The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

162. What It Takes To Run a Global Alliance Network w/ Gauri Chawla

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we speak with Gauri Chawla, Vice President of Global Partners and Alliances at inRiver.

Prior to joining inRiver, Gauri was the Head of Global Business Development and Alliances for Showpad and she has held positions at Marketo, Oracle, IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Accenture. In this episode, we learn how her unique, strategic role is helping to drive 40% of inRiver’s revenue.

What You’ll Learn

  • Who Gauri Chawla is and what she’s doing at inRiver
  • The influence a leader in alliances has within an organization
  • The importance of partnerships and alliances — particularly as a scale up

 

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  • Show introduction [:00]
  • About Gauri and inRiver[1:52]
  • Gauri’s interesting title [6:19]
  • How partnerships drive revenue [10:37]
  • Why inRiver chose to double comp [12:54]
  • Sam’s Corner [29:46]

One, two, one, heyeverybody, it's Sam Jacob's welcome to the salesacer podcast. Today on the showwe've got gory childhood gry as the vice president of global partnerships and alliances forin river. She is a long time and career partnerships and alliances expert andNaven and also a sales leader and it's she's carved out. You know,partnerships and alliances is a really interesting category for your career that you may nothave known about. So we spend a lot of time just talking about whatis the job, what's involved. It's a great conversation. Before we getthere, we want to thank our sponsors. We've got to the first is outreach. Outreach has been a long time sponsor this podcast and they just launcheda new way to learn outreach. On outreaches the place to learn how outreachdoes outreach, learn how the teams follow up with every leading record time enoughfor virtual events and turns those leads, which are human beings, into customersthat are satisfied with outreach. You can also see how outrage runs account basedplays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform.Everything's backed up by data, so there's no BS and no smoke and mirrors. It's all actual information that's useful and practical. When you're done, you'llbe able to do it as well as outreach does. Head to outreach diohfor slash outreach, to see what they've got going on. OUR SECOND SPONSORSPROPOSE A FY most business is measure and optimize every part of the sales process, except the most critical one, right before prospect agrees to buy and handsover their money. You would think that that's an important part. You wouldn'tsend leads through your marketing site without tracking analytics. Right. So why areyou still in the dark, Park about what happens in your sales process afteryour represent a proposal? Discover Proposal Fi, the proposal software that gives you controlan insight into the most important stage your sales process, the close.Speaking of the clothes, propos of high proposes close at double the industry standard. Great, sign up for a free trial of Bookadema, a propos offycom forward slash sales hacker. Without further ado, let's listen to my conversationwith Gory Chavela. Hey, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs, welcome to thesales hacker podcast. Today on the show we're incredibly excited to have corey Chavelaon the show. Gory is the vice...

...president of global partners and alliances atInn River. An industry veteran, gory has accumulated her acumen as a globalbusiness leader and growth driver. Prior to joining and river, gory was thehead of Global Business Development and alliances for show pad. There she developed atechnology services ecosystem strategy, designed and launched a global team to manage sales anddrove pipeline development. In her career she's help positions at Marquetto Oracle, IBMprice water, has coopers and accentsure. She acquired a Bachelor of Commerce degreefrom Queen's University in Canada and a JD and intellectual property, international law andcorporate law from the Elizabeth Hub School of law at Pace University. Cory,welcome to the show. Thank you. I'm thrilled to be here. We'reexcited to have you incredible, incredibly impressive background. We like to start with, as we say, your baseball card, which is really an opportunity for youto tell us both what you do in your role but also what youremployer what in River does? So I mentioned your name. Your title isVice President Global Partners and alliances and you work it in river. What isin river? Tell us what in river doest. Great. Yeah, soin river is a product information management software. So let me kind of break itdown or dumb it down. So if you think about a retailer ora branded manufacture or an industrial manufacture that has a product that is trying toget that's what they sell and they're getting it out to their customers, theyneed to be able to create their product in a way that gets out tothe right channels, to the right customers so that their customers, customers,have a good experience. And that's what we do, is we bring inthe data and the product from the source, whether that be a PLM and Erap, whatever. What's you PLM, product life cycle management, so it'sreally where it's all raw and you bring it into in river where we're ableto actually manage the product from a lot of different aspects and we've added alot of interesting analytics and other pieces to...

...again get the product into the rightform to actually push out to whether it's a commerce channel. What if you'rea retailer in store to market places, but to help your our customers,customers, actually get their product to market. Interesting. How old is the company? In a tell us a little bit. Is the company based inChicago? I know you're based in Chicago. How big is it? You knowwhat's what information are comfortable sharing about number of employees, age of thecompany, Revenue Range, all that stuff. So in River is actually a Swedishcompany. Head corporate headquarters is in Malmo, Sweden. The US orNorth American headquarters is in Chicago, where I am based, and in riverslike in the best kept secret. Right. It's about fifteen years old, butit really has that for a long time, that start up, quickpaced, scrappy feel to it. Now we're a scale up. So youknow, I would say we're above the twenty million rur range and we justdid an acquisition. So we're now at about two hundred and forty employees globallyand we actually operate in Europe. So in the nordics it's our bread andbutter in our home the UK, Benelux, but we have a lot of internationalcustomers across that low but then in North America about fifty percent of ourbusiness comes from here as well. Awesome. Who Do you acquire detail online?Which is a digital shelf analytics company, which is it's so freaking cool andit really is a game changer for us and for our customers in termsof the analytics and the ability to understand what your customer actually needs and whatselling and forecasting, etc. Etc. So it's really going to make ourproduct even more robust. But it's something that the market actually really needs,especially now within an after covid and when...

...you're on kind of online and eat, everybody's moving to e commerce and pivoting. It's really something that is a differentiatorfor us against our competitors, but, more importantly, it's a solution thatcustomers need. Awesome. Your titles vp of global partners alliances, andwe have so many, you know, vpiece of sales, vpiece and marketingon here, but not as many people focus on the channel, focused onpartnership. So for the listeners out there, tell us you know what you do. What's your job description? What are your core responsibilities? Yeah,it's it's an interesting tight all right, global partners and alliances, what doesit really mean? It could mean so many things. So I will breakit down to it's much easier. So let me kind of start at thethe revenue piece of it. I am basically leading our indirect revenue, whichsome of it becomes direct, and my team, which is a global team, actually helps drive about forty percent of our business in terms of revenue.And so yeah, it's pretty it's pretty awesome. It's very partner led,but we also have an outstanding direct sales team as well, and then Ihave my partners and our direct sales team work together. So I managed twoparts of the ecosystem. One is our services solutions consulting partners. So thinkabout up the excentures of the world, of the shifts, sevens, theEventsias, the proficient. So it's the consulting partners, integration partner, strategypartners who actually work with customers and help them understand how a pim actually incorporateswith the rest of their technology stack, but also as very strategic to theirbusiness. It's really the core of their business to really work all the otherprocesses and actually get to revenue for them. So those are our consulting or systemsintegrator partners. And then I actually...

...manage and building out our technology ecosystem. So our technology partners, or some of them are alliances because they're verystrategic. So examples of that and kind of the way that I have mystrategy is like a tier one, tier two and an innovation track. AndTier One is like your sales forces of the world in for Oracle Asap,the big guys, the big players that also have pretty big ecosystems. Mightiertwos are all those other technologies that our customers and prospects actually have as theirtext act that need to be integrated with a pim in order to make thecustomer even more effective. So think about digital asset management, translations, someyou know we just acquired the analytics piece. We had analytic partners ere P,even marketing automation. So it's all these technologies that surround the pim butare part of a text act that we need to make sure that we makeit easy for our customers to make the decision but, more importantly, runtheir business a lot easier. And then my the other type of technology partnersis what I call innovation right. It's the new and upcoming technology that wewant to be part of and, you know, kind of ahead of thecurve. So as they grow, we grow, but we're offering something innovativeto our customers and helping them think differently too, because, as we allknow, especially after this past year, times change, the industry changes,you have to adapt to it, and so my goal is to keep inriver at the forefront of that so that we're also providing the right kind ofadvice and direction to our customers. So think about virtual reality. I alwayssay like D v Are Aar makes the PIM sex here. You know,headless commerce. It's becoming much more mainstream, but not a hundred percent there.And then I'm constantly on the lookout for other technologies that are relevant tous, make us better, fill a...

...gap relevant to our customers. Andso I manage those two ecosystems and I manage them from a go to marketperspective. So my whole goal is how do I help the organ my organization, become better with our partners, but how do we pick the right partnersto really help drive the the right solutions to our customers and make our customersmuch more successful knowing that they have technology partners working together and the right systemsintegrators working with us as well? But then we also drive a lot ofthe business, like I said, which surprises a lot of people, andit's such an integral part of Inn River because it touches every single part,sales, marketing, product support, etc. So a lot of people think aboutpartners and alliances and different ways, and one of my passions is isthere's so much that we do that that we really do become the central partof the especially for a startup or scale up. It's a great way todrive your business. I know I got a little excited there. Don't passionabout this, so it's amazing. Well, that sounds that sounds really fascinating.Corey. I guess I so many questions and I think maybe we canuse this episode to help educate the audience on on your job, because you, like you said, you sit at the center of so many different opportunitiesand really at the center of the strategic direction for in river. So firstone of my questions is, so you talked about forty percent of the businessis driven through partnerships. Is that like are you thinking about it almost likea marketer in terms of attribution, where you associate an opportunity with one ofyour efforts? But the sales team still closes it, or does your teamdrive an opportunity start to finish, so that really your team is closing thebusiness or one of your partners is fully closing the business, and that's howyou sort of report the revenue attribution back...

...up up to the to the company. Yeah, so I have both models. The key model is where my partners, we work with our partners and really work in terms of identifying opportunities, doing the marketing piece of it, and then have our partners work withour direct sales teams who end up closing the deals. And so that's whythere's such a close relationship between our partners and our direct sales team. ButI also have in some regions where my team drives the opportunity and closes itwell, and those are regions where we just don't have the direct presence.And so if you don't have I guess sometimes when I've run channel teams,there's always like a little bit of a tension between the direct team and thechannel team where sometimes somebody outside of both of those organizations is saying we can'tpay both the channel and the salesperson. You know, commission on that deal. We need to pay one of the other. Otherwise it's dramatically increasing ourcost of sale. Do you find any of that? You have a pointof view on how to resolve that, or is it actually, you know, your team isn't even comp that way. So it's so it really doesn't evenmatter. Now we actually so the way that I've kepied my team isis really a big portion of it is getting the deal closed and that meansworking directly with the salesperson, and so we've made a decision to comp both. But then I also have a KPI on the pipeline build from my team, which is pretty a high standard. Right. It has to be incertain stages and they have to hit certain pipeline numbers within the quarter, becausethat keeps the sales momentum going each quarter. If we're doing it right, theoreticallyright, your you've got qualified pipeline...

...that should be closing, let's saytwo quarters out. So you're constantly building that. So they're actually metriced onboth of those things and we have not had and we haven't come across thattension yet between our sales teams and are like my team, because of theway that we have one. I've worked very closely with our sales leaders,but to it's because we've made this conscious decision to do so and it's workedas it's very rare that, I think, a channels leader can say that they'redriving forty percent of the business. At the size of the business thatthat in river is at a minute in river. I have been at inriver since January, two thousand and twenty Oh, so just over a year. Yeah, yeah, it's really it's really interesting. So let's let's usethat as an opportunity to figure out your background, because I think again,like it's a specific skill set and it's such a strategic skill set that Ican, I can definitely see this as a path to cro and even seeEo, because you have such a broad vantage point on the whole ecosystem.So how did you get into the what's your background? How did you getinto to this role and what were the roles that led to this opportunity inthe first place? So it's interesting because I never, you know, growingup, I never thought I'd want to be a VP of global alliances orpartners. I didn't even know it existed. But I started out as a consultant, you know, deliver. I was a on the systems integrator side. So coming from the big guys like accenture, PWC, the IBM GBS, where I worked really closely with the big technology enders, like, andI'm going to be dating myself now, but, you know, like apeople soft or an oracle, and it was just interesting because I would workwith clients and understand like their point of view and what they needed and thenbe the go between with the technology side...

...to be able to put together theright processes and delivered the solution the way it's supposed to work, but withinthe context of what the client needed. And over time I just got closeto a lot of these technology vendors and I found it so interesting that goingfrom consulting into actually helping them up sell, because there was other needs that theclient need, you know, had that I really started to understand theway that clients look at consulting, how clients look at technology, and thenhow technology vendors look at customers. And so I did that for a longtime in financial services and from there, because I'd had that experience, Iwas at PWC at the time and I was also going to law school parttime while I was working full time that like to keep yourself busy. Apparently, yeah, a little bit. You know, that's that's changing a littlebit of at least in my mind it's changing. It's not necessarily changing atmy actions, but so one of my partners at PWC was like or a, you have this point of view, so help us figure out how tomarket with our technology partners into our client base. So I did that fora bit and that kind of got me into working like broader with other typesof technology partner. So it was really bringing it all together and over timeI then moved into an actual sales role where I was selling directly. Andyou know, it's amazing. I was in financial services and then I startedto sell into the industrial sector, which I have few ever saw me.I don't look like I should be selling into the industrial sector, but butI also went into that in two thousand and eight in and my first dealI sold as a direct salesperson was with...

...an Oracle Rep to a automaker atthe beginning of that recession. My first deal was a ten million dollar dealand the only reason that I was able to do it is because it wasn'tme, it was the relationship right. It was. Yes, I hadthis knowledge, but I also had the relationship on the technology side and wecame together and we delivered a fantastic solution. And so from there, you know, I started to I got noticed and again I was building on thiskind of niche skill. Not a lot of people have this right where you'reable to take that relationship and then turn it into revenue. And a lotgoes into these relationships. So I was then asked to run our, atleast support our global IBM and Oracle relationship, which they were competitors, but theyalso had together a two billion dollar business, and so that was reallyinteresting because I had to look across different industries. I had to figure outhow do you bring solutions together, how do you actually influence the people whoare going to go sell? How do you make sure that you're you're deliveringa message to show your technology but under that you're going to help them eventhough you're a competitor, and how do you hit those numbers? And itwas really an amazing experience and you know, we ended up becoming I picked myspots, but we ended up becoming oracles number one retail partner. Wow, it was it was very cool. And then I they actually asked meto run the the North America oracles sales team. So I had about twentypeople reporting to me across industries, which was, you know, very,very interesting and cool, and did a lot of great stuff. But thenOracle poached me and it was very cool to go on to the product side, right and come at this from an...

...alliance and channels perspective, and Ifocused on the retail business unit and that was where you dealt with a lotof the SI so I was on the other side. But then again,how do you do the same thing and really start to engage with salespeople?Because salespeople to this day right, they care about their number, they careabout winning and they don't want anything getting in the way. So how doyou actually bring partners that bring value, that help get the deal done?And that's an art as well. But you also have to have the rightteam, you have to have the right message, you got to have theright product. You're a little bit of everything right. You're a salesperson,you're a marketing person, you're like a psychiatrist, you're a teacher. It'sall these things, which is a lot, but it's just something I thrived in. And you know, after Oracle I decided to actually start to go, in terms of size of company, smaller and smaller and smaller. SoI went to Marquetto did the same thing that I went to show bad andI got to take everything that I've learned build from scratch, and then Iwent even a little bit smaller in in river, and I'm doing that heretoo, and that's how I've ended up here. And this has been suchan amazing opportunity because it's not only building ecosystems and affecting and impacting revenue,but, like you said, it's now strategically being in the middle of allof this and I get to share with the board what we're doing. Ispent a lot of time. I report up to my CEO and I spenda lot of time with him. Not only am I on the hook todeliver numbers and manage a team and grow a team, but also think outsideof the box and figure out like how do we strategically help the company growand expand? So every role that I've had has not fit a mold that'salready been created. I've had to create it myself and I've had a lotof help along the way and I've been very lucky with great teams and greatmentors and great bosses and the opportunity to...

...do so. But that's how Ihave gotten here. And you know, every day I wake up I'd belying if I didn't say I was exhausted most of the time. But Ihave my good days, of my bad days, but I would say mostlygood, because because I feel like it's really invigorating, it's really it's likeI'm doing something, this is going to this is going to end up somewheregreat, and I know that. But again, it's like, how doyou got to navigate? And I'm also building a team that also has tolearn how to navigate through this. When you reflect on particular quality of yourself, a characteristic of strength, however, an attribute, whatever word you wantto use to describe, when you think about what's made you successful in thisrole, what do you what do you point to? What is what isa behavior that you exemplify that helps you pull all of these disparate organizations togetherwith different interests and help align them towards a common goal? Have you reflectedon what it is sort of your superpower in a way that helps you createresults when sort of hurting cats, hurting all of these different organizations with differentcenters, must be so difficult. Yeah, it's so interesting that you ask thatbecause I had never really thought about it until recently, because somebody elseask me that and I think like the cut and dry or the younger partof me would have said, Oh, I'm good at organization right, likeI can quickly in my mind if somebody, if there is a problem, Ican quickly in my mind figure out what are the parts that you needto at least get to that next step, in the next step, in thenext step, and who do you need, and think of a fewsteps ahead. So I think that's one piece of it. But I thinkthere is this innate part of me in just there's a psychological part of this, like goes back to your childhood and we can have a whole other podcaston that. But I'm the eldest daughter...

...of immigrants and I am persistent,but I really care. I want people to come together, I want itto be kind of know, the sounds kind of wishywashy, but I'm gettingto a point here. Is that before not able to pull the organization togetherand heard these cats and help them understand the value to them, it won'tbe successful. And so that is probably the thing that I do really well, is to be able to say here is the bigger picture and then herethe smaller steps and the people that need to be involved, and this istheir payoff if they're involved, and then to create that kind of excitement toget there and give them a role and a piece of it. So it'sreally I don't know the right words to put this in, Sam, butit's like it's just bringing people together for an end result that everyone will benefitfrom. Well, I think that's that's inspiring and interesting. And you alsomentioned that you're the children, you know, the Child of immigrants, and there'sprobably something about I don't know if it work ethic or desire to makesure that that decision was the good one for the family. I don't know. I'm sure there's some standard that you aspire to live up to. Inaddition to the fact that you're displaying, what you're really talking about in away, a sort of empathy. I mean, I bet the it's puresense, which is putting yourself in somebody else's shoes to really understand what motivatesthem and then creating an outcome based on that understanding. But that's just myspeculation. Yeah, and IT'S A it's very important to me. Right.So I think that's that's probably, if it's to be wrapped up in oneword, that's probably the right word. But I also think that one ofthe things that I have learned along the way is that I'm also an overachieverand I don't like to fail, but...

...it's actually good to fail and asI learn more about myself, I think that helps me be a much,much better leader. But I'm also I'm also very clear that when you're bringingpeople together, that's the amazing part and you need all kinds of people tobe able to make something successful. Absolutely, Corey. We're roughly at the endof our time together, but we want to use this last moment topay it forward a little bit. I call it follow the bread crumb trail. Think about we're if you had to pick one person or two people whoseideas inspired you, whose behavior inspires you, who you just you think we shouldknow about this person because they've had a positive impact on you. WhenI frame it like that, who comes tomorrow that you think we should knowabout. There's so many people, but the one person that I talked toa lot and I bounce ideas off of is Bill Parsons. So he wassomebody I met when he was at Oracle and he's definitely a mentor but alsoa good friend. But watching his career and the way that he cares somuch about people. So He's, I think, like the svp or evpat Yodeli. If you don't know him, look them up. Fantastic man,great in terms of what he's done and what he's achieved, but heis somebody who definitely he will spend the time on the phone with me,even late at night, talking me through like what Doo Boards Care About?How should you present to a board? What are some of the things thatyou should think about? Let's think outside of the box, scory like andhe really kind of helps me think things through and is tough with me too. Write and he's always said to me it's interesting, you know had apretty long career and he's always said, you know, aim higher, youyou're more than this, you deserve more and you're better than what you thinkyou are. And I sometimes I didn't...

...see it in myself and he wasthe guy that would just say I see it in you and you need togo do it, and then once I do it, he's like yeah,that's great, now what's next? He's somebody who's fantastic, and I'll mentionjust a one or two to other people, if that's okay. Michael Fasso Sunis a friend of mine too, but he's in the UK. Hewas a partner of mine at Oracle and then he sold his company to pooblicists. Another fantastic friend, mentor, who really just gets on the phone andspends the time and helps me like talk through things and when I'm scared tojump into something, these guys push me in the most positive way because theysee it in me before I see it in myself. Awesome, that's amazingand that's so important to have. So I love hearing that glory. Iffolks want to reach out to you, maybe they're inspired, maybe they wantto wrap on partnerships and and maybe they need some guidance. What's her preferredmethodic communication? Are you okay with people reaching out to you and, ifso, how do you want them to get in touch? Yeah, Iwould love to. I'm always open, Love Meeting New People wherever I canhelp and I love to network. My email is probably the best way toreach out to me, and that's join me to just give it to youright now. Yes, please. So it's Gory Ga ur DOT CHAVLA HA WLA at in rivercom awesome glory, thanks so much for being on theshow this week. We'll talk to you on Friday for Friday fundamentals and thanksfor being here. Thank you for having me. Okay, everybody. SamJacob Sam's corner, really enjoyed that conversation with Corey Chodla. The role isjust a very specific nuance roll and yet, as she mentioned right, her jobdrives forty percent of the revenue at in the river and she talks about, you know, she's in touch with...

...sort of cutting edge innovation. Soshe's frankly in some ways responsible or directly contributing to corporate development, meaning MA right. I am sure that she comes across companies that are interesting companiesfor in rivertial choir, I'm also sure, but through her relationships with larger partnersand system integrators, she also comes into contact with companies that might bean acquirer of in river, ship in river of Wordeker Sale, which Ihave no idea. I'm just speculating here. The point is that it's an incrediblystrategic role. She sits at the center of so many different things.She she has influence and oversight over the sales team, she has influence andoversight of the partnerships and ecosystem, ecosystem, the system integrators, all those bigcompanies like Deloy, like PWC, like accenture, and so I thinkthat it's a job that's often misunderstood, it's often overlooked and yet many waysgory is one of the people on the clearest path to be CEO of InnRiver, which I just think is is really fascinating and interesting and I thinknot enough people know about this concept of partnerships and alliances and how critical canbe, particularly, as she said, as you're in scale up right asif as you're in start up finding product market fit, you probably want todo most things direct just to understand the market, understand the ecosystem, butas you grow partnerships become a really important part of how you might grow.So it's just something to think about. I really enjoyed the conversation a lotof great insights and you know, she mentioned right that there's not a lotof competition because both teams are comed right. Double COMP is sort of in myexperience, if you can manage effectively cost of sale, it's the wayto make sure that your direct sales team is in fighting with your with yourpartner ecosystem, which is not something that you want. So really enjoy thatconversation. Of course. Thanks. I was always to our sponsors outreach,check out Ouach, Dio Ford, slash on outrage and also, of course, we want to always think propose afy. They've been a great partner for us. Sign up for a free trial book a Denlo proposed to Bycom fortslashsalesacker. If you're not a part of the salesacer community at you're missing out. Any sales professional can join his member that's questions, gettmediate answers and shareexperiences with like minded be to the sales pros. Jump in and start adiscussion with more than tenzero sales professionals at...

...sales hackercom. If you haven't checkedout crro school at revenue collective, it's a way to train yourself to becomea C level executive. And to be a chief for Evan Officer. We'vegot over sixteen different experts and speakers that help people navigate the career and thetrajectory that they're seeking to achieve an ending up at the C suite. Onceagain, if you're listening, thanks. Give us a five star review onthe ITUNES store. If you want to get in touch with me, Linkedinas the best way. Linkedincom forwards, last the work in forwards. Laststate, F Jacobs. Thanks so much. I'll talk to you next time.

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