The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 11 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, hey everybody, it's Sam Jacob's welcome to the salesacer podcast. Today on the show we've got gory childhood gry as the vice president of global partnerships and alliances for in river. She is a long time and career partnerships and alliances expert and Naven 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 not have known about. So we spend a lot of time just talking about what is the job, what's involved. It's a great conversation. Before we get there, 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 launched a new way to learn outreach. On outreaches the place to learn how outreach does outreach, learn how the teams follow up with every leading record time enough for virtual events and turns those leads, which are human beings, into customers that are satisfied with outreach. You can also see how outrage runs account based plays, 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'll be able to do it as well as outreach does. Head to outreach dioh for slash outreach, to see what they've got going on. OUR SECOND SPONSORS PROPOSE 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 hands over their money. You would think that that's an important part. You wouldn't send leads through your marketing site without tracking analytics. Right. So why are you still in the dark, Park about what happens in your sales process after your represent a proposal? Discover Proposal Fi, the proposal software that gives you control an 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 of fycom forward slash sales hacker. Without further ado, let's listen to my conversation with Gory Chavela. Hey, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs, welcome to the sales hacker podcast. Today on the show we're incredibly excited to have corey Chavela on the show. Gory is the vice...

...president of global partners and alliances at Inn River. An industry veteran, gory has accumulated her acumen as a global business leader and growth driver. Prior to joining and river, gory was the head of Global Business Development and alliances for show pad. There she developed a technology services ecosystem strategy, designed and launched a global team to manage sales and drove pipeline development. In her career she's help positions at Marquetto Oracle, IBM price water, has coopers and accentsure. She acquired a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen's University in Canada and a JD and intellectual property, international law and corporate 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're excited to have you incredible, incredibly impressive background. We like to start with, as we say, your baseball card, which is really an opportunity for you to tell us both what you do in your role but also what your employer what in River does? So I mentioned your name. Your title is Vice President Global Partners and alliances and you work it in river. What is in river? Tell us what in river doest. Great. Yeah, so in river is a product information management software. So let me kind of break it down or dumb it down. So if you think about a retailer or a branded manufacture or an industrial manufacture that has a product that is trying to get that's what they sell and they're getting it out to their customers, they need to be able to create their product in a way that gets out to the right channels, to the right customers so that their customers, customers, have a good experience. And that's what we do, is we bring in the 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's really where it's all raw and you bring it into in river where we're able to actually manage the product from a lot of different aspects and we've added a lot of interesting analytics and other pieces to...

...again get the product into the right form to actually push out to whether it's a commerce channel. What if you're a 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 in Chicago? I know you're based in Chicago. How big is it? You know what's what information are comfortable sharing about number of employees, age of the company, Revenue Range, all that stuff. So in River is actually a Swedish company. Head corporate headquarters is in Malmo, Sweden. The US or North American headquarters is in Chicago, where I am based, and in rivers like in the best kept secret. Right. It's about fifteen years old, but it really has that for a long time, that start up, quick paced, scrappy feel to it. Now we're a scale up. So you know, I would say we're above the twenty million rur range and we just did an acquisition. So we're now at about two hundred and forty employees globally and we actually operate in Europe. So in the nordics it's our bread and butter in our home the UK, Benelux, but we have a lot of international customers across that low but then in North America about fifty percent of our business 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 and it really is a game changer for us and for our customers in terms of the analytics and the ability to understand what your customer actually needs and what selling and forecasting, etc. Etc. So it's really going to make our product 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 differentiator for us against our competitors, but, more importantly, it's a solution that customers need. Awesome. Your titles vp of global partners alliances, and we have so many, you know, vpiece of sales, vpiece and marketing on here, but not as many people focus on the channel, focused on partnership. 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 does it really mean? It could mean so many things. So I will break it down to it's much easier. So let me kind of start at the the revenue piece of it. I am basically leading our indirect revenue, which some 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 I have my partners and our direct sales team work together. So I managed two parts of the ecosystem. One is our services solutions consulting partners. So think about up the excentures of the world, of the shifts, sevens, the Eventsias, the proficient. So it's the consulting partners, integration partner, strategy partners who actually work with customers and help them understand how a pim actually incorporates with the rest of their technology stack, but also as very strategic to their business. It's really the core of their business to really work all the other processes and actually get to revenue for them. So those are our consulting or systems integrator 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 very strategic. So examples of that and kind of the way that I have my strategy is like a tier one, tier two and an innovation track. And Tier 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. Mightier twos are all those other technologies that our customers and prospects actually have as their text act that need to be integrated with a pim in order to make the customer even more effective. So think about digital asset management, translations, some you 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 but are part of a text act that we need to make sure that we make it easy for our customers to make the decision but, more importantly, run their business a lot easier. And then my the other type of technology partners is what I call innovation right. It's the new and upcoming technology that we want to be part of and, you know, kind of ahead of the curve. So as they grow, we grow, but we're offering something innovative to our customers and helping them think differently too, because, as we all know, especially after this past year, times change, the industry changes, you have to adapt to it, and so my goal is to keep in river at the forefront of that so that we're also providing the right kind of advice and direction to our customers. So think about virtual reality. I always say 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 to us, make us better, fill a...

...gap relevant to our customers. And so I manage those two ecosystems and I manage them from a go to market perspective. 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 partners to really help drive the the right solutions to our customers and make our customers much more successful knowing that they have technology partners working together and the right systems integrators working with us as well? But then we also drive a lot of the business, like I said, which surprises a lot of people, and it'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 about partners and alliances and different ways, and one of my passions is is there's so much that we do that that we really do become the central part of the especially for a startup or scale up. It's a great way to drive your business. I know I got a little excited there. Don't passion about this, so it's amazing. Well, that sounds that sounds really fascinating. Corey. I guess I so many questions and I think maybe we can use 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 opportunities and really at the center of the strategic direction for in river. So first one of my questions is, so you talked about forty percent of the business is driven through partnerships. Is that like are you thinking about it almost like a marketer in terms of attribution, where you associate an opportunity with one of your efforts? But the sales team still closes it, or does your team drive an opportunity start to finish, so that really your team is closing the business or one of your partners is fully closing the business, and that's how you 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 with our direct sales teams who end up closing the deals. And so that's why there's such a close relationship between our partners and our direct sales team. But I also have in some regions where my team drives the opportunity and closes it well, 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 the channel team where sometimes somebody outside of both of those organizations is saying we can't pay 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 our cost of sale. Do you find any of that? You have a point of 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 even matter. Now we actually so the way that I've kepied my team is is really a big portion of it is getting the deal closed and that means working 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 in certain stages and they have to hit certain pipeline numbers within the quarter, because that keeps the sales momentum going each quarter. If we're doing it right, theoretically right, your you've got qualified pipeline...

...that should be closing, let's say two quarters out. So you're constantly building that. So they're actually metriced on both of those things and we have not had and we haven't come across that tension yet between our sales teams and are like my team, because of the way 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 worked as it's very rare that, I think, a channels leader can say that they're driving forty percent of the business. At the size of the business that that in river is at a minute in river. I have been at in river 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 use that 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 I can, I can definitely see this as a path to cro and even see Eo, 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 get into to this role and what were the roles that led to this opportunity in the first place? So it's interesting because I never, you know, growing up, I never thought I'd want to be a VP of global alliances or partners. 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, and I'm going to be dating myself now, but, you know, like a people soft or an oracle, and it was just interesting because I would work with clients and understand like their point of view and what they needed and then be the go between with the technology side...

...to be able to put together the right processes and delivered the solution the way it's supposed to work, but within the context of what the client needed. And over time I just got close to a lot of these technology vendors and I found it so interesting that going from consulting into actually helping them up sell, because there was other needs that the client need, you know, had that I really started to understand the way that clients look at consulting, how clients look at technology, and then how technology vendors look at customers. And so I did that for a long time in financial services and from there, because I'd had that experience, I was at PWC at the time and I was also going to law school part time 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 little bit of at least in my mind it's changing. It's not necessarily changing at my 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 to market with our technology partners into our client base. So I did that for a bit and that kind of got me into working like broader with other types of technology partner. So it was really bringing it all together and over time I then moved into an actual sales role where I was selling directly. And you know, it's amazing. I was in financial services and then I started to 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 but I also went into that in two thousand and eight in and my first deal I sold as a direct salesperson was with...

...an Oracle Rep to a automaker at the beginning of that recession. My first deal was a ten million dollar deal and the only reason that I was able to do it is because it wasn't me, it was the relationship right. It was. Yes, I had this knowledge, but I also had the relationship on the technology side and we came 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 this kind of niche skill. Not a lot of people have this right where you're able to take that relationship and then turn it into revenue. And a lot goes into these relationships. So I was then asked to run our, at least support our global IBM and Oracle relationship, which they were competitors, but they also had together a two billion dollar business, and so that was really interesting because I had to look across different industries. I had to figure out how do you bring solutions together, how do you actually influence the people who are going to go sell? How do you make sure that you're you're delivering a message to show your technology but under that you're going to help them even though you're a competitor, and how do you hit those numbers? And it was really an amazing experience and you know, we ended up becoming I picked my spots, but we ended up becoming oracles number one retail partner. Wow, it was it was very cool. And then I they actually asked me to run the the North America oracles sales team. So I had about twenty people reporting to me across industries, which was, you know, very, very interesting and cool, and did a lot of great stuff. But then Oracle 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 I focused on the retail business unit and that was where you dealt with a lot of 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 care about winning and they don't want anything getting in the way. So how do you 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 right team, you have to have the right message, you got to have the right 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's all 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. So I went to Marquetto did the same thing that I went to show bad and I got to take everything that I've learned build from scratch, and then I went even a little bit smaller in in river, and I'm doing that here too, and that's how I've ended up here. And this has been such an 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 all of this and I get to share with the board what we're doing. I spent a lot of time. I report up to my CEO and I spend a lot of time with him. Not only am I on the hook to deliver numbers and manage a team and grow a team, but also think outside of the box and figure out like how do we strategically help the company grow and expand? So every role that I've had has not fit a mold that's already been created. I've had to create it myself and I've had a lot of help along the way and I've been very lucky with great teams and great mentors and great bosses and the opportunity to...

...do so. But that's how I have gotten here. And you know, every day I wake up I'd be lying if I didn't say I was exhausted most of the time. But I have my good days, of my bad days, but I would say mostly good, because because I feel like it's really invigorating, it's really it's like I'm doing something, this is going to this is going to end up somewhere great, and I know that. But again, it's like, how do you got to navigate? And I'm also building a team that also has to learn how to navigate through this. When you reflect on particular quality of yourself, a characteristic of strength, however, an attribute, whatever word you want to use to describe, when you think about what's made you successful in this role, what do you what do you point to? What is what is a behavior that you exemplify that helps you pull all of these disparate organizations together with different interests and help align them towards a common goal? Have you reflected on what it is sort of your superpower in a way that helps you create results when sort of hurting cats, hurting all of these different organizations with different centers, must be so difficult. Yeah, it's so interesting that you ask that because I had never really thought about it until recently, because somebody else ask me that and I think like the cut and dry or the younger part of me would have said, Oh, I'm good at organization right, like I can quickly in my mind if somebody, if there is a problem, I can quickly in my mind figure out what are the parts that you need to at least get to that next step, in the next step, in the next step, and who do you need, and think of a few steps ahead. So I think that's one piece of it. But I think there 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 podcast on 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 it to be kind of know, the sounds kind of wishywashy, but I'm getting to a point here. Is that before not able to pull the organization together and heard these cats and help them understand the value to them, it won't be 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 here the smaller steps and the people that need to be involved, and this is their payoff if they're involved, and then to create that kind of excitement to get there and give them a role and a piece of it. So it's really I don't know the right words to put this in, Sam, but it's like it's just bringing people together for an end result that everyone will benefit from. Well, I think that's that's inspiring and interesting. And you also mentioned that you're the children, you know, the Child of immigrants, and there's probably something about I don't know if it work ethic or desire to make sure 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. In addition to the fact that you're displaying, what you're really talking about in a way, a sort of empathy. I mean, I bet the it's pure sense, which is putting yourself in somebody else's shoes to really understand what motivates them and then creating an outcome based on that understanding. But that's just my speculation. 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 one word, that's probably the right word. But I also think that one of the things that I have learned along the way is that I'm also an overachiever and I don't like to fail, but...

...it's actually good to fail and as I 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 bringing people together, that's the amazing part and you need all kinds of people to be able to make something successful. Absolutely, Corey. We're roughly at the end of our time together, but we want to use this last moment to pay 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 whose ideas inspired you, whose behavior inspires you, who you just you think we should know about this person because they've had a positive impact on you. When I frame it like that, who comes tomorrow that you think we should know about. There's so many people, but the one person that I talked to a lot and I bounce ideas off of is Bill Parsons. So he was somebody I met when he was at Oracle and he's definitely a mentor but also a good friend. But watching his career and the way that he cares so much about people. So He's, I think, like the svp or evp at 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 he is 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 that you should think about? Let's think outside of the box, scory like and he 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 a pretty long career and he's always said, you know, aim higher, you you're more than this, you deserve more and you're better than what you think you are. And I sometimes I didn't...

...see it in myself and he was the guy that would just say I see it in you and you need to go 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 mention just a one or two to other people, if that's okay. Michael Fasso Sun is a friend of mine too, but he's in the UK. He was 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 and spends the time and helps me like talk through things and when I'm scared to jump into something, these guys push me in the most positive way because they see it in me before I see it in myself. Awesome, that's amazing and that's so important to have. So I love hearing that glory. If folks want to reach out to you, maybe they're inspired, maybe they want to wrap on partnerships and and maybe they need some guidance. What's her preferred methodic communication? Are you okay with people reaching out to you and, if so, how do you want them to get in touch? Yeah, I would love to. I'm always open, Love Meeting New People wherever I can help and I love to network. My email is probably the best way to reach out to me, and that's join me to just give it to you right now. Yes, please. So it's Gory Ga ur DOT CHAVLA H A WLA at in rivercom awesome glory, thanks so much for being on the show this week. We'll talk to you on Friday for Friday fundamentals and thanks for being here. Thank you for having me. Okay, everybody. Sam Jacob Sam's corner, really enjoyed that conversation with Corey Chodla. The role is just a very specific nuance roll and yet, as she mentioned right, her job drives 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. So she's frankly in some ways responsible or directly contributing to corporate development, meaning M A right. I am sure that she comes across companies that are interesting companies for in rivertial choir, I'm also sure, but through her relationships with larger partners and system integrators, she also comes into contact with companies that might be an acquirer of in river, ship in river of Wordeker Sale, which I have no idea. I'm just speculating here. The point is that it's an incredibly strategic role. She sits at the center of so many different things. She she has influence and oversight over the sales team, she has influence and oversight of the partnerships and ecosystem, ecosystem, the system integrators, all those big companies like Deloy, like PWC, like accenture, and so I think that it's a job that's often misunderstood, it's often overlooked and yet many ways gory is one of the people on the clearest path to be CEO of Inn River, which I just think is is really fascinating and interesting and I think not enough people know about this concept of partnerships and alliances and how critical can be, particularly, as she said, as you're in scale up right as if as you're in start up finding product market fit, you probably want to do most things direct just to understand the market, understand the ecosystem, but as 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 lot of great insights and you know, she mentioned right that there's not a lot of competition because both teams are comed right. Double COMP is sort of in my experience, if you can manage effectively cost of sale, it's the way to make sure that your direct sales team is in fighting with your with your partner ecosystem, which is not something that you want. So really enjoy that conversation. 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 fortslash salesacker. 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 share experiences with like minded be to the sales pros. Jump in and start a discussion with more than tenzero sales professionals at...

...sales hackercom. If you haven't checked out crro school at revenue collective, it's a way to train yourself to become a C level executive. And to be a chief for Evan Officer. We've got over sixteen different experts and speakers that help people navigate the career and the trajectory that they're seeking to achieve an ending up at the C suite. Once again, if you're listening, thanks. Give us a five star review on the ITUNES store. If you want to get in touch with me, Linkedin as the best way. Linkedincom forwards, last the work in forwards. Last state, F Jacobs. Thanks so much. I'll talk to you next time.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (384)