The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 10 months 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 BTO be selling is breakingdown into those who are adapting have adapted to the new reality, which isthat they are no longer in control the buyers in control, you're. Listening to the DTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated alte executives, train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies were tools and resources. You've come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three two one: welcome everyone to theB to b revenue executive experience. I'm your host Chat Sanderson todaywe're talking about how marketing needs to address today's B to be buyerjourney, the role of sales and crafting a marketing strategy and how, in theworld you get both a aligned around the same metrix to help us. We have withthis marked on again a twenty year: Marketing and sales veteran WHO's workfor companies back by some of the largest vas VC firms in the valley mark.Thank you for taking time and welcome to the show. Well, thank you. Jad, it'sgreat to be here and talking to you and your wonderful audience. You've got agreat show. Oh, thank you. I appreciate that we put a lot of effort into it.Some are better than others just about everything in life. That's how that'show life is y, so I have good days- and I have goodhairdays and bad here- t ays, yeah yeah. We all for those that well then, forthose you know haven't seen me. I am as bald as a baby so and it's hard to tellI have short hair to so before we jump in. We always like toask just a regular questions to people get to know you a little bit better andbased on the year that we've had hem, changing it up a little bit. So as youlook back on the year, you know, and you think about the opportunities thatmaybe more time at home has had. Has there been something that you arepassionate about, that maybe our listeners might be surprised to learnerthat you had an opportunity to explore more as a result of the way somewherecalendars, I've kind of rearranged themselves, yeah! That's right! Yeah!THAT'S A boy! That's a great question where to start you know, but heres, here's one takeway. I wasjust thinking about this. The other day as I was reflecting on how my time isshifted, and you know what used to be that it used to be boy. It's so strangeto 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 thetime, especially for your audience, that's spent selling right. So you knowI'm out there to meet meet with prospects meet with customers, but theralso was a learning opportunity there, and there was you know, talking topeers and and other colleagues throughout the industry and for thoseof us you know, who've been around a few years. You know we developrelationship, so 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 thecoffee line and swap stories with somebody where I might pick up aninteresting. You know piece of information, or you know, sitting inthe hotel bar sharing a drink, an thenight, and you know, and that kindof that kind of thing. But here, as my insight was that because you can't do that, it's forced or it's opened up whole newways to connect, and so things like podcast consumption. Frankly, on onehand, you know well we're not commuting, so you know and we're busy we're alwaysin front of our machines. You know in front of our computers, were you know,we're on zoom calls we're doing that. So how do we have time for it? But I'veseen 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 contentthat is, in some cases, giving really really deep insights and interestingviews that that maybe I could have...

...gotten that before at a conference, butguess what I wasn't sitting in that session right and even though you knowand here's the ironic thing all that stuff was always being produced. Theywere most of those events. They were publishing it on Youtube or on theirtheir 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 blew three days atthis event- and you know by the time you get back to the office you're busycatching up, but now like I can. I've got an extra forty, five minutes in thecalendar and you know, rather than sort of sit there and zone out for twentyminutes. Until I util my next call starts. You know I find I find apodcast episode. I find something, and so now we're going to connect to howthat impacts. Not only your professional development, that's kindof a no brainer but how it connects to being a better revenue leader andthat's what I'm actually super excited about. Is You know whether you're onthe marketing side or you're, you know directly in the revenue side of thebusiness. I think there's tremendous opportunities now in some ways, maybebetter than before. Yeah agree. Absolutely so, let's talk about kind ofgo back a little bit and find out where your passion for sales and marketingcame from. I mean some people go to school and say yeah, I'm going Ta, I'mgoing to become a marketing professional, but I don't know a lotthese days that started. You know when we were at the holidays, playing withour GI, jo or Barbie's going. You know, I can't wait to grow up and get intosales, so yeah, that's hever, so I'm kind of curious wherd, your passion forthese professions come from. Well, I started programming at my. You know inmy schools apple two, so that shows you how old I I'm dating myself seriously.When I was twelve, I taught myself basic and started. You know, and so my dad, you know, retired at Helet,Packard and- and so I came up through this- you know you'd assume. Well, I'mgoing to be an engineer so sure enough. You know I weent into computer scienceprogram and I can remember it as if it wasyesterday, the it was my sophomore year and microprocessors class and rightbefore the final literally the last class before the final and theprofessors telling US exactly it's going to be. On the final I mean thisis like really critical, like here's. What's on the final here's, what youneed 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'suniversity, but anyway I sat down and then the professor said his last wordsand the rest of the fifty five minutes or whatever the class I didn't hearwhord. He said why. Why was that? It was because I was daydreaming about myband and about plaing music and I went okay. This is so I went to music school, so I dropped out, went to music school,we went to pretty pretty good school and you know everything's good and thenI figured out. Oh I'm going to be a poor, starving, musician and seriously I mean this really is theyou Koas the arc of how I got into it. So I thought you know well, okay, whatyou know, how can I make money of sales people? You know they they make money,and I like talking- and I had worked my way- largely through college sellingand managing a car audio store. So you know so I was you know so that kind ofgave me the music thing and you know- and I was making a little money I meanespecially for a parttime job. You know in college like I was actually doingreally good, so you know so it it's more just like how can I make money?You know a and do something I enjoy doing and then what end up happeningwas you know, as my arc moved from you know, from being an individualcontributor, then of course I naturally I really wanted to become a student ofsales, so I dove Ento Zegzigler I mean I was devouring at that time. You knowany of the sales development books. I could get my hands on and then that ledme into you, know sales leadership and,...

...and then is my career progressed. I gotyou know more involved in the business development side, but the interestingthing is through the whole. You know through this whole arc of my salescareer. Even my as an individual contributor, I was always sort ofnaturally grabbing marketing as a way to help you know or to boost myindividual efforts at one time I created a little newsletter. You knowthat I was sending out Tho customers, I mean, and this is let me tell you thisis early early early. Like remember when I was twelve, I was on apple toyou know basic so Itculyou, an idea of like you know how old I am so this isnot. You know. This is not like ten years ago where it's like yeah, there'sall these cool online tools. I mean this. Is You know this is mailing outnewsletters and you know I didn't at the time really connect to the factthat I've that I had this really pretty well developed sense of you know, Iguess the left brain and logic and strategy, but then also the right,brain creative and I never. I can't say I connect and went hey. You know thismix is perfect for marketing, but it's just that as I developed I just youknow. Eventually you grow in bigger roles. Next thing you know your, youknow. You basically have a marketing team reporting to you because you'rethe head of marketing in sales and then you know it's kind of that that thatprogression right and then finally, you know- I just said you know, strategyand marketing and speaking to the market in the acceleration abilitymarketing. As an excelerant, it was just super exciting. For me, you knowto be able to do something that could that could impact hundreds of sellersand the entire success of a company rather than just myself or a small teamthat I was leading. You know in revenue, which is often especially in bigcompanies. You know that's kind of how it is. You know it's like Hey, mygroup's rocking, you know what's happening on the other. You know what'shappening with the other teams. You know or my group's not you know so soyeah there's and it's very much a macro o micro kind of difference. In myexperience, because I mean I started in marketing and and thought I alwaysthought you know, I don't know why these sellers aren'tare picking thisstuff up. Why are they ared yea and then decided hey? You know what I'mgoing to go jump and be an individual contributor and then kind of come upthe ranks, the other way so being able to see the macro and the micro ind theway that it impacts not only the buying journey, but the revenue cycle for anorganization is pretty compelling. I think- and it really is one of thethings that we I mean I saw when I was doing it and still see today in theorganizations that we work with. Is this almos innate built in frictionbetween sales and marketing teams? It's almost as if they don't, I mean well,they don't understand each other, w understand what they're doing, but I'mwondering what you're seeing is kind of that current state at an aggregatelevel of you know the relationship between sales and marketing and maybeeven how companies can increase the alignment between the two yeah. So I've got some good news. I think that in general, now part partof the problem is is that the answer to this question depends a a lot on whatthe business model is. You know a SASS business model is going to look verydifferent than a you know. A software license is going to look different thanmore of a more of a a product. You know like a physical product or you know ahybrid physical, digital product or solution. So so it's going to vary alittle bit, but the good news that I have is is that I really see the wallsgetting torn down pretty significantly and I think the organizations wherethey're still really is friction now. You know tha yeah, there's always goingto be a little bit of you know. Button heads, but I mean whe're, really oneside is suspicious of the other boy. I would say one or two things: eitherthose two leaders, the marketing leader...

...and the sales leader their days arenumbered and and and those and those number days are short, I mean they'regoing to be replaced. That's either the first observation. The secondobservation is that industry, or that sector is numbered, so so either wayyou know those those those people better figure out how to work together,or else you know, tthey're going to be looking to work somewhere else, becausebecause that is just not the way that our customers, the way that theirbuyers want to relate, need to relate and they're just going to skip rightover them and they're, just not going to be successful. So so that's the goodnews. So the good news is, I think, it's breaking down now, meaning thatthe friction or the silos. Now. Another observation t I have that I think isreally interesting, and this is where I'm finding I used to sort of you knowthere was a pertof time where being a seller who turned into a marketer andnot having you know, quote unquote, I use the air quotes. You know, Mba fromyou know, mark you know either marketing degree or an MBA from aspecific school. I sort of would fall through the cracks because it was kindof like wow. This guy has a lot of great experience, but is he a salesperson or is he a market? You know it's kind of like what you know kind of like.Where does he fit now, I'm finding that boy? The opportunities are huge becausein the marketing side of the business, if you can't impact and speak torevenue and it's beyond talking about how we're connecting marketing motionto revenue, what I'm talking about is go to market it's strategy. It's howyou know what we're going to build for the business is going to contribute tothe objectives of the of the company and and for a marketing leader. If theycan do that, wow, it's incredible now. Likewise, it sure is a lot easierto interface and to build a relationship with the revenue leader.If you have empathy for them, if you understand their sales cycle, if you'realready ahead of them- and they don't even have to ask you know for certaintypes of supporting, you know, campaigns oryou know certain types of materials, because you already know that's whattheir sellers need. You know, 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 t, themarketing Gal, if they're, producing ahead of what your sellers need. Youknow and so right there you end up breaking down the silos so and I'mseeing more and more and more people and I'm hearing you know of moremarketing leaders who have come up from sales. So you know I don't feel anylonger like I'm sort of a fish out of water a little bit. You know it'sbecoming a lot more common and- and I think that is helping to contribute totur down the wall when I think I think the rallyand cry of you know- and wesaw this from kind of a design. Thinking standpoint is focusing on thatbuying journeeer some people call em customer journeys from a sales mark ourstandpoint. It's definitely a a buying journey, and that gives them somethingto rally around which I think I've seen. Maybe some organizations be moreeffective at communicating across function with that as the focal point,but I've also found it very difficult when organizations don't have those, Istill, I still kind of think you and or UNICORDS, although you're right, somesome of the sales people are coming up, you know into marketing, but I've stillseen them struggle to really understand whatsales people do and sales people to struggle. What the market people do. Soin those organiations where you don't have that kind of organic make surepeople coming up through the ranks. Are there ways that you've seenorganizations successfully break down those siles or at least increase theeffectiveness of the conversation...

...across the Isle, so to speak? Yeah, soyou know I it's really easy to always and again this is kind of a life lessonright. It's always easy to look at the other person or the other side and saythey. You know kind of point the finger. I just don't like to do that. I justkind of have a general approach to life that starts with you know. What whatcan I do different? What should I be doing different in the situation? Whatcan I do to contribute to? You know to change? You know whatever it is, andI'm talking now just generally, not even you know marketing our sales orbusiness, but applying this to marketing. One of my one of my biggestyou know advice. I guess pieces of advice for for an emerging marketing,leader or individual contributor is now the industry that you're in know theecosystem, 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 kindof measured on or what their quote unquote. Dataday job is, but whetherit's a marketing team of three or marketing team of thirty, if more thanhalf of those marketers just spend just an hour a week, you know on as I as westarted. You know on jumping on a Webinar on attending a virtual eventabout the industry on something they you just can't help but carry that intoyour whatever marketing function or role. Your you know tha that you feelspeaking of like an individual contributor and then, if you just youknow, go to the head of again depending how big the organization is. You knowthis might be really easy to do. It might be harder to do but find someonein sales and just say: Hey you know. Could I just please invite me in youknow I'm not going to bother I'll be a fly in the wall. You don't even need totell the you know that I'm on the call, but it's really important to me to heardirectly from our customers mouths. You know what are they asking? What arethey you know? How are they responding to our you know to our presentation:What are they and just with those activities? Again, they sound so simple,but I have seen because I apply it not only myself but in my teams- and I veryoften hire not just for domain experience, but Ihire for someone as aptitude tbut. They can learn and that they want to learn.Now you it's amazing to me how there's still marketers out there kind offeeling like what do you mean? I'm a marketer like I, you know like I drive,I drive creative, I'm a content. Marketer like I just write right wordslike well, you, above all people. You know really need to understandecosystem. You know, what's the language they use? What's the you knowhow Di they? How do they talk? How you know what are the? What are the hottrends that we need to make sure that we're talking about so that we're goingto catch their ear because the world is just so noisy? You know it's yeah,absolutely well an there's. There's A, I think. In order to create effectivecontent, you have to understand the audience and I don't think there's anybetter way than listening to a sales call when those individuals are notfocused on trying to tell you what they're saying but actually sayingthings. If you're, really good at the content, creasion you'll be able toidentify the themes, her t e, the words, the phrases or even in some casof thestats that are really going to get those people's attention and help thesales individuals that are, you know campaigning to the decision makers totry and get a meeting or if they're, prospecting or or even if they're, inthe sales process. You know things their perspective of the company andwhere the solution is going to change. I think hearing that first hand, Idon't think there's any replacement for that. I think the bigger challenge thatand I'm really curious to see kind of... you would recommend companiesaddress. This is how do you get salesperson to understand the functionor the art of marketing communication, because there's, both, I think, are ablend of science and art, but I think it's easier to explain to a marketer, just listen to the customer. The customwill give you all the anter O prosputor. How do you do it? How do you doitreverse for I yeah exactly especially for a transactional really Drien, youknow sales professional. You know so yeah, so I think that I think that theworld the world of betobe selling, is breaking down into those who areadapting have adapted to the new reality, which is that they are nolonger 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 youknow this is this. They don't need me. You know, there's a lot of choice inthe market. There's there's a million different ways for them to learn aboutthe choice and and again, depending on your business model. You know like Bak,iuin an go all the way to buying without ever, even maybe talking to me.You know as a salesperson, and so if you as a seller has have haveacquiesced to that understanding, then you naturally are going to say. Well,then I either better go find another line of work or I better learn how toadapt and the way you adapt. Is You figure out? Well, how do I capturetheir attention? Well, you know everyone responds to story. Everyoneresponds at the end of the day. We all we everything we buy, whether it's youknow for me. Personally, you know in my house or whether it's for my business, it starts with a need. It starts with awith you know, there's a reason right, so so sellers who, who have alreadycome around at this line of thinking, then, are now getting drawn into theworld of marketing, because they're saying wow, you know what marketing isproducing for me and the messages, and you know the video content. All that issupervaluable and now my job is a seller is to find creative ways to getthat in front of my prospects. Get that in front of the buying committee. Youknow get that in front of the people who either I'm working with, or I wantto be working with and theyre guess what you know. No secret they'reprobably doing pretty well these sellers right so yeah, you know, youknow certain industries, covid has really decimated, others are doing well.So you know, unfortunately, if if you're a great seller in your industryhas been decimated. Well, it might be tough right now, but that's not becauseyou was a person, you know, if not adapted. Unfortunately, there's thereare the other sellers who still just want to go back to the to the battlecards. Just the other day, I was working with a client and a partner oftheirs talked about needing to build battle cards. Now. Can you imagine what went through myhead? Yeah, I mean I mean a dozen things wentthrough my head, Fortun In't repeat any of them on the on the call, but I meanit 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 allbout, wait aseck, our whole process of built around that. What are you saying? Of courseyou need to understand the competition. Of course you need to understandpositioning. Of course you need. You know the e, the language in the scripts,to be able to counter an objection and be able to deal with an objection, butthe old ide 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 ourplaybook and here's our and go memorize it and then run with it like, likethose days are so far behind us in every industry. I would argue, I don'tthink it's like well yeah. I get it.

You know in software and and technologyand EN sassand an you know. Yeah, that's true everything you say mark istrue, but you know I'm over here in this. You know, industrialized, youknow still you know two hundred and fifty year old industry and it's andand 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 allright. Let's Change Direction here, a little bit. We ask all of our guest twostandard questions towards the end of each interview. First, as simply as astrategist and consultant that makes you a revernue executive for yourselfand people are obviously trying to get in front of you a and so I'm alwayscurious to know when somebody doesn't have a referral trusted way in to getto you what works the best to capture your attention. Build credibility andhelp somebody earn the right to time on your calendar yeah, you know, so we all see this onlinked in right and all these cold messages. Yeaho getme started Omin numbing, soyeah. 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 clearlyinterested in, and I don't mean personally you know like. Oh I see weboth went to the same school. You know like it's still every once in a while.I get that I'm psycho Jeez, you know, but they don't try and squeeze me intoa predefined persona and that right there actually captures my attention.So when there's some intelligent, you know it could be a question or aninsight, sometimes just an insight like hey. I noticed that you publishd thisblocg post whyl. I really liked it by the way you know. I don't know if yousaw this article, you know and that click on Hi'm, like wow, that that'sreally interesting, that's actually very relevant and you know hey and I'llalmost always respond back. You know with more than just all thanks forsharing. You know like Wel, 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 notyour generic canned. You know they're very appropriate, so that right thereit tells me hey. You know this person really understands me. Absolutely it's! The show me, you knowme like don't make yeah, don't end the automated. We all know what marketingtech does today and you can spot that a mile away, yeah, yes, for sure all right, so the lastquestion we call it our acceleration insight. There was one thing you couldtell sales and marketing professionals, one piece of advice that, if you gavethem- 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 reallyunderstanding the problem to be solved, but the second part is more importantand who the beneficiary is inside the organization. If you solve that problem now, let me unpack that, because on thesurface, like Oh ofcours, of course, focus on really understand that okay, Iget it nothing new there, but the second part is really interestingbecause I have found- and I have the scars to prove it where I have entered into you- knowvery complex. You Know Fifteen, sometimes twenty people in the in thebuying committee process and boy we just we thought we were you know we hadthis thing locked up eighteen months in and of course, Ho wanted to close ittwelve months earlier. But you know we had to sing locked up, everything's,good, everything's, good and then all of a sudden it doesn't close you'regoing what happened. Invariably, what happened was was that we found out thatwe actually never had the beneficiary who would really benefit from buying orusing, or you know that company procuring our solution at the table andguess what that person will pop up at some point, theyll usually pop up atthe very end right when the deal is about to be signed and all they have todo is say is say yeah, you know t at that's pretty cool, but I'm looking atthese other three. So why don't we hold... and as the seller, your head,spinning like how in the world could we have missed this and, and so the focusis, is to really understand the problem and then who the beneficiar is becausethe beneficiary is often not someone who's actually in the buying process orthe committee. Sometimes I mean they're the lowest person in the room. That'swhy 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. Looking at this solution, we, you know, we've gonethrough we've, you know, here's all that you know we really like it. Whatdo you you wantce? You take a quick look at it and then all it takes forthat person is to say yeah, you know. Actually I've got a better idea. Youknow, I think we could build that internally. You know or hey we'reworking on building that internally and you're dead. Your hl is dead and, likeI said I have the scars to prove it. This is what happens, and so it'seasier said than done, though, to find out who the Beneficiarea is, becauseyou know it gets back to the old. You know. Oh I'm selling, you know it'sAlto me the CFO who makes the decision well, no because it could be that subjectmatter expert who says hey, you know I understand that we can save. You knowthree quarters of million dollars by adopting this software. But did youknow this and they go? Oh, I didn't know that yeah well, so maybe we betterhold off: Oh okay, yeah, absolutely oh yeah and a boom you're dead. Your dealsdead, yeah! Absolutely all right! Thank you! So much mare. If a listenerisinterested in talking more about these topics we touch on today or getting intouch with you. Where do you want us to send them? Yeah go to my website, soit's growth stage, DOT marketing, so just growth stage, dot marketing and Iactually have a startup marketing playbook, that's totally ungated,totally totally Freyou. Just just click on the link is very obvious right on myhome page there up in the navigation, and I think I've got some helpful infoin there, so excellent, well e mark. I can't thank you enough or taking timeto be on the show. It's been an absolute pleasure Chad, it's reallygreat to talk with you. Thank you all right, everybody that does it for thisepisode. You know the drill be to be revezaccom share with friends. Familygo 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 anduntil next time we abou selling associates with on nothing, but thegreatest success. You've been listening to the BTOBrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening until next time.

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