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The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2021
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How David Kirkdorffer generated $1M in pipeline in 6 weeks with a 'Campaign in a Box' (Inbound Success, Ep. 184)

When his marketing budget was cut to zero, but his lead gen goals remained the same, David Kirkdorffer worked closely with his sales team to develop a repeatable, scalable lead gen campaign that quickly translated into new deals.

By Kathleen Booth

Kathleen Booth also recommends this free guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2021.

How David Kirkdorffer generated $1M in pipeline in 6 weeks with a 'Campaign in a Box' (Inbound Success, Ep. 184) Blog Feature

What do you do, as a new head of marketing, when your marketing budget is zeroed out, but your lead generation goals remain unchanged?

David Kirdorffer - VP MarketingThis week on The Inbound Success Podcast, David Kirkdorffer talks about creating a "campaign in a box" and, together with his sales team, using it to drive new pipeline and new closed won deals at a time when his marketing budget had been eliminated. 

David's approach is one that any marketing leader can use, whether they have a big budget or none at all, to drive greater alignment with sales and increase pipeline opportunities from an existing database.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2021

Check out the full episode, or read the transcript below, for details.

Resources from this episode:

 

David Kirkdorffer and Kathleen Booth
David and Kathleen recording this episode

Transcript

Kathleen (00:00): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I'm your host Kathleen Booth. And this week, my guest is David Kirkdorffer. David is an experienced marketing leader who has helped a number of companies grow and exit through acquisition. He is also currently advising a number of companies as an outsourced CMO. And David, I know you're looking for your next gig.

So I have a feeling you will not be available for long. I was excited to talk to you because I've gotten to know you through a number of the CMO groups that I'm involved with and you shared some great stories of getting pretty big results on not a big budget, which is always one of my favorite things to talk about because that I think is a situation that plagues a lot of marketers.

But before we jump into it, maybe you could give my listeners a little sense of who you are, what your background is and, hey, why not share what you're looking forward to doing next in case somebody is listening?

David (01:37): Kathleen it's a pleasure to be with you here talking and to everyone in the audience. I hope the conversation that you're about to hear is going to be helpful to you. Yes, as Kathleen mentioned, I've been doing software marketing for a number of years.

In fact, my career has almost followed the history of software in so many ways where it used to be on prem, and then moving to the cloud and all the different technologies that have been enabling along the way. I enjoyed being in the marketing side of the software companies and oftentimes I'm on the side of marketing that's closest to sales.

I've always had a demand gen remit and as my career has advanced of course, then my remit has expanded to include other things like positioning, and messaging, and PR and AR, and so forth. But there's always been the core needs to, to satisfy the hungry mouths of the sales team to keep them satisfied and smiling.

Kathleen (02:31): I love that you look at it that way. I've always said that sales is one of my biggest customers as a marketer and not every marketer thinks that way.

David (02:42): My function, you know, most of the time it's, it's really very much been that way. I've worked in, many times they're like, series B or series A and a half type of companies. And so naturally the situation there is how do we find you customers. But also when I'm working in larger, at one point I was working at CA and obviously that's, as I said, largely yet almost right.

Again, it was entirely focused on trying to provide leads or as we were calling them then, inquiries. We were very early adopters of the Sirious Decisions, waterfall language back in 2006, which is awesome language by the way, just as a side note. So it's always been around keeping the sales teams and the sales managers happy.

Kathleen (03:29): Now to that point you know, it's one thing to come in as head of marketing and be given a big budget and then be told to go out and make it rain. It's entirely another thing to be thrown into a situation where company leadership is expecting big results and they're not giving you a big budget or any budget.

It's true. I know you found yourself in that situation from time to time and you've figured out a great way of approaching that and, and being able to still show ROI in that situation. So maybe give us some background on that and let's start to break down what you did.

David (04:17): So I joined a cybersecurity as a service company a number of years ago. I was brought in by the VCs to restart marketing. The company had a number of years of history and installed customer base. And soon after I arrived, the VC organization started a hostile process to oust the existing Founder/CEO.

And while that was going on, the marketing budget that had been promised went to zero because that process turned out to be rather expensive. So my goals didn't change and the VP of sales who also came in at the same time, his goals didn't change. So I'm like, what are we going to do?

Kathleen (04:58): Oh my God. That's like the nightmare for every marketing and sales leader. We're keeping your goals the same, but we're eliminating your budget.

David (05:07): Right. so, and it was unknown how long this process was going to play out because it's a legal process. And, and so those things kind of, it's always unexpected situations in that.

Now every company situation is different, the resources available, the existing database, the market you're going into, you know, are you a brand new brand into a brand new category. That's a different context of marketing than here is a, here's a technology and a category that's somewhat well-established.

Your competition is oftentimes more based around price rather than unique new capabilities, right? Because the market has matured and there's a lot of sameness across the market. So in this particular company, there was a bit of that. There's an established category, this software as a service category, targeting small and medium size organizations across North America primarily the USA.

David (06:05): So at this company, I, of course like any good marketing person you try to see what's in the company database right? That HubSpot, that Pardot, that CRM, whatever. And you try and do an emailing delicately because you never know what kind of SPAM traps might be awaiting you. And so my typical technique is to break out that one dataset into four separate emailings.

And I use the first letter of of the person's email address so that I don't by accident knock out all of the employees at a particular company by sorting by company or by geography.

But I might knock out all of the Adams, so trying to mitigate my risk factor there, I found that that particular dataset was really not re-performed at all. In fact, I did get caught on a spam trap and I had to subscribe or apply to see if they would want to resubscribe one quarter of the dataset because my vendor.

David (07:02): At the time, HubSpot of course appropriately put me through a process to try and verify it. And this is because this company had been existing for 10, 15 plus years. And so there were many email addresses that had obviously turned over and so forth.

So if you're familiar with any of that emailing type of scenario, you're going to understand that story. So what I did know, or what I did put together, was what I call the campaign in a box.

And in this particular scenario, I had access to a large data set about 250,000 records that had found its way into Salesforce and about nine sales rep, SDR individuals who working in teams and kind of playing a little bit underneath the CAN-SPAM rules. I know that those SDRs leveraging Outreach, which the company also had, could send a certain amount of emails every day.

David (07:53): And indeed they had been and they were seeing poorer and poorer results. There was a bit of a spray and pray kind of mentality. How many names can I find in Discover.org? Can I bring in those records into Salesforce? Can I then put together an email or two that I blast out to my territory, right? They were geographically based.

And if you're listening to this, you might find your company and your teams might be doing something similar, right. Because when you don't have a budget, this is a way to be able to communicate with an audience. And sales is taking its fate into its own hands this way. There's oftentimes that scenario where sales does these things, because it feels as if marketing isn't really supporting them. And perhaps that's a whole other conversation for another day.

David (08:43): So what I say is this process can work, but can we do this in a more targeted, more refined manner? And the first step in any kind of emailing is who are you sending to? So I spoke with the VP of sales and said, I proposed an idea and we spoke to two of his sales directors. And I said, what about this campaign in the box idea?

What that means is I would put together a list for your teams. I would provide targeted emails by industry. It turns out in the security world, the drivers of security at a legal firm are very different than the drivers of security at a university or a credit union. They have different compliance situations. They have different user populations. There are different challenges in securing those environments. Ultimately they all want the same security.

David (09:36): So you talk to the message better. So we talked about the message, tried to say what if we did this in sprints? So all the team is working together for that kind of you know, Viking shield wall approach of like, let's all do it and we can all learn together.

And then let me put together some training on each of these industries some of the team has experience with, with, you know, industry X or interest you, why some of them don't. So let's level up and share what we know and add some information into the training so that you can have a better conversation when you did reach out and speak to someone. So that was high level. That's what I proposed.

Kathleen (10:10): I love it. I just want to pause there because I really love that you took it upon yourself to train the sales team. I think you know, as marketers, we're all taught to create personas. And hopefully, you know, we're doing that in some way, shape or form, or at least profiling our target customer, you know, creating an ICP.

And but I, I don't know that all marketers necessarily go that extra step to really teach the sales team about what they've learned. I feel like, I feel like a lot of marketers actually do the reverse where they're like sales, I need you to tell me what you're hearing.

And there's a lot of like one way, like, tell me what questions you're getting, tell me what pushback you're getting, you know, give me all this information sales so that I marketing can create content around. It can create messaging around it, but there's not a lot of like, Hey, we, as marketing are going to come in and tell you all the things that we know about the customer.

David (11:09): I think you're absolutely right. And, and all those questions that marketing asks of sales are still great questions to ask, but there's an opportunity to also bring something to the table. Here's something that we have learned that we are aware of.

And many times that kind of teaching happens under the radar in collateral that's created. So you said marketing might create certain collateral that has that educational elements to it, if you will, or captures the the synthesis of that education. And it gets put into a website page or a, an industry note or something which is great, which is not bad, but the personable let's walk through it. Let me extract the points that are interesting.

I'm curious why this is useful kind of, and being available to answer questions about that learning is going the next step. So maybe what this means is that the content team who might be, if you have, if you, if you're lucky enough to have a content team, right. Okay.

Especially the startups can, can provide like notes that go with the document in some capacity, or perhaps a kickoff I'm kicking off this particular piece of content and live or recorded, provide some kind of extra color around that learning.

Cause I think you're absolutely right. There's more going on. That's understood by marketing than sales ever gets to hear of. And it shouldn't be that way.

Kathleen (12:37): Well, and it's an opportunity because, you know, if I had a dollar for every time I heard a marketer talk about the challenges of sales and marketing alignment, I would be retired and living in some sort of tropical Island somewhere in a palace.

You know, and so obviously that's a challenge. And I think looking for these opportunities, as you say, to give something back is a great way to build bridges, to demonstrate that it's a two-way relationship and to really form great relationships with your sales team.

David (13:08): It definitely is. It makes my life easier. Right. I remember when I was interviewing at one particular security company, a number of years ago, they said I was one of those situations where I'm in the room and all the different people I'm supposed to meet with come by one by one.

And everything went very nicely and every single one of them was saying, we're looking for connective tissue. We want connective tissue. So obviously that had to become a conversation point and, and I felt well, okay, this is what I am. I'm supposed to be connective tissue. And, and that's, that's been the challenge. How do you connect the two groups?

And it's not just sales, right. And, and, and, and kind of demand gen marketing, but it's product as well. Right. and sometimes it means even connecting finance, but that's a, that's another conversation, but yes, it's all about this kind of understanding what we're all working on.

David (14:01): Having trust that what we're working on is meaningful to each other, right. That sales can trust marketing is actually working on something worthy of time that will enable and facilitate penetrating accounts and advancing accounts through opportunity cycles.

And it's that trust and the trust is it's, it's given kind of cautiously when you first arrive. There's always a lot of pent up demand when a new marketer arrives. You don't just arrive and look, we're now trying to find things for you to do is typically a long stack of things that they'd like you to be getting to finally you're here.

So and then you have to keep earning the trust, right. Campaign by campaign. And if you're a marketer who's reporting up through sales, that's an interesting and challenging environment because you can find yourself a bit more on the tactical trying to meet tactical needs that are quantifiable in various ways.

David (14:58): And you might find yourself trapped in the chase for MQLs, as opposed to trying to build something a bit more sustaining, less tactical, more strategic that brings traffic to your website, which is kind of a different approach.

But I can dive into some of the details on this campaign in the box if you'd like that. So the first trick, as, you know, as in real estate, it's location, location, location. So yeah, with email or direct mail it's list list list. So for each industry, I'd go through Salesforce and see what records do we currently already have.

And in some industry categories and these categories, I was looking at where like legal, law, credit unions, manufacturing, banks, special campaigns targeting CFOs and small to medium business because they often a lot of that decision and universities and colleges, those are the industries.

David (15:58): So for each industry we said, well, what do we have already in this great big database of 250,000 names? And I saw there were lots and lots of records in some categories and very few in others.

So we went category by category, because it just made it easier to kind of get something out of the gate and I would aim to have as small a list as I could put together that would give each of the team members enough coverage in each of their geographies.

So in some industries, I would go back to Demandbase myself and say, Oh, I just need some more people in the Southwest because we don't have, for some reason, anyone, you know, the right way. And then I would limit very strictly by job title, the types of people we would go after.

And if I had an abundance of names, which sometimes happened, for example, in the banking, smaller, medium size, I would avoid the major football cities.

David (16:49): I would avoid the major metropolitan areas and go more to the rural areas. Why is that? So two reasons. One, this isn't the time pre COVID when people actually could travel as sales reps, right?

So take New York state, for example. Manhattan. Huge, huge market for this type of thing, right? And all the sales reps are often based in the city and really don't want to go to Rochester. They don't want to drive to Syracuse and meet a customer. So those customers in those rural States are less visited and receive less targeting. So that's one side of it.

The other side of it, which is true in the cybersecurity space and probably generalizably true to all types of IT environments is talent leaves those areas, those rural areas, and moves to the big city where the bigger companies are.

David (17:43): And those bigger companies are attractive because they pay better. You have an opportunity to work with better technologies. There is more opportunity to move from one job to another. So if you're a great basketball player in your college you want to go play for the Boston Celtics, of course, right.

Or perhaps the Lakers, I suppose, as the second time you don't want to go play for the Wooster bees or the you know, the San Jose, I don't know who they are. You want to go play where the best coaches are, the best facilities are. It's the same thing with tech people. They want to go to those.

So, so by targeting the companies that are headquartered out of the smallest cities, I'm with my cyber security as a service offering more attractive because they have a greater need because they lack the skills, they lack the available staff. And so the service that we're offering becomes a much better proposition for them because they have, they have a bigger void to fill.

Kathleen (18:48): Do you think that that still holds true now with COVID and everybody kind of being able to be anywhere?

David (18:55): Probably. Yes. So perhaps to a lesser degree because I, because companies, software companies and sales teams are, we're creatures of habit, and we want to go where it's easiest and where it's easiest often seems to be where we've gone before.

And so we have this history of going to the bigger cities and the bigger companies, perhaps this, I learned this, I kind of was introduced to this notion of going to the boonies, if you will, from another Boston based company called Toast, POS, they are in the point of sale systems business. They provide technology for mom and pop bakeries and coffee shops and so forth.

And in chatting with a friend working over there, he kind of said, well, we were doing this because there's this untapped market of, of, of coffee shops that no one is approaching. And so that's great. Let us be the guy. And so Toast is a big success story. They've grown a lot. Absolutely. So it was like, huh, that's really insightful. And as we all do, we borrow and steal,

Kathleen (20:06): Oh my gosh, yes. I just did a LinkedIn post on this as a marketer. Don't try and reinvent the wheel, just copy what the successful people are doing and make it your own.

David (20:16): That's exactly right. And great artists. You can find quotations by great artists who say the exact same thing. So if it's okay for Picasso it's okay for me. Right.

Kathleen (20:23): And it's like the same thing with writers, there are no new stories. You know, all of them are just some version of the Hero's Journey that Joseph Campbell wrote about.

David (20:33): And Joseph Campbell, if you're not familiar with him, is a phenomenal read that's fully worth checking out. So, so we started with the list. Okay. So if I had too many, I was always targeting by job title.

So for your business, you might want to kind of think about what that would mean. Right. and keeping each of these lists to small numbers. I maxed out at a thousand per SDR. They were paired up for their entire territory messaging. Okay.

So as I said, each of these industries has got different kinds of drivers as to what is causing their security requirements, different compliance mandates, perhaps different types of customers, different kinds of user populations. And so I did my research.

You know, what is it that, what are the issues that drive a law firm versus what are the issues that drive a university and, you know, spend a day or two in the you know, the library, on the internet called Google, you'll find law written on, on various topics trying to help you understand, you know, in security space.

David (21:43): There are periodicals that are, you know, the, the law review every now and again, there's an article on securing your law firm that type of thing.

So I capture all this knowledge, put it into you know, documents, try and synthesize it sort in my mind, kind of playing professor, if you will, what is this a marketing, you know, program manager put together some draft emails.

And I would, my approach to drafting emails is I try and tap into the three or four themes. Maybe it's compliance, maybe it's security, maybe it's cutting costs, whatever you will, themes are right. The planks of your messaging. And then write lots of emails around those. Kind of work through my demons. It's a creative process wiggling the wording.

And then I would go to sales with my top three or four and say, what do you think? You've been doing this longer than I have after all. I've just joined this organization. You sales directors have been here for a year or two, right. What do you think? What can I improve? I'm trying to get their buy-in.

Kathleen (22:47): Yeah. I was going to say, because not all sales teams were, would necessarily be receptive to marketing coming in and saying, here's what I want you to email.

David (22:55): That's exactly right. Right. I want, the more, what's more important to me is the big picture on the overall refinement that the process is going to give me rather than any one particular element of the process going my way. Right. that's not the point.

I was really trying to steer a bigger picture here. I've got this resource. I have no budget. The sales teams can be executing these emails using outreach, which is just as sophisticated as HubSpot, as far as managing cadences and who opens and who clicked and all of that.

But I wanted to improve the message, improve the timing and improve the intensity of the team doing work together. And the individual components were less important to the big picture game. So I get some refinement on positioning, so on the messaging, excuse me.

David (23:44): And indeed, when I targeted credit unions, they had messaging they wanted me to use because the company had a history of success with, with certain messages. And I was like, that's great. Excellent. Thank you very much. Right.

So, so this is, this is good. The next part was to kind of organize coordination. And I, I tried to work with these two week arcs and the kickoff would be, I I'd agree with the sales managers, when is a good time to kick off this particular campaign in the box. And the arc of the campaign started with a training session. So I I'm in marketing.

I put together a PowerPoint presentation, surprise, surprise, and the team moved into the conference room for two hours. For one campaign it was particularly long training. Other times it was more like an hour 90 minutes.

David (24:29): We would walk through here's what's important. Here's the training. Here's the lists that I've put together for you. Here are all the materials to support this particular campaign. And I'll get into some of that.

But we start out with this opportunity for everyone to talk with each other and across to each other. I sold this to this company. These are the things that were important because you had some junior team members and some more senior team members.

And so this is a way to kind of create this old talking together because ironically, while everyone's working in an open floor space every day, they go to their desks and do the same thing and sometimes don't even talk across the room to each other as they're trying to keep up with, you know, their day. So this is an opportunity to kind of come together as a team.

David (25:14): And so that's how we kicked things off. The formal kickoff, if you will, would be we chose a date to send emails. I worked with someone who was on my team, who put together the individual sales team lists. So after we had the master list, then that person went through and broke it out for each team.

So that all the person, the team needed to do was select the report that had already been built for them so that they can load in the records into their Outlook sorry, Outreach environment.

So it was all taken care of who to mail to. There were three emailings or four emailings in each two week arc. They could choose as a team which second and third emails would be sent, but the first ones were sent the same time for that sense of we're all doing it together.

And they found much better open rates and click-through rates because I also kind of gave them subject lines. We had AB testing on the subject lines too, right. As you can do you know, Outreach provides SDRs the same campaign management tools and capabilities as 25 years ago, Bank of America was paying a million dollars a year for

Kathleen (26:31): Isn't that crazy though? I mean, it really is interesting too, to think about like how much technology has enabled us to, to do these very sophisticated experiments to optimize what we're working and to just do it all seamlessly and automatically for a very low price.

David (26:48): I was at a company in the nineties that sold campaign management software. So I'm kind of innately familiar with this and it, you know, you can do more with outreach than we could do back then.

As far as if then else type of cadence conditioning or condition trees and so forth, it's, it's, it is very true. However, while the mechanics have become simpler, what you say and how you say it and the message that's never been simpler, that's gotten much more complicated actually.

And so that's the, that was the principle point of this is trying to put together the messaging so that they didn't kind of, so you didn't do silly things quickly.

David (27:35): So we'd kick off these emails. Are they sort of much better open rates? I think we were seeing open rates in the, in the kind of 25, 30% range, which was like phenomenal. And we could learn campaign in the box to campaign in a box what kinds of subject lines were resonating? Right.

So we can kind of make the next campaign slightly better because we would have incremental learning, which is always what we do. And I never asked or, or, or suggested, or I purposely said, I'm not asking you to call all of these people. You've just mailed to, I don't think that's appropriate.

Maybe you'd want to call the ones who you think are appropriate to call. It's follow up. And here's a voicemail by the way that I would propose that you could use very similar to the emails. I think I would take a very different tack today on, on voicemails provided. Because I think I've learned a few things since then.

Kathleen (28:35): Oh, I would love to know what, you know, what you would change.

David (28:39): Since doing those campaigns, I've been much more active on LinkedIn as perhaps many of us have in the last year or so. LinkedIn seems to have just blossomed as a great place to go for information.

And I have always enjoyed reading what Josh Braun has to say. If you're not familiar with Josh Braun, he's somebody who perhaps you might want to follow. Ironically, I first met him in 2007 when I was at CA and he was just another company and he was trying to sell me some technology, which I quite liked by the way, but the rest of the team didn't think it was a good idea at the time.

But Josh makes a practice of introducing ideas and ways of thinking to help AEs and SDRs penetrate accounts.

David (29:30): And do quality discovery in a way that doesn't leave you feeling or leave you as an SDR or an AE feeling kind of dirty, right.

So as a marketer and as a person in marketing this very close to sales, while I started my career as an SDR, I'm not an SDR now, but it's very informative for me to read what they are thinking, what they are learning, what the current techniques, current, current best practices are. And I look at what Josh does as a source of great great best practices for me. So that's good.

Kathleen (30:06): Great resource for people to check out who are listening. I'll put a link in the show notes to his LinkedIn profile.

David (30:15): So that's fine. I'm a big fan of Josh. Too many SDRs are quite young in their career, and so he he provides a great insight in a way that makes me feel like, wow, I can do this. Yeah. I can do that. That's great.

That's I feel so much better than what I think I'm supposed to be doing, because somehow that's what I've been told, but this, this sounds better. Yeah. People are having success with it. So I would, I would adopt some of my my voicemails around some of the things that he's he's.

Kathleen (30:47): So you wouldn't necessarily stop voice mailing or like you wouldn't change the channel. It's more about the message in the chat.

David (30:53): Absolutely. It's the form, not the, not the medium. Got it. Definitely I am of the, there are some people who would suggest don't leave a voicemail. Wait until you get them alive on the phone. And I'm like, well, you just went through all the time and energy to find the phone.

Kathleen (31:09): And the reality is, people right now, I mean, I will use myself as an example. I have robo killer installed on my phone. You can't get through to me unless you're already in my contacts.

So the only way you're going to get through to me is if you leave a voicemail and I will, you know, I'll get those, I'm also a big fan of ringless voicemail. You know, cause it's even less obtrusive, but yeah, I think there's going to be more and more people like I am, who just have apps in place that flat out will block any call that isn't a known contact.

David (31:38): I do the same. And there are technologies of course, now that will transcribe the voicemail for you so you can read it. So that speaks to the importance then of having something quite clear in your mind to say so that the sentences are whole and complete as it's been written.

And that's a different type of skill. That's a different kind of style to, to speaking. So anyway, definitely folks were asked, choose who you leave voicemails with. Perhaps it's the people who click on the, on the, the resources we provide them.

Perhaps it's the people who open, perhaps they didn't open at all, but you know, that they're the right person because of previous history. You know, these people in this territory, it's not like all of them are new to you. Right. so that was the, the idea was to be an enabler, not a driver of what you're supposed to do.

David (32:28): And at the end of the first week, we'd have you know beers and debrief. Well, it was, for me, it was a debrief. For them it was beers. Get them talking, how did it go? What did you like? What did we hear? What did you learn and share across the team? So it was all part of this.

We're all doing this together factor. One of the other things that this campaign kind of data is aside as a side note was really helped raise morale.

And this is something that I didn't, I didn't think of starting this, but became very important to me as this process went on. You can imagine you're a young sales professional and your company's CEO is getting fired by your VCs. What does it mean? Are we going out of business?

David (33:21): Lots of unanswered questions because people don't necessarily have good answers and catastro

phizing and, you know, we can kind of get together and talk about what does this mean? So this process was successful and it was successful on two fronts.

Really one, nobody in marketing had ever done this for sales before. And I put together all this stuff and, and what this stuff, I should say where there wasn't already a web page dedicated to a particular vertical and our cybersecurity as a service capabilities for that vertical, we created one where they didn't already exist. It is a kind of a data sheet note for that vertical.

\We created one where there might have been resources around case studies or videos or other information. We captured that and made it very easily accessible so that all of a sudden the sales team was like, wow, I didn't realize that we had all this stuff to do with cybersecurity as a service firms.

David (34:28): And I'm thinking of law firms, just because you know, that, that, that stands out in that particular market. And look, we're not talking to the biggest law firms because they're kind of out of our league.

They're not in our SMB space and we're not targeting the small one to four person law firms. Here are the law firms that are really in our sweet spot, as far as the firmographics go.

And here are the job titles. And so, and marketing was putting this all together so that it was like, Oh, and it will seem so obvious when you look back in hindsight why weren't people doing this?

Well, they might have been two years ago, but then those people who were holding it together and doing it were not there.

So you, so by doing this process, sales was feeling supported, failed sales was feeling enabled and they were finding better open rates and their conversations and voicemails were receiving better replies. And so this was, this was great. And they were getting meetings and dental opportunities and you pipeline was added

Kathleen (35:31): Talk about this, cause this is like, this is my favorite part of these conversations. You know, everybody talks about, Oh, I got great results, but like, I want to hear, I want to hear the details.

David (35:45): In the first six weeks of running these campaigns in the box. So that would represent perhaps three campaigns in a box because we went on two week sprints, we'd been switched to another industry. The sales team added one about $1 million in new pipeline opportunity value, if you will, for a solution that had an average sales price of $40,000.

Kathleen (36:06): Wow. That's great.

David (36:08): So part of it is because this was an opportunity to, in an organized way, go back to where they previously had maybe had conversations part of it because it opened brand new conversations that they'd never gone to before. Never had never had that success. So that was, that was a real plus. And within that same six weeks, they won over $300,000 in actual business closed.

Kathleen (36:31): That's good.

David (36:31): This is a tremendous shot in the arm, right. If you do something that's new and you find success.

Kathleen (36:35): Wow, that's great.

David (36:39): And you know, for the morale factor, and then as a, as a practice, as a process, so after we'd done one or two of these, they were like, well, when's the next one coming?

And what's the next industry. So that's where I go back to the sales directors and say, what industry do you think we should do next? What date would you like to do the kickoff on it? Because it's continuously organizing and coordinating with them where next and so forth. And they pick a date and they say, okay now I've got to create this material.

If we, what we do and don't have, what do we have? Okay. you know, manufacturing, do we have, do we have a manufacturing note?

You know and, and, you know, these notes that I talking about, they're like data sheets essentially, where 30% of it is unique to the individual industry. And 60% is kind of the same service. Just maybe tweaking a word here or there and change a couple of images. So it doesn't look like a bank.

David (37:32): And we just cycle through these. And it was a great, it was a great kind of feeling of like, wow, this is, this is going to be possible because of course, it's the marketer with no marketing budget, with a marketing number to get, and the sales VP with a marketing person who has no budget, not do any marketing where we're looking at each other across the table, like, what are we going to do?

And I very much remember sitting in our little kitchenette with the sales VP there, like, I think this is going to work.

Kathleen (38:01): Now, you mentioned, you mentioned in the first six weeks adding a million dollars in new pipeline. And I think it was $300,000 in new closed won. How did that, and I don't know if you have this at the tip of your fingers, but how did that compare let's say to the six weeks prior? In other words, like what factor of growth did that represent?

David (38:19): So that's a great question. We found that there was on average, 20% increase in deal size that went along with this and that they had a 37% increase in close rate.

Kathleen (38:36): Wow. That's huge. Both huge, right? Yeah. so, you know, so what part of this is me? What part is the team I'm just enabling?

Kathleen (38:49): I don't think it even matters honestly. Like that is something that I rant about a lot, which is that marketer, this is a problem in, this is why we have the sales and marketing enablement problem is that there's too much like siloing and, and organizations put in place incentives for sales and marketing leaders to try and claim sole credit for something, when really we're all on the same team, trying to get more revenue.

 

And so if we're all comped on revenue, if we're all incentivized on revenue, then it doesn't matter. Right. That's, what's good for the organization.

David (39:28): It's very true. And, and you want to think carefully about how you compensate or what dials and OKRs you put in front of people, because people will bend their behavior to meet that need right? So if I was giving them an MQL number, I have to fight for years not to create MQLs. And I want to lower the bar on what an MQL might be.

Give me an MQL number, give me a ratio number, give me a ratio of how many inquiries I've provided that turn into opportunities. The better the ratio, the better I'm doing. So it incentives me to, instead of adding 10,000 inquiries to a system, which is just noise, downstream noise, what do you do with 10,000 inquiries? Whether you're trying to filter through them, if you only put in a hundred, but they each had 10 times better chance of closing. Your sales teams are happier.

David (40:22): Bunch of people it's like, wow, okay. The ratio of my phone calls to something meaningful happening goes up. So incent on quality would be my advice and then try and scale how you get that quality.

You know, one of the things I mentioned earlier is, depending on what kind of company you're working in, is it early stage? Is it in an established category? Are you a new category? You need, you have different challenges. And I have increased, over the years, increasingly come of the opinion that having a brand makes it a lot of help to everything down pike.

Kathleen (41:04): Oh, 100%. I say that I'm a big believer that, you know, you can have a great product. You can have a great marketing strategy and still not do well because brand is what generally gets you what I would term as at-bats right.

Brand gets you a seat at the table. Then is when you need to have the great product and the great messaging and the great sales product. But if you don't even get an at-bat you're, you're out of the running, well, even if you do give the at-bats, they're not ready, right?

David (41:34): So interestingly, at that company where I was asked to be connective tissue, also the other term that came up or some at-bats, we, if we got more at bats, we do better.

After six months of doing, you know, leaves for this company seen, we had doubled the number of at-bats, but the number of deals that we're advancing, were getting stuck at that 30% kind of point in the opportunity cycle, why that company was targeting larger enterprises with a new category of technology that was proven, absolutely working because we had an installed customer base who was doing it, but larger companies take a longer time to cycle through the, is this a good idea? It is a good idea.

Let's move forward with this good idea and displace what we have now for this new thing. It's just a longer cycle. So if you're early with a new technology and a new capability, you might generate great leads that in two years, we'll close it. Doesn't do your, this quarter numbers. Very good, which is, which is again, why it comes back to an industry challenge.

If you're reporting up through a sales kind of you know, management line, they want this quarter type of results. And sometimes that's possible depends on the category. Sometimes all the best marketing in the world can only get you at the table. It can't make your clients change their plan.

Kathleen (43:02): Yeah, absolutely. Well, I could talk to you about this all day, David. Both because it's fascinating and I love hearing your take on it. And also because I love your accent and I could listen to it all the time. You have a very, it's almost, it reminds me of Sean Connery, even though it's not the same accent. That is what your voice sounds like to me.

David (43:24): My wife would be thrilled and delighted if she believed that.

Kathleen (43:31): I think it's great. I love it. Sounds great. Thank you very much. No, no, no. Of course. Well, I want to make sure we leave a little bit of time because I always like to ask my guests two questions at the end of our conversation.

One is, of course the podcast is all about inbound marketing. And so is there a particular company or an individual that right now you think is, is setting the standard for what it looks like to be a great inbound marketing?

David (43:56): So that's, that's a great question. And it's one that I like to find the answer to. We don't, I don't, I don't hear from other in-company folks as much as I wish.

So I'm going to provide two answers, but there are agencies, which is a little different, right? So I'm on the East coast. Refine Labs and Chris Walker. I came to him through LinkedIn. Again about a year and a half ago.

Kathleen (44:32): He has a strong LinkedIn presence.

David (44:32): He has a strong voice. He has strong opinions. He backs them up. He's entertaining. He's energetic and dynamic. And he has found a truth that works for him, right. And it's a particular kind of play to drive traffic to your website, very specific kinds of traffic. And his arguments.

I hope I'll get this right. You know, for the audience is basically you want the leads that will close, that your sales team will enjoy the most are the people who were saying, contact me, I'd like a demo, or they're looking at the pricing page.

He's not about trying to sell whitepaper downloads, right? He's looking for people who are closer to intent who have actual interest. Certain research we read says that 3% of the overall market in your particular category is in a buy now mode and 97% are not.

Kathleen (45:26): And they don't want you to contact them, which is why they have things like robo killer on their phone.

David (45:31): Exactly. Right now they're interested in learning, right? Many of them go through a long learning cycle. They know they'd like to do this, but they're in a contract. They can't do something. They're not in a position to make a change right now. So you know I've suggested to people change your CTAs.

Make your, the button that you press at the bottom of the page to get free information that's not gated because I believe in the non gated world, right. Make the button say something like, you know, I'm learning about this. This is interesting. Thanks. Or I need to make sense of all of this.

 

And I know about this already, but now I need to make sense of it. And now I need to make sense of it. I've learned about this stuff. I already kind of know about it, but now I need to do something right. But I haven't said, call me, or I want a demo.

Kathleen (46:22): A whitepaper does not equal call me on my phone.

David (46:25): That's right. However, it does happen when you are trying to, actually, now I need to, I've known about this category. I've been on your nurture list for the last year and a half, but now I actually need to do something. Right. That's what we're always trying to figure out. Right.

Kathleen (46:38): Well, I love Chris Walker. He has a great presence on LinkedIn. And if people haven't checked them out, they definitely should.

David (46:46): He has a weekly Tuesday night, or Tuesday afternoon depending on what coast you're on, demand generation live show. So his presence, you can find him on the West coast. Similarly, there's a company called Directive and the CEO Garrett Mehrguth.

Kathleen (47:02): Who I have interviewed on my podcast.

David (47:05): Who, who that similar kind of idea. Right. And the trick is to, you know, obviously they're not going to know your product as well. They know the mechanics of how to kind of turn a crank, but they're going to rely on you for the creative though. They can also provide creative, both of these organizations, but you need to know your market.

They can just help you with the mechanics of what to do and how to do it. Yeah. so those are two kind of leading lights, if you will, for me that I go to. I mentioned Josh Braun.

If anyone's in the marketing side of things, if you're doing positioning, if you're doing campaigns, even though you're not an SDR or an AE, I think he's got great insight to share.

And understanding what the SDR and AE world is, is, is vitally important to, to demand gen folks in marketing and the other person, maybe most of the managers, marketing managers is Andy Raskin.

David (48:05): Andy Raskin, based in California, speaks about the strategic narrative. And he works almost exclusively with CEOs of large and small companies in a variety of industries. But the way he frames how to message, who you are, what you do, why you exist is different.

And when, when successful, makes demand generation so much easier because if you're, take the hero section of your website, you are doing research on some new category. You go to a bunch of websites and doing some research.

If you can't understand what they are, what this website is saying to you, in 10 seconds before the chat bot pops up, or before the invitation to an event that you didn't want to really go to pops up, or before all these other pop-ups get in the way, if you can't understand what these guys do and how it can help you, you move on.

David (49:12): So crafting the end, if I have spent all this marketing money, trying to drive you to my website, and I've done a great job of driving a lot of traffic, but no one's clicking on anything. It's because the message isn't resonating.

And so I'm getting that, that strategic narrative at a company level or at a product level is something demand gen side of world doesn't always get to control, right? That's out of there.

But if you can have a, if you're in a company that's small enough, where you could, Andy Raskin and his approach is old way, new way way of trying to create compelling need is something to think about, because I think it will change how you're writing the email.

It'll change, how you do a presentation, change how you create content. And that is how you get people to decide, I want to talk to you and that's the goal we're after.

Kathleen (50:12): I like those suggestions. Yeah. And I, so this is funny because now my second question that I always ask, I think I might know the answer to based on what you just said, but we'll see, which is that marketers very often say that trying to keep up with the changing world of digital marketing is like drinking from a fire hose. So how do you personally stay up to date and keep yourself educated?

David (50:31): Well, that's a, that's a really yes, I have to challenge just like everybody else. So LinkedIn has become my library.

Kathleen (50:38): That's what I thought you were going to say.

David (50:40): It's become my university. Yeah. you can learn a lot quickly. The trick is to figure out who to follow. It makes sense to you and then interact with them. Yeah. If they, if, if you, for example, Kathleen, you write on LinkedIn and you're there every, you know, once or twice a week, you, you propose an idea. And if I understand it, I'll say, well, I think this is great. Or if I don't, I said, can you explain better?

Kathleen (51:06): Well, and that's really how we got to know each other. That's what led to this conversation.

David (51:09): That's exactly right. So what's nice about the LinkedIn process is if you discover someone who's you know, an idea from someone you can ask them about it, and it's a good chance that they will answer your question perhaps, or expand on the idea if you will.

And then there's the opportunity to meet with them, have a conversation. So that's definitely a great resource. And if you're, if you're not active on LinkedIn, and I think the statistics show that less than 1% of LinkedIn members are active on LinkedIn posting any content.

So there's a lot of people who don't post anything for all sorts of cultural and business reasons, they might be holding back, which is not for me to say it's right or wrong, but you can read. And so if you find some people and you can ask questions, you can ask it's a huge opportunity for sure.

David (51:55): Very much. The other place that I would suggest is there are, you know, in the last year that sprouted up like weeds various types of communities. I mean Revenue Collective, for example that's a great resource for sales and marketing professionals to investigate.

There are local chapters and within these communities, Rev Genius, there's a CMO group. There are many of these groups. You have an opportunity to ask questions of peers, which is great because especially in the marketing side, unlike sales, many times in marketing, you're the only guy or gal doing what you do.

And if you've done 10 years of marketing, you've seen what you learn from books. You read agencies, you've had the opportunity to work with right managers and or teams that you've worked with, but it's a pretty small group of people, especially if you're in a startup, which has always kind of, you know, resource constrained.

David (52:53): So there might be 15 people across five or 10 years that you've had a chance to really interact with, with these communities. Now, many of them have Slack environments. You can ask a question because they're seeking that kind of interaction. Hi, I'm interested in learning about category of technology or campaign approach.

Does anyone have any experience with this? And now you can tap into a resource of hundreds of individuals and the, and the, the these environments are very collectively helpful. So people want to help say, Oh, I did this, I've done that. Well, I can lead you to this reference.

So this has always existed when you went to lunch with your friends and so forth and so on, but this is so much easier now. And so much more effective because it's not just limited to your geography. It's, you've got for literally the country or perhaps even the world.

Kathleen (53:49): Yeah. I've had the same experience with Slack groups and I've spoken before in the podcast about what a fan I am of Revenue Collective in particular. That's a big one for me. So I totally agree.

Well, I think we're at the top of our hour. So if anyone has listened and wants to reach out and speak with you, ask a question, connect with you online, what is the best way for them to do that?

David (54:12): Well, actually, LinkedIn. I think I've discovered I'm the only David Kirkdorffer on the planet, so I'm easy enough to find. So that's a great place to kind of reach out to, and try and connect. And have you had dialogues and conversations with anyone?

Kathleen (54:28): Fantastic. Well, I will put the link to your LinkedIn profile in the show notes. So if you're listening, if you want to connect with David and if you listened to this episode, you've enjoyed it, you learned something new, I would very much appreciate it if you would take a moment and head to Apple podcasts or the platform of your choice and leave the podcast a review.

That is how we get more listeners. And of course, if you know someone who's doing amazing inbound marketing work, I would love it if you would tweet me at @workmommywork and let me know so that I can invite them to be my next guest. Thank you so much, David.

David (55:02): Thank you. Kathleen has been a pleasure and an honor.

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Topics:

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Published on March 1, 2021

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