Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 259: Q & A Christina Del Villar @cdelvillar


By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

If you’re not already subscribed to Sales Pipeline Radio, or listening live every Thursday at 11:30 a.m Pacific on LinkedIn (also on demand) you can find the transcription and recording here on the blog every Monday morning.  The show is less than 30 minutes, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.

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This week’s show is called How G.R.I.T. Can Lead to Corporate Marketing Success.  My guest is Christina Del Villar, Chief Marketing Strategist & Author of “Sway“.

Join Christina and I as we discuss her new book and the inspiration behind it, the meaning and importance behind the GRIT methodology, how COVID has influenced the concept of GRIT, and how she is using her knowledge and expertise to give back.

Listen in now and/or watch here…. read the full transcript below:

Matt:     Well, welcome everyone to another exciting episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. My name is Matt Heinz. Thank you to those of you who are joining us live on LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube. We’re very excited to have you here in the middle of your workday. We are here every week, Thursday at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern. If you are watching this on demand on LinkedIn, or maybe even listening to the audio version on the podcast, thanks so much for checking us out. Thanks for subscribing and downloading this episode. If you like what you hear today, this is but one of many episodes past, present, and future, almost 300 episodes of Sales Pipeline Radio. In fact, on demand at Christina, we started this just on a whim. I didn’t know what the heck I was talking about. I have a face for radio, and I didn’t even think I would work for a podcast.
I’m a print journalist by trade, but we’ve generated a pretty awesome audience to the point where we even have people that sponsor Sales Pipeline Radio. I want to thank very much our friends at Sendoso. In today’s digitally saturated hybrid workplace, authentic human connection can oftentimes make all the difference and you can learn success stories, read some examples and best practices of how companies are delighting and engaging in meaningful connections with lasting impressions. Check out Sendoso, you can go to Go to actually and check out their connected event coming up on October 13th, 2021. So, if you’re watching this live or watching this on demand before the middle of October, definitely check out that event. They got some great speakers, some great content. It will not disappoint. So, thank you so much to our sponsor, Sendoso.
For those of you that have been around this show for a while, you know we feature some of the best and brightest minds in B2B sales and marketing. That includes not only award-winning and successful practitioners, but also some amazing authors and thought leaders in this space. Very excited to have joining us today, Christina Del Villar. She is the author of the brand new book Sway: Implement the GRIT Marketing Method To Gain Influence And Drive Corporate Strategy. Christina, thanks for joining us today.

Christina:            Thank you, Matt. I’m really excited to be here. This is great.

Matt:     Well, I’m excited to have you here. I was lucky enough to get to read an advanced copy of this book, and I knew that I wanted to have you on the show and make sure we can do everything we can to get this into the hands of as many marketers as possible. I appreciate a book that can talk, take a point, and have some best practices. I really appreciate a book that gives you a framework for how to think about doing better marketing. So maybe start with like, I mean, your career has spanned a lot of ground. You’ve covered a lot of things. I could consider you an expert in many, many things. What compelled you to write this book right now?

Christina:            That’s a great question. So, for me, I feel very strongly that marketers in general are missing some key components to their own success, right? It’s like the cobbler shoes, that sort of thing. We do not do a good job of marketing ourselves. And what I really wanted to do was help marketing professionals understand that they need to gain influence and trust inside their own organization in order to be really successful. And what that really means is that, that collaboration, that alignment with the go-to-market strategy with the overall corporate goals, but more significantly with all of the other organizations and people within that organization. So, we talk a lot about sales and product and customer success. None of us can do it on our own and for companies to be really successful, we really do need to start working more closely together. And so, to me, it starts with building that trust and influence with those other organizations. And again, it’s only going to make the entire organization much more successful, let alone the marketing teams and organizations.

Matt:     I want to get into this acronym of GRIT, right, but the way you describe it in the book, the way you describe it in the promotional materials, it’s not just an acronym and there’s a reason you chose to make the acronym GRIT. Talk a little bit on what GRIT means for you and why it’s so important.

Christina:            Yeah, for me, GRIT… I think anybody has to have GRIT if they’re in a startup or if they’re in some of these large organizations as they are today. But for marketers in particular, I feel like they need to have GRIT. They need to have moxy. They show up every day and they work really, really hard and they get very little credit, unfortunately. They’re not actually able to show the results, especially as it impacts bottom line. Oftentimes whether it’s from a data standpoint or just being able to articulate the impact and value that they bring. And so, day in, day out, we’re there, we’re working really hard. I think we’ll talk a little bit about revenue and why I feel like marketing should own a revenue number and why I feel they’re like literally the revenue knowledge center of the company, because everything, every single piece of revenue that comes into a company was touched by marketing in some way, shape or form.
Whether they came to the website or they went to a program or sales had some tools that enabled them to sell better. We’re helping product define the product better. We’re helping customer success keep those customers, especially if it’s a B2B or a multi-year contract. And so, day in, day out, we are responsible for a lot of what’s happening in the company and yet we, again, we don’t get a lot of credit for it and we’re often the first ones to lose our job, to lose our resources, to lose our budget. And so, to me, you have to have that GRIT to keep going. And so just coincidentally, I was in a mood one day when I was writing the book and came up with the acronym and it fit perfectly. So, we just went with it.

Matt:     We are talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Christina Del Villar. She’s the author of the new book Sway. Definitely recommend checking it out. Go to, I’d search for Sway Marketing book. You’ll find the book. It’s a beautiful shade of blue with an old school magnet on top of it. Incidentally, if you find it on YouTube… if you go to Amazon right now, the recommended audio books underneath… I assume this is like, if you were like Sway, you’ll like these books. Included, recommended Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey and A Promised Land by Barack Obama. So you are in good company.

Christina:            I am in good company. I know. Barack and I, we follow each other on Twitter.

Matt:     I look forward to the podcast. First it was Barack and Springsteen. [crosstalk 00:06:20] next. All right. So, we’ve talked about GRIT being an acronym. Can you walk us through what those letters mean for you?

Christina:            Sure. So, the G in GRIT stands for go-to-market, go-to-market strategy, which again, I think is really key and it’s missing in a lot of companies right now. And I feel like marketing already owns that go-to-market strategy, but it’s just not well-defined. Both the ownership and the go-to-market strategy in general. So, the book walks you through what that means and how to take ownership of that and influence that.
The R stands for what I call RPM, repeatable, predictable, and measurable. And this really looks at your content and the programs and how you can really be smart and efficient with what you already have there, right? There’s no sense in recreating the wheel. Oftentimes, people will come to you and say, “Our competitor has this white paper. Why don’t we have a white paper?” And so, you just start creating content for the sake of creating content. And what I want to help people understand is you can create as much content as you want but you need to be smart and mindful about it.
Which goes to I, which is intention or intentional. So, I feel like marketers, we often get pulled in many, many different directions and in order for us to be productive, we need to be really, really focused on our priorities and what basically the North Star is or the OKRs are. And so, we need to be intentional about everything we do. I think it’s in the book where I talk about… I had my team take an entire week and write down all of the interruptions that they had that were taking them away from their main projects and campaigns. And on average, they had 200 interruptions a week and this was for things like, “Hey, I need a t-shirt. I’m going to see a customer,” or “We need to check on this,” or “Hey, can somebody build a slide for me,” that sort of thing. All these interruptions take away from our productivity, which again, and it’s really hard to measure those interruptions. Those 200 things we’re not really being measured on. And so, I just want people… And again, the book is applicable to everybody, salespeople, product, et cetera. And so, you just really need to be intentional about everything that you’re doing and how you’re spending your time and your money and your resources.
And the T stands for tools and technology. I mean, this is key. This helps us define the programs we’re going to build that helps us implement the programs that helps us measure the programs. And oftentimes I think this is true for other organizations as well, but for marketing, we don’t really own some of these tools that we are dependent on that will help us show our value. And so, we need to be more mindful of which programs are being implemented, how they’re being implemented, what those workflows look like, and really step up and own some of that. If we’re lucky enough to have a sales and marketing ops person, that’s amazing, but oftentimes we aren’t. And so, we rely on other teams and organizations like IT and sales to help manage those tools. And again, it’s a detriment to us, I think.

Matt:     So, we got G for go-to-market strategy. We’ve got R for RPM. We’ve got I for intention. We’ve got T for tools and technology, and you go from strategy, process, implementation, technology there a little bit. We talk a lot about it, and I think… you have tools and technology at the end. I don’t know if that was intentional or if that just fit with GRIT. And I think for a lot of companies there is a lot of Martech out there. There’s a lot of people buying tools and sometimes people buying tools without having a strategy. But I think, go-to-market strategies, starting with that, and really ending with that and making it circular, not just linear, I think is what’s making a lot of companies successful right now.

Christina:            Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, again you need to have those tools to implement and to measure, right. And again, it is a bit of a catch-22. It’s like we need to understand what our strategy is so that we can make sure that we’re implementing the right workflows and have the right tools and technology to do that. But at the end of the day, we really… I think the key piece is that we need to own that technology, right? Not just help define what we need and then have somebody else purchase it and implement it. We need to be part of that and iterate on it because the technology changes and the things that we’re looking for change and sometimes we implement it and forget it, which we need to be a little more involved in that.

Matt:     Love it. Love it. So, I sent you a bunch of people on a convoluted trip into Amazon before. I since have… This is what happens when you do a live show. a lot easier to remember. It’ll take you to a page that has all you need to order a copy of the book and take advantage of this. We were talking earlier, before we got started that writing a book is a process, right? It’s a process to get the book written, it’s a process to get books published. And so sometimes, you’ve got a topic that once you get it published, ideally, it’s still relevant, but you started writing it months, if not a year ago. Are there things that you have discovered, things that you have seen in the last year or so that if you were to rewrite the book right now, that would update what people are going to see in the book today?

Christina:            It’s a great question. I started writing the book prior to COVID. And so, I think that the main thing, nothing really changed. The framework remains the same. It’s a good process and flow, but what I think is a little different… The key piece is gaining that influence, right? And it’s super easy to gain influence and trust if you’re sitting in the same room with somebody. It’s just much easier. And so, I think what has come up with COVID and the pandemic and remote work or hybrid workplaces right now is how do you gain that trust and influence when you’re in these remote settings now? And so again, the component of gaining influence and trust remains the same. It’s now just, you need to be more precise about how you go about doing that and that it has to do with building those relationships and making sure that you’re visible, whether that’s on Zoom or via some of the communications that you have, some of the reports that you’re potentially pushing out there. But again, I think that’s the main piece is just that again, it’s much easier to have influence if you’re face to face with somebody. It’s a little more difficult to build that influence and trust if you are doing it virtually.

Matt:     Yep. Absolutely. You’ve had a very successful career running marketing for a lot of different organizations. You’re now a published author. I was attending a session last week with Jeff Hoffman, who’s done some interesting things in his career. And one of the quotes he gave last week that stood out to me is he said, “Success is a platform for finally doing the things that matter.” And you look at your LinkedIn resume and it’s very clear. You’ve been doing things that matter even outside of your career for a very long time, the Ronald McDonald House, Friends of The Observatory. There’s a number of things that very clearly are very compelling to you. Talk a little bit about how and why and where that inspiration to support these organizations came and how the hell do you find time for them all?

Christina:            Oh my gosh. Yeah, it’s funny. This goes back when I was a kid, like, I don’t know, 6, 7, 8 years old. My mom really instilled in both my brother and I that we should be helping as much as we can. And when you’re eight, you can’t do much, but it was something that both my brother and I took away from that and he works for a nonprofit right now. And so, for me, it’s just really important that I give back. The book is all about giving back. I’m at a point in my career where I have a lot, I think, to offer people and I could go work for a company. But I think I have a lot more to give now and really help guide the future marketing professionals that are out there.
But I do. I’m passionate about Ronald McDonald House. I’m passionate about space in general. So, Griffith Observatory is super meaningful to me, and I really enjoy helping that. I’m also a mentor for Miller Center for Social Impact through Santa Clara University. And so, every quarter or so, I work with a different social entrepreneur to help them, especially with their go-to-market strategy. But again, I’m just at a point in my career now where I can take the time to do that. And I’m just really fortunate that I have the experience and I have that time. I mean, for me, it’s really fun. It’s fun to help others out and see what they can accomplish. So that’s good.

Matt:     Well, thank you for that and for making that a priority. And I think, you know what, the one thing I think of people here, success is a platform from filing and doing the things that matters. Depending on how you hear that, it may imply that you have to wait until you’ve reached some level of success. And I think it’s like anybody who is listening to this by definition, the fact that you have found this and are able to listen to this, means you are successful. It means you are winning, and you have opportunity. And I think there’re big things and little things with our time, with our resources, with our generosity, just in time and resources. It’s not just writing checks. It’s helping those around us.

Christina:            Yeah. And again, I think for me, again, I can certainly write checks and they do, but I think it’s more meaningful if I’m helping companies build successful, go-to-market strategies or marketing campaigns. So that’s really where I like to focus my time and again, sometimes it takes a lot. But you can, even if it’s like an hour a week, it’s significant to those who you’re helping.

Matt:     Oh, it’s super meaningful. I mean, just a little bit from you for people that need it. It’s very significant to them. So, thank you for doing that. I want to thank you for joining us today, Christina. People can find you at Sway, S-W-A-Y the Get a copy of this. It is available in hardback as well as… Is it you narrating the audio version? Do we get your voice throughout this book?

Christina:            So, it will not be me narrating. Had a lot of conversation about that, but it will not be me narrating.

Matt:     Either way, make sure you get a copy of this book. Definitely learn more about this, the GRIT method, and the GRIT methodology. Thank you very much for joining us today.

Christina:            Thank you, Matt. Thank you.

Matt:     Awesome. Well, thank you so much everyone for listening and for watching. Thank you to our great friends at Sendoso for being a sponsor of the show. We’ll see you back here next week, 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern on Sales Pipeline Radio.

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