Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 233: Q & A with Jason Yarborough @yarby


By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

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This week’s show is called Partner Marketing Best Practices with the Masterand our guest is Jason Yarborough, VP of Partnerships at Terminus.

As marketers, we focus so much on direct demand gen, direct sales– we focus on this direct line of sight that marketers control and yet there is so much leverage and opportunity for so many people in their partner ecosystems. It is definitely more complicated, it’s definitely less predictable, may be high risk, but lots of high reward.

I ask Jason why is this function so interesting? What about partner marketing is so exciting?

Jason shares about the pros and cons of how companies should think about direct versus indirect direct versus channel.

There’s a balance there between content and demand, between leveraging and building trust and credibility while also still driving pipeline.

ROI is a two-way street.

How do we also stay focused on deals? What’s the chicken versus the egg, which one’s the egg?

I ask Jason about how to think about exclusivity versus playing multiple sides? Both inbound and outbound from a partner standpoint, are there advantages to one approach versus the other? And if there is, what are some of the criteria and variables you would look at to try to make that decision?

This and a lot more! Read and/or listen to the full show below:

Matt:  Want to welcome everyone to another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio, I hope you can hear me fine, we’re a warming up the new mic here, but the excited to have you all join us. If you are joining us live on the funnel media radio network, thank you very much for making us part of your work day and if you’re listening to the podcast, thank you for checking us out, thank you for discovering. Thank you to all of our loyal listeners who continue to download and listen here five plus years in.

And if you are new to the podcast, if you like the format, if you like what we’re talking about, we got a lot more of this. We’ve got hundreds of past episodes up available for you on demand at Every week, we’re featuring some of the best and brightest minds in B2B sales and marketing and today is absolutely no different. Very excited to have with us from the hinterlands of Montana, Jason Yarborough. How are you doing?

Jason Yarborough:  Hey man, I’m doing wonderful. How are you?

Matt:  I’m doing well. I know that you are also trying to lean into a new year, you have a new job, you have a new baby. Well, not a new, new baby, but you have a child you’re chasing around the house, with another new baby on the way, so you are a very busy man. I appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Jason Yarborough:  In a new house, so it’s a whole new world here.

Matt:  All of the new things, it’s a lot. So, let’s start there. I mean, how are you doing all of that? New job, new house, pending baby, still with coronavirus out there, how do you balance getting all this stuff done?

Jason Yarborough:  We don’t leave this room.

Matt:  Right.

Jason Yarborough:  I’ve got a great partner in crime, my wife Samantha, who you know. We team up very well, we got a great little guy, we both started new jobs during all this and we both love our jobs, so I think that helps out a lot and we just have a lot of fun doing all the things that we get to do. We’re very fortunate.

Matt:  That’s good to hear. No, I think we all… We’re in this orbit, we do have a lot of advantage and it’s easy to take that for granted sometimes. And I have had a chance to work with your lovely wife, I actually had a phone call with her this morning in her new capacity. Most of the time we talk about someone’s better half and it’s just like a nice polite thing to say, I think in this case, Yarby, I love you, but yes, better half you did well.

Jason Yarborough:  Yeah, I agree. I feel like I hear that every day now because we’re all in that same lane, same pool and everyone gets a chance to meet her and they’re like, “Oh, wow. It really rings true with better half for you.” And I’m like, “Thanks guys. Appreciate it.”

Matt:  Well, I mean, you both are playing in this partner marketing, partner ecosystem world and that’s why I wanted to have you on the show today, to really talk about what we… As marketers, we focus so much on direct demand gen, direct sales we focused on through this direct line of sight that marketers control and yet there is so much leverage and opportunity for so many people in their partner ecosystems. It is definitely more complicated, it’s definitely less predictable, but high maybe risks, but lots of high reward. I mean, why is that function so interesting to you? I mean, this is not your first or second rodeo on the partner management side, what about partner marketing is so exciting?

Jason Yarborough:  There’s a lot that excites me about it. First, at the core of it, it allows me to do what I do best and I think for me, it’s building relationships, getting to know people, getting to know how I can provide value to them. At the very core of who I am, that’s what I stand for. So, I thoroughly enjoy that. The other piece of it is that you’re involved in all facets of the business, right? So, we sit directly in the middle of sales, marketing, customer success, product and it just keeps going round and round and you get a chance to be a part of all facets of the business and for someone like myself who gets bored pretty easy, that’s a lot of fun. So, I get a chance to help, direct and navigate and facilitate introductions that can help make our product better.

Matt:  Yeah. And I think that one of the challenges, I think, some companies have with in partner motion, not only do you have a little less control over it, but it sometimes can take a little more time to get up and rolling. I’m going to go generate some leads, I’m going to hire some BDRs, I’m going to quickly build some direct pipeline. The partner ecosystem is a little more complex, but the yield and the efficiency, once you get it up and rolling can be really, really advantageous. Talk a little bit about those pros and cons of how companies should think about direct versus indirect direct versus channel.

Jason Yarborough:  Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m wrong, but when I first got started in this partnership ecosystem, you were of the first calls that I had because you and I go back to some Oracle days, I believe. And you mentioned that you really wanted to get some at bats and you really wanted to help provide value to what we were doing for our customers. And I think that right there is what you should be looking at and looking for in a partner and for your company, right? Looking for those people that really want to be a help and provide value to what you’re doing to make your company, your product better and that’s exactly what partners have the ability to do, right?

They’re a trusted third party resource. They bring so much validation to what you’re doing when you’ve got BDRs and sales reps hounding these prospects every single day. But when we can bring someone like yourself and I’m grateful for those opportunities that you’ve jumped in calls with me on, to provide validation to what we’re doing, not only in like an ABM space, but with our product as well, that just speaks so much volume to what we’re building as a company when we can do so with partners.

Matt:  So, I like that answer for a lot of reasons, because I think, if you think about your partner ecosystem as a function, I think that’s really easy to say, “Okay, partners equal pipeline.” And so, you say, “Okay, where are the introductions you can make for us? How can you introduce us to your customers, to your clients, to your network?” Which is important on both sides, but also to think about, “How do we take the long game approach to this? How do we build some trust and credibility? How do we leverage each other’s expertise to grease some wheels that may not immediately turn into business, but eventually does?”

And I think there’s pros and cons there on both sides. There’s disadvantages when companies very transparently say, “Our partner program is really just all about pipeline. We just want leads from you.” And also, I think that sometimes the partners that give you the most leads may be doing that without the right context and juice to actually help those convert as well. So, there’s a balance there between content and demand, between leveraging and building trust and credibility while also still driving pipeline.

Jason Yarborough:  Yeah, absolutely, and I think… I’ll speak to a little bit about that pipeline. I think you’ll find that most, I think, partnership ecosystem with programs are built on the backbone of getting PQLs like your partner qualified leads. But for me, I’m trying to look beyond that and like you said, how can I look more long-term down the road? Partners sending their leads in and sending those PQs in is great, it’s great value for us, but if I can’t provide value out, we’re not doing a very good job of building a partnership program here.

So, for me, it’s looking for those opportunities where I can really provide value out. Whether we’re doing some sort of co-marketing support with a partner or we’re sending professional services out to a partner or we’re making introductions to help enhance our product just for the sheer sake of getting those at-bats, as you call them, to first establish value coming out of the partnership ecosystem in order to get that trust, to build that relationship, to create that ROI.

Matt:  Well, it’s a two-way street, I think, is what you’re saying.

Jason Yarborough:  Absolutely.

Matt:  Right?

Jason Yarborough:  100%. Yep, ROI is a two-way street.

Matt:  Yeah, I mean, you may ultimately evaluate your program… For some reason, I had not heard PQL before, like we need more acronyms in B2B. Partner qualified lead. So, you may be measuring based on, “Okay, how many actual qualified leads do we get? What kind of pipeline? What kind of closed business from the Partners?” Just because that’s what you’re measuring, what you care the most about, doesn’t mean that that can be exclusively what the motions are that you drive.

And I think you and I have both seen Partner programs that are very transparently one-sided, right? That are all about, “What can our partners give to us?” And they’re not thinking about, “What do the partners really get in return?” And unless you think about that other side, it doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be time-consuming, it can be fairly small, but very meaningful things. You will have a very short-sighted, short-term partner program that won’t have longevity if you aren’t thinking about all the side.

Jason Yarborough:  You’ll just have a lot of one night stand partners and that reminds of long-term value.

Matt:  Listen, like I said, we talk about whatever we want here on Sales Pipeline Radio.

Jason Yarborough:  That’s what I was told.

Matt:  We do have to take a quick break, we got to pay some bills. We’re going to be back with more with Jason Yarborough, he runs the partner ecosystem over at Terminus. We’re going to talk a little bit of more about the balance between partnerships, deals, chicken versus egg, what are some of the things that we’re seeing working right now in the partner ecosystem world, especially in B2B, we’ll be right back on Sales Pipeline Radio.

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Paul:  Back to the man who’s never had a one night stand, he’s always in it for the long run, Matt Heinz.

Matt:  Yeah, thank you Paul. And I have with us today on Sales Pipeline Radio, the head of partner marketing ecosystem for Terminus, one of the market’s leading ABM platforms, Jason Yarborough and Jason, excited to have you continue to talk a little bit about partner ecosystems. Someone told me once this, they were talking about partners and why some partnerships work and some don’t and they said, “The problem with most partnerships is that you expect the partnership to drive deals.”

The reality is deals drive partnerships, right? So, it’s really sometimes more effective instead of creating these big programs and these big initiatives, start very tactical and go get a couple of deals across the line, which will get people’s attention, which will show people that you have juice, that you have relationships, and that will help get more attention to say, “Oh, let’s build a real partnership.” How do you think about that? In terms of… We’ve talked a little bit already about building the overall partnership, but then how do we also stay focused on deals? What’s the chicken versus the egg, which one’s the egg?

Jason Yarborough:  I think it’s really… I just had a webinar about this, but identifying the right partner. We spent a lot of time focusing on what our ICP is for a business, but we don’t spend a lot of time focusing on what the IPP is, if we’re going acronyms, or your ideal partner profile and for me, it’s looking at those partners. So, I’m coming into a program that had a few partners already.

Who’s leaned in already? Who’s interested and who’s there, ready to step into that relationship and how can you nurture that to the point of getting a win? A win can be, how can they help influence a deal? How can you do some co-marketing with them? How can they best support you in your new role? How can you best support them coming in as a new guy? So, it’s looking for those small wins out the gate with those people that are leaned in and then from there, how do you rinse, wash repeat?

Matt:  Yeah, and I think… I mean, let’s talk a little bit about sometimes, the mixed nature of working some of those partner ecosystems as well. So, you will have partners that are working with you as well as your competitors, we at Heinz Marketing have done great work with you guys at Terminus. There are other ABM employers out there and there are other agencies out there, right? So, there shouldn’t be an expectation that, “Well, if we’re going to work with you guys, you can’t work with anybody else that does anything like us.” You got to figure out how to tread lightly sometimes around that. How do you think about that ecosystem where the lanes cross a little bit?

Jason Yarborough:  Yeah, that’s something that I think about quite often, one that I butted up against last week but, really, there’s really no exclusivity amongst these tech partnerships, right? Everyone’s dancing in somebody else’s space and so, for me, it’s like some of my top agency partners are working with some of our competitors and that’s fine. I think there’s enough work out there in the space to warrant that to be okay and to be able to still partner together.

And I have friends that work at some of our competitors and that’s okay too, I’d support them as best as I can and as needed. And I think you just have to look at it as the best friend wins, right? How can you provide, again, more value to that partner that you know works with different ecosystems, different platforms, to get them to think about you more frequently?

What is it you have to do? Is it more cadences? Is it more value out as far as sending deals to them? Like, what is more important to this partner to get out of this relationship that they want to work with us more than they want to work with the other guy? And in some cases, we’ve had a few agencies come and say, “We’ll work exclusively with you.” I’m not incentivizing that, I’m not pushing them by any means. We have a good product, it speaks for itself and hopefully myself and my team do a really good job building that relationship and may the best man win.

Matt:  Well, I want to address that issue of exclusivity because there’s plenty of people that will do it. We do a lot of work with some managed service providers in the Microsoft ecosystem and if you’re representing and doing managed services for Microsoft products, I mean, there’s an enormous market for that, right? And so, in any different industry you’ll say, “We just do Microsoft,” or, “We just do Tableau,” or “We just do Eloqua,” whatever that is and there’s a solid business for that. How do you think about exclusivity versus playing multiple sides? Both inbound and outbound from a partner standpoint, are there advantages to one approach versus the other? And if there is, what are some of the criteria and variables you would look at to try to make that decision?

Jason Yarborough:  Yeah. So, there’s certain things to look at. So, if I’ve got partner X who’s working exclusively with Terminus, then chances are they’re going to know Terminus inside and out. I can think of a couple of partners in the Terminus ecosystem that are exclusive Terminus partners. They use Terminus, they know Terminus and in some cases they know Terminus better than some of Terminus knows Terminus.

So, they invest all their time, energy and resources into our platform to make it succeed for their customers. So, they’re the partners that will perhaps get some of the services sent out to, they’re partners that can come in and provide a lot of value on the product from that third party resource, they’re the partners that we can go to when we need someone to fix a problem for a partner that we’re not going to solve in-house. So, I think the value in that exclusivity comes in them being that trusted expert partner.

Matt:  Got just a few more minutes here with our guest today on Sales Pipeline Radio, Jason Yarborough, who runs partner marketing and partner ecosystem for Terminus. Let’s talk a little about the ABM space. I think it’s certainly grown exponentially over the last few years and I wonder if we’re now to the point where it’s no longer really ABM, it’s how we do marketing, it’s how we do go to market.

And I almost don’t want to say it’s how we do marketing because it’s sort of… One of the things I don’t like about ABM is that marketing is in the name. This isn’t a marketing initiative, this is a go to market effort, right? I feel like this is now become table stakes. This approach has become… An account-based approach has become table stakes for companies that are in complex selling environments. How’s Terminus thinking about that and where do you think that that’s going to go?

Jason Yarborough:  I think you’re 100% right. It’s how we do B2B marketing, I think it’s probably how we’ve done B2B marketing for quite some time, it just now has a fancy abbreviation to go along with it. But we 100% are addressing it as the go to market solution and I like what some of our teams says and specifically, Bryan Wade on our team, he says, “ABM is sales and marketing. It’s not just marketing because ABM doesn’t work if you don’t have alignment between sales and marketing, so it is sales and marketing.”

And we think about it now as, instead of just being a top of funnel where it’s now full funnel. That’s how we’re approaching it from… Introducing Terminus as a full funnel, to sales engagement, to closing deals, then rinse, wash, repeat, to retain in your current customers and running ABM through your current customers.

So, you’ve got to think about all these different factors that are coming into play in ABM now. You got data, ABMs now multichannel, it’s no longer just ads. People think of it as, how are you reporting on this and improving the work and optimizing? And how are you generating the revenue? And before even that, how are you even targeting the right companies to do all this with? So, that’s why we look at our product like a full funnel approach to ABM.

Matt:  Well, let’s pivot again to get to the real meat of the conversation, full pun attended. So, you are new proud owner of a Weber Smokey Mountain.

Jason Yarborough:  That’s correct.

Matt:  And for those of you that are the un-barbacue initiate, the Weber Smokey Mountain basically is a giant black pill size smoker. Imagine if you took a Weber Kettle and put a giant cylinder in the middle, in between the bottom and the top, that’s basically what Jason now has. So, talk a little bit about either some things that you have tried, what are some things you’re looking for? What’s going to be on this Weber Smokey Mountain here in the near future, in the Yarborough household?

Jason Yarborough:  Yeah, good timing. Unfortunately, had a few series of circumstances that have not allowed me to test it out yet. It is assembled and on the patio, however, tomorrow I hope to do some chicken thighs, Saturday, some prime rib and Monday might get crazy and do some elk ribs because we live in Montana, I’ve got a freezer full of elk.

Matt:  That is a very fast escalation from-

Jason Yarborough:  I went from intermediate to advanced in like three days, man.

Matt:  I mean, you might as well just do a full-on… Either do a whole hog barbecue or just go right to brisket. You’re getting into the intermediate zone pretty quickly here, but-

Jason Yarborough:  I’m going to have to repay your favor of sending us bacon for… I’ve got some elk in the freezer that I’m going to attempt to make some jerky with, so maybe I’ll send you some of that.

Matt:  I will trade you smoked bacon for elk anytime. Yes, Paul.

Paul:  Well, I live here in Southern California and I’m wondering if you’re going to do a little tofu. Got to have a little tofu on there.

Jason Yarborough:  I don’t know what that is.

Matt:  I was starting to come up with a witty come back and I think you got the right one.

Jason Yarborough:  Well, I think that would burn. I think you can use that for-

Paul:  For grease, yeah.

Jason Yarborough:  A starter, as a starter. Leave the charcoals lit.

Paul:  I don’t know, lot of tofu eaters here.

Matt:  I have not tried to… I have not had the opportunity to cook elk here. My advice to any new barbecue folks are, start with chicken and pork butt because they’re very forgiving. You can smoke a chicken… Smoking a half chicken, especially if you marinade it in advance, whether it’s just a dry marinade or whether there’s adobo Qdobo, I think I’m totally mispronouncing it but it’s a blood orange marinade you can get from the Hispanic and Latin supermarkets.

Paul:  I got to tell you guys, I’ve smoked lots of things, I’ve never smoked a pork’s butt, so that’s all I can tell you.

Matt:  Well, it’s part of the shoulder, Paul. I’m just going to try to-

Paul:  Do you roll it? Or how does it… Does it light well or…

Matt:  Well, we had the ABM virgins or one night stands. We’re covering all the bases here. Yeah, pork shoulder, it’s really hard to screw it up because part of the goal is, it’s going to take… Like you got a good size, like 10, 12 pound pork shoulder at 225, 250, it’s going to take a good 10, 12 plus hours and the rule of thumb is, once it gets to about 190, you want to let it sit there for a while. So, it’s going to self-based, it’s going to keep its moisture. If you keep it on for 24 hours, you’re screwed but like, it’s… There’s a higher margin of error, if you’re doing the pork shoulder.

Paul:  Jason, would you try and let him in on the joke that in Southern California, smoking something has a whole different connotation than what he’s thinking about here.

Jason Yarborough:  I knew where you were at.

Matt:  I know we only got a couple more minutes. Someone wants got me, and this speaks to either my so-called pop culture or more my marijuana naivete. Someone got me a apron that said, “Smoke meat every day.” And I did not get the joke for a very long time, I’m like, “Okay. Yeah, that’s a great idea, I love smoked meat,” and then I finally… I happened to be in the car, I was listening to that song.

Paul:  Okay, well, everybody… Different strokes for different folks here, that’s all I can say.

Jason Yarborough:  I got a freezer full of elk, Paul and Matt-

Paul:  Does it taste like chicken? Everybody always says everything that isn’t chicken tastes like chicken. Alligator tastes like chicken, whatever. I don’t know. Everybody just says it tastes like-

Jason Yarborough:  Alligator kind of does. It’s more like the beef, I would say. We do a lot of it here.

Matt:  It is a little more gamey. So, I’ve not cooked elk, but I’ve had elk. We have a friend who’s a federal biologist and he does a lot of hunting and we have occasionally done bacon for elk sausage trades and elk sausage is phenomenal.

Jason Yarborough:  So good. I’m going to send you some. I got to figure out your method of mailing frozen meat, but I’ll figure it out and send you some.

Matt:  We’ll figure it out, we’ll figure it out. Well, this has been a lot of fun. We’ve gone clearly a bunch of directions.

Paul:  From a one nightstand to smoking all sorts of stuff here.

Matt:  The dating lives of partner ecosystems. Well, if you’re still listening, thank you so much for joining us on another fun episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. Thank you, Jason Yarborough from Terminus for joining us today. Good luck this year in the new gig, good luck with the new baby and the new house, all the new things. It’s a new year, so we’re all doing it. Well, thank you very much everyone for listening. On behalf of my great producer, Paul, this is Matt Heinz. Thanks for joining us on another eventful episode of Sales Pipeline Radio.

Sales Pipeline Radio is sponsored and produced by Heinz Marketing on the Funnel Radio Channel.  I interview the best and brightest minds in sales and Marketing.  If you would like to be a guest on Sales Pipeline Radio send an email to Sheena.