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Sippin' & Shippin'

Episode 41: Partnerships: Unlocking the ecosystem

Sippin' & Shippin'
Sippin' & Shippin'
Episode 41: Partnerships: Unlocking the ecosystem
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Tanya Phipps|June 9th, 2023

Description:

In this episode, we talk about all things partnerships with our special guest and industry expert Marco De Paulis, Director E-commerce Partnerships at Ryder E-commerce. We break down this value-based concept and strategy that’s 100% customer-centric; built to bridge the gap between best-in-class partners and brands, to disrupt stagnant growth and unleash untapped sales drivers for businesses to scale. Tune-in to learn more about the partnerships ecosystem and why it’s a game changer for e-commerce brands.

Timestamps:

1:33     Dispelling some myths right off the bat

2:33     What is partnerships from an organizational perspective?

3:47     About Marco

6:17     Leading with value 

8:11     What it’s like building a partnerships ecosystem from scratch 

10:21   The “trust” factor in partnerships, more than meets the eye

14:53   Not just another lead funnel

18:13   Why your brand needs a partnerships program

21:44   Referral based?

24:45   Success is not linear, there will be bumps

27:45   How success is measured

30:50   The sweet spot lies in the long game

Transcript

Why you should partner with a technology-focused 3PL banner.

Brian Weinstein: Welcome everybody to Sippin’ and Shippin’. I’m your host, Brian Weinstein. We’ll be kicking in here every other Friday quenching your thirst for an insider’s take to enhance your customer experience. So grab your drink of choice, kick back. It’s Sippin’ and Shippin’ time. All right, welcome everybody to another episode of Sippin’ and Shippin’. I am your host, Brian Weinstein, and back and refreshed from a nice vacation, she’s got that glowy red, Caitlin Postel.

Caitlin Postel: Brian, it’s tanned-ish, reddish, reddish tan. Yes, well rested and happy to be here. Excited for today’s episode. Welcome to the ecosystem.

Brian Weinstein: Welcome to the ecosystem. And our special guest for today is our very own Marco De Paulis, Director of Partnerships. Marco, good morning.

Caitlin Postel: Special, special guest. Special, special guest. Extra special.

Marco De Paulis: Good morning. Thank you guys. I appreciate the love. I like to say sun kissed, Caitlin. How’s that?

Brian Weinstein: There you go.

Caitlin Postel: Yep. Yeah, that’s perfect. I love that. I’ll use that here on out. Sun kissed. Sounds great.

Brian Weinstein: Yes.

Marco De Paulis: You’re glowing.

Caitlin Postel: There we go. There it is. Welcome, Marco. Thanks for joining us.

Marco De Paulis: Of course.

Brian Weinstein: There’s no actual video for this podcast, but for those of you that know Caitlin, there’s different shades of red.

Caitlin Postel: Hey, it’s better-

Brian Weinstein: But this is a healthy shade.

Caitlin Postel: It’s better than Casper. So I’ll take it. Sun kissed, Brian. Come on. Listen to our friend Marco here.

Marco De Paulis: Sun kissed. I like it. I like it.

Brian Weinstein: So we brought Marco on to dispel the myth that people in partnerships are antisocial introverts who hate posting on social media. Can you defend that? Not defend that? How do you feel, Marco?

Marco De Paulis: I feel a little bit targeted.

Caitlin Postel: Your turn. Your turn.

Brian Weinstein: Targeted, but not triggered. Targeted, but not triggered.

Marco De Paulis: Not triggered. No, no, I’m calm. I’m calm. No, we are generally a pretty extroverted type. I was thinking about it the other day. I think naturally, the personality is just the type that like to gather around other people, and connect with other people, and incorporate lots of different personalities into a room, and to converse with all different types of perspectives and folks like that. At least generally, that’s the vibe I get from the large majority of the folks that I work with on the partnership side.

Brian Weinstein: And Marco, for people who don’t know what a partnership organization is and what they do for a company, can you explain that to the audience?

Marco De Paulis: Yeah, for sure. So the way that I typically look at it and describe it, you have in an organization, the typical sales organization, you have a marketing organization, you have a customer success organization. Those are all very well-defined teams and practices. When it comes to partnerships, it’s this funky set and group of folks who really work with the third parties around your technology or your company. So they can be vendors, they could be integration technologies that interact with your sales team, your marketing team, and your customer success team. And so instead of having different touch points for all of those different groups with these third party vendors, you source that to one team. So you have that partnerships team that owns those relationships with those third parties, and you are collaborating internally with your three legs of the stool and then their three legs of the stool.

Brian Weinstein: Makes sense.

Marco De Paulis: That’s a new definition right off the top of my head I just came up with. I think it works pretty well.

Brian Weinstein: That’s fantastic. It works. It definitely works. So tell us a little, how did you get started in partnerships?

Marco De Paulis: So I started my career in sales and marketing. And as you guys know very well, as you are developing solutions for your prospects and your customers, there’s always other pieces of technology or parties involved. So I started in e-commerce website development sales and marketing about 10 years ago or so, but there’s always like, “Okay, we’re going to use this type of website platform,” and, “Okay, you’re already working with that design agency.” And so we have to collaborate with them. And then there’s these other ancillary technologies that we’re always going to incorporate because we know they work really well, we rely on them, we trust them and we know they’re good solutions. And so always, I found myself crafting a few different menus, so to speak, with my proposals in the sales function.

And as I continued to do that more frequently, I was developing closer relationships with those other technologies and those other vendors. And then we’d start to sort of say, “Hey, I think this would be a really great fit for you,” and they would come back and say the same thing for me. And then it became this really great, healthy, bidirectional, mutually valuable relationship. And I didn’t realize it at the time 9, 10 years ago, but I was doing partnerships inadvertently. I did that in a couple different jobs. I stumbled in the Shopify ecosystem. In Shopify, it is particularly connected. It is a platform that is designed to be pretty light on its feet, but extendable through thousands and thousands of different apps. And so when you’re designing a project for a brand on Shopify, you naturally have to rely on 10 to 20 plus little tools and vendors.

Caitlin Postel: Wow.

Marco De Paulis: And so I just was building such great relationships with all these guys, and we were putting together really great projects. And I was like, “Wait a second. I can just do this one little function of partnerships exclusively because it is such a connected ecosystem, rather than having to do all of the prospecting, the whole sales life cycle, and then the handoff to customer success, and then go keep closing deals.” And that was really my favorite piece of it, was that partnerships piece. So then I was like, “I just want to do that full time.” And so that was six or seven years ago, I guess. That’s the background.

Brian Weinstein: Yeah. That’s fantastic. I mean, really you get yourself involved with these vendors, and then you can then bring value to others that you’re working with.

Marco De Paulis: Yeah, 100%. It starts with value to the customer first. That’s always been my philosophy, is how can we make sure that we’re putting together the best project and the best result for our client. If that benefits somebody else because we’re bringing them business, that’s awesome. If I do that enough, then I’m going to then benefit because I’m doing such a great job incorporating their technology. They trust us to use that technology. And so when they have a customer that’s looking for someone to help them with that technology, they’re going to say, “Oh yeah, Marco’s team uses us all the time. You should go work with them because we trust them.” And so when you focus on that customer and you prioritize how you deliver the most value to them, it’s like an externality is that you end up doing really healthy partnerships while improving your retention with that customer and that satisfaction, and therefore that lifetime value. And then the things that come out of it are also beneficial to your business and their business, but it’s a secondary value proposition.

Caitlin Postel: Yeah, I think that makes a ton of sense. And I loved your impromptu definition of partnerships. And as you were describing it, I visualized the center and all these spokes and ecosystem. I don’t have a bell, but I’m keeping track of how many times we used that word here. We’re at number four if you count my first one. And it sounds to me you used the word trust a lot. And when you were describing how you started down this partnership path, I thought of more formalized collaboration. When I joined this team at Ryder E-commerce, we didn’t have a partnerships team. We were collaborating, we were working with other folks, whether that was integrators, software platforms, you name it, but it was less formalized. Fast forwarding now to your role here, you started this from scratch. Tell us a little bit about that. How do you get started? Obviously, you have this great amount of expertise, team of one coming in. What was that like for you?

Marco De Paulis: It was awesome because I love building things. I’ve always worked at startups, and was always super early employee, or first official sales person, or first marketing person. And so I get excited-

Caitlin Postel: A pioneer.

Marco De Paulis: Yeah, yeah, I’ll take that. I’ll take that.

Caitlin Postel: Yeah, there you go. Your sun kissed friend over here.

Marco De Paulis: So I get excited by an opportunity, and I look at, I think of it as a blue ocean, but this was definitely a particularly complex partnership motion and ecosystem to build out because it’s not just technology, but there’s so much impact on people when you’re talking about warehouses, which is a whole nother layer to what a typical partnership function is, which is very, very heavy tech. It’s integrations mostly, and how these tools play with each other, but now, we got a whole nother layer of, “Well, we have people at the warehouse, and these things actually change their jobs and change how they fulfill their orders and all of that.”

And so to not be too wordy, it was a really exciting challenge, something that I had to learn a lot because I was previously in a very software heavy world. But it’s been an amazing experience because I think that in a relatively short amount of time, we have gotten a lot of great buy-in and we’ve shown a lot of value to all these different teams, not just those three stools I mentioned earlier, sales, marketing and customer success, but a very physical, human operation side too that is not an easy persona to get buy-in and have join on your ride.

Brian Weinstein: Yeah, going back to that whole trust factor, there’s a lot of elements at stake because you’ve got, we’re going to either make a recommendation to a customer or take a recommendation from a customer. And there needs to be the trust factor between us and the partner because it’s a reflection of us, regardless of what we do, whether it’s internal or external. As the partnerships group, when you’re putting your logo to the partners or to your partnership banner, there has to have been a built trust. Can you talk a little, how do you select people? How are you selecting those partners? And how are you making sure that if there are trust issues that come up with a partner… And when I’m saying trust, it’s not they’re being dishonest, but maybe they’re not performing the way they should. How do you go about either, one, selecting them, and then two saying, “Hey, we’re going to pause with them,” if there’s an issue?

5 Ways a good 3PL partner will save you money banner.

Marco De Paulis: So trust is the most important part of any relationship, whether it’s personal or business. It’s such an important part in partnerships, particularly not just with… So it’s important with your customers, it’s important with these other vendors, which are your partners. And it’s also really important internally because you guys have to trust me that I’m bringing the right solutions to your prospects. The customer success organization has to trust in me to go talk to their customer and make sure that I’m going to deliver value. And so that is absolutely of the most importance in everything that we do. And we never want to lose that because trust is… Or they say it’s earned in drops and lost in buckets.

Brian Weinstein: Oh, I like that.

Marco De Paulis: So the way that I look at it is a lot of the-

Brian Weinstein: I don’t know that I’ve ever heard that before, by the way. I like that.

Marco De Paulis: Never heard of that?

Caitlin Postel: Bring it back. Bring it back. Say it again.

Marco De Paulis: Earned in drops, lost in buckets.

Brian Weinstein: Wow.

Marco De Paulis: Yeah, it hits once it sinks in.

Brian Weinstein: It does.

Marco De Paulis: And so to get to your question, we take it really seriously. So when we’re looking at potential partners, one, I always tell everybody internally, externally, “Quality over quantity.” So I’m going to make sure that we select partners that are a really good fit for our customers, they have great technology, they are vetted, they’re highly trusted in the ecosystem, they have great reviews. And I’ll try and make sure that we have some customers actually using that thing, and then go and talk to them. Then we don’t want to just jump in with two feet and say, “Great, we’re going to go partner with them. We’re going to refer them to everybody we possibly can.” We’re going to take it slow. And so as you guys know, our EDI partner, that came from a customer recommendation. We didn’t just go with the leader in the market because actually, that leader, they have some trust issues with their customers. And so we got the recommendation from a couple clients. And we took that, we vetted it, we had some good conversations, and then we started to move forward a little bit.

And we slowly roll it out. And we want to make sure that we have a close and small feedback loop with those customers of ours that we’re recommending it to, and being very honest and candid and saying, “Hey, this is trusted by some customers. It’s a little bit newer for us from a partner perspective. I wanted to introduce it to you. Would love to get your feedback. And if you guys move forward, we want to stay really close with you and understand that experience.” And so that’s generally how we try and approach it. And I think so far, it’s worked pretty well, but we’ve made a couple slip-ups too in the past. And we have to make sure that if we do make a mistake or if something turns out to cause issues, we rectify that really quickly and we show everybody involved, the customer, you guys, everyone internally that we are on top of it. We’re aware of it. We’re not going to let that continue. We’re going to fix it and we’re going to pivot and adjust however we can.

Brian Weinstein: Yeah, I mean, the value of the partnerships program, I mean, for us in our world as a 3PL, the benefit of it is a happy, healthy customer. That’s it. I mean, that’s what we’re getting from it. So it’s very important we’re making recommendations that are the right ones for them and that are going to perform.

Marco De Paulis: 100%.

Brian Weinstein: So I would imagine vetting them is extremely important.

Marco De Paulis: Yep. Yeah, and when you keep it small, it’s a little bit easier to control that quality.

Caitlin Postel: Yeah, driving the value and really just positioning ourselves as that subject matter expert through the information that partnerships is feeding us in the sales process, I think, is invaluable. And I know that my misconception was when the team was brought on, you guys have all these great connections within the ecosystem. And I’m like, “Yeah, okay, business development hat on. Leads, leads, leads.” And you made a great point, Marco, and it’s always resonated with me, was this is like a bank account. You need to make your deposits before you can make withdrawals. And that was totally here. You brought that to us, to our table. And I started thinking about that in that way where now, it was less about me, and let’s be customer obsessed. Let’s see, even if we’re not the right fit, how can we help this team? So that was one of my misconceptions about partnerships. What are some other misconceptions that folks have about what your team brings?

Marco De Paulis: I’m so glad that that stuck. Makes me so happy. I cannot claim that phrase either. That is a really big misconception. People, a lot of organizations in particular, they look at partnerships as another lead funnel, and they just look at it as a marketing and sales arm and extension. And yes, it has that potential, but it can’t work at scale if you’re not approaching it from a customer-centric, customer value perspective. Because the lifeblood of partnerships, at the end of the day, is happy, mutual customers. And you have to bring potential customers to your partners to actually get anything back from them, but you want to do it in the best possible way. And so that’s why we focus so much internally on helping our teams understand, “Hey, these are great vendors for these problems and challenges that our customers are facing. Here’s the proof, here’s case studies, here’s information, and how do we work with you to help solve these problems for your customers, or with you, Caitlyn and the team, with the prospects that you’re talking to?”

And when we lead with that, that helps us identify challenges that we can help solve for that person, and then that turns into a business opportunity for that partner. That’s the best way to go about it in my experience, both from a relationship perspective and a trust perspective. And then it comes back around. I’d much rather create opportunities for the business because we’ve been a good partner and we have led with value to the customer. And we end up bringing so much value to so many customers, which then turns into value to our partners that they just want to do the same for us. But a lot of companies want to just turn this spigot on and say, “Okay, we’re going to do partnerships now. We’re going to go do some co-marketing. We’re going to add these people to a partner program, and they’re just going to start bringing us leads because we’re amazing.” It’s like that’s not how it works. And you’re going to be very disappointed in six to 12 months when things just aren’t really rolling in like you would expect it to. It’s a long game.

Brian Weinstein: Yeah. Look, in our solar system, our center of our universe, our ecosystem, if you will-

Caitlin Postel: Ding, ding, ding.

Brian Weinstein: Ding, ding, ding, is the brands that we cater to. So that’s what our partnerships focus is. Does it work in all industries? I mean, if I’m a software vendor, does it make sense for me to have a partnerships program for my customers that I am selling to? And how does that work? And does it translate to other industries?

Marco De Paulis: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a super good question. I think so, yes. I mean, if you serve a customer, they have other needs that you don’t serve. So let’s just water it down as much as possible. You can only serve A, B, and C to a customer that’s running a business. A business needs a lot of different things, whether it’s lots of other technologies, or lots of other vendors to run and grow a business. And so all partnerships is, at the end of the day, is two organizations who serve a similar client or customer, and they’re solving different challenges and pain points. And so you see trends in whether it’s that same ecosystem or a different one where customers are buying these different things. And so you can very easily say, “Okay, we serve the same type of customer. We solve this problem, you guys solve this problem. And so therefore, we are symbiotically helping that customer at the end of the day. We can talk to each other, help each other out, refer each other these customers that we work with because we know we’re both delivering value to them.

And then we can go to market together and go tell people these great stories of how we do all these things.” So it’s particularly common in the technology ecosystems because there’s data connectivity and data plays. And so there’s a lot of value you can drive for customers when you’re sharing data. The more data they have, the better decisions they can make, the more automation. So it’s really, really easy to spin up when you’re in e-commerce or you’re in other technology and software verticals, but I’ve done it at agencies where we were essentially a service. We weren’t a technology. We were a service building on technologies. And I talked to a lot of other companies and other verticals and industries that they have a lot of potential to help their customers by bringing them other providers. And so yeah, it’s super applicable in basically any industry, in my opinion. You just have to think about it that way. Find those other value-add providers and services, and you just start to work together and collaborate.

Brian Weinstein: It’s amazing to me. Sometimes I say these things, and it’s really about where I am in my career, and I’m somewhat tenured. It used to be just there were referrals like, “Yeah, I got a guy.” And here. That’s the “I got a guy” type of thing.

Caitlin Postel: Is that tenure or is that Jersey?

Brian Weinstein: It’s a little jumble than “I got a guy.”

Caitlin Postel: A little both. A little both.

Brian Weinstein: “I got a guy” is Jersey, but the referral part is… Yeah. But it’s taken it to a level, and I think it’s perfected it to a strong degree because you don’t just have this referral. You’re actually going out there and building the relationship with the vendor, understanding if that’s the right relationship for your organization to use as a reference. It’s amazing how it’s become such an important part, I know for our business, but I’m sure for many people’s businesses, and it’s really taken it to a whole other level. What is your definition of success? How do you measure that? How do you know if your partnerships program is working for you?

Marco De Paulis: Yeah, no, that’s awesome. I’m glad you brought that up. I actually want to hit on that comment and that correlation real quick before I answer your question, Brian, because if you water partnerships down a lot, that is this original partnerships function. It’s, “Hey, I need something. Who can I ask to get me to that thing?” And it’s been around forever, forever, but it comes down to trust. And the other side of this… We’ve been talking a lot about our businesses and our partners. The other side is the customer. And I think in this decade in particular, customers, the brands that we work with and the brands that are out there, they are completely inundated with everything out there. There’s more providers than ever. There’s more technology than ever. There’s more marketing and advertising than ever.

Everybody’s the best, everybody’s global, solution leading, whatever, number one, number one rated. And so they also are having trouble identifying who to use and where to go and who to work with. And so that’s the other side of it too, is how do you become that trusted recommendation to somebody else’s customers? And that’s been around, again, forever. I’m going to go ask my plumber for an electrician contact rather than just Google a local electrician because I’m going to trust him more than that Google result. And it’s the same thing with any buyer today, I think is in that state.

Caitlin Postel: Yeah. Consumer just comes so much more prepared. The buyer already did their research. They know who has what. They already have identified these people. It’s that last Facebook mom recommendation.

Marco De Paulis: Exactly.

Caitlin Postel: “Hey, which landscaper do you use?” And next thing you know, everyone’s using this guy.

Marco De Paulis: 100%.

Caitlin Postel: And I think there’s trust, trust in that word of mouth. And word of mouth is essentially formalized partnerships, right, in a way?

Marco De Paulis: Yep, exactly. Exactly. It is for sure.

Brian Weinstein: Yeah, it’s not just, “My Uncle Morty and my friend down the street does that.” This is a really… I mean, the amount of time and energy that goes into curating that, those selected partners, it’s become so refined that the trust level is certainly there because it’s going to have an impact on everybody and you need to make sure that you have it. It’s just amazing to see the evolution of it and where it came from.

Caitlin Postel: I really appreciate the approach too as far as not going out of the biggest and best name. You alluded to it before, Marco, where’s the value in the boutique, or someone who’s executing this really well, and how can we partner with them? I think that’s trust as well and advocating for those folks, but doing that rigorous vetting so that you’re not just getting caught out there.

Marco De Paulis: Love that.

Caitlin Postel: Talk about some challenges that you’ve had or maybe where the vetting went a certain way and the partner wasn’t what you expected, or just some challenges in general that you’ve had.

Marco De Paulis: For sure. Yeah. And want to acknowledge I never answered Brian. So maybe we’ll get back to it.

Brian Weinstein: I was going to come back to it.

Caitlin Postel: I thought he was skirting it.

Marco De Paulis: No, no, no. I have that in my back pocket. Challenges? I mean, nobody’s perfect. And so you have to keep that in mind. And every relationship is a two-way street. So you want to get ample data before you really go all in on something. And so I guess I’m just prefacing this by saying sometimes you get an example where a partner’s involved in something. You have to really dig in and understand, “Okay, was it the customer that was just being difficult here or didn’t do something right, or was it the vendor? Was it the partner?” And so you just want to make sure you do your research there. Where have we got it wrong? I think what sometimes we get excited about, what we think about as being a great value to our customers may not be what a certain team really cares about at that point in time. And so we might say, “Hey, we have this amazing new partner. We have all these great mutual customers together. They’ve seen a lot of success. We know that they’d be a great recommendation,” and it’s crickets.

And we’re like, “Okay, why was that such a dud? We thought that was going to be really exciting and really valuable.” And we’ll ask the customer success team and they’ll be like, “Yeah, that’s great, but we’re not having those conversations. We’re not talking about that part of their business.” And it behooves us to try and talk about that when that’s not our expertise and it’s not something relevant to what we’re doing every single day. And so where we’ve missed the mark, I think, here and there is we’ve brought somebody on as a partner and we thought that it was going to accelerate pretty quickly and we were going to be able to really help a lot of our customers with that solution, and it just wasn’t that relevant to some of the internal teams that we thought it would be.

Caitlin Postel: Got it.

Brian Weinstein: Marco, you can’t score if you don’t take the shot.

Marco De Paulis: Exactly.

Brian Weinstein: That’s the bottom line.

Marco De Paulis: It’s a really great learning lesson though at the end of the day because that’s one, again, all the way back to what I was saying earlier where you have this extra layer when you’re talking about fulfillment and 3PL, that does not exist in the software world. We had to learn that the hard way because my entire team were all software people. And so now we understand, “Okay, the operators, they have a very different life than the customer success team and a very different life from you guys on the sales side. And so we have to make sure that we’re curating and we’re talking to them a little bit differently than we are you guys, and we’re giving them recommendations that are going to be different, and that we focus on different challenges and different metrics of success when it comes to partners.” And so we’ve learned a lot and have grown a lot I think in that way.

Brian Weinstein: So come on, De Paulis, don’t duck the success thing. How do you measure success?

Marco De Paulis: So I’ll start off with here’s what people try to measure right out the gate, and I think it drives the wrong actions, is the only thing they start to think about is, “Okay, what’s the net new pipeline here?” And it’s, “Okay, so then you’re telling me by giving me that number that the only thing you care about is driving business for the organization.” That’s the reverse of customer value. And so I try and flip that on its head. And again, it’s a philosophy thing, and a way of doing partnerships the right way and long-term and really customer value centric, or just doing it as a function to drive sales, I like to really look at it as, “Okay, what metric can we associate with value to the customer?” So we can associate lifetime value, is a brand that is working with partners, more value to us as an organization than without. Then hopefully, that means that partners have helped them grow and we’ve helped retain them.

Retention naturally is another metric where can we see a higher retention rate with customers if partnerships is involved versus if they’re not. And then I think about expansion revenue as well. So how do we measure the growth of a customer to us versus just looking at net new revenue? Because then we’re saying, “Okay, we want to help our customers grow. We want to help them be bigger accounts for us, but we also want to help them be bigger businesses because if they’re bigger, then we all grow together.” And so those are the things that I really like to focus on more from a customer value perspective, which usually aligns more with the customer success team and things like that. Of course, you have net new revenue that’s going to come through from your partners. Of course, you’re going to see a bump in the marketing metrics, whether it’s traffic or number of pieces of content and things like that because ideally, you’re doing co-marketing with these partners, and you’re all shouting how great each other are from the rooftops, and you’re doing all this great work together.

The last thing I’ll toss in there that I measure, and I think it’s back to those original pieces, how many referrals have we made to our partners? And I want to make sure that that’s grounded in that customer value. It’s not just about throwing things at them and making random introductions to our partners. That’s not the goal. The goal is that it’s correlating to that lifetime value, it’s correlating to that retention, it’s correlating to that expansion revenue. And we can do those things by helping our customers meet more partners and leverage more tools and more services that we know that they’re going to appreciate and they’re going to benefit from.

Brian Weinstein: I think that was a brilliant answer, by the way. I really thought you were going to say measure of success was just the fact that I continuously bring you up in executive business team meetings.

Marco De Paulis: That is a qualitative one. It is.

Brian Weinstein: But I will say it’s a long play. It really is a long play. And to your point, if you’re thinking of this as just as immediate impact on sales, that’s not what it’s about. It’s about deepening the relationship with your current customers, and even prospects. It’s just paying into those deposits. Look, at the end of the day, all we want is to be… Whether they’re clients of ours or not, they’re just people that are considering us, we want to be surrounded by successful companies. And your team, the partnerships group plays a part in that because of the introductions they’re making to help them complete what is going to help them be successful. If you think about it a shortsighted way, then in my opinion, you shouldn’t bother having a partnerships program. If you’re looking at it as a long play, then it’s the right direction to go.

Marco De Paulis: Yeah, I’ll say.

Caitlin Postel: Brian, I feel a LinkedIn post coming on.

Marco De Paulis: That is a good LinkedIn post right there.

Caitlin Postel: Yes, it is. That is.

Brian Weinstein: Can somebody write that for me? Because I don’t even remember what I said.

Caitlin Postel: Shocking.

Marco De Paulis: I mean, to hear the way you describe it, Brian, when I came into the organization almost two years ago now, nobody knew what it was, what I did, why it mattered, is amazing. And so I’m so happy to hear how excited you are about it and how you look at it. And I know this isn’t new. You’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid for a bit now and I love it so much. But I think it’s more widely understood across the organization because we take that approach, that at the end of the day, again, back to metrics, any time you set a specific target, you’re incentivizing an action, no matter what.

So if you put a goal to do something, “Okay, that person has to do whatever it takes to hit that thing.” If you set the wrong goals, then you’re going to incentivize the wrong action, to your point. And so if you just look at it as pipeline and sales, then you’re just going to have a bunch of salesy people saying, “Hey, let’s partner up, and just send me all the business you can.” There’s no benefit to your customers and to all those other really important metrics that I talked about that are important for a healthy, sustainable business. So you have to have that approach and philosophy to design the right metrics to then drive the right activity. And it takes time to get there, ultimately.

Brian Weinstein: That’s awesome. Well, Marco, I think you’ve done a tremendous job dispelling the myth that partnerships is introverts. And I will say you can turn a phrase like no other. I think I’ve learned two or three new phrases on this podcast alone. So appreciate that. Marco De Paulis, thank you for coming on. It’s been great. It’s been great working with you over the last few years.

Marco De Paulis: Likewise.

Brian Weinstein: And what you bring to the organization overall has been invaluable. So thank you very much for that.

Marco De Paulis: Thank you guys.

Brian Weinstein: Caitlin, you want to take us out?

Caitlin Postel: Sure. For those of you not counting, we had seven mentions of the word ecosystem. Make sure that you’re giving and taking, folks. Thank you, Marco, and thank you everyone for tuning in. Check us out every other Friday at sippinandshippin.com or on your favorite podcast platform. Thank you, everybody.

Marco De Paulis: Thank you, guys.

Brian Weinstein: Thank you.

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