The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

Marketing & Today’s B2B Buyer’s Journey w/ Mark Donnigan


For the past year, everybody has been talking about the “new normal.”

But there is also a new normal for marketing…

And you either adapt or you go extinct.

So says Mark Donnigan, Marketing & Business Growth Consultant at d-launch, who joined me on the podcast to go over how marketers should adapt to today’s buyer’s journey.

What we talked about:

  • How COVID has changed the buyer’s journey
  • Why adaptability matters more than ever
  • Why you should focus on solving problems and the beneficiary of your solution

This post includes highlights of our podcast interview with Jonathan Pogact, Mark Donnigan, Marketing & Business Growth Consultant at d-launch

For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

The world of be to be selling is breaking down into those who are adapting have adapted to the new reality, which is that they are no longer in control. The buyers in control. You're listening to the BB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies were tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about how marketing needs to address today's be tob buy your journey, the role of sales and crafting and marketing strategy and how in the world you get both all about aligned around the same metrics. To help us, we have with US Mark Down Agan, a twenty year marketing and sales veteran WHO's work for companies back by some of the largest VSA VC firms in the valley. Mark, thank you for taking time and welcome to the show. Well, thank you, Jad. It's great to be here and talking to you and your wonderful audience. You've got a great show. Oh, thank you, I appreciate that. We put a lot of effort into it. Summer better than others. It's just about everything in life. That's how that's how life is. So I have good days and I have good hair days and bad hair day. Yeah, yeah, we all do. For those that well then, for those of you know haven't see me, I'm as bald as a baby. So and it's hard to tell. We have short hair too. So before we jump in, we always like to ask just a regular questions to people get to know you a little bit better and, based on the year that we've had, them changing it up a little bit. So as you look back on the year, you know, and you think about the opportunities that maybe more time at home has had, has there been something that you are passionate about that maybe our listeners might be surprised to learner that you had an opportunity to explore more as a result of the way somewhere calendars I've kind of rearranged themselves? Yeah, that's right. Yeah, that's it. Boy, that's a great question. Where to start, you know, but here's here's one takeaway. I was just thinking about this. The other day, as I was reflecting on how my time has shifted and you know, it used to be that. It used to be boy, it's so strange to think that way. You know, we would go to shows, we would go to conferences, we would get out in the field and and that's where a lot of times, most of the time, especially for your audience, that's spend selling, right. So you know, I'm out there to meet meet with prospects, meet with customers, but they're also was a learning opportunity there and there was, you know, talking to peers and and and other colleagues throughout the industry and for those of us, you know, who have been around a few years, you know we develop relationships. There was a lot of networking, a lot of learning, right, and and you could think, this is what I was reflecting on. You could think like wow, I've lost that whole opportunity to get out there and kind of stand in the coffee line and swap stories with somebody where I might pick up an interesting, you know, piece of information or, you know, sitting in the hotel bar sharing a drink at the end of the night and you know, and that kind of that kind of thing. But here's my insight. was that, because you can't do that, it's it's forced, or it's opened up whole new ways to connect. And so things like podcast consumption, frankly, on one hand, you know, well, we're not commuting, so you know, and we're busy, we're always in front of our machines, you know, in front of our computers where, you know, we're on zoom calls. Were doing that. So how do we have time for it? But I've seen just an incredible uptick, if you look on Linkedin, of just, you know, podcast, of video, boy, what do you call it? You know, training, of just content that is, in some cases giving really, really deep insights and interesting views that that maybe I could have gotten that before at...

...a conference, but guess what, I wasn't sitting in that session. Right. And even though, you know, and here's the running thing, all that stuff was always being produced, they were most of those events. They were publishing it on Youtube or on their their website. But how many times do we go look at it? You know, like never, because because we're busy, right, you know, and you just blue three days at this event and you know, by time you get back to the office you're busy catching up, but now, like I can, I've got an extra forty five minutes in the calendar and, you know, rather than sort of sit there and zone out for twenty minutes until I to my next call starts, you know, I find I find a podcast episode, I find something. And so now we're going to connect to how that impacts not only your professional development, that's kind of a no brainer, but how it connects to being a better revenue leader. And that's when I'm actually super excited about is, you know, whether you're on the marketing side or you're, you know, directly in the revenue side of the business, I think there's tremendous opportunities now, in some ways maybe better than before. Yeah, agree, absolutely. And so let's talk about kind of go back a little bit and find out where your passion for sales and marketing came from. I mean, some people go to school and say, yeah, I'm going to I'm going to become a marketing professional, but I don't know a lot these days that started, you know, when we were at the holidays playing with our gijoe or Barbarie's going, you know, I can't wait to grow up and get into sales said, yeah, that's where ever, so I'm kind of curious. Where'd your passion for these professions come from? Well, I started programming at my you know, in my school's apple too. So that shows you how old IM dating myself seriously. When I was twelve, I taught myself basic and started, you know, and so my dad, you know, retired at Hewlett Packard and and so I came up through this. You know, you'd assume, well, I'm going to be an engineer. So sure enough, you know, I went into a computer science program and I can remember it as if it was yesterday. The it was my sophomore year, and microprocessors class and right before the final, literally the last class before the final, and the professor's telling us exactly what's going to be on the fine. I mean this is like really critical, like here's what's on the final, here's what you need to study. And I and I realized that I had sat down and then, you know, I don't even remember if we had a boy to have a bell, but you know, it's university. But Anyway, I sat down and then the professor said is the last words, and the rest of the fifty five minutes or whatever the class. I didn't hear word he said. Why. Why was that? It was because I was daydreaming about my band and about Playton music and I went, okay, this is so I went to music school. So I so I dropped out, went to music school, went to pretty pretty good school, and you know, everything's good, and then I figured out, Oh, I'm going to be a poor, starving musician. And seriously, I mean this really is the, you knows, the arc of how I got into it. So I thought, you know, well, okay, what you know? How can I make money? A salespeople, you know, they they make money, and I like talking and I had worked my way largely through college selling and managing a car audio store. So you know, so I was you know, so that kind of gave me the music thing and, you know, and I was making a little money, I mean especially for a part time job, you know, and call it's like I was actually doing really good. So you know, so it hits more just like how can I make money, you know, and and do something I enjoy doing? And then what end up happening was, you know, as my arc moved from, you know, from being an individual contributor than of course. I naturally, I really wanted to become a student of sales, so I dove into Zig ziggler. I mean I was devouring at that time, you know, any of the sales development books I could get my hands on, and then that led me into, you know, sales leadership and and then it's... career progressed. I got, you know, more involved in the business development side. But the interesting thing is through the whole, you know, through this whole arc of my sales career, even my as an individual contributor, I was always sort of naturally grabbing marketing as a way to help, you know, or to boost my individual efforts it. One time I created a little newsletter, you know, that I was sending out to customers. I mean, and this is let me tell you, this is early, early, early, like remember, when I was twelve, I was on an apple to you know, basic so it an idea of like, you know how old I am. So this is not, you know, this is not like ten years ago where it's like yeah, there's all these cool online tools. I mean, this is, you know, this is mailing out newsletters and you know, I didn't at the time really connect to the fact that I've that I had this really pretty well developed sense of you know, I guess the left brain and and logic and strategy, but then also the right brain, creative, and I never I can't say I connect and with hey, you know, this mix is perfect for marketing. But it's just that as I developed, I just, you know, eventually you grow in bigger rolls. Next thing you know, you're you know, you basically have a marketing team reporting to you because you're the head of marketing and sales. And then, you know, it's kind of that that that progression right. And then finally, you know I just said, you know, strategy and marketing and speaking to the market in the acceleration ability marketing as an accelerant. It was just super exciting for me, you know, to be able to do something that could, that could impact hundreds of sellers and the entire success of a company rather than just myself or a small team that I was leading, you know, in revenue, which is often especially in big companies. You know, that's kind of how it is. You know, it's like Hey, my group's rocking. You know what's happening on the others. You know what's happening with the other teams, you know, or my group's not, you know. So so yeah, there's and it's very much a macro to micro kind of difference in my experience because, I mean I started in marketing and and thought, I always thought, you know, I don't know why these sellers aren't picking this stuff up. Where they are you then decided, hey, you know what, I'm going to go jump and be an individual contributor and then kind of come up the ranks the other way. So being able to see the macro and the micro in the way that it impacts not only the buying journey but the revenue cycle for an organization is pretty compelling, I think, and it really is one of the things that we, I mean I saw when I was doing and still see today and the organizations that we work with, is this almo was innate built in friction between sales and marketing teams. It's almost as if they don't mean well, they don't understand each other or understand what they're doing. But I'm wondering what you're seeing is kind of that current state and an aggregate level of, you know, the relationship between sales and marketing and maybe even how companies can increase the alignment between the two. Yeah, so I've got some good news. I I think that in general. Now part of the problem is is that the answer to this question depends a lot on what the business model is. You know, a SASS business model is going to look very different than, you know, a software license. It's going to look different than more of a more of a product, you know, like a physical product or, you know, a hybrid physical digital product or solution. So so it's going to very little bit. But the good news that I have is is it I really see the walls getting torn down pretty significantly and I think the organization's where they're still really is a friction. Now, you know that. Yeah, there's always going to be a little bit of you know, button heads, but I mean we're really one side is suspicious of the other. Boy, I would say one of two things. Either those two leaders, the marketing leader in the sales leader, their days are numbered and and and those and...

...those numbered days are short. I mean they're going to be replaced. That's either the first observation. The second observation is that industry or that sector is numbered. So so either way, you know, those those those people better figure out how to work together or else, you know, they're they're going to be looking to work somewhere else because because that is just not the way that our customers, the way that their buyers want to relate, neat to relate, and they're just going to skip right over them and they're just not going to be successful. So so that's the good news. So the good news is I think it's breaking down now, meaning the the friction or the silos. Now another observation I have that I think is really interesting, and this is where I'm finding. I used to sort of, you know, there was a period of time where being a seller who turned into a marketer and not having, you know, quote unquote, I use the air quotes, you know, Mba from you know, mark you know, either marketing degree or an MBA from a specific school, I sort of would fall through the cracks because it was kind of like wow, this guy has a lot of great experience, but is he as sales person or is he a market you know, it's kind of like what you know, kind of like where does he fit? Now finding that, boy, the opportunities are huge because in the marketing side of the business, if you can't impact and speak to revenue. And and it's beyond talking about how we're connecting marketing motion to revenue. What I'm talking about is go to market, it's strategy, it's how, you know, what we're going to build for the business, is going to contribute to the objectives of the of the company and and for a marketing leader, if they can do that, wow, it's incredible. Now, likewise, it sure is a lot easier to interface into build a relationship with the revenue leader if you have empathy for them, if you understand their sales cycle, if you're already ahead of them, and they don't even have to ask, you know for certain types of supporting, you know campaigns or you know certain types of materials, because you already know that's what their sellers need. You know, and and and and so I think and and right there, if you know, look, I mean it's hard to be angry at the marketing guy, at the marketing Gal if they're producing a head of what your sellers need. You know. And so right there you end up breaking down the silos. So and I'm seeing more and more and more people, and I'm hearing, you know, of more marketing leaders who have come up from sales. So you know, I don't feel any longer like I'm sort of a fish out of water a little bit. Right now. It's it's becoming a lot more common and and I think that is helping to contribute to turn down the wall. When I think, I think the rallying cry of you know, and we saw this from kind of a design thinking standpoint, is focusing on that buying journey, or some people call customer journeys. From a sales mark our standpoint, it's definitely a buying journey and that gives them something to rally around, which I think I've seen maybe some organizations be more effective at communicating across function with that as the focal point. But I've also found it very difficult when organizations don't have those. Still I still kind of think you and our UNICORNS, although you're right some some of the sales people are coming up, you know, into marketing, but I've still seen them struggle to really understand what sales people do and sales people to struggle what the market people do. So in those organizations where you don't have that kind of organic make sure where people coming up through the ranks are there ways that you've seen organizations successfully break down those sides or at least increase the effectiveness of the...

...conversation across the aisle, so to speak? Yeah, so, you know, it's it's really easy to always, and again this is this kind of a life lesson, right. It's always easy to look at the other person or the other side and say they you know, kind of point the finger. I just don't like to do that. I just kind of have a general approach to life that starts with, you know what, what can I do different? What should I be doing different in this situation? What can I do to contribute to, you know, to change, you know, whatever it is, and I'm talking now just generally, not even you know, marketing, your sales or business, but applying this to marketing, one of my one of my biggest, you know advice, I guess, pieces of advice for for an emerging marketing leader or individual contributor is know the industry that you're in, know the ecosystem, know it cold and then understand how the sales process works. And I just I bring it back to it sounds simplistic. I know that this requires, you know, people to kind of step outside of even what they're what they're kind of measured on or what their quote unquote, Daytoday job is. But whether it's a marketing team of three or marketing team of thirty, if more than half of those marketers just spend just an hour a week, you know, on as I as we started, you know, on jumping on a Webinar, on attending a virtual event about the industry, on something they you just can't help but carry that into your whatever marketing functional role, your you know that that you fill, speaking like an individual contributor. And then if you just, you know, go to the head of again, depending how big the organization is, you know, this might be really easy to do, it might be harder to do, but find someone in sales and just say hey, you know, could I get just please invite me in. You know, I'm not going to bother. I'll be a fly on the wall. You know't even need to tell the you know that I'm on the call, but I I it's really important to me to hear directly from our customers mouths. You know, what are they asking? What are they you know? How are they responding to our you know, to our presentation? What are they and just what those activities again. They sound so simple, but I have seen, because I apply it not only myself but in my team's and I very often hire not just for domain experience, but I hire for someone as aptitude that they can learn and that they want to learn. Now, you it's amazing to me how they're still marketers out there, kind of the feeling like what do you mean? I'm I'm a marketer, like I you know, like I drive, I drive creative, I'm a content marketer, like I just write right words, like well, you, above all people, you know, really need to understand ecosystem. You know, what's the language they use? What's The you know? How do they how do they talk? How, you know, what are the what are the hot trends that we need to make sure that we're talking about so that we're going to catch their ear, because the world is just so noisy, you know. So, yeah, absolutely well, and there's there's a I think in order to create effective content you have to understand the audience, and I don't think there's any better way than listening to a sales call when those individuals are not focused on trying to tell you what they're saying but actually saying things. If you're really good at content creation, you'll be able to identify the themes, where the the words, the phrases or even, in some cases, of the stats that are really going to get those people's attention and help the sales individuals that are, you know, campaigning to the decision makers to try and get a meeting or if they're prospecting, or or even if they're in the sales process, you know things their perspective of the company and where the solution is going to change. I think hearing that first and I don't think there's any replacement for that. I think the bigger challenge that and I'm really curious to see kind of how... would recommend companies address this, is how do you get a salesperson to understand the function or the art of marketing communication, because there's both. I think are a blend of science and art, but I think it's easier to explain to a marketer. Just listen to the customer. The customer will give you all the assured a prospector how do you do it? How do you do it in reverse for a yeah, exactly, especially for a transactional really driven you know, sales professional, you know. So, yeah, so I think that. I think that the world, the world of beab selling, is breaking down into those who are adapting, have adapted to the new reality, which is that they are no longer in control. The buyers in control. And for those people, you know, I think naturally, once you have acquiesced to that understanding and you've said, you know, this is this, they don't need me. You know, there's a lot of choice in the market. There's there's a million different ways for them to learn about the choice. And and again, depending on your business model, you know, like they can UN and go all the way to buying without ever even maybe talking to me, you know, as a salesperson. And so if use a seller his have acquiesced to that understanding, then you naturally are going to say, well then I either better go find another line of work or I better learned how to adapt. And the way you adapt is you figure out, well, how do I capture their attention? Well, you know, everyone responds to story. Everyone responds. At the end of the day, we all we everything we buy, whether it's, you know, for me personally, you know, in my house, or whether it's for my business. It starts with the need, it starts with a with you know, there's a reason, right. So, so sellers who who have already come around to this line of thinking then are now getting drawn into the world of marketing because they're saying, wow, you know what marketing is producing for me, and the messages and you know, the video content, all that is super valuable. And now my job is a seller is to find creative ways to get that in front of my prospects, get that in front of the buying committee, you know, get that in front of the people who either I'm working with or I want to be working with and their guess what, you know, no secret. They're probably doing pretty well, these sellers right. So, yeah, you know. You know certain industries, covid has really decimated. Others are doing well. So you know, unfortunately, if you, if you're a great seller in your industry, has been decimated, well, it might be tough right now, but that's not because you was a person. You know, I not adapted. Unfortunately, there's there are the other sellers who still just want to go back to the to the battle cards. Just the other day I was working with a client and a partner of theirs talked about needing to build battle cards. Now, can you imagine what went through my head? Yeah, I mean, I mean dozen things went through my head. Fortunant repeat any of them on the on the call, but I mean it was just like, are you kidding me? Like battle cards, like if you know. Now, look, you know there's some people are listening her going Oh, but wait a second. Our whole process of built around that. What are you saying? Of course you need to understand the competition. Of course you need to understand and positioning. Of course you need, you know, the the the language in the scripts to be able to counter an objection and be able to deal in an objection. But the old idea of you know, we have our our you know, ten or twelve, you know, there's these, you know, there's a battle card and then here's our playbook and here's our and go memorize it and then run with it like like those days are so far behind us in every industry. I would argue. I don't think it's like well, yeah,...

I get it, you know, in software and in technology and in Sass and and you know, yeah, that's true. Everything you say, Marcus, true. But you know, I'm over here in this you know, industrialized, you know still, you know, two hundred fifty year old industry and it's in it and it's you know, it's different. No, it's not. No, it's not, I would argue. I'm one hundred percent with you. All right, let's change the direction here a little bit. We ask all of our guests to standard questions towards the end of each in first as simply as a strategist and consultant, that makes you a revenue executive for yourself and people are obviously trying to get in front of you, and so I'm always curious to know, when somebody doesn't have a referral, trusted way in to get to you, what works the best to capture your attention, build credibility and help somebody earn the right to time on your calendar. Yeah, you know. So we all see this on Linkedin, right, and all these cold messages. Don't get me started. Oh, I'd numbing. So, yeah, I think that's my reference point there. But you know, it's it's simple. It's they know something about my business or something that I'm clearly interested in, and I don't mean personally, you know, like, Oh, I see, we both went to the same school, you know, like it's still every once a while. I get that if Psychogiese, you know, but they don't try and squeeze me into a predefined persona, and that right there actually captures my attention. So when there's some intelligent you know, it could be a question or an insight, sometimes just an insight, like Hey, I noticed that you publish this blog post. Why? I really liked it, by the way. You know, I don't know if you saw this article, you know, and then I click on I'm like wow, that that's really interesting, that's actually very relevant and you know, hey, and I'll almost always respond back, you know, with more than just all thanks for sharing, you know, like well, it's pretty cool. And then when I'm talking to them or, you know, whether that's literally on the phone or or just, you know, messaging, they listen and they ask questions, but the questions are not your generic can you know, they're very appropriate. So that right there it tells me, Hey, you know, this person really understands me absolutely. It's the show me, you know, me like don't make me, don't and the automated. We all know what marketing tech does today and you can spot that a mile away. Yeah, yeah, yeah, bottom for sure. All right, so the last question. We call it our acceleration insight. There was one thing you could tell sales and marketing professionals, one piece of advice that, if you gave them and they listened to you, believe would help them crush their targets. What would it be and why? Yeah, so it would be to focus on really understanding the problem to be solved. But the second part is more important and who the beneficiary is inside the organization if you solve that problem. Now let me unpack that because on the surface like Oh, of course, of course, focus on really understand that. Okay, I get it and nothing new there. But the second part is really interesting because I have found, and I have the scars to prove it, where I have entered into, you know, very complex you know, Fifteen, sometimes twenty people in the in the buying committee process, and boy, we just we thought we were you know, we had this thing locked up eighteen months in and of course we want to close at twelve months earlier, but you know, we had a thing locked up, everything's good, everything's good, and that all of a sudden it doesn't close. You're going. What happened? Invariably, what happened was was it we found out that we actually never had the beneficiary who would really benefit from buying or using or you know, that company procuring our solution at the table. And guess what? That person will pop up at some point. They usually pop up at the very end, right when the deal is about to be signed, and all they have to do is day is say, yeah, you know that, that's pretty cool, but I'm looking at these other three. So why...

...don't we hold off? And as the seller, your head spinning like how in the world could we have missed this? And and so the focus is is to really understand the problem and then who the beneficiary is, because the beneficiary is often not someone who's actually in the buying process of the committee. Sometimes, I mean they're the lowest person in the room. That's why they aren't in the room, you know, a lot of times. But at the end of the day, they're the one who inside that company is going to you know, at some point somebody is going to go to them and say, Hey, you know so, we're looking at this, you know this this platform, look at this solution. We you know, we've gone through we've you know, here's all that. You know, we really like it. What do you you know, want to take a quick look at it? Then all it takes for that person is to say, yeah, you know, actually, I've got a better idea. You know, I think we could build that internally. You know, Ur Hey, we're working on building that internally, and you're dead. Your whole is dead. And, like I said, I have the scars to prove that this is what happens. And so it's easier said than done, though, to find out who the beneficiary is, because, you know, it gets back to the old you know, Oh, I'm selling. You know, it's all to me, the CFO, who makes the decision. Well, no, because it could be that subject matter expert who says, Hey, you know, I understand that we can save you three quarters a million dollars by adopting this soft where, but did you know this? And they go, Oh, I didn't know that. Yeah, well, so maybe we better hold off. Okay, yeah, absolutely. Oh, yeah, and then boom, you're dead, your deals dead. Yeah, absolutely, all right. Thank you so much, Mark. If a listeners interested in talking more about these topics we touched on today or getting in touch with you. Where do you want us to send them? Yeah, go to my website. So it's growth stage DOT marketing. So just growth stage dot marketing and I actually have a startup marketing playbook that's totally ungated, totally totally free. You just just click on the link. It's very obvious right now my home page. They're up in the navigation and I've I think I've got some helpful info in there. So excellent. What Mark? I can't thank you enough for taking time to be on the show. It's been an absolute pleasure, Chad. It's really great to talk with you. Thank you all right, everybody that does it. For this episode, you know, the drill be to be REV exactcom share with friends, family, Co workers listening to it at the holidays. Let your kids listen to it instead of watching screens. You know the drill. Leave US review on itunes and until next time, we have due selling associates with you nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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