Erika Childers 19 min

How Twilio Became a Cloud GTM Success Story & the Operational Excellence Behind It


Join this session for an illuminating look at how Twilio built a center of operational excellence within its organization to scale a successful Cloud GTM motion. You’ll get an inside view of where Twilio started and how the strategy, activities, and team have evolved over time.



0:00

All right, let me get my screen shared.

0:07

All right.

0:15

Hello to everybody dialed in from across the globe and welcome to today's cloud

0:19

go to market

0:20

XP segment.

0:21

How Twilio became a cloud go to market success story and the operational

0:24

excellence behind

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it all.

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This should be an incredible segment and today you'll get an illuminating look

0:30

at how Twilio

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built a center of operational excellence within this organization to scale

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successful

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cloud go to market portion.

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You'll also get an inside view of where Twilio started and how the strategy

0:40

activities and

0:41

team have evolved over time.

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Probably makes sense to start out with some brief intro.

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So I'll kick us off before handing it over to the community hour.

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My name is Matthew Thormber.

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I've been at tackle for about a year, but I've been selling a SaaS software for

0:55

over a decade

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now.

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I am responsible for the overarching commercial relationship between tackle and

1:01

Twilio.

1:01

And I've been working with the Twilio account team for about nine to 10 months

1:05

now and

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I've worked pretty closely with Patrick and team.

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Twilio has been a tackle customer since 2021.

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So there's been a lot of evolution over the years.

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So we got a great story to tell.

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But with that being said, I think it makes sense to hand it over to the man of

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the hour

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Patrick.

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So I want you to say hello, Patrick, introduce yourself.

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Maybe tell the audience a little bit about Twilio and segment and then we'll un

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pack the

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conversation.

1:28

Sounds great.

1:29

Thanks a lot for having me.

1:30

It's nice to wear a collared shirt for once.

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But yeah, so I'm Patrick Logan.

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I'm on the partner team here at Twilio segment managing go to market with the

1:40

various cloud

1:40

partners, primarily AWS and GCP.

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Been at Twilio for five years and managed all things channel and resell across

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a number

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of our business units, SendGrid, Twilio and now segment and I'll get into those

1:53

in a

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sec here.

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But quick overview of what we do at Twilio for those of you that might know Tw

1:58

ilio.

1:58

Twilio and segment combine the best in communications and customer data.

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So Twilio sits in the CPAS space.

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So communications platform as a service and we provide communication tools for

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things

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like making and receiving phone calls, IVR functionality, sending and receiving

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texts

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across SMS and WhatsApp and other communication type functions with our APIs.

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So really for any service that you use in your everyday life, if there's a

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communications

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component to it, it's likely Twilio powers it.

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And segment is a CDP, so customer data platform, which is software that

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collects customer

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event data from a wide library of sources and then cleans and routes that data

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to the

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different marketing analytics and data warehousing partnerships that we have in

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place, giving

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our customers that 360 degree view of their customers, ability, create golden

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profile,

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real time personalization, et cetera.

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And Twilio acquired segment in 2021 actually and that's right around the time

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we started

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engaging tackle and starting to look into expanding our partnerships with the

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different

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cloud players.

3:00

So yeah, thanks for having me.

3:02

No, thank you for introducing yourself and sharing with Twilio and segment does

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and just

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the evolution.

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So let's jump on in.

3:09

So broadly speaking, what's the impact that cloud good market is having on the

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large organization?

3:14

Yeah, it's been largely positive for us.

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Working with these cloud providers and primarily AWS and more recently GCP, AWS

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in 2021, our

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business is really thrived with these partnerships.

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I always say it's sort of a badge of honor for your partner program in general

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to be associated

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with these guys, but as a it's also a strategic move that we made in this very,

3:40

very dynamic

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landscape of software procurement.

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And I'd say it was really a coordinated effort to ensure that we always try to

3:47

meet our customers

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where they want to buy.

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We've seen an increased level of influence on deals, which has been extremely

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positive,

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not just necessarily the marketplace, but being able to exchange notes and

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collaborate

3:59

with account teams for our mutual customers.

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It's really opened doors for some constructive executive discussions.

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Historically, our relationship with these hyperscalers was really more of a

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customer of theirs, right?

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We're built on them.

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They also use us.

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It was, I don't want to say vendor relationship, but we're customers of each

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other.

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And this has really opened the door where we can really call it a true holistic

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partnership.

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And just, and really, I mean, the go-to-market stuff is great, but there's also

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a lot of

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co-marketing and innovation work streams that you have access to.

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So, yeah, long-winded way of saying it's been very positive on our business.

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It could be a little bit of a grind getting going, getting internal

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stakeholders bought

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in, but it's well worth it, for sure.

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Totally.

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And now that the audience understands the broader story, let's dive in a bit

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further

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here.

4:53

So, can you hear a little bit about the actual impact the buyers and sellers

4:57

and some of

4:57

the members and findings around it?

4:59

And I guess, why don't we just start with the qualitative impact for your

5:03

sellers?

5:04

Yeah, so for our field, I mean, our sellers really see expedited, expedited

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timelines,

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sales, you know, processes and faster procurement process, I would say.

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Especially now that we're set up better for this operationally, and I think we

5:19

'll probably

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get into that a little bit more.

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But we've really seen it help with our churn and contraction strategy.

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Our place is really good for renewals, especially earlier in your co-sale

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journey.

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The renewals do come at you pretty quick, and then over time, the new logo is

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an expansion

5:35

deals.

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We'll start to pick up speed.

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But obviously, the marketplace trend is only growing, and in order to really

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work and partner

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closely with these cloud go-to-market players, we've found that you really do

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have to take

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marketplace seriously.

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As many of you probably know, like these reps are compensated.

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They've got skin in the game and are incentivized to help.

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And I think our field, we've done a good job of making sure our field knows how

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these

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guys operate and our sellers know that they know this and they'll never turn

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down a discussion

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with these partners.

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So I think they really see the value in the account team alignments, you know,

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exchanging

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notes on who each side is working with.

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Is there a chance to create or craft any better together story, intelligence

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into how customers

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operate internally?

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And we've seen some of our largest deals as a business unit within Twilio

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segment have

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transacted on the marketplace.

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And when that happens, as an example, we were showcased at one of our cloud

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partners, SKOs.

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And obviously, we showcased it on ours as well.

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And stuff like that is just really good internal branding for taking cloud go-

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to-market seriously.

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I love that big deals move the needles in multiple ways.

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So as a seller myself, I totally agree with pretty much every single one of

6:53

those impact

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items.

6:55

What would you say are the qualitative impact for the buyers?

6:58

You have to good question.

7:00

I mean, I think the benefits are sort of similar, at least on the faster

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procurement side of

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things.

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That's definitely one of the nice to have for our buyers.

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But I think it really comes down to the financial benefits for our mutual

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customers.

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That whole being able to draw down on cloud commitments is really a must-have

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and a primary

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driver for this thing and a huge lever for all parties involved.

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There's also various credit incentive programs that folks like AWS offer for

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certain deals.

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Like as an example, for certain-sized deals, AWS can bring funding to the table

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in the form

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of infrastructure credits for first-time marketplace buyers.

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And our customers obviously love this.

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You have free credits for working with the partners.

7:44

Great.

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And our field loves it too.

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It's just another thing that they can bring to their customers.

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It's sort of like a nice to have.

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And one of the other perks that I've really picked up on, it's more of an

7:57

informal perk

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I would say, but customers really at the enterprise level, they absolutely love

8:02

when

8:02

our respective account teams are communicating.

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And that's where the marketplace deal is on the table or not.

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It always just makes both sides look really good when we're all communicating

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and trying

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to better serve our mutual customers.

8:16

Totally.

8:17

And let's get to my favorite question now.

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I'm a sales guy, so I like numbers and outcomes.

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So at this point, I think it's pretty clear there's a significant impact for

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both sellers

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and buyers when it comes to cloud go to market.

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But when it comes to the numbers themselves, what's the quantitative impact

8:31

that Twilio

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has experienced in starting this journey back in 2021?

8:35

Yeah, from a marketplace transaction standpoint, since we started this, we,

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like I said before,

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we started in 2021.

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Saw a handful of deals at first, started picking up some steam.

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2022, it really started taking off.

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So we saw 600% your over your growth in number of deals.

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Big number, I know.

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Hard to keep that up.

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So we did keep the momentum going in 2023 with 200% your over your growth with

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traction

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on the logos and some expansion ops.

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And in 2023, we did 100 deals on the marketplace and we're going to try to

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double that this

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year.

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And one of the other things that our team tracks is influenced revenue.

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So how many deals does do the cloud partners influence?

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And again, doesn't have to necessarily be marketplace.

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Did they help in any way in the form of intelligence on who to connect with or

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visibility into

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their buying patterns?

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Like if marketplace is a preferred procurement option, that sort of stuff is

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super helpful.

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And our cloud partners touch roughly 40% of our deal flow in some way, shape,

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or form.

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So it works pretty well.

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And beyond the co-selling piece, the co-marketing opportunities that come to

9:40

you are awesome,

9:41

too.

9:42

So we sponsor re-invent.

9:43

Obviously AWS is huge conference in Vegas and attend some of the partner sum

9:47

mits.

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We attended Google next this year, get roped into a number of webinars,

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technical workshops,

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and then I think if you're at certain partner levels, they'll bring MDF to the

9:57

table for

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things like paid media campaigns.

9:59

So what kinds of fun stuff?

10:01

Very fun.

10:02

And anytime you're throwing around 600% type numbers, that's a fun conversation

10:06

So I think it's fairly obvious at this point that a lot goes in to a successful

10:10

cloud go

10:10

to market motion, especially at a scale of a toolio.

10:14

Can you share a little bit about how familiar is cloud go to market operations

10:17

team is organized

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today?

10:19

Yeah, definitely.

10:21

So I mean, it sort of starts with the Alliance lead, which is yours truly

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playing the quarterback

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role.

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So there's a lot of blocking and tackling involved, obviously, organizing,

10:31

facilitating all the

10:32

account alignment discussions, managing deal flow, both in the partner centers

10:37

and chasing

10:38

our account teams to ensure they're keeping the cloud partners in the

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marketplace channel

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top of mind.

10:44

Training AEs, the position, the partnership and marketplace early enough in the

10:48

deal flow,

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it's always frustrating more so for the operations team.

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And last minute, and of course, I was going to buy a direct, but now I'm going

10:56

to buy

10:57

through marketplace.

10:58

So we try to avoid that best we can.

11:00

And that sort of leads to the never ending enablement stuff, both internally.

11:05

So constant training of the team through our field enablement team,

11:09

participating in new

11:10

higher training, stuff like that, dropping into team meetings just to keep the

11:14

partner

11:15

motion top of mind.

11:16

And then there's the external side too.

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So doing what you can to, you're really pulling all levers and getting the

11:23

field on the partner

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side educated as well, really doing what you can to differentiate yourself from

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all the

11:29

other folks in your competitive wheelhouse.

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Obviously, these hyperscalers have tons of partners.

11:34

So things like making sure you're in the right competency programs, which help

11:38

you stand

11:38

out.

11:39

So those are just a couple of examples.

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We also do have a, what we do now, have a billing operations team that's really

11:46

embraced

11:46

the Cloud Go to Market Playbook.

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So we have a deal desk counterpart that's really leaned in, revenue accounting

11:52

buy-in

11:53

as well, and they'll support when needed.

11:57

We time to time need BizOps resources to do things like getting our CRM,

12:02

talking to the

12:03

various partner portals, stuff like that.

12:06

And I think the biggest one really is sales leadership.

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Getting to a point at the Cloud partners being strategic as a must have for our

12:15

business really

12:15

gets, gets a attention.

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So all that being said, it took some time to get to this point, but we're

12:21

getting to

12:22

a place where it's really starting to pay off.

12:25

Well, nothing worthwhile is easy.

12:27

So it's great to see the grind be fruitful for you guys.

12:30

And obviously, as you hit new levels of scale in the operations, your first

12:34

deals, 10 deals,

12:36

50 deals, things evolve.

12:37

So how has the operational motion changed over the last couple of years as the

12:41

overall

12:42

Cloud Go to Market strategy has evolved?

12:45

Yeah, I mean, sticking with the theme of leadership having your back and what's

12:49

really

12:50

helped beyond sales leadership was just executive buy-in in general.

12:54

We didn't necessarily have that in the early days, but once we proved out the

12:58

model and

12:59

when it became clear that things like additional budget or headcount for

13:03

someone like myself

13:05

to kind of quarterback this whole thing was needed, at that point, it really

13:08

gave us the

13:09

opportunity to sell the right internal executives that this is a path that

13:13

should be taken seriously.

13:15

By the business and on the Twilio segment side, we've done that.

13:18

We're there.

13:20

And initially, we had more of a deal desk operated model for generating private

13:25

offers

13:26

where we had one person literally doing the offers from start to finish with my

13:29

team pitching

13:30

in.

13:31

So obviously, super manual, the more deals the larger the lift.

13:35

And then once it became too manual, you need to put some automation in place.

13:39

And I would say another thing to brace for, especially if you're new to this,

13:43

each Cloud

13:43

partner has their own partner center where you can enter opportunities to spark

13:47

interest

13:48

on the partner side.

13:49

So initially, that was very manual.

13:51

Like these partner systems, there's no cross-beam with these guys.

13:56

It was manual for myself and the team at first entering ops in one by one.

14:00

Bulk uploading opportunities, which was a headache, but we now connect our CRM

14:05

to AWS's

14:07

partner portal and push all opportunities once they hit a certain stage.

14:11

And that's including renewals.

14:12

So it just opened up a ton of dialogue as you now have account teams on the

14:16

partner side

14:17

chasing you, which is a good thing.

14:19

So I wake up every day with a bunch of inquiries that I've got and ultimately

14:23

start making

14:23

connections versus when we first got going as the Alliance League, you're

14:28

really doing

14:28

all of the chasing.

14:30

So I'd say in general, the success we started seeing demanded for much, you

14:34

know, a lot more

14:34

operational excellence and some innovation and obviously shout it to you guys

14:38

at tackle

14:39

for helping with a lot of stuff behind the scenes and the reason why we're

14:42

seeing success

14:43

today.

14:44

Well, we appreciate the tackle plug.

14:46

I appreciate the tackle plug.

14:48

Obviously, there are different challenges at different points when reaching

14:51

levels of

14:52

scale.

14:53

What are like one to two very specific operational challenges that you've

14:56

encountered over say

14:57

like the last year or so?

14:59

And then just how did you go about solving?

15:01

Yeah, I think the ones that come to mind are definitely more sales related.

15:07

There's an extra step in the process when doing this step.

15:10

So we saw and still due to a certain extent, see pushback from AEs on the

15:14

private offer

15:15

process is there's that extra step of them having to execute a private offer.

15:20

But once they see how influential these partners can be through the alignment

15:24

meetings we coordinate

15:25

as an example, they do start to accept the process a little bit more when they

15:30

finally

15:30

grasp that the financial benefits the customer sees are real.

15:33

There's another win, right?

15:34

And then it really does take an AE doing their first deal alongside the partner

15:38

from start

15:38

to finish to really get them to see the light.

15:42

I mentioned before we also had more of a deal desk operating model where they A

15:46

Es commit

15:46

or where we would manually do the offer.

15:49

So we started to see a trend where AEs were closed winning deals before the

15:52

offer was

15:53

even generated or accepted.

15:56

I mean sales people not to call you out, but they're greedy.

16:02

You want to close that deal as soon as you can and I totally get it.

16:04

I used to be a sales guy as well.

16:08

But we worked with tackle as a tackle product team really as a design partner

16:12

to provide

16:13

feedback on a product that lets AEs own the creation process directly from

16:18

Salesforce.

16:19

So I think it was like Q3 or Q4 last year.

16:23

We put a process into place for AEs are now responsible for generating offers

16:26

from Salesforce

16:27

themselves and they can't close win that until it's accepted.

16:31

So that's a big one.

16:32

And the other one is the comp neutral piece.

16:35

Offsetting the marketplace fees to customers doesn't necessarily go well.

16:38

So we try to enable our AEs to do this.

16:41

And then on the flip side, making AEs take a hit, it does not go well either.

16:47

So I think eating the fee is worth it, especially given AWS and GCPs of the

16:50

world take on the

16:51

risk of collecting from the customers.

16:53

We've got to see any issues with getting paid on a deal.

16:56

So we think the comp neutral policy is definitely worth it.

17:00

I think that as well.

17:01

And I know tackle thinks that as well.

17:02

So appreciate that sentiment.

17:04

So we've covered a lot so far.

17:06

We've got a couple more points here and that the close in three or four minutes

17:09

But looking back over the past couple of years, is there anything like

17:13

specifically any specific

17:14

advice you would give to somebody in a similar position to you?

17:17

Yeah, I mean, I would say don't necessarily go ahead and do it yourself path

17:21

unless you

17:22

have significant tactical resources available.

17:25

Working with someone like tackle can accelerate the process quite a bit.

17:29

We saw that, and I'd say if you're an alliance lead, make sure you have fine

17:33

internal operations,

17:34

accounting and deal desk champions.

17:36

If you're still early in the cloud, go to market process, have your operations

17:41

colleagues

17:41

ride shotgun with you through all the exploratory discussions.

17:45

I think those are the big ones that I can think of right now.

17:50

Yeah.

17:51

And just first off, just thank you so much for your sharing your expertise,

17:54

Patrick.

17:55

You're a legend when it comes to all things cloud go to market.

17:57

I can speak for that firsthand.

17:59

So in closing here, are there any final thoughts you'd like to leave the

18:01

audience with?

18:02

Yeah, I mean, I've been in this cloud go to market game for a few years now.

18:06

It's been challenging, but also rewarding.

18:07

And if you can tell I'm bullish on it, I see the cloud partners innovating more

18:11

and more

18:12

each quarter to ensure partners like us can be successful.

18:15

We've got a great pre partner and tackle that helps us stay on top of things.

18:18

But yeah, I appreciate you guys having me on.

18:20

It's been awesome.

18:21

And for anyone that's on, if you want to hit me up on LinkedIn as well, if you

18:24

want

18:24

to chat informally, I always find it helpful to exchange notes with other folks

18:28

partnering

18:28

with these cloud players.

18:30

So feel free to hit me up anytime.

18:32

Love it.

18:33

Well, thank you so much again.

18:35

The future definitely is bright on just as bullish as you are as the

18:37

opportunity ahead

18:38

of us all.

18:40

And I think we have a minute or two here for some question from the audience if

18:43

anybody

18:44

has any.

18:45

So does anybody have a question for Patrick or I guess even myself?

18:53

Anybody?

18:56

Tough crowd.

18:57

Yeah, no worries if not.

18:59

I did say hit me up on LinkedIn.

19:01

It helps for all of us to chat that are working with these folks.

19:05

Sometimes it could be a bit of a therapy session.

19:08

But I think it's good to connect.

19:10

So feel free to hit me up.

19:12

Well, thank you everybody again.

19:13

I'm sure there will be a recording that will be distributed and we look forward

19:16

to our

19:16

next webinar.

19:17

Thanks all.

19:18

See ya.

19:19

Bye.

19:20

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