A Deep Dive Into the Nearbound Book, With Mike Midgley, Part 3

A Deep Dive Into the Nearbound Book, With Mike Midgley, Part 3

Mike Midgley 13 min

About the author

I’m Mike Midgley, CEO of 6teen30 Digital, Inc., based in sunny Fort Myers, Florida. With a passion for RevOps, GTM strategy, podcasting, and public speaking, I lead our U.S. expansion and drive high-growth strategies leveraging my VC experience. I’m also pioneering an AI-powered RevOps application at Relentix.com. 


I’ve achieved multiple six and seven-figure exits and raised millions in venture capital. Now, I help growth-focused entrepreneurs succeed with RevOps and HubSpot.  


Beyond business, I’m committed to giving back by mentoring entrepreneurs and supporting charities like the NSPCC. Let’s connect if you’re a C Suite leader ready to embrace the RevOps life and achieve scale-up success: Book a call with me.


Hey, welcome back! 


I’ve previously shared my insights about what nearbound is, and how your Marketing team can make the most out of it. Last week I shared how your Sales and Customer Success teams can run some really interesting nearbound plays.  


Now it’s time to make our way through the Product team, how can you overlay nearbound throughout your rhythm of the business, and to develop a nearbound mindset. 


It’s time to share with you the third (and last) part of my Nearbound diary—covering chapters 11 to 15 from the Nearbound and the Rise of the Who Economy book. 


And don’t forget that…


Jared Fuller, Co-founder and CEO of nearbound.com, Chief Nearbound and Partner Officer at Reveal, and THE author of Nearbound and the Rise of the Who Economy, will share a deep dive into nearbound during the next Force and Friction podcast (coming soon).  


Let’s dig in!


*All excerpts remain copyright of the author and are used to demonstrate my key takeaways only in good faith, and in areas we can use proactively with our clients within their RevOps strategies.


Chapter Eleven: Success Through Nearbound Product 



Simplicity reigns supreme right, and less is indeed more, having three choices is not just convenient, it’s essential. Three’s company, not a crowd.


Whether it’s deciding between:

- Shrimp, chicken, or beef tacos 

- Selecting the right SaaS plan from Plus, Pro, Premium, or

- Choosing music lessons for our kids based on their skill level


Three’s company in our decision-making process, perfectly aligns with our everyday life. 


In Chapter 10 of Jared Fuller’s Nearbound book, the magic of three isn’t about choosing—it’s about leveraging all three: 

  • Integrations, 

  • Experts, and 

  • Marketplaces

Together, they power the nearbound product revolution with unmatched synergy. 


Let’s dive into my key takeaways: 


1. Integrations

  • The key to a ’sticky’ solution is strategic integrations. 

  • RollWorks, a division of NextRoll discovered customers with 4+ integrations are 35% less likely to leave over those with just one.

  • Focus on essential integrations for new clients to meet their immediate goals, ensuring seamless interoperability and added value


2. Expert Communities

  • Communities become breeding grounds for experts, surpassing any support you could offer alone. 

  • They not only help refine your product with innovative ideas that the dev team didn’t expect, but they also build trust and authenticity, free from sales bias. 

  • Jay McBain likens these to ’watering holes’—spaces where trusted experts gather to offer invaluable insights and who buyers trust.


3. Marketplaces

  • Marketplaces amplify network effects, with Miro and Notion exemplifying this through their template integrations. 

  • Notion’s commitment to not taking a cut from template sales, highlights creators as part of their community. This strategy reveals new platform possibilities and simplifies user experience, enhancing loyalty and reducing churn. 

  • Much of this ecosystem growth, as Cristina Cordova demonstrated during her time at Notion before her move to First Round Capital, stems organically from market incentives.


From the seamless synergy of integrations to the wisdom of experts, and the dynamism of marketplaces, it demonstrates one thing:


"When these three unite, they’re not just company, they’re a powerhouse."


Huge appreciation to all the organizations and experts referenced in this chapter including RevealDriftClearbitDemandbase6sensePandaDocZapierJasper-AiJill Rowley, and David Cancel all offering valuable perspectives on these three topics.


Chapter Twelve: Nearbound Partnerships



Are your partnerships truly collaborative or merely parasitic? 


According to Jared Fuller’s challenges explained in the Nearbound book, the skepticism around partnerships is often voiced by CROs and sellers, addressing concerns about partners joining deals late, adding unnecessary complexity, and doubting the ROI they deliver. 


Nearbound advocates for integrating partnerships as a strategic overlay across all departments, driven by the Nearbound Mindset, presenting a solution to the challenges previously mentioned.


My Key takeaways:


1. Finding Nearbound Partnerships in an Overlay Model


  • Forge meaningful partnerships by engaging customers to identify key service partners and technology providers, using tools like Gong or Clari for insights.

  • Justin Bartels’ story tackling a $6m quota at Drift illustrates the importance of strong front-line relationships. 

  • For partner recruitment, use the 4’C methodology—Customer Base, Credibility, Capability, and Commitment, as detailed by Bernhard Friedrichs and Martin Scholz, to select, and vet partners, ensuring trust and mutual growth. This approach streamlines the creation of symbiotic partnerships, boosting your organization’s capabilities and reach


2. Activating Partner Value and The First Helper Advantage

  • Isaac Morehouse emphasizes the importance of building social capital before leveraging it, advocating for a ’help first’ approach to partnerships.

  • This ethos mirrors the golden rule ’treat others as you would like to be treated’. 

  • Echoing this sentiment, Jeremy Seltzer highlights the necessity of extensive support within the partner ecosystem - he states "I want to produce a ton from my partner ecosystem, which means we have to help our partner a whole heck of a lot".

  • Essential Strategies Inc.: training partners, supporting sales efforts, and providing incentives like financial rewards, lead sharing, co-marketing opps, and recognition programs to foster a competitive, yet collaborative environment.


3. Nurturing: Becoming a Partner-Centric Organization

  • Embrace a partner-first mentality, prioritizing rapid enhancement of partner value. 

  • The book stresses that ’trust is built gradually in drops, but lost quickly in buckets’. 

  • To gain a ’first helper’ advantage, focus on sharing insights, highlighting partners, providing exclusive opportunities, delivering exceptional support, co-developing solutions, respectful onboarding, maintaining open collaboration, and recognizing outstanding performance. 


These actions foster a strong, trust-based partner ecosystem.


The nearbound partnership economy is your opportunity to redefine the essence of partnerships, moving beyond the parasitic concerns that often plague initial perceptions. 


True partnerships, as illustrated, are not just a matter of contractual agreements or shared interests; they are the living, breathing embodiments of mutual growth, trust, and success.


Chapter Thirteen: Nearbound Operations



In the mid-90s, when I launched my first company, Operations was its own distinct department. Often underestimated, the Operations Director/Manager role was crucial, acting as the “day-to-day glue” between competing factions.


Since then, terms like Sales Ops, Marketing Ops, and now Rev Ops have gained popularity. Before discussing my insights from Jared Fuller ’s chapter 13 on Nearbound Operations, a big shout-out to all the Ops Pros for their outstanding, but often underappreciated work!


If there’s a passion close to my heart, I’d say it’s Business Operations. 


Here are my key takeaways from this chapter: 


1. The Hard Problem of Attribution

  • Attribution remains a contentious issue, with diverse influences on revenue conversion making it a complex puzzle, especially with partnerships. Many overlook the operations aspect, focusing instead on revenue.

  • Latané Conant CRO of 6sense, on partner managers: "There’s only so much you can do...they can become wildly inefficient if the infrastructure and systems are not there to support their success." Emphasizing infrastructure oversize, Conant advises against hiring partner managers without the necessary support system.

  • Rev Ops, though recently popularized promotes "holistic thinking over departmental silos alone."


2. Channel Conflicts

  • Channel partners aim for mutual benefits, yet challenges arise, as seen with HubSpot’s early program—Peter Caputa, credited by the author for the ’overlay model’ thesis, notes, "initially HubSpot Partner Program was separated—this creating conflict, and as the program got bigger, the conflicts grew too."


3. Partner Attach: The North Star Metric

  • The metric of partner involvement in deals helps track win rate, deal size, retention, and upsell potential. Sunir Shah, CEO of AppBind, pushes for identifying ’real value’ from partners, while Aaron McGarry, co-founder of TEN70, introduces ’Value driven attach’ to assess partners’ contributions, like joint selling, referrals, tech integrations, or strategic input.

  • The core question is, "Did the partner’s involvement substantially improve our chances of winning the deal?"


4. The Power of Comparative Analysis

  • Operations can gain valuable insights on partner attach / value attach and blend with other metrics and have to do more than just collect this data, they need to make it actionable.


5. Culture and Cadence

  • Ops shapes company culture, promoting "The Rhythm of Business." David Cancel of Drift, a Salesloft company, defines culture as "what you promote and what you tolerate."

  • Success hinges on simplifying operations and enhancing culture.

  • Incorporating partner metrics into reports and rewards is key: "measure, commit to the effort and when greatness shows - reward it!" more on (p171).

In the Nearbound era, operations remain the unsung heroes, orchestrating the intricate dance between strategy, execution, and partner collaboration.


Chapter Fourteen: Nearbound and The Rhythm of Business



What does the Rhythm of Business mean?


It’s the difference that makes category-defining businesses.


Take Ben Horowitz’s insights on business culture in "What you do is who you are," alongside notable "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" quotes, all underline the inevitability of culture in any company.


Jared Fuller’s Nearbound book—Chapter 14, delves into "The Rhythm of Business" as the cornerstone of exceptional culture. Examples and checklists focus on experiences at Drift the omnipresence of sunlight symbolizes ultimate transparency with nowhere to hide, highlighting accountability as a crucial leadership lesson.


Here’s my key summarized takeaways:


1. Cadences and Rituals

David Cancel emphasizes culture as "what you promote and what you tolerate," the 2nd half of this highlights the importance of "cadences and rituals in reinforcing it".


The framework:


Daily: Team contributions to stand-ups, social media promos, daily product releases, and the methodology behind this phenomenal output are detailed in ’Burndown’ Authored by Matt Bilotti and David Cancel


Weekly: Monday Metrics, Show and Tell for demonstrating value and adherence to leadership principles + Team Meetings.


Monthly: ’All Hands’ meetings for progress towards quarterly goals and Monthly Product Releases for fast-paced integration or product launches.


Quarterly: QBRs to establish major goals, with a focus on data-backed lessons, aimed to ’Educate’, ’Inspire’, and ’Align’. The necessity for such rigorous accountability is underlined, showcasing commitment to customer success and product excellence.


Annual: Company Kickoffs for operational planning and the Hypergrowth Conference, which expanded to 6k attendees in two years, with notable mention of Dave Gerhardt’s contribution to making partners famous. This segment underscores the vital role of disciplined routines in fostering a culture of accountability and success, as seen in Drift’s approach to business and culture.


2. Nearbound Rhythm Of Business

  • Should be led by the partnership team, which requires aligning with each department’s Go-To-Market strategies and integrating partners into dept. goals to foster collaboration.

  • It’s vital to treat partnerships as part of a unified revenue stream, avoiding categorization as a separate channel, using Aaron McGarry’s Partner Attach Rate (PAR) for team alignment.

  • Front Line Management must ensure daily adherence to Nearbound metrics/objectives, as Matt Cameron stresses the importance of "inspecting what you expect" and focuses on managerial oversight in embedding partnerships into the fabric of the company’s GTM efforts.


3. The Rhythm of the Partnership Role

  • Identifying partnership rhythms is key for aligning internal teams and trusted external partners.

  • It involves strategic choice, emphasizing the importance of intentional collaboration.


Chapter Fifteen: The Nearbound Mindset 



This is the true story of Peter Caputa and his Curiosity and Conviction backed by courage, all in the 3 C’s of the Nearbound Mindset in Jared Fuller’s book.


Everything started with Peter saying no to Brian Halligan CEO of HubSpot, and ended with the foundations that built a $100M partner program.


(More on the 3 C’s later.)


1. A Nearbound Mindset

Let’s review the other aspects of the Nearbound Mindset. I loved the opening paragraph on the ’cyclical progress and regress’ example; which is best referenced in G. Michael Hopf book ’Those Who Remain’ and quotes:


“Hard times create strong leaders.”


“Strong leaders create good times.”


“Good times create weak leaders.”


“Weak leaders create hard times.”


Consider a handful of individuals who can determine the direction of an era, and today is no exception.


The future is here today, in medicine, energy, transportation, and finance to name a few, also the future of partnerships has arrived with the best entrepreneurs building “in the market”, not just “going to market”.


While it is in reach it also feels distant, a paradox the author states defines our time.


2. The Power Law Revisited

The Pareto Principle or (80/20) rule where 20% of our daily effort can yield 80% of our most significant achievements—ref: Cal Newport (Deep Work).

Economist, Tyler Cowen notes the age of average where it was good enough is gone.


3. Back to the Future; From How to Who

Focus on elevating the role of partnerships from an isolated dept, to an all-encompassing strategy across all departments is key. We should all ask ourselves "Who in our company is leading the overlay model of partnerships across all fronts’


4. The 3 C’s

This triad creates the neabound mindset, summarized as follows


Curiosity: It is the spark, the relentless drive Jeff Bezos’s "Day Zero Mentality" embodies,

It’s also a constant quest beyond the known, driven by a fascination with markets, customers, and ecosystems.


Courage: The audacity to step into the unknown and make decisive choices, ready to face potential failures with a defiant smile, to confront whatever comes at you.


Conviction: Transcending the previous 2 C’s, it goes beyond curiosity, a principle in leaders like saying, I’m prepared to "die on that hill," showcasing unwavering resolve and attracting others with its momentum.


5. Your Calling Card

Leading means shifting from solo to collective action, charting a new course to go forth and help your

  • Marketing team, market together

  • Sales team, sell together

  • Success team, serve together

  • Product team, build together

  • Ops team, work together


A final word

We’ve journeyed through the chapters of the Nearbound book, from its application in marketing and sales to its pivotal role within product development and operations. I hope that this book helped you (just like me) uncover the power of nearbound and transform your company into a collaborative ecosystem.


Thank you for joining me throughout this journey. And for those of you who haven’t read the Nearbound and the Rise of the Who Economy book, I recommend this book 10/10 as a crucial next chapter for everyone. Invest in yourself and your team by exploring the Nearbound Era. 


Concluding my review, the book ends with an empowering quote:


"May your curiosity lead you to courage, and may your convictions strengthen your choices."



Mike Midgley 13 min

A Deep Dive Into the Nearbound Book, With Mike Midgley, Part 3

Explore the final installment of a comprehensive guide to Nearbound strategies, diving into the integration of Nearbound principles within product teams and fostering a Nearbound mindset.

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