Looking forward to the AMA...
Kevin has an extensive background in partnerships. Before building and running the Hubspot integration ecosystem, he ran partnerships at LeadPages, successfully scaling an affiliate channel, and strategic partnerships at GroupOn where he managed major brand partnerships with consumer heavyweights Uber, Delta and Whole Food.
Want to schedule 1:1 time with Kevin? Ask for an introduction to Kevin through our Advisors program.
Working with integration partners
What does Hubspot look for in an integration partner?
The best indicator of an integration partnership in my experience is typically- are we focused on the same customer persona. If you're company is SMB focused and the partner is entirely focused on fortune 500s, the partnership is going to be much more challenging to scale. So, are we focused on a similar customer/user persona, and do we share customers today and how many. I like to quantify the existing customer overlap and the whitespace opportunity with each partner.
What issues recur when pitching new strategic partners?
How do you keep partners engaged?
As a startup, you can't have the best program that addresses all the marketing and distribution needs of every partner, but you can engage them by providing exceptional "partner service," and over time incorporating their feedback. This is something that I'm proud we've maintained at HubSpot as we scaled and continuously evolve and improve.
Do you monitor and manage partner integrations?
Have you "fired" a partner?
and similarly... When do you disqualify a partner? What are the risks of not selecting them?
Working with referral partnerships
How do you find and recruit great referral partners?
Also, think about creating a content strategy around attracting those types of partners to your program. Inbound is your friend. . Once you've found the partners and networks, you'll have to find the levers to incentivize them to work for you. It's like being a recruiter. You have to sell your company, your product your vision, and you have to show them why the future is with your program.
How do develop a training program for referral and reseller partners?
Talk to your partners a lot. And especially talk to partners who say "no" to joining your program. Understand what made them say no, and also what your top 5-10 partners are doing that are making them most successful.
If you're trying to build out a partner program from scratch see what the best referral partners/influencers/affiliates are doing who are relevant to you find out what your program will have to bring to the table to get them to join.
An underrated aspect of being great at BD is being able to put together a business proposal around this to convince your teams, boss, executives INTERNALLY that this is what you need to be successful. But you need good data, and you can get that from talking to people who want in your program. It's about finding the right levers and incentives to make your partners engaged and thrilled to work with you, while balancing that with the needs of your business and your customers.
Organizing partner teams
How is the partnership team organized at Hubspot?
What tools does the Hubspot partnership team use?
What quarterly goals does your partnership team have?
How do you measure partner attribution?
What tactics methods does Hubspot use to increase accuracy of partner attribution?
What we know is that if we can get our customers to connect their tools together, we see higher customer NPS, and as a side bonus for us and the ISV (software partner), we see higher LTV and retention of that customer. We can measure all this, and even correlate MRR with each install.
So, at HubSpot our KPIs with partners is to make sure the integration is well built and the customer is happy, and that we see a month over month increase in installs. Until we get better at attributing where the user originates from, this is the most reliable data we have.
How do integration partners drive renewals and customer success?
This was really amazing. Thank you for taking the time to answer each question with great depth.