Darya: Hi everyone, before we start the episode I just wanted to let you know that we have a brand new global website with podcast episodes, videos from events and interviews all in English. So if you are interested in finding more relevant content for you visit startupforstartup.com and select the ‘worldwide’ option. Enjoy. Hi everyone, my name is Darya Wertheim and you’ve reached Startup for Startup, the podcast in which we, at Monday.com, openly share knowledge, experience and actionable insights amongst startups.
Darya: In 2019 the partnerships department at Monday.com started to expand into another type of partnerships, tech partnerships, meaning different product integrations or alliances we create with other tech companies. We started with one partnership with Typeform and today tech partnerships serve as a major growth engine for the company with dozens of partnerships in the making including with the big tech five, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. So why should a company invest time and resources to create these integrations? How to create wins for both sides and should a company partner with its competitors. To talk about these challenges I am here with Oren Stern, VP Partnerships and Alliances. Hi Oren …
Darya: and Amit Goldenberg, Head of Tech Partnerships at Monday.com. Hi Amit.
Amit: Hey Darya.
Darya: So Oren, tell us a little bit about your role at Monday.
Oren: Ah, yeah, so I’m the Vice President responsible for Monday’s partnerships and alliances which covers all types of partnerships that Monday does.
Darya: And what does it mean? What do you do at Monday?
Oren: We manage multiple types of partnerships, everything from resellers that resell Monday’s products, technology partnerships, which we’ll talk about today, academic partnerships, really any kind of partnership that Monday does goes through our group and I try and help set the vision, work with the teams and work with the various partners to drive these partnerships forward.
Darya: And Amit, you actually joined Monday to expand our tech partnerships activity.
Amit: True, yeah, I joined Monday last March and managing the tech partnership aspect of our partnerships at Monday. As you mentioned before we’re partnering with different tech companies in different manners and we’re a growing team.
Darya: So I understand there are a few types of tech partnerships actually, so let’s talk about that. How do you define a tech partnership?
Amit: In essence tech partnership is a partnership between two technology companies and it can form in different ways; it can come from a product integration, through a joint goal to marketing, through a joint value proposition, it really depends on the, on values and how we explore that with each and every partner. We just customize it as we go along.
Darya: We talked in previous episodes about partnerships and we focused more on channel partnerships and how they can help us expand our reach and provide more services to clients. So why should a company go for tech partnerships? I mean what is the value here, because we already have our product? Why do we need to invest time in developing integrations to other products?
Amit: So they are different driver to tech partnerships and I think for us everything starts with the user and the companies that we serve, and we are looking to address different use cases and enhance the value that we bring to all the, our customers and users, but the other thing that this is serving is also serving the, expanding the reach of the, of our company, expanding the brand of our company, introducing new technologies, not just by us, not just by R&D, but also through our partnerships and even products.
Oren: I think, you know, to maybe add to what Amit is saying, at the end of the day it’s about driving customer value, right. The ability of tech partnerships is to enhance the synergies between companies and really drive a higher joint value between those two companies that elevate that, you know, at the end of the day, elevate the customer value, and the more value that you provide to your customers the better that partnership will be and the longer lasting it will be for, you know, for both companies.
Darya: Let’s dive into the different types of tech partnerships. What do they include?
Amit: So when we talk about, we divide them into two main categories, one is the strategic partnerships which is the big technology firms, and in those cases we are trying to align ourselves with the bigger players there and find the right way to integrate with them, come up with the right stories and right use cases to support our customers and users, and the smaller ones or more technical ones are more of use case partners that are more on a very specific use case, for example we can take Hub Spot which is around marketing and how the integration between Monday and Hub Spot creates value to Monday users as well as for Hub Spot users.
Darya: So how would that integration look like?
Amit: In Hub Spot, for instance, it’s about syncing between tasks in Monday and Hub Spot and vice versa, so something that, you know, a marketing campaign that will run on Hub Spot getting the results into Monday for further work and vice versa.
Darya: Right, so for users who use both Hub Spot and Monday it’s easier now, because they can see both of the products in the same platform.
Amit: Exactly, they can sync, easily sync data and do work in one platform that would represent another, so if you think about teams, someone is using Hub Spot as their main tool, but someone else is using Monday, so syncing between those tools is something that creates a lot of value for those users.
Darya: Do we have other types of tech partnerships?
Oren: Yeah, so outside of strategic partnerships and the use case partners we also launched the Monday Marketplace, not a very long way back. The idea behind the marketplace at the end of the day is to allow both, you know, smaller companies as well as, indeed, developers to build capabilities on top of the Monday Work OS that would drive value based on whatever, you know, the various capabilities of work management that Monday does and expand their own solutions to support, get better engagement with the type of work that, you know, employees do or organizations and teams do in their business.
Darya: So for example how can a small company use that marketplace?
Amit: So for an example a local invoicing company, so some, a lot of the work is done on Monday as we mentioned before and as part of that at the end of the process an invoice should be generated to a customer, and extending that or connecting the invoicing system into Monday provides a seamless, a seamless integration, a lot of value to the user of both Monday and the invoicing service. So I think this is an example of how extending your product to Monday provides a lot of value, both to you, as a partner, and to our users.
Darya: Right, so just to clarify, the invoicing company could provide invoices on top of Monday, like on the Monday platform?
Amit: Yes, in essence they will provide invoicing anyway, but they will, the connectivity to Monday will enable it to be part of the process, it would, could be initiated from Monday and could be generated with data that comes right from Monday.
Darya: We’re going to have an entire episode focusing on the marketplace, because I think we can dive into that and talk about that for hours, probably. So let’s go back to strategic partnerships. We understood a bit what is the use case partnership, and I want to focus a bit on that. What, how do you define a strategic partner?
Amit: Well I think that for us strategic partnership is all about the size of the company and the reach that it provides, and we initially just pointed out the big companies of the world, so the Googles, the Facebooks, the AWS, Amazon, and basically look at them and said well, they’ve got a lot of reach and let’s figure out how we can partner jointly in order to extend that reach; the other thing that, you know, with for example Microsoft and as well as Google it came bottom up as well, so we heard from our users that this is the integration they are looking for, they are using these tools day in and day out and it would like us as Work OS to be connected to those tools. So we take the invoicing example, an e-mail is another extensibility that could be done there, because, you know, those big giants are, have a lot of customers, you can imagine that these were the first that came up in our conversation with our customers.
Darya: Right, so it has value, not just for us as a company and where we want to go with our platform, but also for our customers, it just makes their lives easier.
Oren: Yeah, I would say that collaborating with strategic partners usually they have platforms that help run and drive a lot of things in an organization in their operation, whether it’s their systems in IT, whether it’s communication, you know, lots of different aspects of really running the organization and Monday’s Work OS platform does the same thing and so there’s usually a lot, kind of a very wide surface area that can connect those two platforms and different use cases that, you know, that you can leverage Monday and what, you know, whichever one of those strategic partners for, and for us it’s really about identifying those touch points and many of them come from our customers, from, you know, bottom up from users that are using our solution and a Google platform, for example, and they’re asking for us to integrate, and some of these things are coming more from us where we identify opportunities in collaborating and driving joint value between us and one of those players.
Darya: The strategic partners you mentioned are doing a lot of things, you know, Google isn’t just a search engine, so when we’re talking about partnering with them do we need to create integrations for all of their products?
Amit: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think that as part of what we do and, you know, when I’m thinking about a partnership, so we said it usually starts, you know, bottom up or kind of in someone’s head that, you know, there is a joint value proposition, but with these two big companies you also need to explore where in the organization does it sits and if we’re taking Google, for example, you’ve got Google Ads, you’ve got, you know, Google for workspaces, you’ve got GCP at Google.
Darya: What is GCP?
Amit: GCP is a, the Google Cloud Platform, and in essence you, first of all we map those entities and then you are actually looking to understand what’s their drivers, you know, why would they partner. They usually have partnership opportunities and kind of partnership program which are very structured, but the idea is to see if we can address their KPIs, if we can be aligning our goals with their goals, and sometimes it works and sometimes it does not, so we try to find and have, and start to have those discussions with them as part of the initial phase of the partnerships.
Darya: Right, so we really need to focus on the value that we can bring them in order for this partnership to actually succeed.
Amit: Yeah, I think that with any partner you strive for engagement and in order to have engagement you need to have common goals and from there it’s actually figuring out what’s their ask, what they’re looking, why do they have partnership programs, coz they are also driving an agenda and the synergy comes from finding a way to address both agendas at the same time.
Darya: So let’s dive into actually how we do it in practice. If I want to start partnering with Google or Amazon how do I actually approach them? What do I do?
Amit: So I think it starts with the research of what you want to get out of the partnership and then finding the right entity in the company, learn what’s their value proposition in that market, for example, and from there finding the right contacts. In some cases it’s as simple as going to a portal and finding the, you know, the e-mail of a partner and start there; from our experience it’s better off to find an executive sponsor or finding, you know, and addressing it from, I wouldn’t say top down, but some mid level and not start with the lowest person there or, and at a partnership organization.
Darya: Right, having a contact person who can really push things from their end as well.
Amit: Exactly, finding someone who has a vested interest in there or someone that you arrived through a recommendation really takes it a long way, but you can definitely start with, you know, the landing page of the partnership and put your e-mail there and most of these big organizations have a very solid partnership organization and this is also a great place to start.
Oren: I would add that, again, even for us it starts with a business use case and what our customers are looking for in driving that joint value. I think if there is a strong value point it’s not as critical to have, you know, the most senior person or the, you know, or the right connections. If you have a very strong value point you will find a right access in the organization to help drive that, because if both sides see the value and it drives value to the market it will happen.
Darya: Right, if they see the benefits no reason for it not to happen.
Oren: Yeah, exactly.
Darya: Is partnering with the small use case companies different than partnering with the big tech companies?
Amit: I think that in the core they’re all coming from user needs and addressing those needs, so in the core they’re basically the same. Of course when you deal with a huge company like Google or Microsoft and you approach them, as we said before, it’s really different, the engagement model and finding those synergies. With a smaller company it’s substantially easier, you know, back to the invoice example; it’s really easy to come up with that use case and with the bigger companies the challenge is finding the right stakeholders and finding the right opportunity. So I think this is one of the differences.
Darya: But it’s also a matter of prioritization, maybe, because you’re saying that sometimes it’s easier doing the use case partnerships and it can go faster, but maybe I want to focus on the partnerships with Google or Amazon, because I feel like more people know them, these are bigger companies and these partnerships will bring me more value.
Amit: So, I think, again, I think finding the right value is a, is key to any partnership, as I mentioned, but use cases does not mean that it’s just small companies. So we are, for example, you can think of Zendesk or you can think of Jira or Atlassian, those are big companies, but with a very specific offering and a very specific use case, so it doesn’t mean that you need to pick the size, it’s, again it boils down to the use case and with those big companies that we mentioned before they have, they can cater many use cases and they have many platforms that cater a lot of use cases, so it’s a matter of focus there and you can think of it as many small companies, smaller companies. So I think this is kind of how I view it as an engagement around a use case.
Darya: What else is different in the partnerships between large companies and small ones?
Oren: First of all it’s about the focus of the use case, right, so, you know, large companies, multiple use cases, more use case specific companies as a single use case, as the name implies. Then it’s really about also the impact itself, right, so the bigger the value that you provide jointly the, you know, the higher the impact that you will have on the market, but again multiple value offerings that some of those large companies offer you will help you drive a, kind of a broader impact on the market. Now again it depends on the company, right; if you’re a smaller tech company startup focused on a specific, for example, AI technology, and partnering with Amazon will drive you all the access that you need, then you don’t need other use cases or, you know, if you’re kind of a bigger company, like Monday, and there’s a lot of surface area that you can cover then, you know, you would look for multiple use cases and kind of multiple impact points.
Darya: And I think it’s important to say that not necessarily every company should put the focus on partnering with the big tech companies, right. It might be more beneficial for this company to partner with a use case company.
Oren: I think the focus should be on the value to the customer, right. The stronger the value point is to your joint clients the bigger the win win is, right, and one of the things that, you know, many times is hard for companies to understand is it’s not about you, it’s not about your technology, it’s not about your platform, it’s about the value to the customers and it’s about creating that joint win win situation for both companies, right. The stronger that win on both sides is the better the partnership is going to be, the longer lasting it will be and, you know, the more adopted it will be in the market.
Darya: Right, so let’s bring an actual example of how we created that win win with another company.
Amit: So I think that a good example is Microsoft. When we were approaching Microsoft we did surveys with our customers, we listened to calls that we had with customers and sales and CS and we arrived to a few avenues that we’d like to explore with Microsoft. While exploring them we found the best opportunity for us was engagement around Microsoft Teams, and the reason to that was the fact that we found that we can bring value to, most value to Microsoft through that partnership.
Darya: So we actually had a few options for partnering with Microsoft, right, it wasn’t just around MS Teams. What were the other options?
Amit: So Microsoft is a big company, so we explored different aspects of their Office offering, you know, Outlook and, you know, Excel, and all of those have different ways to interact and add value to our users as well as their are cloud services, Azure, and at the end of the day we found that this is where we can add most value and it’s also started when we had Covid started coming in, and so we found that that value is a huge value to bring, both to our users and to Microsoft users while starting working remotely.
Darya: Yeah, probably a lot of teams started to work remotely so suddenly MS Teams and Monday, as well, became something very important for their worth.
Oren: Yeah, companies saw the need to connect communication with work management and so, you know, that match between MS Teams and the Monday platform was, you know, was very straightforward for our users.
Darya: Yeah, and I think it really relates to what you said earlier, Oren, about win win, because this is how we created that win win, we saw that it’s also a strong point for Microsoft and that’s what we decided to focus on.
Oren: Yeah and when you look at their, you know, at their playbook, at their strategy MS Teams was a key component of their corporate strategy and their growth plans and so yeah, meeting anything that adds value there was something that was highly sought after by them and so that’s why, you know, was, it was easier and better for us to connect there.
Darya: Can there be a time where we clearly see the value in partnering with another company and we offer it to them, but they will feel the opposite?
Amit: You know companies have priorities and according to their stage in their life and in some cases we came to a company with an idea that we thought it would be awesome and we know that it will bring a lot of value to both our users and their users, but they had higher priorities on their side and that’s fine, you know, so we park the idea and we’ll investigate it in the future, but that’s something that does happen with partnerships.
Oren: You know partnerships is a long term play, right, so sometimes it doesn’t fit their, you know, their playbook, their strategy, their plans, but sometimes you put things on the table and both sides decide to park it for now, but they can come back six (6) months later and say oh yeah, now actually it fits our strategy better now and, you know, you can start to work and collaborate on that.
Darya: So I understand why we should approach other companies and try to partner with them, but what is the value for other companies to come to us and ask us for partnerships? How can a startup that is just now starting, you know, to establish its partnerships, how can they make their value clear to other companies?
Amit: Every startup need to think about what they are providing to their users and what’s the addition that the partnership could bring to those users. So the value to users is crucial, and I think when you’ve got that focused and you understand what you’re providing users the second stage again is when you are addressing that partner is to finding what it brings to their users and I think that when you crack that then everything is just happening from there. Again priorities, you know the size is challenging when you’re smaller, but if you provide significant value you’d find the ways to partner. It will be some cases very one-sided at the beginning, but if the value is there then a partnership will grow, the other, you know, the partner will recognize the value, the users will recognize the value and it will just happen.
Oren: I would add that, you know, one of the advantages that smaller companies and startups have is their agility and the level of innovation that they bring. So many times larger companies would want to join or partner with you, because they see the innovation that you bring, they see the value that you provide and the level of agility that you can bring them is something that is lacking within their organization, so that innovation, I mean, that’s the spirit of the startup, right, and, I think that innovation and the ability to help drive change within the larger other organization is many times what you can kind of hang your hat on as a startup and come in and say here’s my value proposition and oh, by the way I can move at the speed of light, I can change, I can morph, I can add value to you and that’s you know, that will be another kind of strong value point for why, you know, a startup can bring their value to a bigger company.
Amit: Just to add on that I think that when we talked about approaching a person, right, so at the end of the day it’s about people and when you approach a person on the other side of a partnership it’s, there is a personal gain there, and if he is working with a big company he usually needs to get a lot of approval to do something, so that agility really drives towards a personal goal of a specific person.
Darya: Yeah, I think we can see it in the last few years that a lot of the big tech companies are focusing on really trying to reach to new startups and new technologies and find that partnerships, because they understand the value that these small companies can provide for their product.
Oren: Yeah, absolutely, I think that, again, this is the innovation engine that comes in. It’s, it gets increasingly harder to keep innovating the bigger you are and I think, you know, many companies help drive those innovation programs with partners in order to help drive that cycle of innovation and accelerate that within their organization.
Darya: You talked about how to find the right partner and find if you have shared values. Will we ever have a partnership with a competitor?
Amit: Yeah, well I think that the word ‘competition’ is a word that comes up from time to time. Especially when we do the strategic partnership all the strategic player have some sort of an overlap with any product out there and I think that we’re really looking at engaging in having a joint beneficial partnership and as long as it’s there, yes, there could be some aspect of competition. I can tell you an example. The company that we’ve partnered with called Typeform, we have a very good partnership with that company; we have forms in our product and people are using it, our users are using it, but Typeform brings a big value of a product that is solely around forms, so they have a deeper solution there and we are glad to bring that into our partner base, we don’t see this as something that competes with our forms and I think Typeform does not see our form as a competition to theirs. So here is a demonstration of how a partnership and how it could be perceived as competition, but really it serves both companies and users as well.
Darya: So Typeform is one example, but we have a lot of competitors in a lot of areas. So we would still partner with everyone?
Oren: Yeah, I mean I think as I mentioned, I think the, you know, Monday, as a work operating system, covers a lot of surface area in an organization and really every aspect that you manage work at and so, you know, our approach is basically we will partner with anyone as long as it drives value to the customer, as long as it aligns with the needs of our users and it’s really about that joint value to the customers that is driving the, you know, the partnership. By the way sometimes the partnership can be, you know, deep, it can be shallow, it can be, you know, it really depends on also the, you know, the partner on the other end and how much they want to partner with us, but for us, really, the deciding factor is how much value it provides to the end user.
Darya: How do we measure it? Do we have any KPIs around that area?
Amit: So yeah, when we are measuring by our partnerships that we are partnering with, with any company we go through a process of understanding, you know, why do we do this, how we would like to do this and what will be the outcome, and when we are talking about the outcome we are providing or catering and having the KPIs that we would like to address, so we can measure and see if we’re effective in that partnership.
Darya: And what kind of KPIs do we have?
Amit: So we’ve got three (3) types of KPIs, I think the first one, which is the most important one, is the usage of an integration, and we do that by measuring WAP, weekly active users or MAP, or monthly active users and through that we are gaining firsthand, you know, kind of feedback if users are using this integration. If something is valuable people will use it. The second thing is, that we’re measuring, is the acquisition of a certain integration. In some cases when we work with a partner they have a marketplace, we have a marketplace, we’re advertising it, this online marketing as well, and we see if that integration brought value in a sense of getting new users in. So in some partnership there is a value there, in a lot of partnerships when we have our marketplace we know that this brings acquisition value to our partners, so we measure that as well, so number of sign ups, that would be the metrics there, and the last, but not least is the brand value and the joint solution value on the sales process. So we do that again with online marketing and measuring how this joint messaging resonates with people. So number of impression on a joint blog post, number of users that are attending a webinar as well as our touch customers that, customers that arrive through sales or partners and see if that messaging really resonates and come up on calls that we have with customers.
Darya: So you mentioned two interesting things I want to focus on a bit more; the first one is you said that these integrations can help us not just with existing customers, but actually it can help us acquire new customers. So how can we use it to expand our reach?
Amit: So for example again let’s take Microsoft as an example. When we provided the integration to Microsoft Teams of course we provided it within our products and it was accessible to everyone on Monday, but it’s also advertised in the Microsoft marketplace; that serves as a great acquisition option for Monday to get new audiences to test Monday and see the value for themselves. The other example will be that this joint value proposition really resonates with an enterprise customer who wants to buy Monday. So he comes to Monday, he’s interested in using Monday and he finds out there is this MS Team integration and Teams is something that he’s using in the organization and it drives a lot of value.
Darya: You also mentioned another point where it helps our brand. So will, we can do a partnership just to strengthen our brand?
Amit: So I don’t think that we’ll do a partnership just to strengthen our brand, so I think, you know, strengthening the brand is nice, but we’ll do only something that brings value, and having a brand associate with yourself, so think of Monday and Coca Cola, really, that’s a big logo, but does it make sense for us to partner with them, does it bring value to our users, and I don’t think that, you know, just a brand itself is something that is good enough. The value from the partnership is what drives it.
Darya: Right, it has to make sense business wise, not just …
Amit: Exactly, it needs to …
Darya: logo wise.
Amit: it needs to bring value.
Darya: When doesn’t it work? Do we have an example for when we try to partner with another company, but it didn’t work?
Amit: Well, yeah, we’ve got some partnerships that we’ve had our KPIs and we didn’t meet those KPIs and I think, you know, learning from those mistakes were, the key takeaways were that we first of all didn’t, we defined the KPIs, but didn’t really look into the partnership or initiative, you know, kind of thought about how to address those KPIs.
Darya: Wait, wait, let’s go back.
Darya: We had a partnership with a company. Was it a large company? Was it a use case company?
Amit: So we’ve partnered with a substantial company, I wouldn’t name names here, but it was in early days when, in our partnership, when we just started the partnership organ, the tech partnership organization and we got a company that reached out to us, found Monday as a very interesting partner and offered us to participate in a launch of their new product. I have to say that when it happened we found it very kind of flattering for a company that size to partner with us, and initially we just followed their leads. So they tell us this is how an integration would look like, this is what we think that we want to do, you know, you should do, and we just follow, followed those footsteps and we got the KPIs from, you know, we kind of followed their lead. At the end of the day I think that when push come to shove we delivered the solution and we didn’t see the, what we expected. We didn’t see the adaptation. The value to our users was not that big, our users did not find this integration specifically that useful, so it was, it didn’t meet our KPIs and this is why we’re right now addressing this partnership in a different way, we’re assessing the partnership as something that how it will affect our users, making sure that we get a feedback from our users initially, finding the right, you know, alignment before actually doing the work and measuring that. It doesn’t mean that we are always successful, but it does mean that we’re more targeted and we’re more focused on the results and figuring out if those results could be met then in that specific engagement.
Oren: I would add, you know, maybe to your previous question about do we, you know, do we partner with someone just for their brand. I think maybe this case is even a great example where we partnered, we were impressed by the brand and we said OK, we want to associate Monday’s brand with this brand and so we will launch this partnership and that will in itself drive value, and the reality was that the solution wasn’t strong enough and so the value wasn’t there for our clients and, yeah, it was great that we had both logos on a website, but it didn’t really drive the level of engagement and it really didn’t drive the success that we expected it to have, because the value at the end wasn’t really there.
Darya: What did we learn to do different for the next times in order to not have the same mistake again?
Amit: When we now look at those partnerships I think that we’re looking for a long-lasting relationship, right, so for that specific partnership the other thing that happened, it didn’t work for us, but it also didn’t work for them, so their users were also disappointed from what they got. So it kind of, you know, it, we, you need to move forward with partnership and it’s really important to create those initial successes and kind of alignments and I think this is the key, this is the key to look at partnership as something that is not a one-off, it’s a process and it’s a process that we’ll iterate on and the other side needs to see it in the same manner, because if it’s a one-off, just participating in our launch and we want to see your logo there, which they wanted to see our logo and we thought it will be nice to be part of that, this is not the right way to partner.
Oren: I would also add, though, that we’re, I mean we do a lot of diligence, but we also sometimes take a plunge and, you know, and are trying things. Again as both, as long as both sides understand that you’re trying things and as long as both sides understand that you’re not afraid to fail fast, like we can come in, we can try something out, see if it works, if it doesn’t work we’ll iterate and try again something else and I agree with Amit, I mean at the end of the day it’s a long term play, both companies need to be able to accept that there might be, you know, setbacks and might be challenges along that way and not everything is going to work smoothly and sometimes you launch the first integration or the first collaboration and it sort of works, but didn’t quite work and then you need to go back and not get stuck in a certain paradigm, but you go back, fix it and move on and this is something we do internally at Monday all the time is we, you know, we, we’re not afraid to try something, test it out, AB test it on the market, see if it works and then fix it and move on and we do the same thing in, with our partnerships.
Darya: When you talked about the partnerships that did work, let’s take MS Teams for example, I want to focus on what exactly worked there that you’d like to, you know, duplicate for the next partnerships? What are the most important things that has to be in a partnership for it to really work, and we talked about the value, but let’s take it into practice, like how, maybe how does the relationship should look like.
Amit: When you bring the value to the user and there are multiple users, so you kind of, there is accumulative value that’s coming up and there is a higher visibility, so you, you talked about, you know, the relationships, so we’ve got Partnership Manager and then that Manager take that success and leverage it internally within that organization. So you get more involved visibility and having those KPIs is something that helps your colleagues on the other side share them internally. So I think this is kind of, you know, the value works and then from there the success drives more and more motions, it drives the marketing motion, some things suddenly, yeah, my joint marketing campaign sounds great, you know, social media campaign sounds great, because the value is there, it’s not just an integration, it takes a life of its own and then, you know, when you take something then you say oh, that worked really great, what’s the next step. So I think this is kind of how partnership grow and what we saw successful with Microsoft as well as with a lot of other partners that we have right now is, you know, we worked very hard and very rigorously to find this right win, the first win, although we are willing to fail and we’re telling the other side that let’s keep the track, the APIs and iterate until we succeed, but once there is a success it drives a lot of motions. So it could start from, again, a joint blog post to a co-selling motion with a partner. So really the ground width of what we can do together is really wide.
Darya: What is challenging about it?
Oren: You know, you need to have patience. Like in life, right, partnership is something that you build over time. You build the trust over time, you build the relationships over time and sometimes we want to fast track things, we want to get to the end result already, because we know that it’s working, because we know that it provides value, but you need to be patient. Sometimes, again you need to make sure that the timing is right for both sides even if it’s right for you right now it may not be in the priority for your partner at this point in time, so patience, looking at kind of the longer plane understanding, building the value and understanding that, again, with partnerships each side has their own objectives, has their own views on how things are working and you need to manage that relationship all the time. It’s also a constant investment. You know these partnerships are not won and done. You don’t come in, you do the integration, you finish the integration, you move on and the money starts to flow in. You have to continuously invest in it all the time. You’ve got to have someone that’s dedicated to those relationships all the time and really be mindful that, again, there’s someone on the other side and they have their own needs and they have their own issues and you’ve got to be aware of that, you know, throughout the process.
Amit: I think another challenge is scale and it comes in two ways, a scale of when a partnership grows and it’s being, becoming successful, you’ve got more and more stakeholders from the company busy with that partnership, so initially the partnership organization, it’s us, the core team that is, you know, leading the charge, but when we came in the partnership to become successful we see more people coming from Marketing that are involved in this partnership, we have also people from, you know, Sales and Enablement that are communicating that new integration and this new value proposition into the organization, into our Sales and CS teams, so the scale also becomes really challenging. The other thing is, that is challenging in partnerships, for us at Monday, is the scale of the inbound partnerships that we get, you know, there are so many companies that would like to be associated with Monday, you know it’s a good problem to have, I guess, but also catering for that scale is something that is challenging for us and still maintaining those, being very accessible and addressable for our partners, having the right conversation, filtering through all those partnerships and this is one of the reasons that we’ve launched a marketplace to make it easier for everybody at any size, at any scale to partner with us on a, at least on a technology level and from there take it to the next step.
Darya: If a company is just now starting to build its tech partnerships play what are the most important things they should know when they’re starting?
Oren: You know, if you’re an early stage startup or, you know, or you’re just starting to figure out how your partnerships work I would start with mapping your, you know, your industry, right. I would start with mapping who are the players around you, who can help you serve and drive the results that you’re looking for and then really, yeah, look at both big and small, like try and identify a mix. Don’t hang all your hopes on one giant partnership, but really try and have a mix, mixed approach where there might be smaller companies that you target, might be bigger companies that you target, so have kind of a mixed, a mixed approach and really try and identify within your research the places where, you know, your solution answers a need on the other side, right. Don’t think about what your needs are, think about what is the need of the company you’re trying to partner with, because that’s the fastest avenue to drive results.
Darya: I think what I’m taking from this conversation is the importance of motion. So motion, we can divide it into two parts, the first is to create a partnership motion, meaning just to start with at least one partnership so you will have something to rely on and you will have something to offer to the next partners and companies and the second one is motion within the relationship with the partner, so really not just, you know, trying once to make the, make it work and saying like if it didn’t work then that’s it, but really keep going, iterate and focus on the value that both of you can bring to the customers and from then you can probably grow more and more.
Oren: Yeah. Absolutely, and if you, you know, even if you win you want to, you’re gonna want to look for the next win, right, so absolutely, keep that motion going, you have to continue to invest in it. If you find that angle the more you put into it the better yield it will drive.
Amit: But also don’t be afraid to cut off partnerships if this, if they’re not serving you, right. So don’t insist when there is no reason to insist, and waste your time. Defocusing is the number one, I think, problem of startups and if you think that it can work, but you see that it’s not working and you iterated and it’s not working move to the next one. There is enough partnership opportunities out there.
Darya: OK. Thank you, Oren.
Oren: Thank you so much, Darya.
Darya: Thank you, Amit.
Amit: Thank you, Darya.
Darya: Thanks, everyone, for listening. Bye
Here is the full episode