Marketo x Drift Alliance: How I Generated HUNDREDS of Referrals in ONE Month

Marketo x Drift Alliance: How I Generated HUNDREDS of Referrals in ONE Month

Jared Fuller & Ella Richmond 11 min

It was 2018 and Jared had just become the Senior Director of Global Partnerships at Drift. 


He had two goals in mind:

  1. Make partnerships success undeniable

  2. Document his process so he could get buy-in from every department and executives


In Strategic Alliances: Partner Up and Play to Win Jared shares,


It was my first day at Drift. I was reporting to the Founder & CTO, Elias Torres.


Elias is one in a million, perhaps one in a billion.


Have you ever met a CTO who didn’t have a laptop at the office? That’s Elias.


“I build teams, products follow,” he used to say.


My first day started with a barrage of WhatsApp messages basically saying I had until Friday and my first Executive Leadership Team meeting to figure out where we place our partner bets.


But something told me this was more than just another meeting. I had a feeling I was expected to be right!


Thankfully, Elias had shown me Playing To Win: How Strategy Really Works.


In a very brief summary, Playing To Win has three distinct parts:

  1. Strategic Choice Making

  2. Reverse Engineering

  3. Strategic Testing


The first part, Strategic Choice Making, details five steps of cascading choices to not just call your shot, but to call the right shot.


  • What is the winning aspiration?

  • Where will you play?

  • How will you win?

  • What capabilities must be in place?

  • What management systems are required?


Jared explained,


“We chose Marketo, and that meant I had to win. It wasn’t an experiment, it was a choice.”


Dave Cancel’s response?


“Don’t f*** it up.”


Fast-forward a few months, and the partnership had already secured 117 accounts. 


What follows is Jared’s 2018 reflection on his strategy and learnings he documented in real time, 6 years ago


To use this reflection best, pay attention to the principles and tactics that helped Jared succeed. Ask yourself:

  1. How does Jared approach building a Sumo alliance, and what applies to your company’s efforts?

  2. Which tactics you can use or build on to drive similar results at your company?


Learn out loud

I’m documenting the learnings on how we are generating some crazy referral volume from Marketo. 


These are some great lessons we can make better in the future and double down on to improve.


I’m including my thought processes because, without context, I feel like the learnings can get lost. Plus, this is the essence of BD and Partnerships when it comes to brass tacks. 


I figure people will want to know how to achieve similar results, so here goes.


Results so far

The record for number of SME-Enterprise Opptys from any SDR I’ve ever seen is 30 in one month. What if I could do that in three days?


If you don’t shoot for the stars, you’ll never hit the top of the trash can lid (or so I tell myself).


When I saw we had a gap to get to our audacious revenue goal of $XXM, I thought, “How can we possibly close that gap and how can I help?” We’ve already done some really cool stuff like: 


  • An exclusive Alliance partnership (ok, cool, but like, where are the results?)

  • A dedicated Marketo webinar with 1,100 registrants

  • Promotional email (two) to ALL of Marketo’s customers older than 6 months sent by Marketo in Jill Rowley’s name

  • Sales enablement announcements of “Code Purple” and reps organically submitting referrals to me from Marketo

  • Manually reaching out to reps (with little to some success) for them to make referrals (or if we have a deal in flight to “vouch” for us so to speak—more social proof never hurts)

  • Presenting at their Global CSM meeting virtually

  • Presenting to pods of sales teams virtually

  • Sponsoring MUG events


Just to name a few.


In short, the effort and impact so far have been pretty good. 


Since announcing the Partnership at HYPERGROWTH, we’ve had record months in terms of the number of meetings with Marketo customers, pipeline creation, and closed-won revenue, with over 75% of them being ICP accounts. Not incremental results, but multiples over prior months. 


While that’s good, maybe even really good, Drift demands great, and getting to XXM is going to require a whole lot of not-normal effort and results.


So I thought, let’s go old-school and tactical. 

How we’re going to do even better

We’ve been able to get a few dozen referrals through email and calls, but what if I visited every Marketo AE and CSM (that’s in a major office—field is another beast altogether) and personally asked for their account lists so I could map them to Drift AEs to make referrals?


I’ve been having some success remotely, but let’s be honest here. How normal is it for an AE or CSM to give you their entire account list and then make personal referral intros for one of your reps? 


Yeah, I wouldn’t do it either. 


Normal is, “I have someone who asked me about Drift, I’ll send them to you.” Nice, but that doesn’t move the needle much.


That’s where “Code Purple” came in—the Q4 incentive program where we spiffed reps and surrounded the install base and each department - marketing, sales, and success..


I booked a three-day trip to visit the San Mateo (HQ and 2nd largest office), Portland (3rd largest office, mainly developers), and Denver Marketo offices (largest office).


Here’s what we did.

The plan

I set a budget for the trip, did some funnel math, and thought I could generate 180 intros in this three-day trip. 


That’s a high bar by any standards. If I could pull it off, that would be a world-class effort—I haven’t seen results like that before. 


Maybe we really could move the needle.


So we put together a plan.


Step one: Easy referrals 

We set up marketo [at] as an email, that way our CTA for anyone who hears “chat”, “conversations”, “live chat”, or whatever—whether they are a CSM or AE—can refer us in real-time without having to track down how. They can just email marketo [at] and we’ll take care of the rest. 


#thingsthatdontscale: this email goes to a Slack group that Alex and I monitor and can respond to quickly. 


No one is going to remember some URL or my email. Plus, it kind of does scale if you think about it. Other folks can staff this as we grow and we can replicate it for other partners. Clean, simple, and effective.


Step two: Enablement

We produced some sales enablement collateral that emphasized why they should care about Drift—in other words, what’s in it for them. More contacts = more upsell. 


Win. Win. Win.


Step three: Be memorable 

We visited all three major Marketo offices in person as cheaply as possible. I would personally buy breakfast/lunch for them and get them in a room with me. I would explain the promo, why it mattered to them, and end with a strong CTA. I also printed out these materials and put them on every desk. 


Email is a black hole, but details nicely printed specifically for them were a way to stand out and have some staying power on their desk. It was printed on gloss card stock. 


Step four: Swag

We used our cool swag as a give-and-take (also, “Giftology”). I brought t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and socks to give away. Shipping would have been a nightmare and expensive, so I flew into San Mateo, rented a Getaround, drove to the SF Office, packed three duffle bags of swag, and drove back down to San Mateo. Scrappy + Frugal. Then I flew the other swag with me to Portland + Denver.


Step five: The aha! moment

Here’s where we had the big breakthrough. CSMs are pretty careful with their accounts. When we get intros they are high quality, but it’s hard to get a lot of them and they are less “spiff” motivated. It works, just not a “silver bullet.” 


AEs, on the other hand, love our message but they’re pretty reticent to just work us into accounts they are trying to close. We could delay or worse harm their deal. Many of them expressed how they’d prefer to just have Drift on their own paper (to be discussed further). 


The aha moment came to me when I offered a rep a choice: I said you could either work us into deals you are currently working on, OR you could send us deals you’ve previously closed. They have nothing to lose, they’ve already closed them and it’s far more natural to say: 


“Hey, we have this new exclusive partnership that helps Marketo customers double their lead conversion rates and I couldn’t help but think of helping y’all make some more money. The company is called Drift and they’re offering 20% off and free onboarding to my customers in Q4. I’d be remiss in not introducing you to them because I genuinely believe they can help. I’ve copied the Drift rep that owns your account and recommend at least a quick call where they can show you what Drift would look like on your site. If you’re not interested, no worries, but who doesn’t like converting more leads?”


No. Brainer.


Step six: Make it even easier

The Marketo reps really liked this strategy. So we made it dead simple for them. I walked over to their desks, showed them how to export their won deals out of Salesforce, and had them email their lists to marketo [at] We then matched them up to the appropriate Drift AEs (or had Jacky, our operations manager, assign them) and sent the Marketo rep back the sheet with the rep’s name and email for each of their previous accounts. 


Alex pre-wrote some emails they could send (so they didn’t have to think what to write) to make this process even easier. The Marketo rep simply grabs the contact’s email and the Drift AE email, copies her template, and presses send. Simple.


Step seven: Follow up

Since doing this, Drift reps have been engaging and getting some meetings or bubbling back up to the top stale opptys. But getting the reps to follow up consistently hasn’t been easy either.


So, we took that one step further as well. Alex created a sequence for the Drift reps to send as a follow-up to the referrals.


The first step is a highly customized email with a screenshot or Vidyard of Drift on their website. The next 4-5 emails simply bubble back up the referral request to see if they liked what they saw to ensure we are engaging them enough times. These aren’t inbound demo requests, but they are highly relevant, timely, social proof intros, so we gotta follow up. Sales basics. One touch isn’t enough.



So, that’s what I’ve been doing on this tour.


I still have the largest office (Denver) left to attend. There are approximately 60 CSMs/AEs at that office but the results in two days have been promising. 


I’ve secured 117 accounts from these two offices and we are working on assigning them and getting the referral emails sent out. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are still dozens of reps who I now can continue to ping to send referrals who gave me a verbal that they would do it. 


Some couldn’t do it live due to calls/meetings they had. I’ve sent follow-ups to all.



Jared ended his note to the team saying, 


“We’ll see how the rest of this plays out.”


In one month, Jared and his team successfully generated hundreds of referrals between Drift and Marketo.


Top takeaways:

  1. Pick a sumo and outline your strategic alliance’s strategy. Click here to get the full guide.

  2. Get in the field. If you want to drive results, you need to be in the field. You need to be in settings where you can play detective. 30-minute Zoom meetings aren’t enough to drive real results.

  3. Document your learnings and progress. When people internally and externally ask how you succeeded, you want to have a detailed explanation. You want to be able to explain at any stand-up exactly what you’re doing and how you’re succeeding.


Read the full Strategic Alliances: Partner Up and Play to Win piece to learn step-by-step, how you can build a Sumo alliance at your company.

Jared Fuller & Ella Richmond 11 min

Marketo x Drift Alliance: How I Generated HUNDREDS of Referrals in ONE Month

In 2018 Jared Fuller set out to strike a strategic alliance between Drift and Marketo.

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