Nearbound Daily #439: The rise of the machines 🤖

Nearbound Daily #439: The rise of the machines 🤖

Shawnie Hamer 8 min

When does it make sense for Sales and Partnership teams to sell together, and how can you do it well?


Join Sam Yarborough, Stephanie Fennell, Xiaofei Zhang, and Rasheite Calhoun on Sales Day at the Nearbound Summit to learn how to co-sell the easy way. 


Register today and share it with your sales friends! 

Everyone wants to work with the winner

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What does “a winner” mean in B2B? Is it the biggest, shiniest company raking in the most dough? 


Probably not. We’ve seen these kinds of companies get their 30 seconds of fame, only to let their success get in the way of what really matters: the customer. 


In the Nearbound Era, winners are defined in the same way Green Bay Packers coach, Vince Lombardi, one defined them: 


“Winners are willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else.” 


Winners orient themselves around building trust with their customers by using their expertise and network to help them win. 


Xiaofei Zhang, Head of Platform and Strategic Partnerships at ActiveCampaign, joined the Nearbound Podcast last week to discuss the successful partnership between ActiveCampaign and Salesforce, including how ActiveCampaign became the #1 marketing automation app on Salesforce’s AppExchange.


She shares how ActiveCampaign became a winner, and how you can become one too: 

  • Turn your customers into your champions. ActiveCampaigns’ partners are also their customers—they use their solution and know it works. 

  • Forget the marketing fluff. Customers actually grow their business by using ActiveCampaign, so they genuinely recommend it to their clients not as a marketing ploy, but as a tool they believe in.

  • Stay close to your partners. Part of Xiaofei and her team’s success is staying close to their partners by listening to their feedback and understanding what motivates them. This builds better relationships and alignment.

  • Set your partners up for success. Xiaofei explains that many partnership people underestimate the amount of training needed to set their partners up for success. Partners who are left to fend for themselves won’t bring you business. You have to invest in enablement, making sure that your partners know how to represent you, while also staying flexible enough to action their feedback.

Get the full conversation with Xiaofei here.


Xiaofei is speaking on Sales Day at the Nearbound Summit! Register here to get your free spot for her session. 

A people-first GTM

Having trouble kicking off a people-first GTM strategy? Nick Bennett recently shared the following 8 steps (and an awesome graphic to go along with it!) for getting started: 

nick bennett

Thanks for sharing, Nick! 


  1. Develop your story and point of view. What do you believe in and why. The problems you solve.

  2. Speak with potential customers and ideal buyers and get feedback about the point of view and story.

  3. Use the feedback to help determine a relevant audience that would resonate with your story.

  4. Define a set of principles to strengthen the point of view and belief.

  5. Build an asset (content, event, or free product) that is a catalyst for distribution and audience building.

  6. Find a partner(s) to bring the asset to life and gain a distribution edge.

  7. Create a way for people to subscribe and follow. Build an email list.

  8. Amplify the asset by turning it into lots of micro- and short-form content. It’s recommended this is done before or as you launch a new product.

By leveraging nearbound, you can take this foundational strategy even further. As Logan Lyles reminds us, your partners and brand evangelists are not a channel—you have to distribute with them, not through them. 


Don’t just hand them a one-pager or video clip to promote. Build content alongside your customer champions, as well as those partners who’ve already built trust with your audience. 


Nick is speaking at the Summit! Join him for Marketing Day on November 8th. 

The rise of the machines 


Image source: Gartner


"Machine customers" are nonhuman economic actors that can search for and purchase goods and services in exchange for payment.


We’re already seeing this happen in real time. Teslas order new tires when you have a flat. Your HP printer orders new ink when it starts running low. 


But this is the tip of the iceberg. According to Gartner, executives expect machine customers to make up 25% of purchases in the next 10 years.  


Gartner recently shared in their 10 boldest IT predictions for 2024 that, by 2028, "15 billion connected products will exist with the potential to behave as customers, with billions more to follow in the coming years."


What kind of impact will this have on GTM strategies? Gartner explains that machine customers have 3 key differences from human buyers that could have significant commercial and operational impacts:

1. Machine customers have one goal, and one goal only. And that is to solve the problem coded in their algorithm. They won’t and can’t hide this intention like human buyers can. So, if your buying process complicates the execution of this goal, you could be in trouble. 

2. Emotion is not a factor. They can process and choose from a ton of information without any emotional attachment to a brand or personal connection. 

3. They are schmooze-proof. Machine customers cannot be swayed or impressed. They seek the shortest and most efficient distance between point A and point B. Companies that can provide that will stay on top. 


If you believe your industry and company will be impacted by the shift to machine customers, Gartner suggests starting to evolve your GTM strategy now by answering these questions: 

  • Will you manufacture them?

  • Will you create a platform to serve them?

  • Will you join a marketplace to sell to them?

  • What capabilities will you need in any case?

But whether or not you’ll be directly impacted by this advancement, we’d add another very important question to this list: 

  • Will you partner with those manufacturing them to provide your joint audience with better solutions?

Because machine customers might be on the rise, but the humans they serve aren’t going anywhere. 

Don’t be that Sales Manager

Jacob Vandenbark shares, "If you cold call all day and never build relationships, you are limiting the speed of your flywheel. Having a partner channel is like adding another gear to your transmission, it allows you to go faster with roughly the same amount of effort."

Screenshot 2023-10-19 at 14.07.16

Thanks for sharing, Jacob! 

Cast your vote on best collab by Nov. 1st!

And the ‘Boundies nominees for Nearbound Collab of the Year are:

🏆 ABM Starter Pack by InvertaDemandbase, and PathFactory

🏆 Concierge Everywhere by Chili PiperG2ADAChameleonSnappy, and Partner Fleet

🏆 Microsoft and OpenAI

🏆 The State of Partner Ops Report by HubSpotPartnership Leaders, and Canalys

🏆 The Highspot Partner Marketplace by Highspot and partners like Corporate VisionsForce Management, etc

These partnerships, integrations, and co-marketing campaigns have excelled this year and proven the value of doing better together.


Vote for the winner here by November 1st!


Huge thank you to our ’Boundies sponsor, Loop & Tie!

Boundies Nominees

Stuff you don’t want to miss!

  • Join the official Nearbound Summit community brought to you by Partnership Leaders — Partnership leaders’ goal is to connect people interested in learning about partnerships around the world. Join here.

  • November 1st —Firneo Partner Strategy Forum (Day 3): How to Get Executive Buy-In for Partnerships— Learn how to secure resources & support from key stakeholders that are critical to partnership success. Register here

  • November 6th-9th —Nearbound Summit 2023— The future of GTM is Nearbound. Join us for the biggest-ever remote experience in GTM where B2B leaders across departments unite to share how they’re winning with Nearbound strategies and tactics. Register here.

  • Enroll before November 14th —PXP Academy Partner Manager Certification Course— Join the interactive learning session that equips you with everything you need to be successful in your daily job as an operational Partner person. Register here.

  • November 16th —Elevate Your Presale GTM with Tech Partners— Learn from industry experts like Kelly Sarabyn (HubSpot), Jared Fuller ( and Reveal), Sunir Shah (AppBind), and Alexander Buckles (Forecastable). Evolve your GTM strategy with tech partners. Register here. 

  • Enroll by November 17th —Firneo’s Mastering Partnerships Strategy (4-week course)— Registration is now open! Learn how to diagnose and solve your partner program’s biggest challenges from the world’s top partnership leaders. Use the code "NEARBOUND" for a 1:1 Strategy Coaching package (worth $1,000) for FREE. Enroll (or check out a free preview) here 

  • April 19th-20th —SaaS Connect 2023— It’s that time of year again! Get your spot early for the 11th annual partnership conference in San Francisco, hosted by Cloud Software Association. Register here. 

Co-Selling: When the buzzword meets the road

Everyone wants to co-sell, but when the rubber hits the road, they quickly find themselves broken down on the side of the highway. 


But does it really have to be that difficult? Join Sam Yarborough, Stephanie Fennell, Xiaofei Zhang, and Rasheite Calhoun on Sales Day at the Nearbound Summit to discuss nearbound co-selling strategies that will have you hitting the gas. 

Get your spot today!

Sales Day Panel

Register now

Shawnie Hamer 8 min

Nearbound Daily #439: The rise of the machines 🤖

What does “a winner” mean in B2B

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