The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 11 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 be to be sellingis 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 traintheir sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniquesand strategies were tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let'saccelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the BTob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking abouthow marketing needs to address today's be tob buy your journey, the roleof sales and crafting and marketing strategy and how in the world you get bothall about aligned around the same metrics. To help us, we have withUS Mark Down Agan, a twenty year marketing and sales veteran WHO's work forcompanies back by some of the largest VSA VC firms in the valley. Mark, thank you for taking time and welcome to the show. Well, thankyou, Jad. It's great to be here and talking to you and yourwonderful audience. You've got a great show. Oh, thank you, I appreciatethat. We put a lot of effort into it. Summer better thanothers. 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 hairday. Yeah, yeah, we all do. For those that well then, for those of you know haven't see me, I'm as bald as ababy. So and it's hard to tell. We have short hair too. Sobefore we jump in, we always like to ask just a regular questionsto people get to know you a little bit better and, based on theyear that we've had, them changing it up a little bit. So asyou look back on the year, you know, and you think about theopportunities that maybe more time at home has had, has there been something thatyou are passionate about that maybe our listeners might be surprised to learner that youhad an opportunity to explore more as a result of the way somewhere calendars I'vekind of rearranged themselves? Yeah, that's right. Yeah, that's it.Boy, that's a great question. Where to start, you know, buthere'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 strangeto think that way. You know, we would go to shows, wewould go to conferences, we would get out in the field and and that'swhere a lot of times, most of the time, especially for your audience, that's spend selling, right. So you know, I'm out there tomeet meet with prospects, meet with customers, but they're also was a learning opportunitythere and there was, you know, talking to peers and and and othercolleagues throughout the industry and for those of us, you know, whohave been around a few years, you know we develop relationships. There wasa lot of networking, a lot of learning, right, and and youcould think, this is what I was reflecting on. You could think likewow, I've lost that whole opportunity to get out there and kind of standin the coffee 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 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 openedup whole new ways to connect. And so things like podcast consumption,frankly, on one hand, you know, well, we're not commuting, soyou know, and we're busy, we're always in front of our machines, you know, in front of our computers where, you know, we'reon zoom calls. Were doing that. So how do we have time forit? But I've seen just an incredible uptick, if you look on Linkedin, of just, you know, podcast, of video, boy, what doyou call it? You know, training, of just content that is, in some cases giving really, really deep insights and interesting views that thatmaybe 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 ontheir 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, bytime 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 twentyminutes until I to my next call starts, you know, I find I finda podcast episode, I find something. And so now we're going to connectto how that impacts not only your professional development, that's kind of ano brainer, but how it connects to being a better revenue leader. Andthat's when I'm actually super excited about is, you know, whether you're on themarketing side or you're, you know, directly in the revenue side of thebusiness, I think there's tremendous opportunities now, in some ways maybe betterthan before. Yeah, agree, absolutely. And so let's talk about kind ofgo back a little bit and find out where your passion for sales andmarketing 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 Idon't know a lot these days that started, you know, when we were atthe holidays playing with our gijoe or Barbarie's going, you know, Ican't wait to grow up and get into sales said, yeah, that's whereever, so I'm kind of curious. Where'd your passion for these professions comefrom? Well, I started programming at my you know, in my school'sapple too. So that shows you how old IM dating myself seriously. WhenI was twelve, I taught myself basic and started, you know, andso my dad, you know, retired at Hewlett Packard and and so Icame up through this. You know, you'd assume, well, I'm goingto be an engineer. So sure enough, you know, I went into acomputer 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'sgoing 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 thenthe professor said is the last words, and the rest of the fifty fiveminutes 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 aboutPlayton music and I went, okay, this is so I went to musicschool. So I so I dropped out, went to music school, went topretty 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 the, you knows, thearc of how I got into it. So I thought, you know,well, okay, what you know? How can I make money? Asalespeople, you know, they they make money, and I like talking andI 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 ofgave me the music thing and, you know, and I was making alittle 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 beingan individual contributor than of course. I naturally, I really wanted to becomea student of sales, so I dove into Zig ziggler. I mean Iwas devouring at that time, you know, any of the sales development books Icould get my hands on, and then that led me into, youknow, sales leadership and and then it's... career progressed. I got,you know, more involved in the business development side. But the interesting thingis through the whole, you know, through this whole arc of my salescareer, even my as an individual contributor, I was always sort of naturally grabbingmarketing as a way to help, you know, or to boost myindividual efforts it. One time I created a little newsletter, you know,that I was sending out to customers. I mean, and this is letme tell you, this is early, early, early, like remember,when I was twelve, I was on an apple to you know, basicso it an idea of like, you know how old I am. Sothis is not, you know, this is not like ten years ago whereit's like yeah, there's all these cool online tools. I mean, thisis, you know, this is mailing out newsletters and you know, Ididn't at the time really connect to the fact that I've that I had thisreally pretty well developed sense of you know, I guess the left brain and andlogic and strategy, but then also the right brain, creative, andI never I can't say I connect and with hey, you know, thismix is perfect for marketing. But it's just that as I developed, Ijust, you know, eventually you grow in bigger rolls. Next thing youknow, you're you know, you basically have a marketing team reporting to youbecause you're the head of marketing and sales. And then, you know, it'skind of that that that progression right. And then finally, you know Ijust said, you know, strategy and marketing and speaking to the marketin the acceleration ability marketing as an accelerant. It was just super exciting for me, you know, to be able to do something that could, thatcould impact hundreds of sellers and the entire success of a company rather than justmyself 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 howit 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 otherteams, you know, or my group's not, you know. So soyeah, there's and it's very much a macro to micro kind of difference inmy experience because, I mean I started in marketing and and thought, Ialways thought, you know, I don't know why these sellers aren't picking thisstuff 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 ofcome up the ranks the other way. So being able to see the macroand the micro in the way that it impacts not only the buying journey butthe revenue cycle for an organization is pretty compelling, I think, and itreally is one of the things that we, I mean I saw when I wasdoing and still see today and the organizations that we work with, isthis almo was innate built in friction between sales and marketing teams. It's almostas if they don't mean well, they don't understand each other or understand whatthey're doing. But I'm wondering what you're seeing is kind of that current stateand an aggregate level of, you know, the relationship between sales and marketing andmaybe even how companies can increase the alignment between the two. Yeah,so I've got some good news. I I think that in general. Nowpart of the problem is is that the answer to this question depends a loton what the business model is. You know, a SASS business model isgoing to look very different than, you know, a software license. It'sgoing to look different than more of a more of a product, you know, like a physical product or, you know, a hybrid physical digital productor solution. So so it's going to very little bit. But the goodnews that I have is is it I really see the walls getting torn downpretty 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 littlebit of you know, button heads, but I mean we're really one sideis suspicious of the other. Boy, I would say one of two things. Either those two leaders, the marketing leader in the sales leader, theirdays are numbered and and and those and...

...those numbered days are short. Imean they're going to be replaced. That's either the first observation. The secondobservation 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 orelse, you know, they're they're going to be looking to work somewhere elsebecause because that is just not the way that our customers, the way thattheir buyers want to relate, neat to relate, and they're just going toskip right over them and they're just not going to be successful. So sothat's the good news. So the good news is I think it's breaking downnow, meaning the the friction or the silos. Now another observation I havethat I think is really interesting, and this is where I'm finding. Iused to sort of, you know, there was a period of time wherebeing 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 specificschool, I sort of would fall through the cracks because it was kind oflike wow, this guy has a lot of great experience, but is heas sales person or is he a market you know, it's kind of likewhat 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 talkingabout how we're connecting marketing motion to revenue. What I'm talking about is go tomarket, it's strategy, it's how, you know, what we're going tobuild for the business, is going to contribute to the objectives of theof the company and and for a marketing leader, if they can do that, wow, it's incredible. Now, likewise, it sure is a loteasier to interface into build a relationship with the revenue leader if you have empathyfor them, if you understand their sales cycle, if you're already ahead ofthem, and they don't even have to ask, you know for certain typesof supporting, you know campaigns or you know certain types of materials, becauseyou already know that's what their sellers need. You know, and and and andso I think and and right there, if you know, look, Imean it's hard to be angry at the marketing guy, at the marketingGal 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'mseeing 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 alittle bit. Right now. It's it's becoming a lot more common and andI think that is helping to contribute to turn down the wall. When Ithink, I think the rallying cry of you know, and we saw thisfrom 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'sdefinitely a buying journey and that gives them something to rally around, which Ithink I've seen maybe some organizations be more effective at communicating across function with thatas the focal point. But I've also found it very difficult when organizations don'thave those. Still I still kind of think you and our UNICORNS, althoughyou'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 peopledo and sales people to struggle what the market people do. So in thoseorganizations where you don't have that kind of organic make sure where people coming upthrough the ranks are there ways that you've seen organizations successfully break down those sidesor at least increase the effectiveness of the...

...conversation across the aisle, so tospeak? Yeah, so, you know, it's it's really easy to always,and again this is this kind of a life lesson, right. It'salways easy to look at the other person or the other side and say theyyou 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 bedoing different in this situation? What can I do to contribute to, youknow, to change, you know, whatever it is, and I'm talkingnow 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 marketingleader 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 Ijust 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 whatthey'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, ifmore than half of those marketers just spend just an hour a week, youknow, on as I as we started, you know, on jumping on aWebinar, on attending a virtual event about the industry, on something theyyou just can't help but carry that into your whatever marketing functional role, youryou know that that you fill, speaking like an individual contributor. And thenif you just, you know, go to the head of again, dependinghow 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 justsay hey, you know, could I get just please invite me in. You know, I'm not going to bother. I'll be a fly onthe wall. You know't even need to tell the you know that I'm onthe call, but I I it's really important to me to hear directly fromour customers mouths. You know, what are they asking? What are theyyou 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 inmy team's and I very often hire not just for domain experience, but Ihire 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 contentmarketer, 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 theyhow do they talk? How, you know, what are the what arethe hot trends that we need to make sure that we're talking about so thatwe'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 Ithink in order to create effective content you have to understand the audience, andI don't think there's any better way than listening to a sales call when thoseindividuals are not focused on trying to tell you what they're saying but actually sayingthings. If you're really good at content creation, you'll be able to identifythe themes, where the the words, the phrases or even, in somecases, of the stats that are really going to get those people's attention andhelp the sales individuals that are, you know, campaigning to the decision makersto try and get a meeting or if they're prospecting, or or even ifthey're in the sales process, you know things their perspective of the company andwhere the solution is going to change. I think hearing that first and Idon't think there's any replacement for that. I think the bigger challenge that andI'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 ofmarketing communication, because there's both. I think are a blend of science andart, but I think it's easier to explain to a marketer. Just listento the customer. The customer will give you all the assured a prospector howdo 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 thatthe world, the world of beab selling, is breaking down into those who areadapting, have adapted to the new reality, which is that they areno longer in control. The buyers in control. And for those people,you know, I think naturally, once you have acquiesced to that understanding andyou'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 amillion 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 allthe way to buying without ever even maybe talking to me, you know, as a salesperson. And so if use a seller his have acquiesced tothat understanding, then you naturally are going to say, well then I eitherbetter 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 Icapture 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, inmy 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 thinkingthen 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 youknow, the video content, all that is super valuable. And now myjob is a seller is to find creative ways to get that in front ofmy 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 wantto be working with and their guess what, you know, no secret. They'reprobably doing pretty well, these sellers right. So, yeah, youknow. You know certain industries, covid has really decimated. Others are doingwell. So you know, unfortunately, if you, if you're a greatseller in your industry, has been decimated, well, it might be tough rightnow, but that's not because you was a person. You know,I not adapted. Unfortunately, there's there are the other sellers who still justwant to go back to the to the battle cards. Just the other dayI was working with a client and a partner of theirs talked about needing tobuild battle cards. Now, can you imagine what went through my head?Yeah, I mean, I mean dozen things went through my head. Fortunantrepeat any of them on the on the call, but I mean it wasjust like, are you kidding me? Like battle cards, like if youknow. Now, look, you know there's some people are listening her goingOh, but wait a second. Our whole process of built around that.What are you saying? Of course you need to understand the competition. Ofcourse 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 objectionand 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 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'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, youknow, two hundred fifty year old industry and it's in it and it'syou 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 tostandard questions towards the end of each in first as simply as a strategistand consultant, that makes you a revenue executive for yourself and people are obviouslytrying 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 somebodyearn the right to time on your calendar. Yeah, you know. So weall see this on Linkedin, right, and all these cold messages. Don'tget me started. Oh, I'd numbing. So, yeah, Ithink 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 everyonce a while. I get that if Psychogiese, you know, butthey don't try and squeeze me into a predefined persona, and that right thereactually captures my attention. So when there's some intelligent you know, it couldbe 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 thisarticle, you know, and then I click on I'm like wow, thatthat's really interesting, that's actually very relevant and you know, hey, andI'll almost always respond back, you know, with more than just all thanks forsharing, you know, like well, it's pretty cool. And then whenI'm talking to them or, you know, whether that's literally on thephone or or just, you know, messaging, they listen and they askquestions, but the questions are not your generic can you know, they're veryappropriate. 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 whatmarketing 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 tellsales and marketing professionals, one piece of advice that, if you gave themand they listened to you, believe would help them crush their targets. Whatwould it be and why? Yeah, so it would be to focus onreally understanding the problem to be solved. But the second part is more importantand who the beneficiary is inside the organization if you solve that problem. Nowlet me unpack that because on the surface like Oh, of course, ofcourse, focus on really understand that. Okay, I get it and nothingnew 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, youknow, very complex you know, Fifteen, sometimes twenty people in thein the buying committee process, and boy, we just we thought we were youknow, we had this thing locked up eighteen months in and of coursewe want to close at twelve months earlier, but you know, we had athing locked up, everything's good, everything's good, and that all ofa sudden it doesn't close. You're going. What happened? Invariably, what happenedwas was it we found out that we actually never had the beneficiary whowould really benefit from buying or using or you know, that company procuring oursolution at the table. And guess what? That person will pop up at somepoint. They usually pop up at the very end, right when thedeal is about to be signed, and all they have to do is dayis say, yeah, you know that, that's pretty cool, but I'm lookingat these other three. So why...

...don't we hold off? And asthe seller, your head spinning like how in the world could we have missedthis? And and so the focus is is to really understand the problem andthen who the beneficiary is, because the beneficiary is often not someone who's actuallyin the buying process of the committee. Sometimes, I mean they're the lowestperson 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'rethe one who inside that company is going to you know, at some pointsomebody is going to go to them and say, Hey, you know so, we're looking at this, you know this this platform, look at thissolution. We you know, we've gone through we've you know, here's allthat. You know, we really like it. What do you you know, want to take a quick look at it? Then all it takes forthat person is to say, yeah, you know, actually, I've gota better idea. You know, I think we could build that internally.You know, Ur Hey, we're working on building that internally, and you'redead. Your whole is dead. And, like I said, I have thescars to prove that this is what happens. And so it's easier saidthan done, though, to find out who the beneficiary is, because,you know, it gets back to the old you know, Oh, I'mselling. You know, it's all to me, the CFO, who makesthe decision. Well, no, because it could be that subject matter expertwho says, Hey, you know, I understand that we can save youthree quarters a million dollars by adopting this soft where, but did you knowthis? 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. Ifa listeners interested in talking more about these topics we touched on today or gettingin touch with you. Where do you want us to send them? Yeah, go to my website. So it's growth stage DOT marketing. So justgrowth 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 veryobvious right now my home page. They're up in the navigation and I've Ithink I've got some helpful info in there. So excellent. What Mark? Ican't thank you enough for taking time to be on the show. It'sbeen an absolute pleasure, Chad. It's really great to talk with you.Thank you all right, everybody that does it. For this episode, youknow, 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 insteadof watching screens. You know the drill. Leave US review on itunesand until next time, we have due selling associates with you nothing but thegreatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensurethat you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or yourfavorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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