In our Platform Heroes series, we interview teams who are building next-generation platforms and ecosystems at leading SaaS companies. In this third interview, we talk with Jack Wallace from the AWeber partnerships team.
- Name: Jake Wallace
- Role: Strategic Partnerships at AWeber
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jake__Wallace
- Category: SaaS, Email Marketing
What is your background?
I’ve worked in SaaS and specifically Business Development and now Partnerships for the last 12 years. I’ve always had a knack for building relationships that drive growth. I love networking and meeting new people and learn how we could help each other’s business.
How did you end up at AWeber?
I’ve known of AWeber for some time now and noticed they were looking for someone to head up Integration Partnerships. I was actually looking to partner with them at my previous company. AWeber is one of the leaders in the Email Marketing space and I felt like I could come on board and help build a successful partner program.
How would you define your role?
My main focus is building relationships with Integration partnerships. Those who leverage our API to connect with our platform. I manage the business side of the API. Often times I’m working very closely with our Integrations product manager when a partner is currently in development. When the integration is complete I work very closely with our Marketing department to broadcast to the world a new AWesome Integration!
Do you have a separate integrations team?
We do. They’re tasked with maintaining our API and adding new endpoints where it makes sense.
How big is your team?
The integrations team is made up of 8 people. Engineers, Product, Developer Support, Myself (Partnerships) and Marketing
How do you allocate time to your team?
We all have goals within 2-week sprints. Everything is planned and executed strategically.
What are the daily tools that you use with your team?
We’re an Atlassian team along with Slack - They’re a lifesaver.
What is key to the growth of partnerships?
The audience is absolutely crucial. Our customer personas have to align nicely. Also understanding what our customers want in a partnership is vital. We talk to our customers frequently to understand what tools they use to run their business. The partnership must be a two-way street. Effort on both sides needs to happen in order to see success from a growth standpoint.
If you had the chance to rebuild/rethink your partner/integration strategy what would you have done differently?
I honestly don’t think we’d change anything. Our approach to partner integrations is working very nicely for us. We have a great mix of direct integrations as well as powered by integrations. We pretty much have any integration our customer would need.
What are the biggest mistakes you see other companies make?
Not enabling powered by solutions. Everyone should be connected to Zapier, Automate, Piesync and more. We see that as a growth play for us. We may have customers who are customers of these powered by solutions.
What metrics do you care most about for a platform?
Of course, usage is the most closely followed metric we have today. We publish a monthly report and follow trends to identify opportunities.
What had the most impact on these metrics?
Which platform companies do you admire and why?
Zapier - they were an early partner of ours and a very valuable partner for our customers. They give our customers the opportunity to connect to thousands of tools to help grow their business.
What’s next for the AWeber integrations? Is monetization on the roadmap?
We’re continuing to build relationships with the right partners to help our customers succeed.
How will partner ecosystems (tools, roles, etc.) change over the next ten years?
I think more people are going to make data assisted decisions. Using tools like Crossbeam being one of them.
You are also the chairman of The Cloud Software Association. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Yeah, I’ve been a part of the CSA for the last 2.5 years and I’ve loved every second of it. We’re a tight-knit group. Many of the members are actual integration partners. The CSA was formed to allow for a place where Partnership folks can get together and network both in person and online through our Slack Community. Each year we hold our annual retreat called SaaS Connect in San Francisco, CA. You can learn more about the conference here. I hope to see you all in March!
What integration/product(s) couldn’t you miss for all the money in the world?
Of course, anyone who integrates with AWeber ;)
Where do you get inspired?
I get my inspiration from my wife and kids. Everything I do is for them. I also get inspired by the many partners I’ve made over the years. You can’t help but not get inspired by the work they’ve done and continue to do.
What's your favorite superhero? ;)
Man, that’s a tough one. I was a big Wolverine fan growing up - but, is he a superhero? I’ll go with Spiderman though - I loved his agility and the ability to use his web when needed. It was awesome.
Thanks for your time!