How do you successfully scale a partner ecosystem with hundreds of partners?
We talked about starting a marketplace of partners for your business in a previous episode, but what happens when your early success translates into increased demand and a slew of new partners? There are app ecosystems in the MarTech space that have grown to thousands of partners and integrations. How did they get to that level of success?
That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of Partnership Unpacked.
Welcome back to Partnership Unpacked, where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building… oh, and you get to learn too! Subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy – with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.
How do we repeat the successes we’ve had, while expanding on them and seeing more growth?
That’s a pervasive question in marketing and business because we want to be able to grow and continue to achieve success, and if we’re being honest, we have to admit that the motions which got us to where we are today aren’t going to get us to where we want to go tomorrow.
And if we’re talking about building an ecosystem partners, that’s particularly true. How do you go from one to one thousand partners and maintain quality and success?
That’s exactly what Greg Karelitz is going to talk to us about.
Greg is the Global Director of Technology Partnerships with the mission of helping millions of businesses easily integrate their tech stack with HubSpot. HubSpot recently passed 1,500+ publicly available integrations which means over 1500 partners that Greg and his team have been responsible for sourcing, onboarding, and managing.
Partnership Unpacked host Mike Allton talked to Greg Karelitz about:
♉️ How to scale and manage an ecosystem of hundreds of partners
♉️ Tools & Tactics for leveraging a MarTech marketplace
♉️ Recommendations for maintaining internal alignment
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Learn more about Greg Karelitz
Resources & Brands mentioned in this episode
- HubSpot App Marketplace
- Subscribe to the show calendar: agorapulse.com/calendar
- Learn more about Agorapulse with a free demo
Mike Allton: How do you successfully scale a partner? Ecosystem with hundreds of partners. We talked about starting a marketplace of partners for your business in a previous episode, but what happens when your early success translates into increased demand and a slew of new partners? There are app ecosystems in the MarTech space that have grown to thousands of partners and integrations.
How do they get to that level of success? That’s what we’re covering in today’s episode of partnership unpacked.
This is partnership unpacked your go to guide to growing your business. Through partnerships quickly. I’m your host, Mike Allton, and each episode unpacks the winning strategies and latest trends from influencer marketing to brand partnerships and ideas that you can apply to your own business to grow exponentially.
And now the rest of today’s episode.
Welcome back to partnership unpacked where I selfishly use this time to pick the brains of experts at strategic partnerships, channel programs, affiliates, influencer marketing, and relationship building. And you get to learn to subscribe to learn how you can amplify your growth strategy with a solid takeaway every episode from partnership experts in the industry.
Now, how do we repeat the successes we’ve had while expanding on them and seeing more growth? That’s a pervasive question in marketing and business because we want to be able to grow and continue to achieve success And if we’re being honest, we’ve got to admit that the motions Which got us to where we are today aren’t going to get us to where we want to go tomorrow.
And if we’re talking about building an ecosystem of partners, that’s particularly true. How do you go from one to 1000 partners and maintain quality and success? Well, that’s exactly what Greg’s going to talk to us about. Greg is the global director of technology partnerships with the mission of helping millions of businesses easily integrate their tech stack with HubSpot.
HubSpot. Recently passed over 1, 500 publicly available integrations, which means over 1, 500 partners that Greg and his team have been responsible for sourcing onboarding and managing. Hey, Greg, welcome to the show.
Greg Karelitz: Thanks for having me, Mike. This is, uh, quite the intro and I’m excited to dive in with you here today to see what we can unpack on the partnership side.
Mike Allton: Yeah, yeah, it’s my pleasure. We are excited to be picking your brain literally today. But before we get into what you’re doing right now, I’d love for you to just kind of set the table and share. How did you get started with partnerships?
Greg Karelitz: Yeah, um, there’s probably a long way to explain it. But the short way is, I’ve always been super interested in studying businesses go to markets and 10 years ago.
It’s crazy to say 10 years ago, um, I started as a BDR at HubSpot in sales, actually like the very most entry level sales role you could have. Um, and from there I, I did that for about 18 months, was an account executive for 18 months. And I learned how businesses drive revenue, and at the time I saw the sales capacity being in any given year, I could try to help about 50 to 100 companies.
Um, but the itch to build things has always been just very core to me. And so I had the opportunity to help build and start and scale HubSpot for startups, where we partnered with venture capital firms, accelerators, incubators all around the globe. And the coolest part about that was we were adding. A ton of value to startups and these VC accelerator incubator models, and one of us could make one partnership that would translate to 50 to 100 companies and getting value.
So it was the first step into understanding how, you know, as one human and one partnership, you can multiply the, the impact that you can have if you do a really good job with that. So did that for about, um, four or five years, then dove into tech partnerships and working with WordPress. Um, and in that point in time, we noticed that one partner could actually bring, um, value if we did a good job with it to thousands of companies just with one partner.
Which was really cool to unpack, and we can dive into some of the components there. And then that translated into helping, um, build and scale the tech partnership side of HubSpot, where we’re partnering every single day with other software companies, and helping them build great integrations with us, to ultimately add a ton of value to the customers.
and this now with 1,500 Partners in our ecosystem publicly listed the magnitude of impact that we can touch and help with our customers and their customers and create these better together stories is truly millions now, um, which is just super fun and kind of meta to think about is now we as a small team have the ability to really help millions of companies, um, which fits into go to market, fits into sales, marketing services, Partners Um, and ultimately making customers happier.
So it’s been a long journey of getting into partnerships. Um, but every single step along the way, I’ve just I’ve learned a ton, had a lot of fun and hopefully with a great group of people making a lot of impact.
Mike Allton: That’s a fantastic story. I love the fact that you pointed out that it’s been this kind of almost a team effort.
Uh, as, as, as you’ve gone and you’ve learned, uh, from each other, uh, which I’m a little envious of as a, as a lone ranger at Agorapulse. I’m having to, you know, bring people on this show and pick their brains. Uh, like I’ve said a couple of times, right. To, to learn, but in a previous episode. We were actually talking with Fiverr, uh, about their marketplace.
And we specifically cited HubSpot and the great app marketplace you’ve built. Now for listeners who perhaps aren’t in our Martech industry and haven’t used HubSpot or the marketplace themselves, can you explain how it works and how partners actually benefit from it?
Greg Karelitz: So, uh, HubSpot as a product, we are a customer platform, um, and the iteration of the company in the last 17 years since, uh, Dharmesh and Brian started it, it originally started as just a marketing tool, um, many years into the journey, probably 10 years into the creation of it.
HubSpot went public, um, and then also at the same time decided to create and move adjacent into the CRM space. And one of the things that Brian Darmash and the executive team really identified was, uh, marketing is just one piece of the equation to helping businesses better engage and create great, delightful customer experiences.
So if we fast forward to today, there is five or six different product lines from the marketing and CRM to sales, services, operations, website building tools. But what we’ve come to realize, and this is where the ecosystem and marketplace comes into play, is there’s so many use cases that all these different types of businesses are trying to solve for.
The pains that they have, the goals that they need to accomplish. HubSpot can do, uh, and help in a lot of facets, but there’s tons of areas that we actually don’t help with. And we can see, and this is also digging into a little bit of the data, um, from companies like Vendor, um, one of like the vendor management and procurement platforms.
They’ve done a ton of research into businesses tech stacks. And what they found is companies with less than a thousand employees on average, and this is a crazy stat, on average use 130 different softwares. And so when, when it’s crazy, and when we think about that, right, and this is what I try to think about day in and day out, is HubSpot can help solve a lot of different problems for companies.
But we can’t solve it all, and I don’t think they’re actually asking us to solve all of them. And this is where becoming a platform, much like you use an iPhone or an Android, is there are apps to solve those problems. And so we’ve partnered with most of the leading software companies in their given categories to create phenomenal integrations so that our customers can either add to their tech stack, Or integrate their existing tech stack with HubSpot to get a real complete picture of the customer.
So for example, and then I’ll pause and, and, uh, we can go down a couple of the paths is with, with WordPress in particular, people love if, if 42 percent of the internet is built on WordPress, believe me, it’s crazy. So, um, millions, hundreds of millions of websites are built with it. And one of the biggest missing links that WordPress has had is it’s, it’s actually become super easy to build great, beautiful websites, much like you can with Wix or Webflow or Framer, but the missing link there when it comes to actually driving and building a go to market plan and driving revenue is what are people doing on your website, right?
What are they interacting with? Where are they downloading forms from? How are you converting them? And so with the integration with WordPress, we’ve been able to layer on to that experience to say not only is it easy to build a great website today, but now you can actually know what people are doing on your website to help you better engage with them and help them.
And now we’re trying to connect the dots with publicly 1, 500 different integrations with different softwares so that the customers can say, Ooh, I love using Typeform for this. And now I can have those submissions go to my HubSpot and I can see all the Intel. Ooh, I love using, um, QuotaPath to set up, uh, sales commissioning for my internal teams.
Now it’s connected to my, uh, deal and sales pipeline and HubSpot. And for every piece of the equation on the go to market journey for businesses, we want to have a solution that enhances their experience so they can deliver better customer experiences, which is our end goal at the end of the day.
Mike Allton It’s fascinating.
Now, we actually use HubSpot at Agorapulse, we’re a HubSpot customer. And another example of. One of these integrations that we’ve actually talked about on the show earlier is Reveal. We’re using HubSpot to track all of our contacts. I’m lining up partnerships with other key brands in our space, and we’re using Reveal to see where we have customer overlap in terms of prospects versus their customers and their prospects who are customers of ours so that we can co sell together.
And it’s a perfect example, like you said, of the kind of complex problem or opportunity, uh, that, that individuals had where… That integration helps that, but we’ve talked a couple of times. Now we’ve mentioned this fact that you’ve got over 1500 integrations. That is a ton of partners. How do you manage an ecosystem that large?
Greg Karelitz: Yeah. And, uh, we should dive into the topic of reveal. Um, because I actually think there are inflection points. And I think of things in three different phases. And then I can talk about how we think about our partnership world is there’s in my mind, there’s three components to building a great program.
Um, and a great partnership ecosystem is you have people process and systems, right? Um, and with reveal in particular, there are, they are a system that a lot of companies like yours and ours That has actually been an inflection point in going to market with your partners. It’s, we’ll dive in, uh, and you can help steer the conversation there.
But as we think about the like architecture of building our partner ecosystem, um, it’s evolved a lot and it evolves every single year. So, um. If it’s helpful, I can start, um, when I joined when we were around four or 500 integrations, um, compared to where we’re at today with about 1500, um, integrations, um, which, which would you like me to, to start with, um, depending upon what you think is actually most helpful for the people, uh, listening.
Mike Allton: Yeah. Start with where you were at, uh, in terms of integrations and how you were managing those ecosystems when you started, you said it was around four or 500.
Greg Karelitz: Yeah. So, um, I, I gotta give. Shout out to, there’s a lot of great teammates out there, but the two that I work with day in and day out, that were the first two partner managers on the tech partnership side are Justin Jappenga and Jake Morgan.
Uh, they’re still on the team today and, uh, and, and remarkable. Um, when HubSpot started its tech integration ecosystem as like the platform play, uh, Justin and Jake with a collection of other cross functional teammates were working with, um, three to 400. Partners as, as it grew and there was no real rhyme or reason as to why this partner is working with Jake or this company was working with Justin.
And so, but they did a remarkable job. And like every time I talked to a partner of theirs, they’re like, yeah, I love working with HubSpot because Jake has been able to help me so much. Justin’s been able to, you know, help me see how to build a great integration. But taking a step back, what’s the right way to architect a team.
And one of the first things that we did. And putting it into place is we actually took a picture, a snapshot. Of the three, 400 companies that we had in our integration ecosystem at the time, and we started to bucket them based upon their software category. And so for us, this gave us great alignment. We started super simple.
There were about 30 high level software categories. We went to G2 and did a bunch of research elsewhere, and, um, and we organized them into different buckets. And what we started to see was integrations in particular software categories. Where, uh, there were either many in a given category or few or somewhere in between.
And then when we look at what customers were actually using, you could start to see some of like the insights to categories that were just like totally being adopted day in and day out by our customers and adding a ton of value. What one of the examples that I, that I reference a lot because it’s a great, um, vertical for partnership for HubSpot, um, is our calling software integrations.
At the time we had about, uh, 60 integrations and Jake and Justin were both equally managing, uh, various partners within that bunch, but across the 30 different other software categories, they were also managing a bunch and there was no real rhyme or reason. So the first thing we did was said. Let’s organize them.
Let’s try to put some data around it. Let’s try to, uh, organize which categories are actually being adopted by the customer. And then we reallocated, uh, Jake and Justin’s energy so that Jake was on calling and that way he could become the industry expert. At how calling integrations work with HubSpot so that when he’s consulting them and helping them build their businesses with ours, we had real deep expertise and that started to work really, really well.
And then as we hired into the team, um, a couple additional partner managers, uh, we then said, great, actually, let’s now break apart these software categories so that there’s, um, you know, clear alignment that Jake has. Uh, the partner relationship management space and the calling space and conversation intelligence and SMS because they had harmony and sort of like, ah, man, people love working with Jake and now they’re going to love working with him more because he’s an industry expert and, um, to dig into it a little bit more and I know I’m getting a little long winded here is when you have some of these best in class integrations and companies working with you, the other companies in that space, Uh, the best that you can explain, really want to know what great success looks like.
And in our world, in tech partnerships, there’s a couple components. It’s how good is your integration? How well aligned is your pricing and packaging with our customer experience? So that like, if people are spending, I’m making numbers up an average of 10 grand a year on HubSpot. If you’re charging a hundred grand a year for your calling solution, like, there’s not really a good overlap there for the most part.
Um, so we want to like help them align their pricing and packaging with our go to market, um, and then also like team up together to say, let’s build this narrative so we can plug it into go to market, whether it be enablement marketing or, you know, product. Um, and so that’s how we started it. And as we’ve scaled it, um, we have the software categories and then geographies as well.
Um, so that we can, you know, best align with the French based companies, um, like yours so that we can have somebody who’s in, uh, in the region speaks the native tongue, um, and then has a really good picture as to what social platforms look like or calling platforms look like so we can create these great experiences and give them, uh, You know, the best guidance and counseling that we can to help them help more customers.
Mike Allton: Greg, that’s brilliant because I mean, you made such a great point. Most companies that I’m familiar with, they start by time zone and maybe they’ll add language, a secondary layer. And that’s it. So I’m just talking to you because we happen to be relatively close in terms of time zone overlap. But instead you’re saying, let’s start with the type of company and the type of service you provide first.
That way our people can be as well versed as possible in that area. And that’s brilliant. Absolutely. Brilliant.
Greg Karelitz: Love it. Yeah. And like the, the fundamental truth that is true to partnerships. And actually, uh, when I first joined HubSpot for startups, um, I remember emailing Brian Halligan, who is now the chairperson of HubSpot, the former CEO.
And I said, Brian, like, what do you want me to do? And I, you know, I’m never really done and built a partnership channel before in the past. And he said, just add more value than you ever get back. And I was like, all right, I’ll figure it out. And the whole goal to this right now in tech partnerships is we’re actually not solving for ourselves.
We’re not necessarily even solving for you, the partner, in some ways we are. But what we’re really maniacal around here is what’s the customer’s problem. What are they asking us for? What are they asking you for? Right? Because if we can solve for the customer and align our companies to them, you’re going to win.
We’re going to win. The customer is going to be super happy. And so that’s literally the ethos of what we’re trying to architect here is like, what verticals of software category add the most value to customers? How do we then find the right companies that they’re asking about? And how do we help those companies build the right product integration with ours so that those customers that are asking about it can truly use the two in tandem.
Mike Allton: So true. I actually posted to LinkedIn this morning that I thought it was a bit of a spicy take that it’s not enough to have a win win or, to your point, a win win win. You really need to work as a partner manager so that your partners and their clients win more. That should be your driving goal.
Greg Karelitz: Bingo. Like, and, and so at the end of the day, when we’re trying to share our, our successes, our successes are your successes and our successes are the customer’s successes and what feels like really powerful about that is when we do a good job at that, it actually makes HubSpot a better company. And so I, I also try to break out what are the inputs.
And what are the outputs? The outputs are metrics like retention or increased MRR, whatever it may be. But like, those are outputs. If we focus on those, we’re actually forgetting what we’re actually truly solving for. So let’s spend our calories on the inputs and then build the team and the system, the people process systems around the inputs, because we got to make assumptions, but we also have a ton of data.
That allows us to build this correctly. If that makes sense.
Mike Allton: Absolutely. Now there’s something you mentioned earlier that I definitely want to circle back to. Um, because I think I know you were where you’re going with this. It’s this idea that we’re in an inflection point, uh, with, with tools like reveal.
What did you mean by that?
Greg Karelitz: So, um, partnerships in the past, um, not, I don’t want to say they’re hard to measure. But, um, partnerships in the past were hard to prioritize, were hard to prove the value for, were hard to, um, say, why are you going with this company over that company? Um, and the answers of, well, just because like in your gut, you had these gut feelings.
And in most cases, I would hope your gut feelings are right. Um, but to real go to market builders and go to market operators and revenue leaders, like those answers aren’t good enough. And what we now need to do is I don’t necessarily think of partnerships as its own entity in the company. I think of partnerships as a layer that influences all of the entities of the company.
And what I mean by that is with now, finally, with, you know, companies like reveal or cross beam, um, you can connect with a partner and inherently now see how many mutual customers do we have, um, which prospects of mine or open opportunities of ours are your customers and vice versa. So now you have this amazing insight to basically say.
We were, we were right in thinking, you know, this company with ours is the right message is the right overlap and we can prove it based upon the customer overlaps that now exist. The other angle to it is, is the unlock is now you can activate the data sharing between the companies. So if we have company X share data with us.
We can now do a full on analysis to say, what type of customer are they of ours? Are they buying sales hub? Are they buying marketing hub? Are they buying both? Are they a 200 person company? Are they a 10 person company? So now we get to take all of the data of partnerships, plug it into everything we were just talking about.
What’s the value to the customer? Who are we truly trying to solve for? And truly see those cohorts of companies that match what we’re trying to move the needles on. And the thing that I’m super pumped about, and we use Reveal internally, is now I can say that if we’re connected with Company X, and we have, I’m making numbers up here, but we have 10, 000 mutual customers, and they already have an integration.
That company, a partner of ours, has an integration with us. And only 1, 000 of our mutual customers are integrated. The hair on the back of my neck stands up because it makes me infuriated that we’re not adding value to 90 percent of our mutual customers. And so now we have a direction with this company and this partner, the goal is to help those 9, 000 customers with this company and this partner, the goal is to try to help these open opportunities become aware of the integration to help them connect the dots between their tech stack.
We now actually have plays we can align with services on. We can align with sales on we can align with marketing on to help them hit their goals. That totally changes the landscape of how businesses operate with partnerships being a catalyst for growth, which in my history of doing this, um, it’s kind of been like a finger in the air to see where the wind’s going.
Um, and now we can say, no, no, no, look at the data. And that’s so powerful for go to market leaders. Um, and, and it’s, it’s an inflection point because we, we couldn’t do that a year or two ago, and now we can finally do that today. And there has to be a whole new shift for that operating system on leveraging data.
And the art of the customer to truly build a go to market strategy. You’re a hundred
Mike Allton: percent right, Greg. In fact, longtime listeners in the show will know that we’re talking about Nearbound and we’ve talked about it many times. Uh, if this is your first time listening to the show, I want to encourage you.
And I’ll put the links in the show notes to go back and listen to the episodes with Jared Fuller, uh, from Nearbound Reveal with Rob Rebholz from Superglue. And we had Alan Adler on the show recently who talked about this very same thing about how we’re in this moment of time with partnerships where.
Things are changing rapidly and developing thanks to technology. And you’re right. It’s impacting every single department, every aspect of a company when done. Right. That’s something I’m implementing here at Agorapulse. And I’m really excited about doing that. One quick question for you. What tools are you using other than, you know, HubSpot and Reveal that you’ve obviously mentioned?
Um, how are you using them internally and how have you organized your team today? Is it still on these same lines of categories and geography?
Greg Karelitz: Um, so we use HubSpot internally. Uh, we have our own instance of HubSpot that’s connected with the greater HubSpot, um, HubSpot. It’s a little meta in talking about our product and our company have the same name.
Um, but so the way that we have our CRM organized is we have, um, a pipeline. Of of our partnerships, and we have various stages of, you know, exploration and, you know, partner building and integration. They submitted their listing and it got approved. And off of that, we have our marketing team, our developer relations team, my partnerships team, our program team, our enablement team, all operating in one single CRM instance so that we can collectively Surface and add value to the partner together, and that’s where I think I see, um, you know, the thing that we could really double down on is, um, to what Brian Halligan said, and the advice is always add more value than you ever get back.
And so what we what we have there is we have, um, all of these deals associated with companies. And we have all of the contacts that we’re actively engaging with and, you know, in the partner, in some cases, there’s 15 stakeholders we’re trying to engage with. And we are trying to make sure that we’re adding maximum value and thinking, how do we help them up level their integration, up level their go to markets, either with us or themselves, um, with the end state of adding more value to the customer.
And then. We have a bunch of custom properties on those deals and company and contact records that allow us to isolate what’s your software category, right? We talked about that being one of the variables for, uh, segmentation. Um, what’s your geographic headquarters? Um, and then the really cool part that we’re unlocking now is we’re connecting the outputs, the data that we have as success metrics, um, directly into our CRM.
So now we can actually see, we have, having 1500 partners is, is, it’s pretty hard because You have to make sure that from a high level lens, you’re seeing, I call them bubbles, like where are the bubbles popping up and how are you saying that this bubble is successfully popping up because we did these activities.
So we, we have, um, you know, all logged activities. Like, did we run a training session for their sales team for our sales team? Did we do a marketing campaign and then we can see how the bubbles. On the outside of those inputs or on the, the inputs of the actual partnership activities lead to like true value to the customer and to the partner.
Um, and so, so I know this is a little abstract to think about, but we have built a partner operating system that allows us to very easily be able to say if we’re doing well with a company or if we’re not. And so we know which play we’re getting to the point where we now know which play to run with which of the 1500 companies.
Um, I think the other nuance and, and, and this, this is going a little bit deeper. Um, we love all of our, our partners and, and like our ethos and. It sounds cliche and maybe a little cheesy, but it’s true. And, you know, at inbound last week, our, our big, uh, annual event, um, like I get to talk to a bunch of partners and ask them these questions, we want to create the most lovable partner experience we can create, and that starts with people, but it also has great process and systems for them to follow.
And so with that, we are like always trying to delight the partners. We’re, we’re, we’re, we’re, um, You know, building relationships with, but then there’s some really, uh, there’s subsets of the partner base that are super valuable to many, many, many customers. Um, and what we want to do with those companies is try to create really dedicated, special, uh, experiences.
Cause we don’t have the resources to run, go to market with all of them. Um, so what we want to do is try to see like what works with the most requested integration that we have. Um, to see how we can truly unlock the value together. And so at each layer of, uh, of the partner, um, we, we want to try to match the value that we can provide to them so they’re always happy and delighted, um, and, and see how we can continue to build them up so we can unlock more and more and more value based upon, uh, the customer demands that we’re seeing, if that makes sense.
Mike Allton: It makes total sense. That is so cool. It’s first of all, validating because I’ve been dragging my feet on paying for a completely separate app just for PRM. I’ve been trying to build it up within HubSpot, creating some, some custom fields and that sort of thing. So to know that you guys are already doing that.
That’s fantastic. Thank you. And it’s also super interesting because now I want to double down on making my product team move forward with a partnership and an integration with HubSpot just so I can see firsthand how you’re treating partners because that sounds fascinating. Now real quick, folks, I’m going to share with you a message from our CMO at Agorapulse, Darryl Praill, on another channel that you might not be paying close enough attention to.
Darryl Praill: It’s the Arc de Triomphe. Can you imagine if you’re in charge, if you’re the CMO? Of marketing Paris. What are your main channels? Wow. The Arc de Triomphe. There’s the Eiffel Tower. There’s the Louvre. Those are your channels you’re going to use to drive tourism dollars in. Okay, now, but you’re not the CMO of Paris.
In fact, you’re the CMO of your company, Product Service. So what are your main channels? Well, I’m going to guess they’re things like pay per click, maybe trade shows events, maybe content. Those are all pretty predictable, right? Let me ask you this question. Are you treating social media as a main channel?
By the way, only 1. 8 percent of you today measure social media and can prove an ROI in that investment. HubSpot and Gartner say social media is the number one channel to invest in this year. Are you doing it? If not, I can tell you why you’re not doing it because you don’t have the tools. You don’t have the mentality and that’s okay.
We’ve got you covered. You change the mentality. We’ll give you the tool. AgoraPulse tracks all the ROI for you. One place to manage all your social media activity. Your number one channel. Change your success. Treat social media as a channel. One CMO to another. My name is Daryl. I’m with the AgoraPulse. I’ll talk to you soon.
Mike Allton: Great. This is fascinating. Now I’m wondering, is it fair to say that the vast majority of these partners, they’re integrating using your existing API and their data. Are there any partners that have worked with your team to build out? What I would consider a new combined functionality.
Greg Karelitz: Um, yeah. So all of these integrations are using our publicly available APIs.
Um, one of the things that we scratch our head on is like, we’re not perfect in opening up the right extensibility for the right companies all the time. And it’s really hard when you have, you know, all these companies, 1500 of them saying, Hey, can you do this? Can you open up that? Can you do this? And so we are, we’re aligning with the product group, um, multiple product groups to basically try to understand.
What value, um, customers need that partners are asking for that we can create, you know, these extensibility points and API’s for that that unlock this. And so, uh, I’ll give you a couple examples. Um, this is actually pre COVID and, and back to, you know, Jake on the team. Um, he was like, there’s something happening with these webinar and virtual events companies.
It’s like, what, what do you mean? He’s like, well, I’m talking to a lot of them. And he was, he was spot on. Um, he’s like, I’m talking to a lot of them. And, uh, their customers want to be able to connect. The people that are signing up for the webinars into HubSpot so you can build lists and market to the people and see what, you know, how long they’re watching the, the webinars for and where they’re dropping off and stuff.
It’s like, Oh, that’s really interesting. So much so that, uh, we opened up a marketing event object, um, inside of the CRM. So now instead of the old way where partners were just using our contacts and deals or company’s API and syncing, you know, information about the event to the contact record, we actually built a brand new object called marketing events that partners could sink and connect with that allowed them to store that rich information in a whole new way inside a hub spot.
So that the customers could see all of the interactions with their events and then be able to align it to companies and contacts and deals. And this is the, the groundbreaking piece is now they can actually see who is coming to the event, whether it’s a prospect or customer and how it’s translating in sales because it’s all centralized in the customer platform.
So like never before could they do great ROI. Now it’s like so clear where they’re finding value and revenue and it was just such an amazing unlock. So this is where our partners are pushing us and they’re trying to pull us into the direction of, of theirs. I think the other things we’re trying to do as well as like with payments and quotes, um, that’s a whole new thing inside of the HubSpot universe.
We can open this up even more. Um, and so we’re, we’re balancing the, the, the, the game of what do customers need, what are partners asking for and trying to measure the right things to open up so we can get there and make this platform, um, even more additive, which is a common theme that we’re talking about here, right?
Mike Allton: Yeah, but you’ve also pushed back against a narrative that I’ve heard many times, which is that if you want to successfully partner a tech partnership with another company, you need to create something that is unique and innovative together. And that’s not to say that you guys aren’t creating new things, but for the most part, you’re relying on your partners to bring the value, uh, through that, just the connection itself.
You’re not for each one of these 1500 partners. You’re not developing all new. You don’t have to, you’re achieving success that way.
Greg Karelitz: Yeah. And to credit our product group is like, they ask really great, hard, sometimes super obvious questions to say like, why would you do it like that? You know, we have this developer relations and solutions team that’s, uh, coming in and either, you know, in a one to many fashion or in a, you know, a dedicated fashion that’s basically saying, here’s how we would recommend you build your integration to maximize the value.
Right. And so that’s the game that we’re trying to really become efficient at is for your use case. Here are the right ways to do it. Um, that way we don’t have, now there’s over 100 calling companies, um, that have built integrations with us. We don’t want them all building it differently. Um, and so that way as we release new features too, it’s just baked right into that. And it enhances their integration as well, which is really the powerful 1 plus 1 equals 10 equation.
Mike Allton: Yeah, so thinking about some of these partners that are doing it the right ways or the recommended ways Who would you say or what would you say has been your most successful partnership to date?
Greg Karelitz: Oh, man, there’s there’s there’s uh, There’s there’s too many but I can I can probably give um, A couple examples here.
Um, Let me talk about one in in this is another person on the team. Her name’s katie um another vertical of partnership that we Really wanted to figure out was, uh, how do companies that are using a project management tool like ClickUp or Asana or Wrike, how do they unify? Their sales, marketing, and services in HubSpot and what are they using these project management tools to, you know, complement and supplement the work that they’re doing in their go to market tool and what we came to realize, and this was quite the discovery and using ClickUp as an example, um, ClickUp had a feedback board using Uncanny, um, that had 800 upvotes asking for a HubSpot integration and Katie on the team went through every single comment And we distilled it down to be the root problem of what ClickUp customers and or HubSpot customers were asking for in the integration.
And we found in that a couple of really interesting points. There are these chasms in sales, marketing and services that like when you close a deal, how do you actually follow up and onboard that deal correctly? Um, We have a built for HubSpot app called Arrows, which is, you know, building an onboarding tool specifically for that chasm that sits on top of HubSpot deal records.
But then with these project management tools, what we found is that, um, customer success teams might be using a project management tool to easily guide and onboard their customers or provide feedback to product. And, uh, we nailed it down to like. HubSpot has this automation built in. You can now automatically create folders in ClickUp, tasks in ClickUp, projects in ClickUp, based upon any action that’s happening on a contact company or deal with inside HubSpot.
So think about that now, like you’re connecting all these other groups together off of a sales process or a marketing campaign that allows you to communicate with the rest of your company or other constituents you’re trying to serve. Automated, uh, and, and when ClickUp launched, um, I don’t know what the public number is now for number of installs, but you saw thousands of those companies that were probably uploading that uncanny board immediately take grab to the integration because it was solving a pain so painful that they immediately installed it as soon as it launched.
Um. You know, other experiences are like, uh, with a company called deal hub, which is, um, more of an upmarket CPQ configure price quote, um, HubSpot has some of the functionality, but it’s nowhere near to the extent that deal hubs created and we see them adding an immense amount of value to our upmarket customers when they’re ready to have more complex, uh, CPQ needs.
So, like, truly, there’s so many examples to harp on, um, but the ones that we love are the ones that are, like, and I’m just a broken record at this point, but, like, listening to what the customers need, know they have a value, value, uh, add to the platform, and build it in such a way that’s just, like, seamless.
Um, and that’s what we’re trying to do with all of the companies. And we, we have a long way to go there.
Mike Allton: No, but you make such a great point that listening to your customers and listening in a very smart way, asking the right questions, taking the time to sift through the data. That’s going to reveal so much about, you know, where you should go as a company, what integrations you should have, what an internal develops and so on along those same lines.
What about listening internally when it comes to like stakeholders? Do you have any advice, uh, you know, for partnership leaders like myself, when it comes to like, how do we get and maintain alignment with our stakeholders?
Greg Karelitz: Yeah. So, and this is why I love partnerships, right? Like, um, and I kind of dig back into like my, my sales days a little bit here is the same way that you’re trying to discover what your partners need and what your customers need.
You actually have to do the same. And this was like a light bulb moment for me. And it sounds so obvious. But you have to do the same thing internally. So like, if we’re talking to, uh, the leader of sales inside of HubSpot, like, what are your goals? I mean, that might be a stupid question because we know what their goals are.
Like what are your, what are your challenges? Um, and then on those challenges, like, well, I’m making, I’m just making things up now. It’s like, you know, we’re, we’re creating a great amount of open opportunities, but, but we’re not necessarily closing them that well. So interesting close rate. What are you doing to try to close that gap, increase your close rates?
And then they’re like, well, we have these couple of plays going on. Well, tell me more about these, right? So I think what I’m getting at here is the same way you do great question asking and discovery of your partners and customers. You actually have to do the samething internally with your, with your peers and stakeholders.
And what you’ll get out there is, um, the, the, the hardest part of the conversation, but the most valuable part of the conversation is where you insert your challenge. Reveal helps us a lot in this instance. Now it’s like, great. You’re actually. having a tough time with your close rates, you’re having a tough time with your retention rates, but did you know that when customers are integrated with these stacks, those things increase by X percent.
Um, and then you start to get them scratching their heads a bit because you can truly layer on top of their goals to help them achieve more success. That’s what we were talking about in the beginning. Same with marketing, like, Hey, it’s, it’s awesome we have this lead gen goal, but how are those leads actually translating into new pipeline being created?
It’s like, that’s a great question. Um, which of those leads are translating and you keep digging in and digging in and digging in and then you take your data and say, actually, did you know that the ones that have integrations installed, uh, are much more likely to do X, Y, or Z. And so where integrations installed, I would say for the listeners, like insert your partner channel there.
Um, and, and that’s the trick, and if you can become a line item in their plays, you’ve done your job. Like, this is where you create great alignment internally, and, and it’s really hard, it can be really tiring and exhausting, because like, if it’s, things are going well, people don’t want to change. If things aren’t going well, they’re trying really hard to figure it out on, on what to do.
And so there’s like this ongoing relationship that you have to cultivate and build, and then bring, uh, case studies, and testimonials, and data to the conversation so they go, Ah, I get it. Um, how do we do more of that? And then when that question comes, you know you’ve done your job. And then you help them build a plan.
That would be my advice. Um, and it’s easier, easier said than done.
Mike Allton: No, but it’s so true. You’re talking about building relationships internally, which is a great segue because my last question, my favorite question, I ask this of all my guests, how important have relationships been to your career?
Greg Karelitz: It’s everything, right?
Um, and like, I want to be that with the people that I believe in too. Like, um, my, my job now at the end of the day and what people have done for me. Is like, I want to be the people on my team and that I know cross functionally are just like all stars. I want to be their biggest advocate. Cause at the end of the day, if we can elevate those around us.
Um, and maybe this is also me projecting what I hope other people do for, for, um, but if we can elevate those people around us, like my job at the end of the day is to help the people on my team achieve what their goals are. And if I can do that, um, like me giving them hard, critical feedback is not me being a jerk or a bad boss, like I’m truly invested in their success.
And this is where when people do that for you, those hard questions aren’t annoying. They’re like thought provoking Um, and you know, I’d say with the HubSpot for startups play, one of my old bosses and mentors, she brought me with her, right. I think partially because we had a good relationship, but also like, I think she, I would imagine thought like I could add value to her and help figure a lot of things out and she could help me too.
Like the whole beauty of this is we’re in it together and that’s what partnerships are everywhere. Um, and so at the end of the day, it’s like the three questions I ask my team every day and what I think about is like, are you having fun? Um, if the answer is no, you’re probably like, we should dig into that and try to understand if this is the right thing for you.
Um, if the answer is yes, awesome. It should be fun. Uh, we choose to spend our time doing this stuff. The next question is, are you learning? If you’re not learning, like, what are you doing? Right? I think this is where when you have A players, they want to learn, they are learn a dolls, right? They’re, they’re, they’re GSD, learn a dolls, trying to figure it out, um, being like absolute sponges.
And I don’t think we should ever stop learning. And the last piece is, are you making impact? Um, like, what is what you’re doing in your day to day? Is that actually adding value to, you know, enter the group that you’re trying to solve for in this case, customers. And so if you’re having fun, if you’re learning and you’re making impact, there’s probably a lot of joy and happiness that comes out of your day.
If one of those is off. We got to figure it out. Um, but this, I guess a long winded way of, uh, saying like people are everything you have to invest in the right people and you have to get the right people to invest in you. Um, and I think that’s just also where I like actions and inputs, in my opinion, uh, and merit speak volumes over.
Um, just connection and, and, uh, um, and, and influence. Um, but I, I might be on my own little Island on that one. Uh, I think meritocracy is a beautiful thing.
Mike Allton: No, Greg, you’ve been amazing. And this has been such an important and informative interview. And we’re, we’re, we’re out of time. So I want to let you tell our listeners where they can reach out to learn more from you and learn more about HubSpot.
Greg Karelitz: So feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. Um, it’s Greg Karelitz. Uh, most people say Carol let’s, I never correct them. So you can do whatever you want. Um, but feel free to find me on LinkedIn. Um, and then for HubSpot, uh, obviously hubspot.com. I’m sure you can find us in the social world also. But for the tech partnership side in particular, if you go to HubSpot.com in the menu bar, there’s resources and partnerships or partners, and you can click into that, and there’s a way to get in touch with our team there. So we’re always reading, always asking for, you know, feedback and trying to get what’s going on in your brains into our program. Um, so don’t be shy. Uh, we love it.
Mike Allton: Fantastic friends. That’s all we’ve got for today. I will have all of Greg’s information, all the links we talked about, including those past episodes in this show notes for you until next time.
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