Interviews

MarTech Interview with Mike Stocker, VP of Partnerships at CallRail

Discover how partnerships with CallRail drive market presence, product innovation, customer acquisition, and retention, revolutionizing your marketing strategies for unparalleled success.
CallRail

Can you brief us about yourself, your experience in the industry so far, and how it led you to become the VP of Partnerships at CallRail?

I’ve had the privilege of being deeply involved in the partnership landscape for over a decade, where I’ve been able to gain extensive experience across various companies in the tech industry. Having worked with companies such as Marketo (Adobe), Facebook (Meta) and RollWorks/NextRoll, I’ve been able to observe the evolving landscape of partnerships while contributing to the growth of each organization. I’m currently serving as the VP of Partnerships at CallRail, where my role encompasses overseeing both agency partnerships and strategic technology ecosystem partnerships. This involves managing the entire spectrum of partnerships to drive business growth and collaboration. It’s an exciting time to be with CallRail, where I’m able to help the company remain at the forefront of innovation and market presence through our robust agency partner program as well as our strategic alliances and ecosystem integration partnerships.

With your extensive marketing experience, how do you describe the importance of call tracking and how do your responsibilities reflect this?

Call tracking allows businesses to gain insights into their marketing efforts by tracking phone call analytics and attribution. However, it goes beyond just knowing where your inbound calls are coming from – which is important – but also encompasses understanding how these phone calls are handled and the critical data insights you can gain from them. It’s ever more important for marketers to be leveraging valuable first party data, to have improved segmentation and engagement, and the CallRail powered 1st party call data is likely the most valuable source of intent to purchase from your customers. This is crucial for optimizing marketing strategies, understanding customer behavior, and enhancing overall campaign effectiveness.

In my specific role managing partnerships, I see the contribution being tied to four main pillars-
1. Partnerships help drive improved market presence- “Showing up more in market” or “market share of voice” By doing co-marketing with partners, CallRail benefits with top of funnel demand and relevancy to our prospects and customers.
2. Partnerships help drive improved product solutions- by having partner integrations- it extends the capabilities of our products and makes them more valuable to our customers. Integrations to major platforms like HubSpot or Google, or to innovative partners such as ZyraTalk – we add value for our customers with improved workflows and capabilities.
3. Partnerships can be a source of customer acquisition. CallRail works with thousands of agency partners and many technical integration partners- all of which are able to refer businesses to using CallRail. They become a trusted extension of our sales teams.
4. Partnerships can improve CallRail’s retention and reduce churn rates by giving our customers more value via integrations or via trusted agency partners that work with them to get the most value from our platform, thus reducing churn.

Salesmark Global

How has the role of partnerships evolved in recent years and what do you anticipate to be the major priorities or focal points in the partnership landscape for 2024?

Unlike just a few years ago when partnerships were considered a “nice-to-have,” now they are emerging as a central driver, with 2023 marking the beginning of this trend and 2024 expected to solidify it further. HubSpot’s “State of Partner Ops and Programs” report highlights this shift, emphasizing the growing importance of partnerships in efficient business expansion. The four pillars I mentioned—co-marketing together, partner-sourced revenue, product capabilities, and retention/renewals—align with this trend. In particular, co-marketing reflects a collective effort among companies, showcasing a paradigm shift towards ecosystem-led growth. The partnership landscape is experiencing its moment, with collaboration becoming essential for advancing objectives collectively.

Another major focal point that I’m passionate about is the value of first-party data. As Google moves away from third-party cookies, understanding the value of data, especially first-party data, becomes increasingly important. Working previously at Marketo & Facebook (Meta) and now at CallRail, I’ve witnessed firsthand the significance of leveraging first-party data, particularly in the context of customer calls, as a valuable high quality intent asset.

Another area of interest is intent, where the industry explores signals indicating a person’s intention to make a purchase. CallRail uniquely provides a strong intent signal—when someone calls, there’s a high likelihood of a genuine interest or intent to buy. This convergence of data, first-party insights, and understanding intent is a compelling narrative for marketers. In my opinion, the most valuable form of customer intent signal is when they call into your business.

What are some of the existing pain points you think your customers are experiencing right now – how can partnerships help here?

The current landscape for our customers involves a multifaceted set of challenges, and where partnerships operate as a strategic tool to alleviate these pain points. One major challenge we’re seeing right now is the overwhelming abundance of technology, often leading to what can be described as “having too much tech.” This issue can result in operational inefficiencies and difficulties in integrating various tools seamlessly. Partnerships play a major role in addressing this pain point by encouraging collaboration with other companies, streamlining processes, and ensuring that the technologies our customers utilize work harmoniously.

Beyond the challenge of excessive technology, another prominent pain point for our customers revolves around extracting maximum value from the tools at their disposal and demonstrating a clear return on investment (ROI). Customers are increasingly focused on efficiency, seeking tangible results and benchmarks to justify their investments. Partnerships can contribute by showcasing success stories and real-world applications, emphasizing how integrated tools, such as CallRail, can significantly improve ROI.

Our emphasis on co-marketing initiatives, product capabilities, and partner-sourced revenue aligns perfectly with the industry’s broader trends. The partnerships landscape, as observed through platforms like CallRail, is gaining recognition as an efficient lever for growth. By strategically aligning with partners, CallRail ensures that our customers not only have access to cutting edge technology but also the support and resources needed to derive maximum value from these tools.

Which motivational quote drives you to achieve more at work?

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is a phrase that has stuck with me throughout my career – one that is not only reflected across my work in partnerships, but our work as a collective at CallRail.

Where do your passions lie? What qualities do you believe define you as a person?

My passions have always been around the concept of “building”- and that could be a team, an initiative, a customer relationship, a partner relationship, a program etc. Earlier in my career, I was an entrepreneur who founded and sold three small startups- including a SaaS email service provider back in 2008-2009 that was successfully sold to our largest customer. As an entrepreneur, you need to be a builder and take an idea or a dream and bring it to life, but that same skill set can be leveraged to drive building many other areas. I think in terms of qualities, there’s a can-do spirit, a desire to solve challenges, a hunger to research and learn, and a love for teaching and motivating others to do their best work.

In the realm of partnerships, what are you most looking forward to this year?

2024 is the year where we are seeing increasing attention on companies needing to be relevant to their prospects and customers- cold emailing, large SDR sales teams, large email volume sending- these tactics are working less and less- 2024 will see further restrictions on those activities and a shift towards higher engagement, better audience segmentation, improved targeted messaging leveraging 1st party data, and with all of this, Partnerships are a key player because partner data can be leveraged to create trust and engagement. Here at CallRail, if I reach out to a customer that I know leverages HubSpot, and I tailor my messaging around our strong HubSpot integration and capabilities- I’m far more likely to win the trust and business of that prospect by speaking to them about their specific needs. That’s what excites me most about this year is that Partnerships will play a key role in driving engagement and value for customers.

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Mike Stocker, VP, Partnerships at CallRail

Mike Stocker is the VP, Partnerships at CallRail. CallRail is a leading call tracking and analytics platform, powered by powerful AI. CallRail serves more than 200,000 companies worldwide, including over 7,000 agency partners. Mike was previously the SVP, Partnerships at RollWorks, a leading ABM platform. Prior to RollWorks, Mike managed global MarTech partnerships (including HubSpot) for Facebook/Meta. Mike was also Sr. Director of Partnerships at Marketo/Adobe for several years. Mike is a 3x entrepreneur and is an active angel investor/advisor in companies like Gainsight, Cloudability, Crossbeam, PartnerPortal, Partner Fleet and more. Mike is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara and lives in Sunnyvale, CA. Mike's hobbies include photography (mstocker.com/blog) and going wine tasting in Napa. LinkedIn.
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