customers every week, every month, that’s on you, like that’s a miss because it’s going to uncover opportunity there as well for what you’re talking about here.

Barrett: And that’s, the idea, Chuck, that like. This could be an exercise in partnership, in defensibility, in how deep our moat is. Like it’s going to uncover a lot in this exercise regardless.

Chuck: I’d imagine you still have a point of view, correct me if I’m wrong, that more companies than not are under invest, maybe because they’re not doing this, but it’s your general point of view that companies are under invested in, in, partnership motions and strategies.

Barrett: Yeah. I mean, I, think most companies are underinvested in things that are not traditional. I think it’s really easy to go and hire another salesperson, hire another CS person, hire another marketer, put more money into ads, all this stuff that we traditionally think of. I think it’s harder when you have to be.

Barrett: Consider it that there’s another business entity person involved. I think it’s harder when you add dimension, when you go from a 2d environment to a 3d game, I think about it as like chess almost, right? Checkers is pretty straightforward. It’s linear, gets a little aggressive sometimes when you’re younger, but it’s pretty easy in that sense.

Barrett: Chess is harder. It’s three dimensions. There’s more, plays, to be made 3d chess, which by the way, is an actual thing. It’s fascinating. And it actually, I think about complex business like this and when partnerships come into play. Hey, it’s usually kind of foreign. It’s uncomfortable. It’s different for people.

Barrett: But B like if you haven’t already, you should be intentional around that exercise and go and exploring and getting uncomfortable because the landscape has changed. Like we love talking about AI, but I think it’s more than AI right now. I think it’s about the fact that businesses are closer to each other.

Barrett: They are more interconnected because our tools, our technology, our people are more interconnected. And so therefore partnership should be a core part of your go to market because it’s natural. To do that, irrespective of what your industry or your, lead flow commands.

Chuck: Maybe, to build on this and speak to Talent listening to this podcast. And one of the things that we continue to see in this market is even though there are clear indications that hiring activity is picking up across, early in, in, late stage SAS and, companies seem to be raising more capital and, I don’t think many of us necessarily want to get back to 2021 and, that type of euphoria, but it does feel like, the economy, and demand for tech talent is growing, but there are still a lot of people in job search,I hear from them each and every day.

Chuck: I’m curious if you have any general guidance for people who’ve been in, in sales marketing or customer success, or maybe listening to this podcast and don’t have a lot of experience or background or any whatsoever in partnerships. Like, do you have some general guidance for when, early talent or career switches who are just looking for new opportunity or maybe out of work or just not feeling fulfilled in their current roles?

Chuck: Thank you. Are there some things that they might look for in themselves or in their skill sets that might indicate, hey, you may be well suited for roles that are either, channel oriented or with companies that, have like, a strong channel, sales motion in place where you can better thrive.

Chuck: And that’s probably a pretty general question. I’m curious if you can talk a little bit about that.

Barrett: No, it’s a good question. It’s a fun question too, because it gets me thinking about some of the stuff that really matters when I think about more specifically how to do that work really effectively. I think the traditional salesperson tends to be lone wolf, me oriented if you generalize and that’s changed.

Barrett: I should say like the market has commanded that you are more interconnected and more interpersonal. If you get energy from that, I think that’s interesting. Like, I think if you’re the kind of person who certainly has worked in an organization that has partnerships and is drawn to it, go explore it, like go, listen to some calls and take part in some stuff.

Barrett: And there’s always, I think a natural draw to the relationship sales nature of, Partnerships. I would say if you are someone who likes business problems, as much as partnerships for me is about sometimes resell, sometimes co market, the go to market motions you traditionally see, I do think that.

Barrett: Having a better business acumen and a deeper understanding of the problem also matters. So, Dharmesh, who’s the co founder of HubSpot. I don’t think he got this from somebody, but he used to always say fall madly in love with the problem. And that always stood out to me as a really important part of the passion in what we did.

Barrett: I fell in love with this idea that we could help companies who helped our customers. And by doing so help them. ultimately themselves grow better. And that we really did, as I go back to my first statement, when I talked about the interviews, change people’s lives. When I think about, New Breed Revenue, where I am right now, and the journey that we were on, interestingly enough, I managed their account many years ago, which is how I know them so intimately.

Barrett: They were 25 people, I believe when I started working with them, now we’re 125, 130, like where we’ve grown, in the five to seven years since that timeframe. but we’ve done it organically and intentionally with, I think a lot of passion for helping our customers, which yielded really good results and help them grow.

Barrett: And that to me is something that partnerships will always be. embody. It’s this idea that it really is about people helping people who help customers. And because of that, I think about the lives of some of the folks that I get to work with every day and how they’ve changed. They’ve grown up and had kids and bought their first house and their first cars.

Barrett: And they’ve sort of grown into their lives around a business. That’s been able to support them doing that. That comes from the partnership and the people that cared about it. And so my thought is like, if you’re listening to this going, yeah, I really think about business that way. And I care about helping companies help others.

Barrett: And you’re just invested in more than the transaction. Then partnerships is for you. And there’s nothing to say that you couldn’t be just transactional. That’s absolutely an incredible career. And I did it at one point and loved it, but I found that the 2. 0 investing in the customer deeply and understanding the way that this partner, in this case, an agency, took the transaction and transformed it into real tangible ROI for that company, that was always interesting.

Barrett: And so I think it’s kind of my last statement here, which is like, you want to go deeper, you want to know more, you want to be more invested and more involved and truly, in my experience, help those companies grow better.

Chuck: That’s awesome. So it helps to be relational and people oriented to have like a deep, maybe deeper than average, sense of business acumen, care about solving the problems that matter to your customers to the providers that might sit between you and your customers. It helps as well to, if you have some background in partnerships, that’s great as well.

Chuck: To be a team oriented. Is there also a dimension of this where do you have to maybe be a little bit more okay with letting go? I mean, one of the things I’ve seen that often characterizes, some of the top direct sellers I’ve known, even those I wouldn’t describe as lone wolves who are very good at orchestrating resources is that they do really enjoy, ultimately being accountable for and in control of the cell.

Chuck: And often those folks either have or I would imagine might struggle more to move into channel roles because, you are a level removed from that end buyers. Is that fair to say? Like, do you have to be a little bit more comfortable like relinquishing control?

Barrett: It’s control. It’s also this idea of being directive, being prescriptive, being intentional, being supportive. It’s a different function than direct selling, where you are the, I use the expression lone wolf with empathy and compassion because at one stage I was like, You are solely responsible and the onus is on you to like, not screw it up.

Barrett: And I think there’s something that’s really drawing about that. And I, loved the stages of my career where I got to do that kind of work. I love it differently. Now I get to be a part of something that’s bigger. So it’s one part letting go of control. One part gaining control, frankly, because you’ve got different interconnectivity across the business.

Barrett: And so you’re driving more lift and change. You’re just not selling to the direct customer, always, on the frontline team in that sense.

Chuck: I would also think you can kind of flipping this around and tell me if you agree here that maybe for folks on the one hand, this is may not be, ideal for, your direct, pure hunter types that relish that control and have that competitive drive. You could also look at, there are a lot of like superb account managers and customer success managers on the market who have like really strong track records at driving revenue, retention, growth, delighting their accounts, who maybe crave a little bit more, right?

Chuck: Maybe they felt a little constrained by having to work with, the book of business in place and some of the constraints on that. Could this be another pathway for some of those folks who maybe have more kind of sales chops, if you will, to kind of get into that where they’re leveraging their relationship building skills or creativity, their business acumen and like scaling their impact in ways that might in some cases go beyond what you can do in account management or customer success.

Barrett: I think it is, it’s an interesting transition point where you can leverage certainly an opportunity to make some more money and drive some more impact to your point. I think it’s also a way to round out skills. Like I’ve always thought about my career as a chance to add. Yeah. More and more bricks to the temple or whatever it is, pyramid, whatever you want to call it that I’m building here.

Barrett: And so when I think about that platform and the idea that like, I’m trying to lift myself up and grow in that way, opportunities to add more. knowledge and skills and experiences to me comes from roles that are dynamic and partnerships is dynamic. It’s an ever changing space. It’s an ever evolving interpersonal based relationship like we described, which means it’s people, not just business.

Barrett: And so that brings a messiness that I think a lot of us welcome in the industry and that it is more than just about the transaction. it is the relationship. It is the CS part of it. It’s so much more expansive. It does force you outside your comfort zone. If you’re just a seller initially into something evolutionary, it’s something, more in that sense. And I think it’s worth it.

Chuck: Yeah. And I think it’s a great lesson to, for hiring leaders out there. You talk, you spoke at the beginning of this podcast about the fact that your career has been nonlinear. And I think, the way to look at that is you’ve been comfortable taking on, new and different challenges and, we should reward or at bare minimum, give like deep looks to people who have track records of doing that, even when, things don’t follow like conventional narratives there.

Chuck: I want to encourage our listeners who are looking to hire, for, enterprise sellers or customer success. Like you see, you see somebody has a several year stint running partnerships and organizationally don’t assume that means they couldn’t cut it for X, Y, and Z or, can’t stay focused, right? Often it’s, as you point out here, it’s just the opposite. Like this is somebody who’s

Barrett: Yeah. It’s complex.

Chuck: Yeah and, challenging themselves. I really enjoyed the conversation. Appreciate you taking the time to, to, to closing out there. And I’d love if you can talk maybe a little more about, yeah, actually, if you want to talk a little about what you’re doing at new breed for those who may be interested in your services and then any other podcasts that you’re listening to books, you’re reading folks that you’re following on LinkedIn, that could be beneficial for our listeners today,

Barrett: Yeah. I appreciate that. Yeah. So, new breed revenue. com is our domain. We are one of HubSpot’s top solutions partners, actually the oldest, longest in the ecosystem. I kind of stopped saying oldest, the longest in the ecosystem. Most tenure, there you go. Perfect. You start as a marketing agency doing demand gen for our customers, evolved into a full service, revenue operations and go to market firm.

Barrett: A lot of our work revolves around. Migrating and implementing and integrating the HubSpot solution into companies that need support. And so if I think about the average customer, they span the, width of 25 to 2500 employees. we’ve got a really wide, aperture that we take in when we look at the market, B2B SaaS technology, healthcare manufacturing, and we’ve helped a variety of companies in that sense as well.

Barrett: Our core services, though, focus on, building really good foundational. Brand through website development and content development on the front end, certainly demand it in terms of helping folks to curate and lift up that brand and create revenue opportunities into the revenue operations piece of it.

Barrett: And so I think about the average customer for us, they’re looking to grow differently. and, we, look to unlock meaningful growth in those firms by using our tools and really the outcomes that we drive toward helping those businesses grow differently. So buzzwords aside, you It’s about replatforming.

Barrett: It’s about driving revenue and ROI and creating Lyft and businesses that are using the HubSpot systems and other tools to help their company grow. So I really enjoy the work that I get to do. I’m the Senior Director of Revenue there. I’ve got an incredible team of folks around me, folks that I get to learn from every day and support, as best I can, certainly in that sense, too.

Barrett: For me right now, LinkedIn is an interesting space. I have a podcast myself. I talk to partnership leaders, which is why I’m so passionate about this idea that we’re describing today. it’s called outcomes. It’s about, conversations with folks that have been there and done the work and have a story to tell. It’s very tactical

Chuck: Is that the podcast name? Is it called Outcomes?

Barrett: It’s called Outcomes. Yeah. Yep. Yep. Yeah, it’s cool. Yeah, I enjoy it. It’s been a great learning experience for me. It’s why I started it. I talked to go to market leaders that, that really can give something tactical and tangible, and it’s been partnerships focused for a long time.

Barrett: It’s evolving in season three to be go to market sort of more broad, frankly, the demand of just the listeners and folks that I’ve interacted with. I. Am a part of partnership leaders, which has been good for me as well. A really great online organization. and so I think, to keep it simple, like I listen to everything.

Barrett: I think the best leaders out there do the best professionals do. I like to think of my career as a representation of range and the, in the sort of best possible way. nobody stands out top of mind right now. I think frankly, for me, it’s a day to day week to week battle to identify the most high quality content.

Barrett: And so I do a lot of liking and commenting and engaging on LinkedIn myself, and I find that’s my best channel, welcome everybody listening to come check it out there and certainly join me in the conversation. And then, through our website, I’m also connected to certainly help if you’ve got questions about, making a pathway forward for your organization to grow better,

Chuck: Awesome. Thanks for your time. Really enjoyed the podcast and congrats on all your career success. It was great to have you on.

Barrett: Thanks for having me. It’s been a great conversation. I look forward to seeing it go live.

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Do you recruit outside of the US and Canada?
Our focus is currently North America, but we’ve also worked with tremendous people in APAC, LATAM, and EMEA. If you have needs in these regions (whether you are based in North America or elsewhere), we want to hear from you!
What roles do you recruit?
Our team superbly recruits for any roles within go-to-market (GTM) functions, including:

  • Customer Success: Standard, Senior, and Principal Customer Success Managers, Onboarding Specialists, Implementation Managers, Community, Customer Support, & Solutions Architects
  • Marketing: Growth & Demand Generation Marketing, ABM, Events, and Content / SEO Marketing
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I've worked with so many headhunters and recruiting firms. What makes you different?

Put simply, we aspire to be as proficient in articulating your business value prop as your internal employees. Exceptional talent does not want to speak with “head-hunters;” instead, they want to connect with educated ambassadors of your business and your brand about meaningful career opportunities.

We go deep on your business and into talent markets to foster connections that other recruiting firms tend to miss. And we work with our hiring clients to ensure excellence in their hiring process. Please reach out to us for more information!

Is SaaS experience important when hiring?

Hmm, what does this mean anyhow?! We recommend defining the skills and behaviors sought before running a search rather than using buzzwords or phrases from other people’s job descriptions. We help employees go beyond acronyms to ensure they develop robust job descriptions that tie to specific candidate profiles for targeting in the market. Need help? Let us know!