Customer Cafe Podcast

From Prospect to Partner with Greg Bond: Customer Café Podcast

Greg Bond is the VP of Channel Sales for Constant Contact. He was a part of SharpSpring, a marketing automation platform. He shifted from VP of Customer Success to Head of Revenue. Since being acquired by Constant Contact, he’s been enjoying his current role.  

You can and should tune in wherever you listen to podcasts including Spotify, Apple, or here

Where do sales come in with a PLG model with Constant Contact? 

Constant Contact is simple and easy to use. Almost all customers come into the product alone with a free trial. “It is very rare that you need to talk to sales. We have a sales customer onboarding team that helps convert people from free trial to sale. My team works with channel partners. We work with integration partners where we need to figure out how these products are going to work together to go out and acquire each other’s audiences. We have a very large marketing agency reseller program and getting those new partners in helping them to understand and enabling them to sell constant contact on their own behalf through their businesses.  We also have alliance partnerships, affiliates, resellers, dealer distributer networks or franchises that want their end users to have a great local marketing experience in a product that is trusted and well respected in the industry. There is a lot more complexity when you start dealing with large, multi-account resellers of the product. That’s where my team comes in and gets involved.” 

What is key in a partner-reseller relationship?  

“With marketing agencies and resellers, typically, they aren’t just reselling us, they are selling many products. They have a whole suite of tools that they use, and it’s in their toolbox. They are going to pull out the one that makes the most sense for whatever customer they have coming in. We want to be in that toolbox. We also want to make sure just like any other sales team that you know what the best use cases for Constant Contact for your customer base are.  We want you very clear on the value prop, very clear on how we solve problems. We do a lot of work to enable our partners so that not only are we top of mind when a customer comes in, but that we are solving the right problems for the market for our end users.”  

Do you get involved in the weeds with your partner’s sales?  

“It depends. We have two types of partnerships: managed and unmanaged. Some people just refer customers to us are unmanaged. Our onboarding team will take those calls and walk people through on the best way to use the product. They directly talk to the end user.” 

When it comes to managed partnerships, “The partner is saying, ‘this is my customer and I want to manage the interaction.’ We leave those alone. We allow you to sell our tool and manage our tool however they want to manage it.” 

How did you end up in the partnership area?  

SharpSpring as a marketing automation platform and prime competitor to Hubspot, we were sort of built around agencies and marketing agencies. We feel very strongly, especially in a marketing automation space, not many businesses can really manage marketing automation on their own unless they really staffed accordingly. More often than not they take it to an agency that is going to manage it for them. We built SharpSpring to be an agency-first marketing automation platform. We built in tools for marketing agencies. 80% of our revenue came through an indirect sales motion. We were very well versed in that. Moving that into Constant Contact and bringing these businesses together was about doubling down on this method of doing business.” 

“Any way that we can enable partners to help their businesses grow, we’re all about it.” 

greg bond

What was the biggest challenge since the acquisition a year and a half ago? 

“Almost all business problems can be solved through better communication. Like 98% of business problems can be solved with better communication. An acquisition and transition and integration between teams is a massive exercise in internal communications. People as an animal, we all move away from uncertainty. Anything feels uncertain? We don’t want anything to do with it. We will go find the thing, even if it’s a bad choice, it is more certain, and we will move towards that more certain choice. In the absence of certainty, which happens often in a transition like an acquisition, I can’t really give you certainty. There is a lot of uncertainty. That’s just the nature of this. People will take clarity in place of certainty.”  

You can lay out the steps that you are planning to take during uncertain times. “It is all about how you communicate it to the team. You build the trust in your team.” You admit that vulnerability during an uncertain time. “Your team will follow.” 

What do you do to learn and grow professionally?  

He is a huge proponent of professional development. He listens to 25-30 books on Audible annually. He gets leads from people giving good advice and checks out what they are reading and listening to. That leads you to the next expert to follow.  

Check out: 

Check out his “Must-Read” Book List from his LinkedIn Profile: 
Cracking Complexity by David Benjamin, David Komlos, Marshall Goldsmith 
Atomic Habits by James Clear 
Antifragile by Nassim Taleb 
Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath 
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne 
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman 
Zero to One by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters 
Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley 
Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, & Alan Eagle 
Blindspot by Mahzarin R. Banaji & Anthony G. Greenwald 
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin 

Want more? Tune in! Customer Café by Collabria is available wherever you listen to podcasts including Spotify, Apple, or here

Want to ensure that your team can easily communicate to collaborate to make swift decisions? Get started as a beloved beta user! You and your colleagues will have free access for at least one year, and we will send you some swag!   

Looking for more to listen to? Join Menachem Pritzker and Sharon Weiss-Greenberg, hard core Collabrians, as we drink coffee and learn from collaborative leaders in sales, customer success and account management.   

Ready to get started? Customer Café by Collabria: Sales Collaboration Tips for Pros is available wherever you listen to podcasts.


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