The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 3 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, three three O everybody at Sam Jake, is welcome tothe sale sacer podcast today on the show we've got glory, Chola Gory as thevice president of global partnerships and alliances for in river. She is along time and career partnerships and alliances, expert and Navin, and also asales, a Er and it's she's carved out o partnerships in alliances is a reallyinteresting category for your career that you may not have known about. Sowe 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 think our sponsorswe've got to. The first is our reach out. Reach has been a long kind ofsponsor the podcast and they just launched a new way to learn at whereJohn at reaches the place to learn how I reach does out reach wont. Now theteams follow up with ever lead and record time after virtual events andterms those needs which are human beings in to customers that aresatisfied without reach. You can also see how out like sends account. Baseplays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagementplatform, everything's backed up by data, so there's no vs and no smoke inyours. It's all actual information, that's useful and practical when you'redone, you'll be able to do as well as out reached US head to outreach dio forlashons to see what they've got going on for second sponsors PROPOSITI, mostbusinesses, measure and optimize every part of the sales process, except forthe most critical one right before prospect, agrees to buy a hands overtheir money. You would think that that's an important part, you wouldn'tsend leads through your marketing sight, without tracking an aletes right. Soare you still in the dark about what happens in your self process after yourweps and the proposal? Discover PROPOSITI will propose a software thatgives you control and insight into the most important sageer sales process.The close speaking of the close because of a proposes close at double theindustry standard, great sign up for a free trial of book, a demon POSOMforward sales hack up without further. Do: Let's listen, my conversation withfor Chala everybody. It Sam Jacobs, welcome tothe Sales Hacker podcast today on the show were incredibly excited to havegory Chavel on the show. Gory is the...

...vice president of global partners andalliances at in river. An industry veteran gorias accumulated her acumenas a global business leader and growth driver prior to joining in river gorywas the head of Global Business Development and alliances for Chopinthere, she developed a technology services, ecosystem strategy designedand launched a global team to manage sales and drove pipeline development inher career she's hell positions at Machetta Oracle, I B M Price WaterHouse coopers and accentuee. She acquired a Bachelor of Commerce degreefrom Queen's University in Canada and a JD, an intellectual property,international Wa and corporate law from the Elizabeth Hub School of law at PaceUniversity Cory. Welcome to the show. Thank you, I'm thrilled to be here.We're excited to have you incredibly impressive background we like to startwith, 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 your employer, whatin River does so? I mentioned your name. Your title is Vice President GlobalPartners and alliances, and you work it in river. What is in river tell us whatin river bus, great yeah so in river is a product information managementsoftware. So let me kind of break it down or dumb it down. So, if you thinkabout a retailer or a branded manufacture or an industrialmanufacturer that has a product that is trying to get that's what they sell andthey're getting it out to their customers, they need to be able tocreate their product in a way that gets out to the right channels to the rightcustomers so that their customers, customers have a good experience andthat's what we do is we bring in the data and the product from the source,whether that be a PM and Europe, whatever what the video of product lifecycle management. So it's really where it's all raw and you bring it into anriver where we're able to actually manage the product from a lot ofdifferent aspects and we've added a lot of interesting, analytics and otherpieces to again get the product into...

...the right form to actually push out towhether it's a commerce channel. What, if you're a retailer in store to marketplaces, but to help your our customers, customers actually get their product tomarket interesting? How old is the company tell us a little bit? Is thecompany based in Chicago? I know you're based in Chicago. How big is it youknow? What's what information are you comfortable sharing about number ofemployees, age of the company Revenue Range, all that stuff, so in river, isactually a Swedish company head corporate quarters is in Malmo, Sweden,the US or North American high quarters is in Chicago, where I am based and inrivers like and the Best Kep seket it's about fifteen years old, but it reallyhas that for a long time that start up quickpace scrappyfeel to it. Now we are a scale up, so you know, I would saywe're above the twenty million Arr range and we just did an acquisition sowe're now at about two hundred and forty employees globally and weactually operate in Europe. So in the Nordic, it's our bread and butter andour home, the UK Benelux. But we have a lot of international customers acrossthat low. But then in North America, about fifty percent of our businesscomes from here as well. Awesome who d you acquire detail online, which is adigital shelf, analytics company, which is it's so freaking cool, and it reallyis a game changer for us and for our customers in terms of the analytics andthe ability to understand what your customer actuallyneeds and what selling and forecasting etc, etc. So it's really going to makeour product even more robust, but it's something that the market actuallyreally needs, especially now within and...

...after Ovid, and when you're on kind ofonline and eat everybody's moving to eat commerce and pivoting, it's reallysomething that is a differentiator for us against our competitors. But moreimportantly, it's a solution that customers need awesome, your titles, vpof global partners and alliances, and we have so many. You know vp a sales wepiece of marketing on here, but not as many people focused on the channelfocused on partnership. So for the listeners out there tell us, you knowwhat you do. What's your job description, what are yourcorresponsive yeah? It's an interesting title right, global partners andalliances. What does it really mean? It could mean so many things, so I willbreak it down to it's much easier. So let me kind of start at the the revenuepiece of it. I am basically leading our indirect revenue, which some of itbecomes direct and my team, which is a global team, actually helps drive aboutforty percent of our business in terms of revenue and so yeah. It's prettyit's pretty awesome. It's very partner led, but we also have a outstandingdirect sales team as well, and then I have my partners and I dreg sales teamwork together. So I managed two parts of the ecosystem. One is our servicessolution, consulting partners so think about the extents of the world of theshift sevens the Eventi the proficient. So it's the consulting partners intoGratian partner strategy partners who actually work with customers and helpthem understand how him actually incorporates with the rest of theirtechnology stock, but also is very strategic to their business. It'sreally the core of their business, to really work all the other processes andactually get to revenue for them. So those are our consulting or systems ina greater partners, and then I...

...actually manage and building out ourtechnology ecosystem. So our technology partners, or some of them are alliancesbecause they're, very strategic. So examples of that and kind of the waythat I have my strategy is like a tier one, ter to in an inovations track andTurin is like your sales forces of the world and for Oracle Sap, the big guys,the big players that also have pretty big ecosystem. My Tear toos are all those other technologies that our customers andprospects actually have as their text tack that need to be integrated with apim in order to make the customer even more effective, so think about digitalasset management. Translations, some you know we just a pired the analyticspiece. We had analytic partners, ERP even marketing automation. So it's allthese technologies that surround the Pim, but are part of a text act that weneed to make sure that we make it easy for our customers to make the decisionbut, more importantly, run their business a lot easier and then theother type of technology partners is what I call innovation right. It's thenew and upcoming technology that we want to be part of, and you know, kindof ahead of the curve. So as they grow, we grow but we're offering somethinginnovative to our customers and helping them think differently to because, as we all know, especially after thispast year times change the industry changes youhave to adapt to it, and so my goal is to keep in river at the forefront ofthat, so that we're also providing the right kind of advice and direction toour customers so think about virtual reality. I always say like the Dvor Armakes the PIM sex here. You know headless commerce, it's becoming muchmore mainstream, but not a hundred percent there, and then I'm constantlyon the lookout for other technologies...

...that are relevant to us, make us betterfill a gap relevant to our customers, and so I managed those to ecosystem andI managed them from a go to market perspective. So my whole goal is: How do I help theorgan of my organization become better with our partners? But how do we pickthe right partners to really help drive the right solutions to our customersand make our customers much more successful, knowing that they havetechnology partners working together and the right systems integratorsworking 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 anriver because it touches every single part, sales, marketing, product support,etcetera. So a lot of people think about partners and alliances anddifferent ways, and one of my passions is- is there's so much that we do thatthat we really do become the central part of the, especially for a start upor scale up it's a great way to drive your business. I know I got a littleexcited there. I totally passionate about this, so it's amazing. Well that sounds. That sounds reallyfascinating gory. I guess I ask so many questions and I think maybe we can usethis episode to to help educate the audience on your job, because you, likeyou, said you sit at the center of so many different opportunities and reallyat the center of the strategic direction for in river. So first, oneof my questions is so you talked about forty percent of the businesses driventhrough partnerships. Is that, like are you thinking about it almost like amarketer in terms of attribution where you associate an opportunity with oneof your 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'show you sort of report the revenue...

...attribution back up up to the to thecompany yeah, so I have both models. The key model is where my partners, we work with our partners and really work in terms of identifyingopportunities, doing the marketing piece of it and then have our partnerswork with our direct sales teams who end up closing the deals, and so that'swhy there's such a close relationship between our partnersand our direct sales team, but I also have in some regions where my teamdrives the opportunity and closes it well, and those are regions where wejust don't have the direct presence, and so, if you don't have, I guesssometimes, when I've run channel teams, there's always like a little bit ofattention between the direct team and the Channel Team, where sometimessomebody outside of both of those organizations as saying we can't payboth the channel and the salesperson. You Know Commission on that deal weneed to pay one or the other. Otherwise, it's dramatically increasing our costof sale. Do you find any of that? You have a point of view on how to resolvethat or is it actually, you know your team isn't even comped that way, so itso it really doesn't even matter. No, we actually so the way that I havekeeped my team is is really a big portion of it is getting the dealclosed and that means working directly with the sales person, and so we'vemade a decision to count both. But then I also have a k Pi 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 thequarter, because that keeps the sales momentum going each quarter. If we'redoing it right. Theoretically, right...

...you, you've got qualified pipeline.That should be closing. Let's say two quarters out so you're constantlybuilding that so they're actually metric on both of those things and wehave not had- and we haven't come across that tension yet between oursales teams and like my team, because of the way that we have one. I'veworked very closely with our sales leaders, but to it's, because we'vemade this conscious decision to do so, and it's worked, as is it's very rarethat I think a channels leader can say that they're driving forty percent ofthe business at the size of the business that that in river is at Iannihave been at in river since January, two thousand and twenty, oh so justover a year, yeah yeah. It's really it's really interesting. So, let's letlet's use that as an opportunity to figure out your background, because Ithink again, like it's a specific skill set and it's such a strategic skillsaid that I can now. I can definitely see this as a path to cro and even CEO,because you have such a broad vantage point on the whole ecosystem. So howdid you get into the what's your background? How did you get into tothis role and what were the roles that led to this opportunity in the firstplace? So it's interesting because I never you know growing up. I neverthought I'd want to be a VP of CLOVA alliances or partners. I didn't evenknow it existed, but I started out as a consultant you know deliver. I was onthe system's integrator side, so coming from the big guys like excensus, thenIbn Gbwe E. I worked really closely with the big technology enders like and I'mgoing 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 withthe technology side to be able to put together the right processes anddeliver the solution. The way it is supposed to work, but within thecontext of what the client needed and over time I just got close to a lot ofthese technology vendors, and I found it so interesting that going fromconsulting into actually helping them up sell because there was other needsthat the client you know had that. I really started to understand the waythat 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.I was at pets at the time and I was also going to law school part time.While I was working full time that to like to keep herself busy perly yeah alittle bit, you that's that's change doing a little bit, at least in my mind.It's changing it's not necessarily changing it, my actions, but so one of my partners at Pwca like gory.You have this point of view so help us figure out how to market with ourtechnology partners into our client base. So I did that for a bit and thatkind of got me into working like broader with other types of technologypartners, so it was really bringing it all together and over time. I thenmoved into an actual sales roll where I was selling directly, and you know it'samazing. I was in financial services and then I started to sell into theindustrial sector which I have you ever saw me. I don't look like I should beselling into the industrials after, but but I also went into that in twothousand and eight and my first deal I sold as a direct sales person was withan oracle rap...

...to a auto maker at the beginning ofthat recession. My first deal was a ten million dollar deal and theonly reason that I was able to do it is because it wasn't me it was therelationship right. It was yes, I had this knowledge, but I also had therelationship on the technology side and we came together and we delivered afantastic solution and so from there you know I started toI got noticed and again I was building on this kind of niche skill. Not a lotof people have this right, where you're able to take that relationship and thenturn it into revenue and a law goes into these relationships. So I was thenasked to run our at least support our global IB M and Oracle relationshipwhich they were competitors, but they also had together a two billion dollarbusiness, and so that was really interesting because I had to lookacross different industries. I had to figure out: How do you bring solutionstogether? How do you actually influence the people who are going to go sell?How do you make sure that your you're delivering a message to show yourtechnology bunder that you're going to help them, even though you're acompetitor, and how do you hit those numbers? And it was really an amazingexperience and you know we ended up becoming. I picked my spots, but weended up becoming oracles number one retail partner. Well, it was, it wasvery cool and then 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 youknow very, very interesting and cool and did a lot of great stuff. But thenOracle poached me and it was very cool to go onto the product side right andcome at this from an alliance and...

...channels perspective, and I havefocused on the retail business unit, and that was where you dealt with a lotof the SI so as on the other side. But then again, how do you do the samething and really start to engage with sales people because sales people tothis day right? They care about their number, they care about winning andthey don't want anything getting in the way. So how do you actually bringpartners 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 rightmessage. You got to have the right product you're a little bit ofeverything right, you're, a salesperson you're, a marketing person you're likea psychiatrist, you're a teacher. It's all these things, which is a lot, butit's just something I thrived in, and you know after Oracle, I decided toactually start to go in terms of size of company smaller and smaller andsmaller. So I went to Marchetto 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 and river, and I'm doing that here too, andthat's how I've ended up here, and this has been such an amazing opportunity,because it's not only building ecosystem and affecting and impactingrevenue, but, like you said it's now strategically being in the middle ofall of this, and I get to share with the board what we're doing. I spend alot of time. I report up to my CEO and I spent a lot of time with him. Notonly am I, on the hook to deliver numbers and manage a team and grow ateam, but also think outside of the box and figure out like how do westrategically help the company grow and expand. So every role that I've had hasnot fit a mold, that's already been created, I've had to create it myselfand I've had a lot of help along the way, and I've been very lucky withgreat teams and great mentors and great...

...bosses and the opportunity to do so.But that's how I have gotten here and you know, and every day I wake up I'dbe lying. If I didn't say I was exhausted most of the time, but I havemy good days in my bad days, but I would say mostly good, because Ifeel like it's really invigorating it's real. 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 had you got to navigate and I'm also building a teamthat also has to learn how to navigate through this when you reflect onparticular quality of yourself, a characteristic, a strength over anattribute. Whatever word you want to use to describe when you think about. What's made yousuccessful in this role? What do you? What do you point to? What is what isit? Behavior that you exemplify that helpsyou pull all of these desparate organizations, together with differentinterests and help aline them towards a common goal. Have you reflected on whatit is sort of your super power in a way that helps you create results when sortof hurting cats hurting? All of these different organizations with differentincentives must be so difficult yeah. It's so interesting that you askthat, because I had never really thought about it until recently,because somebody else asked you that, and I think, like the cut and dry orthe younger part of me would have said. Oh I'm good organization right like Ican quickly in my mind, if somebody, if there is a problem, I can quickly, inmy mind, figure out what are the parts that you need to at least get to thatnext step in the next step and the next step, and who do you need and think afew steps ahead? So I think that's one piece of it, but I think there is thisa nate part of me in just there's a psychological part of this. Like goesback to your childhood and we can have a whole other podcast on that, but...

I'm the oldest daughter of immigrants-and I am persistent, but I really care Iwant people to come together. I want it to be kind of let I know this soundskind of wishy washy, but I'm getting to a point here is that before not able topull the organization together and herd these cats and help them understand thevalue to them, it won't be successful, and so that is probably the thing thatI do really well is to be able to say here is the bigger picture and thenhere the smaller steps and the people that need to be involved- and this istheir pay off if they're involved and then to create that kind of excitementto get there and give them a role and a piece of it. So it's really, I don'tknow the right words to put this in Damn, but it's like it's just bringingpeople together for an end result that everyone will benefit from. Well, I I think that's that's inspiring andinteresting, and you also mentioned that you're, the children, you know thechild, the immigrants and there's probably something about. I don't knowif it's work ethic or a desire to make sure that that decision was the goodone for the family. I don't know I'm sure, there's some standard that youaspire to live up to, in addition to the fact that you're displaying whatyou're really talking about in a way a sort of empathy I mean I ethen it'spure sense, which is putting yourself in somebody else's shoes to reallyunderstand what motivates them and then creating an outcome based on thatunderstanding. But that's just my speculation yeah and it's a it's veryimportant to me right. So I think that's, that's probably if it's to bewrapped up in one word, that's probably the right word, but I also think thatone 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 Ilearn 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'rebringing people together, that's the amazing part and you need all kinds ofpeople to be able to make something. Successful. Absolutely gory wereroughly at the end of 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 thinkabout who're. If you had to pick one person or two people whose ideasinspired you whose behavior inspires you who you just you think we shouldknow about this person, because they've had a positive impact on you. When Ifirmly like that WHO comes to mind that you think we should know about there's so many people, but the one person that I talked to a lotand I bounced ideas off of is Bill Parsons. So he was somebody I metwhen he was at Oracle and he's definitely a mentor, but also agood friend but watching his career and the way that he cares so much aboutpeople so he's I think, like the SP or VP dly. If you don't know him, look himup fantastic man great in terms of what he's done and what he's achieved, buthe is somebody who definitely he will spend the time on the phone with meeven late at night. Talking me through, like what do boards care about. Howshould you present to a board? What are some of the things that you shouldthink about? Let's think outside of the box score like, and he really kind ofhelps me think things through and is tough with me too right and he's alwayssaid to me: It's interesting, you know had a pretty long career and he'salways said you know, aim higher you you're more than this. You deserve moreand you're better than what you think...

...you are, and I sometimes I didn't seeit in myself and he was the guy. That would just say I see it in you and youneed 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'llmention just a one or two other people? If that's okay, Michael Fast as Ben, isa friend of mine too he's in the UK, he was a partner of mine at Oracle andthen he sold his company to publicis another fantastic friend mentor, whoreally just gets on the phone and spends the time and helps me like talkthrough things and when I'm scared to jump into something. These guys push mein 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 hearingthat gory. If folks want to reach out to you, maybe they're inspired, maybethey want to rap on partnerships, and maybe they need some guidance. What'sher preferred methodic communication? Are you okay with people reaching outto you and I so how you want them to get in touch yeah? I would love to I'malways open love meeting you people wherever I can help and I love tonetwork. My email is probably the best way to reach out to me, and that's JohnMe to just give it to you right now. Yes, please so it's Gory G, a U R, Idot, Chavah, a w L, a t, N Rivercombe e glory thanks so much for being on theshow. This week, we'll talk on Friday for Friday fundamentals and thanks forbeing here. Thank you for having me favorite body, Sam, Jacob Sam's corner,really enjoyed that conversation with Goy Chola. The role is just a veryspecific nuance role, and yet, as she mentioned right, her job drives fortypercent of the revenue it in river and she talks about. You know she's intouch with sort of cutting edge,...

...innovation, so she's frankly, in someways responsible or directly contributing to corporate development,maning em an a right. I am sure that she comes across companies that areinteresting. Companies for INLATO TAL acquire. I'm also sure that, throughher relationships with larger partners and system in the graders, she alsocomes into contact with companies. That might be an acquirer of in river shouldin wherever be for same which I have no idea. I'm just speculating here. Thepoint is that it's an incredibly strategic goal. She sits at the centerof so many different things. She has influence and oversight over the salesteam. She has influence and oversight of the partnerships in ego systemecosystem, the system in a gators. All these big companies, like de Loy, likeWC, like ecent, and so I think that it's a job, that's often misunderstood.It's often overlooked, and yet in many ways glory is one of the people in theclearest path to be Co. It in Mica, which I just think, is reallyfascinating and interesting, and I think not enough people know about thisconcept of partnerships and alliances and how critical can be, particularly,as she said, as you're in scale of right as you're in start up findingproduct market fit. You probably want to do most things direct just tounderstand the market understand the equisite, but, as you grow,partnerships become a really important part of how you might grow. So I justsomething to think about. I really enjoyed the conversation, a lot ofgreat insights, and you know she mentioned right that there's not a lotof competition, because both teams are come right, double confis sort of. Inmy experience. If you can manage effective what you cost a sale, it'sthe way to make sure that your direct sale team isn't fighting with your withyour partner go system which is not something that you want so really enjoy.That conversation, of course thanks. I was always to our sponsors outragecheck out, Orage Stylo for clash on that wage and also, of course, we wantto always think propositi they've been a great partner for US sign up for afree trial book, a den like Propositi TCOM' fols, like sales hacker, ifyou're not a part of the sales actor community ever missing out and yselfprofessional conjoins member, ask questions, get immediate answers andshure experiences with like minded be o calls pros, jump in and start adiscussion with more than ten thousand...

...sales professionals at Sales Acero. Ifyou have a check that cro school that revenue collective, it's a way to trainyourself to become a sea level executive and to be a chief revenueofficer. We've got over sixteen different experts and speakers thathelp people navigate the career and the trajectory that they're sticking toachieve and ending up at they see sweet once again. If you're listening thanks,give us a five Star Review on the ITU store. If you want to get in touch withme, linked in as the best way Lincoln Com forts last to work in for its lastSamoff Jacobs, thanks. So much and I'll talk to you next time. I.

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