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Marketing Leadership | 16 Lessons I Wish I Knew As First Time B2B Marketing Leader

13 Jun 2024
Marketing Leadership | 16 Lessons I Wish I Knew As First Time B2B Marketing Leader

Show Notes

Dave shares the 16 lessons he wishes he knew as a first-time marketing leader, going from marketing manager to CMO in four years. This is a recording from Metadata's DEMAND 2022 virtual event in October 2022. The lessons include:

1. Forget acronyms
2. The story is the strategy
3. Think hard about “offers”
4. Push your team past incremental thinking
5. Get on the same page as sales
6. Don’t “be” finance and ops...partner with them
7. Master internal communication
8. Articulate the strategy
9. Think short-and-long-term
10. Understand what the CEO cares about
11. Make hiring your job, not a side project
12. Create your own momentum
13. Your job is to get the job done
14. But do the job first, before hiring externally
15. Get comfortable making bets without perfect data
16. Spend the budget (all of it)

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Intro music: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Exit. Exit. Exit.

Ad roll: So I want to share these lessons about going from marketing manager to CMO because I made the jump from marketing manager to CMO over a course of five years, which is a really accelerated time period. And I made a ton of mistakes along the way. I'm able to call them mistakes now because I have the wisdom of time.

And so I can look back and see some of those things. And so. Today, I thought it'd be fun with this group to share some of the lessons that I, I wish I had knew then, because what I learned the hard way is, is a very different job from being a good marketer. So marketing manager, Dave, to actually being a good marketing leader.

Those are, those are two very different things. We're going to go really fast today because we only have 30 minutes. I'm going to give you a lot of things. I'm going to talk through a lot. I have listened to presentations. I've watched a lot of presentations. I don't expect you to [00:01:00] hang on every word that I say, but I think that you'll get one or two, maybe new ideas or things that will help you get unstuck.

Or maybe this will just feel like therapy to you in your current role. And so that's kind of how I like to look at these things. I think there's 15 lessons that I'm going to go through. If you get one or two new things today, I'll be really happy about that. So like I mentioned before, there's a, there's a huge difference between being a marketing individual contributor and a marketing leader and making the jump from good marketer to good marketing leader is really about understanding that being a marketing leader is about.

Yes, having that marketing expertise, but also you need to add in the marketing management skills. And there's really three kind of buckets of things that we're going to talk through today. So one of them is managing up. I think it's so important for the marketing leader to have a great relationship with the CEO and managing up to your boss.

We're gonna talk about managing down. That is all about hiring and having a great team, coaching them to be successful and helping you to do the best job you can do. You can be as a marketing leader. And then [00:02:00] the third piece of this is managing around. It's very tough to be a successful marketing leader without being able to influence and manage change across the entire org from, from product to sale, to customer success, to finance, to ops.

You have to be able to work with all those teams because as you know, marketing touches all of those departments. And so we've broken this talk up into those, those three sections. I do want to give you a little bit of a warning. If you were expecting a lot of data or science or fact based research in this deck, I hate to spoil it for you, but that's not where I'm coming from.

This is all based on my limited experience in B2B marketing. And so there might be things that you disagree with. There might be things that wish that I had like some proof and all I can give you is, is my experience. And this is a, basically my, my rant and lessons based on that. On those things. So first thing let's talk about managing up.

The number one thing is you have to understand what the CEO cares about. I see so many times. marketers, we get so far in the weeds with the CEO and we're sharing with her all of [00:03:00] the 50 to 100 things that marketing is doing because we want to show her how much we're doing and how important marketing is.

And based on what I've seen in the companies that I work with today, Most of that stuff doesn't matter when you're talking about this, when you're talking with the CEO, there's really two things that that CEO cares about and in no particular order. It's usually those two things. It's revenue and it's the story.

And so when you're trying to manage up, it's very hard, right? You have, you have so many things going on and you only have 30 minutes a week or 30 minutes every other week with the CEO, right? If you're lucky. I would try to focus all of my updates and my communication about these two things. And the story, meaning positioning, messaging, kind of the overall arc narrative of the company, that's always going to be a work in progress, but it might not be something that you're actively working on in that meeting.

And so if you're not focusing on the story in that conversation, I typically like to focus on, on revenue, right? The things that directly relate to building and growing pipeline. And I found that when you, when you think of it like this, you kind of remove some of the [00:04:00] stress on your plate because. You only have so much time like let's focus on the one or two big things that are actually going to move the needle.

And for most CEOs, just simplify how you think about the things they care about. They care about revenue and they care about the story. Number two is you have to be able to show your work and you need to try to master internal communication. One of the top complaints that I've seen and I felt and I still see this today is, The other teams inside of the company, they don't know what marketing is doing.

They know that the marketing team is busy and everyone is stressed and there's a lot of things going on, but they are not really sure how the things that you're doing actually fit into the company goals. And so you need to make it your job. to hammer this into the company. And every time you get the opportunity to present or to share an update about marketing, you need to relate this back to how it fits into your company goals.

I learned this the hard way in my early days at drift. We had something on Fridays called show and tell where every team would present what they worked on. And as one of the earlier employees at the company, I was the only person doing marketing at the time. There's 10 other people at the [00:05:00] table. They're all engineers and designers, people who had really cool, tangible things to show what they presented.

And I remember my first week on the job, they were like, Alright, let's, let's go over to Dave and what did you work on this week, Dave? And I was like, uh, I wrote, I wrote a blog post. And that was like the most humbling experience because nobody, it was just dead silent. Nobody cared. Nobody understood why.

And that was like my opportunity to have some, Eat some humble pie, because what I learned was they actually have no idea that the blog post is just a tactic, right? Instead, next week, I needed to come back and I actually gave them a whole presentation. I said, hold on. Last week, I kind of threw up on myself and just said that I was writing a blog post, but really, let me tell you why.

All right. So here we're writing this blog post. We wrote this article this week, and here's why, right? Our goal right now is to build an audience. We're trying to grow our website traffic. The way we're going to do that is through organic content. We think if we can do this, then we're going to be able to eventually generate this many trials a month.

And if we can do that, you have to be able to show them, you have to be able to paint the picture like that. And so I think it's a safe mindset, safer [00:06:00] mindset to operate from. If you can assume that nobody has any idea about how, what you're doing. Impacts the company. Another thing that we did in the early days at drift and even into year three and four of the company that I was there at least was there was a meeting called Monday metrics where each team leader marketing sales, customer success, product ops, it would present what is that part of the company working on this week.

And so if I just got up in front of 300 people in the company and I said, Hey, this week we're doing two webinars and we got these nurture emails going out like, Hey, Nobody's going to have any idea what we're doing. So I always took this as an opportunity to share like, Hey, as a reminder, here's what our goal is for this month or for this quarter.

Right. And then talk about that. And so every opportunity you have to relate what you're doing back to the broader company goals and how marketing fits into that puzzle, that's the mindset that you want to operate from. So. There's also kind of three, I would call them day to day week to week rhythms and routines that I really liked as a marketing leader, uh, to just keep everybody in the loop with what [00:07:00] marketing is, is working on.

So number one is Slack, right? Everybody's in Slack. There's a marketing channel in Slack. One of the things that I like to do is to encourage the team to share, like, Work in progress updates in the slack channel, so typically we only like to share things when they're done or fully baked or perfect. I like to push the team to share screenshots of screenshots of videos of articles of a screenshot of an email from a customer who you tested a new message with.

Like the more you can show your work in slack, It doesn't even have to be perfect. But then you have this channel where there's just kind of always marketing is always, is always shipping stuff. And you're sharing those updates directly in Slack. And anybody can hop in and see what marketing is working on.

The other thing I like to do proactively, and I've been at two companies now where we started this proactively and I saw the rest of the kind of leaders across the company rally and do the same thing is, Just sharing weekly, monthly and quarterly recaps about what marketing is working on. So this would be like a five minute kind of loom video with a deck and say it have three to five slides and it's like, here's what marketing got done this week and here's what we're working on next week.

And then you can extend that out. Here's [00:08:00] what marketing got done this month and what we're working on. Here's what marketing got done last month and here's what we're working on this month. Same thing for the quarter. The more you can not just share what you're working on. So, Hey, you got to do that, share what you're working on, but be related back to, and here's where that fits in our goals for this month.

And I like to do that at the end of the week, the end of the month and the end of the quarter, just really simple. The other thing that I always kind of took seriously inside of the company is presenting. I think anytime you have the opportunity to grab the mic and get on, on stage or on zoom or whatever the format is and present and talk about marketing, take that opportunity.

Because one of my favorite ways to think about this is from Christopher Lockett, who's a, who's an amazing author. And I realized we did him a disservice by spelling his name wrong here in the, in this deck. He always thinks about marketing is the leadership department. And I totally agree. If you're in marketing, right, you're probably and should be the best communicators inside of the company.

Like, please use that opportunity to present and take any opportunity you can to grab the mic and share what marketing is [00:09:00] working on as you can. Number three is you need a story more than anything else. You need a story, but it's not just a story. You need a story that can become your strategy. I love this quote from Seth Godin.

This was from an AMA that he did in the online geniuses, uh, Slack community. Somebody asked him, hey, what's the difference between B2C and B2B marketing? And I think this perfectly kind of captures all of it. He said, the secret is understanding that the people buying from you are still people, but one big difference is that they're spending somebody else's money.

Your job is to give them a story that they can tell their boss. If you can't tell them a story, and the only story, then the only story available to tell them is either number one, I bought the product that we bought at my last job, right? Or number two, I bought the cheaper one. Because nobody's going to get fired from their job for buying the product that they've used before or buying the cheaper one.

So this is the opportunity from a marketing perspective is to give, especially in B2B marketing, is to give these people, the people you're trying to sell to a story that they can take back to their boss. I know for me as a marketer coming up in my career, I think HubSpot did an amazing [00:10:00] example of this where There was probably five years before I even had the opportunity to buy HubSpot as a customer.

But I was, you know, religiously following their blog and going to their webinars and going to their events. And they made me get smarter at my job in marketing. And so when it came to buying a tool like HubSpot, you're like, look, sure, maybe there's features that HubSpot has and Marketo doesn't or whatever.

You don't, you don't have to play the feature war because we're already in the conversation because this company has. Become an expert to me and made me smarter in my job. And so the way that I like to think about this now is just like I call it two word positioning, which is HubSpot was inbound marketing.

Gainsight was customer success. Drift was conversational marketing. And this is really powerful because when you simplify the story to two words, Inside of the whole company at Drift, from the product team, to sales, to, to finance, right? Everybody had this frame, like, what we're building is conversational marketing.

So therefore, we need a marketing strategy that positions us as the leader in conversational marketing. The product team needs to be delivering products and [00:11:00] features and building a roadmap that helps us deliver on this vision of being the leaders in conversational marketing. The sales team has to be able to sell and educate people on why conversational marketing is a better way to do things.

And so, uh, so many companies, the story gets too complex. Nobody can repeat the company's tagline, or they're, they're worried about what the, the homepage headline is. Like what's more important is this idea of like, what do you want to be known for? HubSpot was inbound marketing, GainSite was customer success, Drift, Conversational marketing, you can call this a category.

You can call us whatever you want. I think the simplest way that I like to think about is what do you want to be known for? And from a B2B marketing opportunity standpoint, I think that the best strategy that you can have is to position your company as an expert and as a leader in that space. And so for Gainsight, that means how do we educate people on customer success?

How do we make customer success pros get smarter about their job? And I think, This lends itself really nicely to figuring out like, Hey, what should our content strategy be? What does our product marketing strategy need to be? You can boil this all the way down to [00:12:00] two word positioning. And ultimately this is only going to happen in a, in a healthy and effective marketing team.

If you have a strong relationship with the CEO, I think one of the things that I credit a lot of our marketing success to at drift was being really close CEO, we collaborated so much on the marketing strategy. And the story we were always texting and riffing on this. And I think it has to be that level of relationship between the marketing leader and the founder CEO in order to really, um, to execute on this.

Fourth thing is you have to be able to articulate your marketing strategy. This is something that drives me nuts because I see, we default right into the tactics and the channels. And I see a lot of marketing leaders or marketing teams who, who aren't really sure what the actual marketing strategy is.

And this is, this might seem obvious, but this is worth like double clicking and pausing on this for what you're doing at your company. You have to be able to say like, What do we think that our marketing motion is? Is this like, how are we going to generate revenue as a company? Is this sales led? Is it [00:13:00] ABM?

Is it product assisted? Is it product led? That really matters. And you can really tell when a company is kind of half in and half out of one of these strategies. I don't believe that there's a perfect one. And I actually think you can be successful with, with any of these approaches, but it's about being, being committed to this as a team, especially as a leadership team, you have to have a very clearly defined go to market motion because so much of what you're going to do from a marketing standpoint is dictated by what this motion is, right?

The tactics and channels required in a, in a sales led, uh, revenue function are going to be much different than product led. And if you can't articulate that and think about your, your marketing strategy from that lens, it's going to be very hard to be successful. The other thing that's really important here, and I don't mean this to be like one on one level stuff, but I'm just like, I wanted to hammer this home here because I still see it all the time is like, which segments are you going to sell to?

Having that very clearly defined ideal customer profile really matters. I've been able to do the best work with the marketing team inside of a company when that [00:14:00] ICP was really clear, when we're trying to be everything to everyone is when things get a little bit mushy. And I see this a lot inside of B2B SaaS companies, you just kind of take one average theory on what your strategy should be and you peanut butter it across all of these channels.

You got to focus. And as the marketing leader, you have to have a strong opinion about what your marketing strategy should be. And the whole organization has to be aligned on those things. You can't have marketing thinking it's one thing, sales thinking it's another, product thinking it's another. And I really think that it's your job as the marketing leader to be the one to drive that alignment.

You're not going to be able to solve it all by yourself, but you need to be the one who's raising your hand. And like, if nobody's solving it inside the company, then make that your job, be the one to get the right people in the, in the meeting and make those conversations happen. I think you also have to have a view on the market.

And so you can't just. Do this in a vacuum because someone presented it, you know, in a virtual event or whatever, but look, take a look around and see what your competitors and what's happening with related companies in your industry. [00:15:00] What is their approach to go to market? What are the gaps and opportunities for you to fill?

And I also think you have to be able to have a point of view on what Good marketing looks like one of the reasons that I got along so well with David, the CEO at drift and Ben, the CEO at privy was we spent so much time. Both of them were like, I want to do marketing like this. I love how this company does it.

I want us to do it that way. And that for me as a marketing leader is amazing. When you have a CEO that can at least articulate, here's what I think good looks like. And so just make sure that you have a perspective, whether that is slack or maybe it's drift or maybe it's. Attentive or clary or gong or whoever try to unpack somebody else's marketing strategy and take lessons from that and be like, Hey, we want to do, we want to do marketing like this.

Even at drift, we took so much inspiration from companies who are not B to B companies. David was almost religious about saying, like, I want us to feel like a consumer brand. And that was great because that gave us a guardrail for figuring out what types of things in marketing did we want to go do and execute on.[00:16:00] 

Fifth one is forget acronyms, use your brain and you have to figure out how to grow by using uh, by using this thing inside of your head. I didn't go to school for B2B marketing. I know many of you didn't either, but you go on LinkedIn or you go to an event and all you see is these acronyms MQL, SAL, PQL, whatever.

I'm not saying these are not important, but ultimately. We get obsessed with what we think are B2B marketing acronyms and jargon and benchmarks and all that type of stuff. One of the reasons why I had a couple of wins early in my career was honestly, I didn't know that much about B2B marketing. I was able to look at it and I got the freedom to do this from David, who's a CEO at Drift, to be like, look, I don't care about those benchmarks.

I don't care about those acronyms and the jargon, like just use your brain. Like at the end of the day, there's only three ways really to grow a business. You can get more customers, you can get those customers to pay more when they come in and you can get them to come back more often. Like just don't obsess over what you see on LinkedIn and in other forums, like just use your brain, operate from first principles.

[00:17:00] B2B marketing is not that different than. Any other than growing any other type of business. So focus on these core things. Don't obsess over all the jargony nonsense stuff that gets put out in the world. It's not that complicated. We like to overcomplicate it because it just makes for more content to go and create.

Sixth thing is you have to be able to think short term and long term. And damn, if this is probably like the number one thing that I wish I understood earlier, short term thinking Dave versus short and long term thinking Dave. And it's really hard, right? Because you're under a lot of pressure. You got to hit the number this quarter, especially right now.

I know it's Q4 in a tight economy. You're having a hard enough time to hit the number today. It's very hard to think about what you're gonna be doing next June, but I promise you that the lesson I learned the hard way was in June you're gonna be like, damn, we're 20% behind. What can we do? And you're just gonna keep chasing this game of like short-term tactics where the easiest way to hit your number is to have invested in that channel last year. And I've made this mistake two or three times now as I'm sharing it, [00:18:00] because hopefully you don't a really simple framework is like, if you're, you need to audit and look at all the things that you're doing.

And if you're not spending at least 30 percent of your time, budget, people, resources on the future, you're going to be in a tough spot. I wish that I did a better job of having new channels ready. And so like when you know, the plan jumps 30 percent in Q2 of next year, You can't, you know, wake up that quarter and figure out what new channel is going to get you there.

You got to be able to be testing and learning and scaling up some of those channels like behind the scenes now. And so you got to be able to think at least like 70 percent of your time and budget and resources is spent on hitting the number today. But you have to remember that a big portion of this 30 percent at least.

Has to be about like laying the foundation for the future, something that I've seen lately that I really think is great is from Chris Walker and refine labs or labs are talking about this concept of revenue R and D, which is a little bit more advanced than my 70 30 framework. But I think it's a great way to like they give you a framework to think [00:19:00] about, like running experiments now.

Looking for positive signals, finding ways to scale those things and get them repeatable. And then when you need that new channel in Q2, Q3 of next year, you're not having to learn from zero. You're like, Oh, this is great. We, we were testing this channel for three to six months. Now we needed to start contributing 500k in pipeline.

Like let's go scale that up. You know, you can make the case the CFO to get 50 grand 100 grand or whatever you need to go out and do that as opposed to having to to learn and scale in the same quarter. It's very challenging to do that. And ideally, you have some portion of the team or everybody's job.

You have time and budget carved out so so people can do this. Let's talk about managing down. So we talked about managing up. Let's talk about managing down. You have to be able to push your team past incremental thinking. One of the lessons that I learned is it's so often default to like, if we're, if you're behind on pipeline, you're trying to figure out how to grow pipeline, we default to these tiny, Optimizations and updates like let's let's redo the email nurture flow.

[00:20:00] Hey, let's how many times this happened inside of your company. Someone's like, Oh, that's a great idea. Let's add it to the email nurture flow. I promise you that that is not going to be the thing that is going to make that that big leap for your company. Typically, that's going to come from figuring out a new channel, figuring out a different segment and different ICP to go after.

I actually just saw this yesterday as we were putting the finishing touches, um, on this presentation from, this is from, uh, Gonto, Martin Gontovnikas, who is the SVP of marketing at Auth0. And he posted, um, I just want to read this really quickly, uh, years ago, Auth0 stopped growing in pipeline. We had to change what the marketing team was doing for six months to get us back on track.

It was a hard decision, but required bold decisions. He basically said they had 40 people on the marketing team. They took 20 of those people and focus them on four kind of key buckets and experiments. They stopped their day to day jobs. They built four pods inside of marketing and they worked cross functionally.

One group focused on the website and A B testing. One group focused on increasing top of funnel [00:21:00] traffic. The other group focused on like finding alternatives to talk to sales, whether that be chatbots or other kind of mid funnel offers. And then the fourth group took big bets by really like changing the signup flow.

This is a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about avoid incremental thinking. This is something that's very hard to do because it requires change and having hard conversations with people inside of the company and being okay with missing your goals for a quarter. But this is what it takes to get out of the hole.

And so if you're in a revenue hole right now, I promise you that the solution is not going to be more nurture emails, more website optimizations is going to be bigger thinking like this. And you have to have the guts to be able to like blow up the marketing team and change what everyone's doing for three to six months to get out of the hole.

Uh, as a result. Auth0 went from 20 million to 40 million. Couple years later, they had a six and a half billion dollar exit to Octum. I'm not saying that was directly because of this, but I just think it's a perfect example of what I mean when I talk about avoiding incremental thinking. Especially as the marketing leader, it's your job to be able to [00:22:00] think like this and be okay with taking big swings.

Number eight, please. You got to be able to think hard about offers. Uh, Dan Kennedy, one of the, my favorite direct response, uh, marketers, sales people, copywriters of all time. He worked on proactive Walmart and QuickBooks. He says your marketing needs to have an offer that tells your ideal prospects exactly what to do and why they want to do it right now.

It should be irresistible, time sensitive, and give them transformative value, the offer, right? That our marketing is about the offer. And then in B2B marketing, our offers are typically like, start your free trial. Request a personalized demo or contact sales right who wants to do any of those things like maybe the urgent people who are like so hot to buy and they want to do this right now but that's not going to be the majority of the people that are aware of your company and so you really got to push hard and try to come up with more middle of the funnel offers that address the selfish benefit of what is in it for me.

As your ideal customer. So for example, you know, we, we love to kind of shit on webinars and B2B marketing, but is the webinar bad? No, it's [00:23:00] just typically that we've kind of gotten used to webinar being a code word for like a boring one hour presentation, right? What if, what if the webinar offer was like, Hey, you want to become a better a rapper?

Well, uh, We have Jay Z on this webinar and he's going to teach you how to write legendary lyrics. Uh, or, you know, in an hour zoom call, right? Is the webinar bad? No, that's an amazing offer. The webinar is not the problem. That is the offer. You got to be able to think about that. I think Privy's done a great job of this.

They sell to small e commerce businesses. So here's a session that would actually be useful. Hey, steal this expert approved playbook to have your best Black Friday, Cyber Monday ever. That's coming up in 30 days. And that's a great offer for somebody to actually, like, should I spend an hour of my time or watch the recording?

Should I actually spend my time on that? So number nine, you have to have the keys to create momentum on your own. So often today, the biggest spikes that you create in marketing are going to be based on these big launches that you do on your own. You don't need to wait for Gartner or Forrester to write about you.

And I actually believe you don't even need to wait for the [00:24:00] product team to deliver some big stuff. You can be your own publisher as a marketing team today through content. through channels like this. Virtual event is a great one. Podcasting. You have the tools to be your own publisher and create your own launches and momentum.

One thing that we did at drift was we had monthly marketing launches. We called them marketable moments. They were on the calendar. No matter what was going on the first Tuesday of every month, we were doing a marketable moment. It wasn't a blog post. It wasn't just a webinar. It was something bigger. It pushed us to come up with a big, what's a big launch, something that we can do on our own to get people More people talking about us or give us an excuse to go back out and talk to potential customers and potential buyers.

We call them marketable moments. And that really allowed us to create our own momentum. And then when you do get ammo and stuff from the product team, it makes it even more, more powerful. Same way. I also believe like you have your own channels. You don't have to wait. Like I said, you don't have to wait for Gartner to validate you, to be your own publisher today.

Like look at what metadata has done, for example, with. with their podcasts and their efforts on social and content here [00:25:00] today. You can be your own publisher. So think like that. Don't think that you have to rely on these other people to write about you in order to get the word out. You have all the tools that you need today as a marketing team.

Number 10 is you have to get comfortable making bets without perfect data. If you wait around to get perfect data, you're going to get it wrong. It's going to be too late. And rarely are you going to have that perfect set of data. We love marketing attribution. Marketing attribution does not tell you, it does not tell you what to go and do next.

You still have to make a bet on where you're going to go and spend your time and spend your money. So I like to think of marketing strategy as portfolio management. It's never going to be perfect. You're never going to have all the data. You have to be able to act and make decisions and knowing that ultimately you're placing bets and that you're hoping things that work out too often.

Earlier in my career, I was paralyzed without perfect data and not able to make decisions. I think now almost I have the opposite problem, which I'm, I make really quick decisions without the data, be somewhere in the middle, be okay with making decisions without all the data. Number 11 is your job is to get the job done.

This was the biggest shift for [00:26:00] me as an individual contributor to marketing manager. If you are the marketing leader and you're trying to do all the things yourself, you are never going to survive and you're also your team is going to hate you. So you have to be able to change your mindset from like, it's not your job to do it.

It's your job to get the job done. And that can mean through people, through programs. I can tell you that your CEO, your, your boss, whoever that is, they don't care if you spend that money on an agency or if you hire people or if you spend it on programs, they want you to hit the goal. And so once you can like free yourself of thinking like, well, I got to show them that we did this all in house.

Doesn't matter. Use your budget and use your programs to your advantage. Your job is to get the job done, not do it all yourself personally. somewhat related to this is when you're talking about hiring, you have to be able to test into the job or at least do a part of it internally before hiring externally.

I think I look back at every hiring mistake that I've made in the past, and it's because we didn't kind of already have that role tested and proven before we went and hired [00:27:00] for it. So in the early days of drift, I was ahead of marketing. We wanted to do more events, Our first move was not what I wanted it to be, but the CEO said, no, sir, we wanted to go and test events as a channel.

He wasn't like, yeah, go hire an event person and go test events. He was like, nope, you're going to go, you figure out events for us. So you go run three events this quarter, figure out what works, what doesn't, what might work for our audience. Then you'll actually know what good looks like. And you can model this and scale this, and then we can go hire somebody.

And I just think that that was such an important lesson and you can do this. So maybe that means, hey, you think partner marketing could be a channel for you? You have a great product marketing person. Maybe she could take on partner marketing as, you know, 20 percent of her job for this quarter. And then you can go and figure out like how you're going to, how you're going to scale that and what good looks like to hire that person full time.

Number 13, you have to make hiring your job, not a side project. And so obviously you've read every business article ever. And they talk about people are everything. I had read it too, but it's not true. But I didn't feel it really until I was able to go to my second [00:28:00] company where I was running marketing, which is privy.

And so at drift, we had an amazing team, but I've made a lot of mistakes and spent a lot of unnecessary time and budget to get there. And that was because I was only spending 25 percent of my time on hiring and building the team. Or I thought, well, we're not hiring anybody right now. And so I don't need to be going and hire and build pipeline.

But the same way you build sales pipeline, you don't just go and get it when you need it. You get it before you need it. Uh, and the last piece of this is, is managing around. This seems so obvious, but you have to find a way to get on the same page as sales. Like, revenue is really the only thing the company, the company cares about.

It's what the CEO cares about, the board cares about. So if you're in marketing and you're in sales and you're, and those two teams are not on the same page and something is fundamentally broken. And I think one of the biggest challenges in the B2B SaaS world is that Sales and marketing and other teams are not aligned.

And it's not for any other reason than like how those teams are actually gold. And so I'm going to try to flip through this a little bit, but too often the reason that those teams are struggling and have problems with each other, uh, is not because of some creative [00:29:00] problem. It's because fundamentally they have different comp plans.

Sales is getting comped in one way. Marketing is getting comped in another, and those things don't add up. You have to understand the incentives that drive the organization and you should push the CEO or others. To be like, look, I want sales and marketing to be measured the same way. Obviously there's different inputs there, but you have to create a culture where everyone, the team leaders on the revenue function are measured on revenue, not some random metrics inside of each team.

And so if it's not working like that inside of your company, again, be the one to drive the change and fix it. It's going to make your life much easier. Or else like I think so often this is the root cause, but we don't want to go and address this because it has so many like other issues related to it, but this is often the root cause of so many sales and marketing revenue challenges when those two teams work together, life is so much easier.

I promise you, uh, somewhat related to this is understanding finance and ops. Number 15 is. Your job is to be the marketing leader. Don't become finance and ops. And I know it's a common narrative. You got to [00:30:00] understand finance. You got to understand ops. Totally agree. You have to understand those things, but don't become those things.

Make best friends with those two teams. I think you need to look at those at finance and ops the same way as you look at sales, which those are collaborators. Those are partners with you. Treat marketing as a business function. And so like at Drift, two of my most valuable colleagues were VP of ops. And VP of finance, right?

My job is not finance. You don't want me building the model. Earlier in my career, I thought I had to be the one to do that. Later in my career, I realized, oh no, we're all working on this together. These are my business partners. Treat them like that. Collaborate on revenue together. Sales, ops, finance, marketing, products, CS, should all be collaborating on these things together.

Marketing drives revenue, but marketing can't possibly own revenue solo. You have to be able to work with everybody. Okay. Okay. That was a lot. I tried to jam in basically 10, 10 years of my career into a 35 minute presentation. I hope you got at least one new thing out of that. If you liked anything that I talked about, you will love what we do in the exit five community.

Go and check out [00:31:00] exit five. com.
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