Sales Pipeline Radio, Episode 262: Q & A with Deb Wolf @debwolf
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.
We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities. You can subscribe right at Sales Pipeline Radio and/or listen to full recordings of past shows everywhere you listen to podcasts! Spotify, iTunes, Blubrry, Google Play, iHeartRADIO, Stitcher and now on Amazon music. You can even ask Siri, Alexa and Google!
Join Deb and I as we discuss changes from buyers and what they expect, how these new expectations change the way we as marketers need to work, and how we as marketers need to have strategic and operational alignment with sales to ensure we have a seamless experience for the buyer throughout the funnel.
Listen in now, read below or watch the video!
Matt: All right. Welcome everybody to another exciting episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. I’m your host, Matt Heinz. Very excited to have you joining us here. If you’re watching on LinkedIn Live, thank you so much for joining us in the middle of your workday. We are here every week at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern. If you are watching this on-demand, or if you are listening to the audio-only version through our podcast, thanks so much for checking us out. If you like what you hear today, we got a lot of this in the old library. We are up to almost 300 episodes of Sales Pipeline Radio. A few of them from when we started doing video, but many of them podcasts, audio-only version all available on-demand at salespipelineradio.com. We’re featuring some of the best and brightest minds in B2B sales and marketing each week. Very excited to have with us a sponsor that we have this fall. Very excited to be working with Sendoso. I don’t know about you, Deb, I feel like I’ve been saturated by digital marketing for a long time, the volume is getting worse. I love being able to see you and being able to do this session remotely, but I miss human connections, I miss people I can see in person. And I think that if we’re not working in a digital environment, we’re working in a hybrid environment and online and offline will continue to be a part of that. So creating human connections, putting things in front of people, brands embracing physical, virtual and hybrid strategies, I think are those that are increasingly winning moving forward. Love what Sendoso has done, not only in terms of evangelizing this concept, but also their conference held just a couple of weeks ago called Connected, offered some really great speakers, some really great topics, and it is available on demand at Sendoso.com/connected-2021 and we will put a link to that in the show notes. But thank you so much Sendoso for being a partner sponsor of Sales Pipeline Radio. Deb, as we record this, you’ve been traveling a ton, you actually have a much better background than I do with the Peloton piano craft closet, whatever else is here. But back on the road, how does it feel to be getting back a little bit to semi normal?
Deb: Oh, I got to tell you, first of all, thanks for having me, Matt. It has been so nice to be back on the road with teams and people sitting in conference rooms. Just in the last couple of days, weeks, I’ve come off of a trip to Phoenix and offsite in Tahoe with my team, and then a quick trip to Boston. So it’s been a little nutty, there are some things I think we all would like to leave behind in the time that we’re coming back. But there’s nothing like spending time with your team. We were fortunate enough to be up in Tahoe, climbing some mountains Via Ferrata. We did the Via Ferrata at Squaw, which was a pretty incredible experience and super fun to do with people that I haven’t seen in over a year. Which is just great. We used our cabin. It was awesome. We spent time together. We broke bread together and started planning next year, which was really wonderful.
Matt: I’ll tell you what, I mean, there’s a lot of benefits to being in a virtual new world. It’s very nice to be able to see you and talk to you in this format and do it literally from my basement, but we’ve been doing this kind of communication video conferencing for maybe four or five years. We’ve done face-to-face communication for tens of thousands. We’re hardwired to want that. So yes, there is a middle ground where you’re like, “ah, should I go there? Could I do it as a phone call?” In some cases it’s going to work pretty well but as we talk about the future of marketing work, I don’t see any way where we’re not going to get to getting back together and I think we will find a balance, probably, between what works for employers, employees, works for contributors and managers, what works for buyers and sellers. Where do you stand on that balance? I mean, obviously you’re getting back out, prioritizing and enjoying some of that travel and being together with people. Where do you think we’re going to net out there?
Deb: Well, you know, we at integrate, we’ve always hired for culture and competency first and then location a distant third. We’ve been a really virtual company for a long while. I think the difference has been that it wasn’t this nonstop all day online conference or meetings, right. Interaction. So, we’ll continue to grow our teams and our business in a super virtual way, because we think that’s the best way to do it. We think there’s a lot of goodness to it that said, we’ll continue to get together and, be out at shows and be out with our customers who I think is the real connection that we’re all longing for as well. Not just from a sales perspective, but from a product input perspective, from an insight perspective, to understand what they’re going to when we sell to marketers. So when I get to go out and talk to marketers, I get to go out and talk to my friends and my peers, and, those are enjoyable conversations. But I think the biggest change in this whole world has, has really hit our buyers for marketers.
They have moved to a completely different way to buy, and that has shaken all of us as marketers up, certainly, and really put us to the test around how we reach them, how we embrace what it is that they need, how we provide them with the solutions and the information that they need at whatever point they are in their buying journey. I don’t think that’s going back. I think they’re staying pretty digital. And I think we as marketers have had to adjust to that, salespeople have certainly had to adjust to that, and the best marketers and the best salespeople, I think, are the ones who recognize that buying process has changed for all of our customers out there.
Matt: All right. I love that. That’s a great answer. I realized now I didn’t even set this up properly. Introduce you Deb Wolf, Chief Marketing Officer for Integrate. So just appreciate you being here also, I think doing this a little in advance as a teaser for an upcoming event, we’re doing together on October 28th. So October 28th, 2021. Where we work together on this future of marketing work survey. And the idea was to say what are the things we’re going to need to do as marketers to address this more digital audience? And there has been an evolution of what buyers expect. Some of that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the lockdown, but this move to digital has been happening for a while. And I still think the hybrid experience important. We’re going to see people in person from time to time, but the majority of the experience where buyers are going to have is going to be digital.
And I think the importance, and again, Integrate is such a great name for the company, because the idea here that you need to orchestrate a conversation in relationship with people across channels, like your prospect does not sit here and say, well, this is email, and this is social, and this is ad. So it’s okay. Those are different departments of the seller. It’s okay. That they’re different. There needs to be coordination integration between those. It used to be that it was seen as a benefit. Now, I think it’s just table stakes. Our buyers expect this now don’t, they?
Deb: That’s 100% right. I think the buyer really doesn’t know where they are in your process. They only know what they’re trying to achieve. And these buying groups at large enterprises have gotten so big and so complex that you have buyers I’ll use, in air quotes across all of an enterprise, whether you’re selling an IT product, whether that might be IT including security and privacy and the office of the CFO from a budget approval. So it’s not just about that single buyer. And it’s certainly not about that single moment in time that they interact with your brand. You really have to think about how you’re orchestrating and connecting all those siloed organization, siloed technology, siloed messages, all the way through their journey.
Matt: So again, we’re not going to get into the details of our future marketing work survey. You got to join us on October 28 to get some of those. And if you can’t join us live, we’d love you to, because it will be fun conversation. We’ll have, we’ve got a full research report we can get to anyone that wants it as it’s related to the marketing work. And so here’s, so this is being driven by changes from the buyer and what the buyer expects. How does this change the way we as marketers need to work? Because I think it almost implies that the old days of having like an email team, and a direct mail team, and a SEO team, like you can’t have them working in silos. How do we reorganize the way marketing teams operate to take advantage of this?
Deb: Yeah, I think what we’re seeing is, and again, I don’t want to scoop our own news, Matt, so I won’t go too far into what we saw in some of this research. But we really looked at a couple of key things across a marketing organization. Organizational structure, marketing technology, and then the marketing strategy across what it is that you’re trying to achieve and measured those against what we call the marketing maturity model. And I think what you see are companies that are doing this right, really managed to figure out that organization structure, that Martech structure, and of course, that strategy that stretches across all three. As you think about marketing maturity models. And we’ve all been in them, we’ve all been in different stages of companies where, and sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re a startup or if you’re a really large organization, but you might be going from just simply, ad hoc kinds of activities from a demand gen perspective or a lead gen perspective just to get your field what they need.
I think a lot of marketing people fell prey to this when all our events went away and we had to very quickly move our money into digital to just think about the lead volumes that we were looking at. That nasty game that we play around quantity versus quality, right? To get things at the top of the funnel. And I think some of the best and brightest marketing teams even fell victim to, I just need to get back to lead volume, but we know that’s not the best for our buyers. We know that our buyers really require connected, strategic omni-channel, journeys that help guide them in the way they want to buy, not the way we want them to engage with us, but really in a way that they want to buy.
Matt: Yeah. And that buying process does not end it, the traditional marketing generates an MQL and throws it over to sales. Right. So the other component, I think of sort of the future of marketing work is redefining what the outcome is from the marketing effort. Even if ultimately the sales person is there when the deal is signed, the coordination of efforts across those teams is more significant. Can you talk a little bit about how much we as marketers, as part of our work now need to have that, not just strategic alignment with sales, but that operational alignment to ensure that we have that seamless experience for the buyer throughout the funnel, not just in the top half?
Deb: Well, I think that’s it. And you’ll see in this research, some data that shows even those account-based marketing efforts that many of the marketers have been looking towards and trying to drive a strategy across their marketing activities really break down at the point where they’re not thinking omnichannel, or they’re not thinking further down into the funnel with a salesperson where they may be picking up some of what was traditionally thought to be sales work, and really is now dependent on marketing to think about how we get the right kind of information to those buyers.
Matt: Yep. Absolutely got a few more minutes here on Sales Pipeline Radio with our guest Deb Wolf. She’s the CMO at Integrate and we’re kind of teasing a little bit sort of this survey we’ve got coming up that we’re launching on October 28th and a webinar we’ll have available in a sort of benchmark report as well around the future of marketing work. And you know, the other element of this, I think is the activity based focus of marketing in the past, right? I mean, you’ve got a lot of… see a CFO comes to the board meeting and talks about the balance sheet and the financial performance of the business. The VP of sales comes and talks about the pipeline, what we’ve closed. Product guy talks about roadmap, what we built and sort of where we’re going, marketing comes with an activity list in many cases, right?
Matt: Here’s how many emails are coming up. Here’s the trade shows we’re doing. And so, when you were focused on the marketing and more as a marketing team, more activity is seen as better. Right? And so from a work perspective, it feels like, okay, you’re never done. It’s never enough. And that we’re seeing so many marketers just exhausted from just working from home has made that blur worse. We’re seeing certainly sort of continued evidence of the great resignation people saying, I can’t do this anymore. I need to go try something different. It feels to me that if we can move from a mentality of activity-based marketing to impact based marketing, we can stop just doing more and saying, let’s just get more campaigns, more things done. And instead do the right things that not only help marketing create more impact, but potentially provide the foundation for our marketing employees and our teams to have a little better balance as well. What are your thoughts on that?
Deb: Yeah, I think, what a crazy time it is for B2B marketers. On the one hand, there’s this sentiment that makes headlines today that says that it’s this renaissance, there’s never been a more exciting and more… time to be and to be present and to be a B2B marketer. But I think if you ask most marketers today, marketing teams will tell you that they have experienced the most brutal year in the profession. And I think some of the stats I’ve seen have even shown up to 80% of people that find this to be the most challenging time of their careers.
Deb: Those are crazy stats. Like what are we doing to our people? How do we keep our teams engaged and excited? And I do think coming back together will drive some of that, but we also have to stop and think about those activity lists that you’re really talking about, how do we ensure that we’re doing the right activities? That the things that we are executing on every single day are the things that are going to really matter in, what I think of as a response to revenue, kind of way. And you know, there’s no other way to do that than to bring your teams together and have them think about it from the buyer’s perspective, the buyer doesn’t need a million activities, they need the right activities. They need the things that are going to help move, help them move through their journey. And you’re right. I think sometimes we just get torn up, maybe sort of brought up in that cyclone of activity. And we’ve really got to think about what it is that, that will make, have an impact with our customers and our buyers.
Matt: Yeah, no, you’re right. I mean more is not necessarily better. And there’s even further evidence. I think Brent Adamson, who co-author The Challenger Sale at his Gartner sales conference earlier this year. Despite the fact that it really is his fault, we’re all creating these commercial insights, right. And all this new content to help sort of challenge the status quo of our prospects. He says, like increasingly the need from sellers. And when I hear sellers, I hear marketers is what he calls sense-making right. It’s, it’s all this information out there. Like how would, how do I make sensitive? What does it mean for me? What should I do because of it? And so I think the brands that sort of provide that sense, making that provides sort of expertise and authority around what to do different than can and can provide that insight are going to be those that when moving forward. And marketing is going to play a huge, huge role in that.
Well Deb I know you’re crazy busy. We’re catching you on the road and I’m very excited about the work we have coming up again, October 28th, 2021. We’ll put links in the show notes here to make sure you’re able to register. Everybody that registered is going to get a full copy of that future of marketing study report as well. So you get all the research insights from our work. Deb, thanks so much for joining us today. Appreciate it very much.
Deb: Thanks Matt. Great to see you.
Matt: Thanks everyone for joining another episode of Sales Pipeline Radio. We’ll see you next week. Every week, Thursdays at 11:30 Pacific, 2:30 Eastern until next time. Thanks for joining another episode sales pipeline radio.
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