Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 250: Q & A with Christel Grizaut Billault @ChristelGrizaut
By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
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This week’s show is called “Building a Predictable Pipeline From Scratch: Startup Lessons and Best Practices” and our guest is Christel Grizaut Billault, Senior Vice President of Marketing at YOOBIC
Join us as Christel shares some best practices on how she prioritizes all the different marketing requirements in an early stage company as well as how she is setting up the marketing organization and priorities internally. I ask her “how do you start to build more internal confidence that you are on the right track, that you are selling, not just seeing marketing success, but getting the right product to market and have a scalable future?”
Listen in to hear hear her great insights and/or read the full transcript below:
Matt: All right, welcome everybody to another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. My name is Matt Heinz, very excited to be here with you live again on LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube. I don’t know where everyone’s watching today, but if you are watching us live, thank you very much for joining us the middle of your day. We are here every week at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern. For those of you that may be watching on demand, thank you very much for checking this out. If you are listening to us through the podcast, thank you very much for subscribing, and downloading. Our numbers continue to rise through the audio only version of this as well. Thank you.
We’re coming up on almost 300 episodes of Sales Pipeline Radio and if you like what you hear today and want to check out more of these, you can find all of our episodes on demand at salespipelineradio.com. Every week we’re talking to some of the best and brightest minds in B2B sales and marketing and today’s absolutely no different. Very excited to have with us, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Yoobic, Christel Grizaut. I did my best to get the French right there, Christel. Thank you so much for joining us.
Christel: You did good. Thank you, Matt. It’s a pleasure to be here, live with you.
Matt: I have enjoyed just getting to know you over the last couple of years. You’ve run marketing at a couple of startups, and I thought it was particularly interesting just to sort of have you on to talk about early stage company marketing. Like we talk a lot about big demand programs and sales and marketing teams working together. By definition, when you are starting, you’ve got high expectations and small budgets, right? You do not have big teams. You’re looking at various frameworks and waterfalls coming out of analyst firms and saying, that’s great for a 50 person demand center of excellence. I don’t have a 50 person demand center of excellence. So I’d love to have you just maybe as we get here, just kind of share some best practices on how you prioritize all the different marketing requirements in an early stage company. But maybe let’s just start back up a minute and just sort of maybe just introduce yourself. Who you are, a little bit about what Yoobic does and how you think about marketing there?
Christel: Sure. So I’m Christel, I’m a B2B Marketeer. My background is B2B Tech. I started in the security space and moved more recently to commerce and retail tech. Yoobic is a digital workplace for frontline teams. So, the Yoobic app helps people, not like us that are not behind a desk, but in the field, in stores, on the road to manage the task, to work, learn and communicate in the flow of work.
Matt: Awesome. So talk a little bit about what that means from a marketing perspective? Maybe sort of like what stage is Yoobic at, sort of little bit of size of the company and market opportunity. But then what does that imply about how you are setting up the marketing organization and priorities internally?
Christel: Yes, Yoobic can be described as a scale up company. So, we are not at the early startup stage, but were at this scale up stage.
When I would say that what is very important for early-stage company is number one, align on the go-to market. Understanding and aligning with the sales team also. Go to market is critical because whether you choose to have an inbound strategy and maybe it’s a product led growth strategy or decide to go to an outbound, that’s an ABM marketing strategies. They are very different type of strategies which require different marketing activities, a different skill set in your team and a different marketing organization altogether.
So that is the number one thing I would say, when I come to a company like Yoobic. For example, at Yoobic, we are outbound, and we have decided to go for ABM. A strategy is very important to be all aligned on this and build the team and the skill set to deliver on that.
Matt: Yeah. And then how does that go-to-market alignment happen? Is that you working with the CEO, is that you working with sales, like who is involved and what are some of the key decision points to make that happen?
Christel: Yes. So, the CEO and the Sales Executives, who decide how we go to the market, of course, also based on the history, how the company started, then where the company has found early success. So there is definitely a cultural element into it.
Matt: Yeah, oh for sure. And I think the earlier you are in the company’s growth, the more you’re still trying to figure everything out. Not only what the marketing mix is that works, but what is the sales press strategy, even sort of more fundamentally like, do we have a product market fit? Who’s our best audience, who should we be selling to? Is this the product that we think has a big enough market opportunity for us to scale to the business results you want? So, I mean, it just makes the job of the go-to-market strategy that much more complicated. What are the things you look for in the market then? Beyond just the marketing campaigns, how do you start to build more internal confidence that you are on the right track, that you are selling, not just seeing marketing success, but getting the right product to market and have a scalable future?
Christel: Yes. And that’s where alignment with sales comes into play is very important. I pay a lot of attention on sales feedbacks, or sales teams. For example, recently, after joining, we worked a lot on the messaging on the buyer personas, and then we go to sales. They test a new deck and test the messaging, even BDR into cadence phase and then they say “Oh yes, it resonates. I got people coming back, or they’re taking the call or responding”. So, definitely we rely on the feedback from the sales team to understand if we going into the right direction. And you are right, Matt, the messaging is very important, especially in a small company, we often come from the product, right?
Christel: We’re often very product driven. And one of the exercises is to elevate the pitch from product and feature to solution selling. Because we all know that unless you are in a highly commoditized market, buyer do not buy products, they buy solutions to pain points. So that is one of the key priorities as well in this early-stage company to really try to frame.
Matt: Well, all customers are ultimately buying an outcome, right? You’re not buying the drill. You really, you want a whole, right? You’re trying to do what the drill does. That’s what you value. When you first build a product, when you first go to market, I mean, oftentimes, I’m getting back to the classic “Geoffery Moore Crossing the Chasm”, those early adopters kind of already understand the problem. They already understand, they’re willing to move more quickly.
A lot of companies will say like they get it, we can describe the drill, they understand it. What are some keys to making that transition, to come customers that may not yet understand the problem may have it, but either don’t understand it or haven’t quantified it. And that can be a dramatic shift not only in terms of who you’re selling to, but how the whole company goes to market. How sales [crosstalk 00:07:33] talked about the product, how the product team is building and messaging within the product itself. How does, how do companies successfully make that change?
Christel: Yeah, this is where the market education starts, right. As you say, the early adopters at the beginning, you can speak product because they understand, they get it. But then when you must broaden your reach, you must educate the markets. So that means over a nice activity, working with influencers, analyst and all these types of activities to educate the market and sometimes even to create a new category. Sometimes it is a new paradigm, it is a new solution to an existing problem. So that’s where the market education starts.
Matt: We’ve already covered a lot of ground here. Joining us today on Sales Pipeline Radio, Christel Grizaut, she is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at Yoobic. And you started with the company beginning of this year, so you’ve been there all of five months, which is still sort of early stage, still learning and growing. Boy what I mean, when you join as Head of Marketing at a startup, there are a million things to do. And I’m guessing that even the first few days, you’ve got a bunch of people that come and you say, “Thank goodness, you’re here. Here’s all the things we need done”. So, you are on your first weekend, and you have got the work of like seven people on your plate. “a” how do you decide where to prioritize in a new role like that? And then “b”, it’s two part question there. “b” how do you then communicate those priorities back out to people that may not get their stuff on the initial list?
Christel: No, you are right. Setting the right expectation is always very important. So, at the beginning when you start, it feels like hoarding caps. You are all over the place and then it is always a balancing act. There are things that require immediate action. You never have the luxury to say, “Hey, I’m going to fix the mall to do an audit, to create the most beautiful marketing fun”. So, you balance what requires any action, but you cannot only do the actions because otherwise you do not build for the future. So you have to start to build programs, right? Scalable, because that’s what will bring the predictable pipeline. If you only do action-based, then you are only reactive. So you start building programs, dimensions. So, once you understand, you go to market, for example, ABM in my current company, then you start building the playbook from ABM and communicate the playbook to your company and say, this is how we go into work together and make it happen.
So, that is why building the team is a critical element. It is something I have learned the hard way in previous experiences, there is so much you can do yourself and in a small organization you have limited resource. Every resource counts.
If someone is not delivering, it is a big hole. There is no backup. You don’t have people of two, three teams, four PR fuzzies. And for that, you usually have one person doing two or three jobs. So, the recruitment, bringing the right people on board is important. And to that point, I want to say is that sometimes, I think a common mistake I see is hiring junior resources. In a startup environment, it is hard because you need people who have the playbook, who can build a framework. So it’s better in my opinion, to hire more senior resources to build a framework, than junior resources.
Matt: All right, well, you have got people on your team who are watching. Caroline says “Hello”. She’s chimed in and sort of has a little wave for you there.
Yeah, I was going to ask you about what are some of the attributes of marketing teams at early stages? Like what are some of the skill sets, what are some of the just work habits that you expect? Cause you really are still trying to figure out the go-to-market plan and you’re not scaling, you’re really building and inventing and discovering. Is there a different set of skills that you need for someone at that stage of the company?
Christel: Yeah, so a few things. Standing with a hard scale, you need people who are multi-disciplinary, this is always good. So often of course you will take people who have dimension because you need to build a pipeline. So, dimension skills are often prioritized. But you need people who really are hands-on and has a can-do attitude and can juggle multiple activity project at the same time.
Matt: Yeah. It is so easy at an early-stage kind of like any company, honestly, when you are running marketing, to sort of just get heads down, looking at the same four walls, just get very insularly focused. What are some of the things you look to continue your own education, to continue to learn and continue to see what others are doing, to sort of pull from the outside to be successful? What are some of your best practices?
Christel: Yes, my number one, what I really love is peer networking. Sharing my experience with others, like the CMO Club we have on Friday. I find it invaluable. There is nothing better than other people sharing experience. And I can tell you how often it raised my morale thinking, “Oh, I’m not alone”. I saw that I had a hard time recruiting people on the market. Oh, but everybody at the market [inaudible 00:13:31]. So really this is been my number one water hole.
Matt: Good. Yeah and what do you recommend for people on your team as well? Just to sort of continue to be lifelong learners to continue to learn from the outside, not just from peers, but like what are some of the other sort of sources of information that you recommend?
Christel: Yeah, so there are vendor events, conferences. I always encourage my team to listen. So, like we have, I think like 6sense, organized an ABM hackathon, it was very good. I send it to all on my team who is responsible for ABMs, that you need to watch this.
And then of course there are other sources, like serious decision in Southern marketing industries. They have really good models. So, we look at these type of industry resources and vendor resources.
Matt: Love it. Well, this has been great. I didn’t want to take a ton of your time today, but thank you so much for joining us today, Christel Grizaut, who’s the Senior vice President of Marketing for Yoobic. Thanks for joining us on Sales Pipeline Radio today.
Christel: Thanks, my pleasure as always.
Matt: Awesome, thanks to everyone for watching and listening. I appreciate you being here. We will see you next week 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern. Until then, my name is Matt Heinz. We’ll see you next week on Sales Pipeline Radio.