Erika Childers 20 min

Lessons Learned from Operationalizing Commvault's Cloud GTM Strategy as we Scaled


Commvault has catapulted its way into becoming one of the top cloud sellers, but it wasn’t an overnight success story. Hear from Jacob Bishop, Sr Director of Operations, about the people, processes, and technology required to build a sustainable Cloud GTM motion.



0:00

Wow, the clock just starts right away. I already see it's at 1950. I was

0:08

getting great to see

0:10

everybody. I was wondering backstage if there's like a lot of audio for claps

0:14

as you come onto

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this thing to resemble like actually coming onto the stage. But nonetheless,

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there were no claps,

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but it's great to be here. And it's exciting to see lots of comments coming

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through in the chat.

0:27

To introduce myself, my name is Mike Wallace. I'm an enterprise account

0:31

executive here at

0:31

Tackle. I've been with Tackle for about three years now. It's been very

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exciting watching Tackle

0:37

grow up and also the Cloud Go to Market Space grow up in general. I've had the

0:43

pleasure to work

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with a number of tackles larger accounts and the pleasure to support Commvault

0:50

for about a year now.

0:52

And I've been working directly with Jacob for about probably, I don't know,

0:57

what would you call it,

0:57

Jacob? Two quarters or so? About a year now. Yeah, which has been great. And we

1:03

've had a ton of

1:04

wins and it's been a lot of fun to be part of that success as well. So very

1:08

excited to take you all

1:09

through kind of the journey of Commvault from kicking things off, seeing early

1:14

success through

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the marketplace. But then the bulk of our conversations primarily going to be

1:18

around how Commvault

1:21

scaled their marketplace operations, particularly when it comes to revenue

1:26

operations and channel

1:27

ops as well, which has all been spearheaded by Jacob. So without further ado,

1:32

Jacob, I'll kick

1:33

it over to you if you want to just give a little bit of back to yourself and

1:38

some background on

1:40

Commvault. Thanks, Mike, and pleasure to be here. Great to see everyone out

1:44

there. My name's Jacob

1:46

Bishop. I've been at Commvault now four and a half years. I've held a few

1:49

different roles in our

1:50

GoToMarketOps organization. And kind of through that continuity, I've looked

1:55

after marketplaces

1:57

in a number of my roles and with a pretty full time focus for the last nine

2:00

months or so. A

2:02

little bit about Commvault. So Commvault's really gold standard in cyber

2:07

resilience. We help our

2:09

customers recover their data from a cyber attack, everything from data

2:13

protection, data security,

2:15

data intelligence, really all on one platform with a really competitive TCO

2:19

with the lowest in our

2:21

space. We're available on all four of the marketplaces. So Azure, OCI, GCPN AWS

2:28

, OCI obviously being the

2:30

the newest entrance in that space. And we've been transacting on marketplace in

2:35

some way since our

2:36

fiscal 2021, so the last three or four years. Right on. I think you also forgot

2:42

to mention that

2:43

Commvault is headquartered in Tittenfall, New Jersey. And for the crowd, you're

2:48

speaking or

2:48

listening to two Jersey boys here. I'm based in Hoboken and Jacob's down in

2:53

South Jersey near

2:54

the Tittenfall's office. So I think that's why we also have always hit it off.

2:58

They've got a great

2:59

office. Jay, why don't you take us back to kind of where things got started and

3:05

maybe talk about

3:06

Commvault's initiation into cloud GoToMarket? Like what really got you guys

3:10

interested in selling

3:12

through the marketplace in the first place? What was kind of the catalyst for

3:15

that?

3:16

Yeah, absolutely. So there's really kind of two different parts of our cloud Go

3:20

ToMarket

3:20

origin story. So right around when I joined into 2019, we launched our SaaS

3:25

offering,

3:25

which is based in Azure. And that creates a natural overlap with Azure

3:30

marketplace starting a

3:31

similar time, getting our SaaS products transactable in a public offer and

3:35

private offer setting.

3:36

It was a really natural GoToMarket fit there. While that was happening, we have

3:41

a healthy,

3:42

sizable software business. And we were seeing early demand from customers in

3:47

our alliance's

3:48

business around starting to transact in AWS and GCP marketplaces. And our kind

3:53

of core product team

3:54

built our first offerings in both marketplaces. And we started transacting

3:59

private offers for

4:01

software in AWS and GCP. And for us, it's really pretty natural. We're selling

4:07

into CSOs and CIOs.

4:09

And every one of our customers has a cloud strategy. So there's a natural fit

4:13

that this

4:13

conversation would have evolved for Commvault as it was evolving in the broader

4:17

market.

4:17

Got it. That makes sense. What do you think like once you started getting

4:24

selling through the

4:25

marketplace, what were some certain signals that you picked up that actually

4:29

led you guys to like

4:30

really lean in and double down? Like I think you walked us through kind of

4:34

seeing some indications

4:35

from the market with some synergies to toe the waters. Well, were some of the

4:39

early successes

4:40

that you saw that you were like, okay, we're going to really lean into this.

4:44

And really,

4:44

I think that's when you kind of started to take over as well.

4:47

So I like doing things in threes, right? Nice round number for us. But there's

4:54

really three

4:55

reasons that I think our cloud good market started scaling. And the biggest one

5:00

is really

5:00

customer demand, right? So our reps out in the field, we're hearing more and

5:04

more regularly

5:05

from customers that they want to be able to decrement their Mac. They want that

5:11

spend to be

5:11

able to be created. It's really customer driven motion. That's one piece of it.

5:16

At the same time,

5:18

right? The cloud provider incentives have been pretty clear, right? Each year,

5:23

we kind of lean

5:23

a little bit farther towards a lot of our ISV incentives are being tied to

5:29

marketplace goals.

5:30

So we see on the partnership side that it's important that we continue to drive

5:34

marketplace

5:35

and grow our presence. And then the last piece is really for our sellers, right

5:40

? The budget

5:41

availability with Mac and EDPs. And I know some of my colleagues today have

5:45

been talking about

5:46

that as well. That's one of the one of the beautiful things for a company like

5:50

ours. But

5:51

we're seeing that benefit in terms of deal velocity, in terms of transaction

5:55

size, and in terms of

5:57

the TCO value that we can bring to a customer. Yeah, I remember you kind of

6:02

like walking me

6:02

through it as it was like kind of this like read the room moment where

6:06

everything was starting to

6:07

come together, particularly from the customer demand side. I know you're an

6:11

operator yourself

6:12

and you take pride in building efficient systems. When you were tasked with

6:19

preparing

6:21

Commvault to scale its cloud go to market, what were the things that scared you

6:26

? What were

6:26

some of the early challenges that immediately stood out that you knew you were

6:30

going to have to address?

6:32

So like anyone who started this journey, there's just differences in how you

6:39

transact.

6:40

Marketplace processes look different. They feel different than other routes to

6:46

market. And we're

6:47

historically, we're a channel driven business. We continue to be a channel

6:50

driven business.

6:51

Marketplace fits into that. But it feels different to create a private offer,

6:57

to manage that process

6:58

with the cloud providers, with a CPPO or MPO partner, with a customer who may

7:02

not have

7:02

transacted through marketplace regularly, than it does to manage in orders with

7:06

a channel.

7:07

It creates different flows at every step of the process. And it's really,

7:12

there's three pieces, because I like doing things in threes. There's all the

7:17

internal corporate

7:18

process, right? How are we managing the whole quote to cash end to end? There's

7:23

sales process

7:24

in the different conversations you need to have, sales supporting tools, you

7:28

know, quoting,

7:29

forecasting, sales force. How do I get a private offer? And all those different

7:33

pieces have to

7:33

come together. And then there's also the customer and partner facing pieces of

7:39

it as well, right?

7:40

We've had folks on our team who've really had to develop an expertise in how

7:44

you talk about

7:44

marketplace processes with a customer or partner who hasn't done it before. And

7:49

our leaning in

7:50

from an ISV perspective has really been key to execution. I remember you

7:54

mentioning too, like,

7:55

well, how did you handle the seller enablement? Because that was new for you

8:00

guys as well, just

8:01

you know, coaching up that your field, there was a new motion for them. So that

8:07

's one that I would

8:08

definitely consider a work in progress, right? And I know some other sessions

8:13

have talked to

8:14

it as well, but it's really a story you have to be consistent with. You have to

8:17

be able to give a

8:18

really clear what's in it for me on the why they should do it. But once you get

8:24

that message across,

8:25

you still have to be able to then go and help them execute and make execution

8:28

simple. We've come

8:30

along the way on that journey, right? And tackle has been key to that for us in

8:34

terms of creating

8:36

processes that feel relatively consistent across the different marketplaces.

8:40

Sure.

8:42

But for our sales teams, our goal continues to be making it the simplest router

8:48

market,

8:49

and we're not all the way there yet. Got it.

8:52

I think the next, like, where I'd like to take the discussion is just kind of

9:00

talking about,

9:00

you know, some of the things that you actually did to address all those various

9:06

challenges when

9:07

it comes to the internal corporate challenges that you're talking about, the

9:11

partner challenges,

9:12

and then also the enablement. What were some of the actions that you actually

9:16

took,

9:17

maybe particularly on the "cash system"? Yeah, so really every stage of our

9:25

internal process has had

9:26

to either be shaped to accommodate marketplace, or we've had to shape

9:30

marketplace processes

9:32

to accommodate what we do as a company. So, right on the quoting side, as a

9:38

channel business,

9:39

we're used to quoting to a distributor, right? We have a distributor and a rese

9:42

ller on a quote,

9:43

we pass that out. So for our field teams, we now need to be able to quote to a

9:47

marketplace provider,

9:48

and we really bake that in to all of our systems. So you can quote in every one

9:54

of our quoting tools,

9:55

with AWS or with GCP or with Azure as a part of the router market. When you

10:01

forecast that quote,

10:02

right, it picks up in route to market forecasting the same way other channel

10:06

partners do.

10:07

It pulls on to the opportunity the same way our other channel partners do, and

10:11

it's really become

10:12

a part of a natural motion for us as we think about what a sales team has to

10:17

understand to be

10:18

able to manage their opportunity. Once that quote happens, right, it still has

10:24

to hand off into the

10:25

private offer workflow. And that's something that we've really still been

10:29

handling with,

10:30

you know what I would consider people automation, right? There's a handful of

10:33

us who really know

10:34

how to make a private offer and can go in and do it with all the right detail,

10:38

ask the right questions.

10:39

But we've kept that really hidden from our sales teams for the most part. So

10:44

from their end,

10:46

they need to quote, they have to be able to talk about price with a partner and

10:49

customer,

10:50

but the back end, they don't have to touch. Right.

10:57

What did you do just in terms of like cleaning up your story with AWS and

11:07

Microsoft and like

11:08

actually gathering data to help tell that story? So as we've scaled, right,

11:15

each of the different

11:17

parts of the company, we've had to bring along that good market journey with us

11:21

, right,

11:21

for our finance department, marketplace creates a different order processing

11:26

mechanism.

11:27

That's taken work and it's partially done work that we've been able to drive

11:30

from hyper scale

11:31

perspective and with tackle to create some relative simplicity that we now get

11:37

something that's an

11:38

object we can book, right? We get a notification from tackle that feels close

11:42

to a PO. But we've had to

11:44

also accommodate that each of those orgs that we're touching is changing their

11:51

process along

11:51

the way also, right? It's different things that have to be validated. It's

11:55

where do we know that

11:56

we have the right legal term store or that if we negotiated legal terms, they

11:59

're being captured as

12:00

part of the deal. And to drive that story internally, right, we have had to get

12:07

really very clear

12:09

on the growth narrative of why cloud good market is important and right not

12:14

going to get into

12:15

financial details and camp, but the year on your growth is significant for us

12:21

and being able to

12:21

demonstrate that and show why the scale is relevant and why it's important to

12:26

the business has been

12:28

a very necessary part of the narrative to work the change management side.

12:32

Yeah, that's interesting kind of touches. Like I know a lot of the theme of a

12:36

lot of these

12:36

discussions have been enablement for your sales reps and stuff and out in the

12:40

field to make them

12:41

aware of what cloud good market is and what marketplace is. But I think what

12:44

you're touching

12:45

on is it's also it's important to enable the all of the stakeholders that are

12:50

internally

12:50

involved with cloud go to market and make sure that everybody's buying in and

12:54

understands the why behind it and the value that it's bringing to the business.

12:58

You know, it's funny. It's a lot of the same things that we talk about from a

13:02

sales operations

13:02

and sales enablement standpoint, right, or the same skills that we really had

13:07

to manage internally

13:08

to drive the outcomes we're trying to drive, right? Yeah, building internal

13:12

champions,

13:13

right, having the right stakeholders in the room, having the decision makers

13:16

buy into the change

13:17

we're trying to create, it really has been a call a two or three year sales

13:22

cycle,

13:22

internally, for us to get to where we are today. Yeah, yeah, that's an

13:28

interesting way to put it

13:29

at to think of it as like a two to three year sales cycle. What are you I mean,

13:34

you've done a lot

13:35

particularly over the last three quarters, I'd say, and it's been exciting

13:40

watching you not only

13:42

adopt the tackle platform, but also watching your marketplace revenue, frankly,

13:47

skyrocket.

13:48

What are you most proud of? Like, what's the what's kind of the feather in the

13:53

cap if you were to

13:54

put this as a brief on your LinkedIn page of your work over the last year? What

13:59

would you highlight?

14:00

I think there's a story that's out there for most ISVs that have a partnership

14:08

motion at all,

14:09

that this is something that can drive meaningful growth, right? Marketplaces

14:14

across different,

14:15

you know, selling motions, enterprise, mid-market, SMB, there is a growth story

14:22

that you can create,

14:24

and in an established company, right, it's creating material change. So it's

14:30

being able to really

14:31

affect change within the organization, and now seeing the outcomes of that

14:35

change is probably what

14:36

I'm most proud of, but we're not nearly done yet, and that's probably where we

14:41

should go next.

14:42

Yeah, I know you're an hour psyched when I'm forgetting the name of your CEO,

14:47

but he was on CNBC

14:49

probably like three months ago on like the little tech check after one of your

14:54

earnings calls,

14:54

so it was pretty cool to see our work make it all the way up to that.

14:57

All right, what was let's talk about like, I know we've got five minutes left,

15:04

so we've got time

15:04

for probably like two more larger questions. What's something that you would

15:09

have done differently

15:10

in hindsight? That stood out or maybe a mistake that you made that took kind of

15:14

another go at it,

15:17

what would some advice that you would give to the crowd of lessons learned?

15:20

So this is definitely a hindsight being 2020 type item, but with having

15:27

relationships across the

15:29

different cloud providers, we've created more challenges than we needed to in

15:35

treating them

15:36

differently in some of the internal marketplace efforts and processes. And I

15:40

think in the last year,

15:42

we've made a lot of progress at standardizing, right, getting where kind of

15:46

what we have on offer

15:47

in the marketplace is it's closer to parity, simplifying the messaging aligning

15:52

the messaging

15:53

across them in terms of what we're talking about, how we're talking about the

15:57

product,

15:59

and then all of the internal process around it. For anyone who's managing

16:03

multiple marketplaces,

16:04

really driving consistency there, I think is the most important thing we can do

16:09

, because

16:10

if I'm a seller, it's enough to learn how to manage one whole new process with

16:14

marketplace

16:15

compared to direct or compared to a channel sale, but managing three or four,

16:20

you'll just lose

16:21

people on. Right, forget it, that's too thick. Yeah, a lot of sellers would

16:25

just put that in the

16:26

too hard pile. Let's talk about just to kind of wrap like what's next, where

16:33

you want to take things

16:34

moving forward and how you take this from kind of like this. I think you took

16:40

cloud go to market from

16:41

an initial experiment to something that's now part of the business. How do you

16:46

continue to scale that?

16:49

So I think this is probably the last set of threes. We need our field to really

16:57

get more nuanced and

16:59

more understanding of how private offers flow. We've come a long way in terms

17:05

of the ability to

17:06

manage a transaction, but it's taken a lot of resources and effort. With three

17:13

people creating

17:14

offers, you can do that when it's 10 orders a quarter, you can do that at 30 or

17:18

40 orders a quarter,

17:20

you can't do that at 200. Being prepared for that type of growth across the

17:25

business is really an

17:27

important part of our next phase. And on the private offer side, it's how do we

17:32

get the technology

17:33

to where we can leverage technology to drive scale, not just people. So I have

17:39

an offer

17:39

automation out of Salesforce off my opportunity with the right guardrails that

17:44

I'm pulling from

17:46

the quote, all the information I need. I'm pulling from an account record, the

17:50

cloud provider

17:51

details that I know about this account from the last private offer, right? Rep

17:54

turnover is another

17:55

tale as old as time in B2B sales. How do I know who I worked with last time?

18:00

How do I know the

18:00

Azure account ID that we transacted with six months ago and being able to

18:05

really systematize

18:06

how we manage that lifecycle for customers and for data. And then the same

18:13

thing for

18:13

Cocell and we haven't really talked as much about Cocell on this. But how do we

18:18

really get

18:19

programmatic about who we should cocell with, right? If I'm looking at 100

18:23

opportunities

18:24

in a district in a quarter, which ones of those should we be talking with Azure

18:29

which ones should we be talking with AWS and why? And how do we get our field

18:32

to really drive that?

18:34

There's alliance is led and I know that's part of the tackle maturity model.

18:39

But we are in that alliance is led space, though, and starting to think about

18:45

how we make the pivot

18:46

to where the field really can drive those conversations. And then the last

18:52

thing,

18:53

you know, it's really that technology piece that we haven't nailed.

19:02

And that cuts across all of it, but getting the last mile clean of getting an

19:08

offer out to a

19:09

customer where they have all the right details to understand it without a

19:14

manual touch point

19:15

before an acceptance is another piece we haven't quite cracked. And that's a

19:20

little harder because

19:21

I don't think there's a clean system to do it in. But it's part enablement,

19:25

part technology,

19:26

and part process that we need to make that last step easier than we have.

19:31

Yeah, totally. I mean, and that we've taken that as our charter just to kind of

19:34

finish this out

19:35

and let everybody know what we're doing. Like over the next quarter, I think

19:38

Jacob had touched

19:39

in a lot. You know, our we're mapping out the Salesforce integration with

19:44

tackle to initiate

19:45

private offers out of Salesforce, also using tackle prospect to help better map

19:50

out various

19:51

districts like Jacob was talking to. But we're coming down the wire. Jacob,

19:55

always a pleasure,

19:56

my friend. Likewise, Mike. Take care, everybody.

19:58

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