Philippe (Phil) Swamy shares real stories of upgrading from spreadsheet mayhem to scalable Partner Relationship Management, using Kiflo PRM + HubSpot.
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Direct Transcription of Podcast
Hi everyone, a very warm welcome back to another edition of the HubDo
Podcast, where we talk with software vendors, subject matter specialists, and
end users who share real stories of how to do more on HubSpot. I'm your host,
Pete Nicholls. I'm coming to you from Copenhagen in Denmark,
and I'm joined today by Philippe Swamy or I'm gonna call you Phil.
So Phil, very good day to you. Where are you?
Hi. Hi Pete and hello everyone listening in. Uh, I'm calling in from France, the east of France. It's a sunny day outside. I am head of partnerships at Kiflo and you
know, just looking forward to going to this conversation with you, Pete.
Great and welcome to the show, Phil. So, little bit of background for our listeners. Phil, as you mentioned, is the head of partnerships at Kiflo. So for our listeners, Phil's been in technology since about 2017. And a really interesting backstory because you came to the UK and uh, and were supporting yourself there and it kind of led pretty quickly into a tech life. Customer service through to customer success and then being an SDR. So doing that hard-edge job of the outbound sales and that's led you to leading partnerships at Kiflo.
I love that you've done the SDR role in between because, So a lot of people that are in partner programs and the channel have never held a sales target. They are in an ecosystem, where human skills are so important.
But there's also a goal at the end of the day. And so because working together
towards hitting that goal, and the human element, I think it's a really good fit that you with Kiflo, because, uh, like 80% of your customer base is with HubSpot,
and we are all about HubSpot. And, with HubSpot, the most human company
wins. So, uh, we're very aligned, very partnering on this episode.
Phil, a little bit of a different episode for listeners, because Kiflo is a PRM.
What is a PRM?
Perfect. Great question. So a PRM is a partner relationship management tool.
Ok. So in short and, and a very high level, it helps you manage your partners or
also known as channel partners. Uh, channel sales could also be called indirect
sales. There are many different names we give it, but essentially it helps you
manage the relationships you have with your partners.
Philippe, we're delighted to include Kiflo on the HubDo marketplace so that
people can do more on HubSpot.
The question is, who are those people? Because not everybody needs a partner
relationship management tool or PRM. So what types of customers are an ideal
fit for Kiflo PRM and maybe who isn't a fit?
Perfect. Perfect. That's a very good question. I have worked very closely with
demos at Kiflo with people that need PRM. So I'm in a very good place to answer this question. Uh, software at service companies that are just starting out their
partner journey, indirect sales journey that is, that might have five partners, but
also a hundred partners that are, you know, um, small but can also have big
Okay. We're very similar to HubSpot where you know HubSpot is very focused
on SMBs. We are also very focused on SMBs. Our pricing also reflects that. Um, we're very similar to HubSpot in that case. Okay. But the one thing that I've seen so often is that I get leads come and they're like, Hey, we're managing our
indirect sales through our spreadsheets, through Excels. Oh no, we're managing our, uh, indirect sales through our CRM. But the fundamental problem, There is
no transparency between the partner and the vendor or the company. There is
no communication on, Hey, where has the deal gone to? Where has the lead
gone to? So the ideal customer is someone that has partners.
That they have partners. It could be software as a service, or it could be schools.
We also have schools as customers, essentially, that manage their partners,
leads deals through spreadsheets or a CRM.
It sounds like a good title for this episode then, really is brings it together
indirect and direct sales with Kiflo PRM, and HubSpot.
So we've covered the fact that indirect is handled really well from the
transparency and the comms that it brings. And you come across a lot of people using spreadsheets to manage their partner programs. Is that pretty typical that That's probably spreadsheets usually before Kiflo.
Correct, correct. Spreadsheets is one of the biggest ones. Um, then it's obviously CRMs. Um, but essentially people spreadsheets, as you know, are flexible and
people find different ways of using spreadsheets, so it works for them. But after
a specific point, spreadsheets and CRMs also, I'm gonna bring this into it,
they do not work for partners.
The reason being is when you have partners, it could be a software company,
it could be a school, they need information they need communication. They need,
let's say assets, collaterals, sales documents, and marketing documents, which
spreadsheets, CRMs don't have. Uh, and what PRMs have that is unique is the
ability for a partner to log in to their instance, and feel one with your company,
They feel connected to your company, they understand your company. They have a place where they can work with this company and also get updates on that
transparency. Does that make sense, Pete?
Yeah, it does. Uh, so I think just to clarify then, because we've got the HubSpot
and Kiflo combination, so if someone's using HubSpot, they have a CRM and it
can do some of the things that you've talked about. It can handle
communications, it can share some files and flows.
Yeah. Now, if you want to offer a login that the customer can then log in, then
you've really gotta be on HubSpot Enterprise cms. To provide the portal, and
you're talking about Kiflo being for scaling companies. So those companies
probably aren't on HubSpot Enterprise yet either.
So if they start on a, a lower version of HubSpot of Starter or Pro or, or free, uh,
you're giving them an easy way to take what would otherwise be some enterprise features in HubSpot that are packaged up in Kiflo.
Correct. But also to your point, the enterprise users can benefit from a PRM.
The reason being is, uh, a PRM is not just, uh, contacts, deals, uh, managing
workflows, communication. It is also having the ability to group your partners
based on programs. Okay. Providing them with benefits, providing them,
you know, help centers, videos, and also the whole reward aspect. You know,
Hey, my partner has brought me, um, a deal. That deal has closed. I am now
gonna generate a 20% commission for my partner. Okay. And that is where the
enterprise version of HubSpot might not be able to be because this is not a PRM, it is made, for customer relationship management. So it wouldn't be able to
calculate, Hey, this partner brought me this deal, it has been closed now I owe
my partner 20% of that deal contract value, uh, because it's just thanks or it's part of the contract that you have in place with them.
I think you've touched on a really important point there that it's pretty hard to
make HubSpot do this, and that is shared deals. So you have synchronization
between showing that deal, moving through at stages, within Kiflo PRM, and in HubSpot that deal can be moving through at stages and you're synchronizing.
You've got the ability for collaborating with an external party, so your partner has visibility of the deal that's progressing through HubSpot. So I think you
mentioned transparency early on and collaboration. Phil, um, let's get into some examples then. I think, uh, if you look at where people come from or whatever
they were trying to do with spreadsheets and CRMs, and you've talked about
common mistakes, can you recall then in 10 years, so far with Kiflo, um, some
examples, some real-life examples of, of where you've really helped, How was it
for them pre-Kiflo, and how did that work?
Perfect. So, so it's story time now. storytime.
Isn't Pete ? Perfect. So essentially, um, I have a great customer in mind.
Obviously, I won't name them, um, because I'll have to ask permission, but
essentially they came to us and it was, it was quite early on and essentially they came to us and they basically had a spreadsheet. And the spreadsheet, they used to just share the link with their partners. They had spreadsheets per partner,
and that partner basically just populated that spreadsheet whenever they had a deal, what products they needed. Um, and essentially they used to manage the
updates on that spreadsheet.
Okay? Now there were many things going wrong. Firstly, everyone could edit
everything. There was no control over who brought you, which deal, and what's
the deal amount, how much reward I gotta give them. There was, there's
transparency. There's a lot of transparency, but there's too much. You as as, as
the company lose control when it's a spreadsheet because everyone can edit
However, obviously then, uh, the, the, the customer put everything in the crm.
They managed the deal in the CRM and then gave the update through the
spreadsheet to the partner. Okay? So the problem that our, uh, the customer that lead, I'll call them at that time, they came to us, they're like, Hey, you know, the
spreadsheet's working great. We can give them updates, but I don't know what
rewards I want to give them. I don't know when I need to give them a reward. I
don't know what reward I need to generate. I don't know which program, they're part of what contract they're part of. Because you gotta think about partnerships as there are many moving pieces.
There's the relationship, there's the contractual stuff, there's the invoicing, there are the sales. Now partnership people are in a very, uh, unique place where
when you look in SDR, they're only doing sales where. Partnership people. You
are invoicing, you do accounting, you're doing uh, calculations, mathematics,
you're also doing contracts. So you're very legally also very involved into what's happening in your partnership. So it's very, very different place to be in a lot of
moving parts that can go wrong, and that is what is happening with this
company. So they came to us and we did a demo. We showed them the system. Uh, the first time you come to Kiflo, it's just a 30-minute demo.
We show you the important key features we offer, Okay, from programs
and programs essentially is very underrated but is one of the most important
aspects and obviously CRMs don't have this. The ability to group your partners
and define what type of partners you're working. Because at the end of the day,
each company wants to scale Pete. So when a company wants to scale, if you
don't have programs in place or a set, um, you know, parameters of what this
program entails. You will be lost because each partner will have different
contracts, different rewards, and benefits. It gets very confusing. So what we
did was this partner came and we offer to onboard. We offered training and
So when they came, they, they went into a trial of Kiflo. Um, they started using
Kiflo we got on loads of calls with them. Firstly, we gave them a worksheet of
how to formulate your program. Okay, so a program, you group your partners,
and what do you want to give your partners?
What rewards? Is it a recurring, uh, revenue share? Is it a single revenue share?
Is it based on deal? That has been one that is very important because when your partner logs into the portal, they start giving you leads and deals. Okay. You need that transparency, but also the reassurance that, hey, if the deal closes, my Kiflo will automatically generate that reward for the partner.
Okay? Right. So the partner knows, and the partner on the portal, when they
log in a partner, they can see all this information, Pete. They can see, hey, I've
generated these many rewards because I got them this business. So it's very,
very transparent. Whereas in Excel, it was all over the place.
Interesting that they needed your guidance around actually how to put the
programs together, which I guess for early-stage companies, they're still
figuring out everything, including how to build a program.
We're very, very big into partnership and helping people explore what
partnership works for them. So we've rolled out, uh, it's just been a month since we rolled out an academy. So whenever someone becomes a customer,
they get access to an academy, just like at HubSpot Academy, where
they can learn about the partnership, but also learn about how to implement
Kiflo through their, uh, specific use cases. So they go through a full course
in our LMS, which takes them through what they need to do.
So how did that work out then for that customer or what happened?
But essentially this automated so many processes, so many moving parts from
contractual to, uh, generating rewards to, to having those leads deal come in and just go to their CRM automatically. He didn't have to manually go into the CRM,
put the details in there. Hey, SDR, look, there's a new referral. Can you please
chase this up? I need to give my update to my partner now. He goes to Slack.
He gives them a message, Hey, this is how it's going. Please view the Excel.
Now what's happening is everything's just flowing together through the system, through Kiflo.
Everything then goes through the CRM. In the CRM, they're notified the SDR.
SDR converts it to a deal, and moves it through the pipeline.
The pipeline in Kiflo is obviously updated with the deal. The partner knows
what's happening, but the most important value that Kiflo brought for that
person in that company was they had more time. So they had more time to
recruit new partners to identify who they wanna partner with, but also have
more time to nurture the relationship with that partner. Because it's all well and good to generate revenue and get leads and deals, but if it only lasts two
months, there's no point because we're all humans and we all wanna scale, and businesses wanna scale. But if you have 10 partners and you're managing it
through spreadsheets, you can't scale. You will hit a roadblock. Too many moving parts. So that is where PRM and that's what they saw.
That's a really good example cuz that is they were bringing together indirect and direct sales, but they were doing it in a way that was uncontrollable and
burning time. And so Kiflo has brought them together in new ways cuz it's
replaced the time wasted and being reactive and uncontrolled into working
on the relationship and recruiting.
And Pete on that. Earlier on, let's say five years ago or four years ago, the PRM
space was expensive. Okay? Um, just like Salesforce, Let me take Salesforce
example. Expensive tool. You wanna buy Salesforce, you gotta implement it,
you need consultants, customizing everything. Then HubSpot came. HubSpot
offers you, it's product led growth, PLG growth strategy. You, you come as a
freemium user, you grow with the software, okay? You can move up plans. It's
great. Okay. In PRMs, it's kind of the same thing. We had Legacy PRMs and
they're still here to date. However, they're very expensive. It costs $1,500 a
month. Small companies don't have that budget, unfortunately. Okay. They don't have the bandwidth. They don't have the team, they don't have the budget.
Uh, they don't have the budget, as I said already. And that is where Kiflo and we found our niche and we came and we saw there's a niche where people,
companies, uh, predominantly. They want to start a partnership,
but they couldn't. They were stuck with spreadsheets and they couldn't
scale. And that is where we stepped in and we're like, Hey, let's,
money is not a problem.
We can offer you a cheaper subscription. And if you go to a pricing page on
Kiflo, you'll see our starting price is $149 compared to $1,500.
You know, if you, if, if your goal as a leadership team and a company are leads
and deals and revenue, in partnership.
Go ahead. Manage, manage. In HubSpot, that is completely fine,
you can do so. And you know, we've had leads that are like, Oh, HubSpot works perfectly. Kudos to you, you should do it. But at the end of the day, if you want
long term, long-term partnerships and you want to not recruit every month
Um, and also one thing I've learned in, in, in, in partnerships is when you do talk
to a partner, They will not bring you revenue straight away.
It takes years. It might take a year, it might take six months. It's basically the
relationship you're breeding with them and a CRM can't do that for you. Kiflo can do that for you. Okay. And that is where the relationship aspect with that
With the HubSpot conversations, do you recall any companies that are using
HubSpot and really they're trying to use it as a PRM, where they have tried to
create a partner portal of some sort, where they've something for the partner
to log into. Have you seen people try to do that with HubSpot?
So Pete a partner portal, No. Right. Okay. I, I can give you a particular, um,
company that I spent hours with. Um, and they came back to me and they said,
uh, unfortunately, we won't continue with Kiflo because we, we are just gonna
continue in HubSpot. So this, this is, it's a good point you brought this up.
Basically what they did was they went on HubSpot. And here's when you add
a user, you have the ability to either add them as a salesperson, and when you
add a salesperson, there are permissions where you can say they only see their
deals and their leads. Okay? And you can add them. So what they did, was they
added each partner as a salesperson with specific permissions that allowed
them to log in and submit leads and deals.
In their own HubSpot. So they're allowing a partner to sit within their own
HubSpot with limited permissions.
Correct? Correct. Right. And that is where it worked for them, but it does not
work for everyone. And you know, we've seen great success in Kiflo.
Because people might have tried doing that and it didn't work,
and having a PRM is, it's more secure, firstly, yeah, because your partner has
their own login detail, and it's a lot more practical for you, for your partner,
you know, not coming into a HubSpot instance.
Also, you have to keep in mind, you know, they probably use Salesforce or
other systems and you're asking them to log into HubSpot.
It's, it can get tricky.
Yeah. Well, some great examples. We've got some links that I'll, I'll put in the
show notes as well. You have one, which is the Kiflo journey. I think that's a
really nice way to see the intro, book a time, and read about the things
that you've spoken on here. I'll get a link from you about the academy
as well, just so people can see what that's uh, about to, and then as far
as people getting in touch with you, Phil?
Is LinkedIn the best way for people to reach out to you?
or where would you suggest they go first?
LinkedIn is the best way to reach out to connect. I also have my email in my
bio on LinkedIn, so if you do wanna email me, you can find it in my description.
You have my email there. But yeah, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the way to go. Brilliant.
Well, it's been an absolute delight to have you on the show today, Phil,
so thanks so much for your time.
Perfect. Thank you Pete, and thank you for everyone listening in.
For our listeners, you can find more information about Kiflo PRM as well on
HubDo Marketplace. Just go to marketplace dot HubDo dot com or click the
links that we're sharing here in the show notes and please send us your
questions so we can help you do more on HubSpot in this case with Kiflo.
Thanks, Phil. I'll see you soon.
Thank you, Pete.
Your host Pete Nicholls is the Founder of HubDo, HubSpot Certified Trainer and Foundation Certified in Bidding and Proposals by the APMP.
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