Nearbound Daily #501: Steal this Marketo Play: Simplify, Focus, Repeat

Nearbound Daily #501: Steal this Marketo Play: Simplify, Focus, Repeat

Ella Richmond 3 min

The 3 pillars of every great SaaS business

Rewind to 2017, TK Kader—founder and CEO of ToutApp—became the SVP of Strategy and Alliances at Marketo through an acquisition.


Then, a year later, he became the Global Head of Strategy and Alliances of Marketo at Adobe.


In this from the vault episode of the Nearbound Podcast, TK Kader shares his story and unpacks the lessons he’s learned about leveraging partnerships as a Mergers and Acquisitions vehicle, having been on both the buy and sell side multiple times.


Here’s lesson one:


Every great SaaS business has three pillars:

  1. Product

  2. Market

  3. Go-to-market

The mistake many founders make is building a product strategy that’s not tied to the market strategy or go-to-market strategy.


Instead, TK advises,

Prioritize both your product strategy and your market strategy, and then mobilize your go-to-market.

Here’s an example of how that could be done:

  1. Define product strategy: You’re going to build 10 integrations.

  2. Define market strategy: Lay out your ICP and their watering holes.

  3. Define go-to-market strategy: Outline exact plays for getting your product to this target ICP.

Listen to the full episode, or keep reading to hear how TK achieved partner success at Marketo and Adobe.

Steal this play: simplify, focus, repeat

“Do I try to do everything, or do I do one thing well?”


Some partner pros choose to spread themselves thin and as a result, can’t give any partners a first-class experience; they craft a loose better-together story, build a B-minus integration, and don’t instill confidence.


TK Kader prefers to simplify, focus, and repeat with a few partners at a time.


Here’s the playbook he ran on the sell side of partnerships:

  1. Pick a few top partners to go after

    Use customer insights and a tool like Reveal to help you determine which partners are your lowest-hanging fruit and/or have the highest potential.


  2. Prioritize smooth integrations with those partners’ top tech

    When TK, Jared, and Kevin first recorded this from the vault conversation, integrations weren’t table stakes. Now they are. Your product needs to integrate with the tools your customers use most, especially, their CRMs and main systems of record.


  3. Build a compelling JVP

    Name the value you provide together and explain why it’s important to your partner’s business. How do you help their customers achieve more success?

    This JVP will be useful in step 4.


  4. Sell to their customers directly

    Before you go to your partner, figure out who their customers are and learn how to sell to them directly.

    We know you use this, here’s how we add value, this is why you need this.


  5. Approach partners for a deeper partnership

    Establishing a partnership will be much easier once you build momentum with your partner’s customers.

    As TK put it,

    ’Hey, do you want to partner’ doesn’t work as well as, ’Hey you know what surprised us…a whole bunch of our top customers also use you. Here are the logos. What do you think about doing something together?’

This playbook worked for TK and Marketo. Learn from it, use it, and evolve it for your company.

Share this partner play

Partner pros help each other out! Share this with someone who could use a play like this.


Ella Richmond 3 min

Nearbound Daily #501: Steal this Marketo Play: Simplify, Focus, Repeat

Rewind to 2017, TK Kader—Founder & CEO of ToutApp—became the SVP of Strategy & Alliances at Marketo through acquisition. Here's his advice.

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