How Sales Reps Become Better Marketers

April 25, 2023

Vin Matano, one of the top AEs (Account Executives) at Demandbase, believes that salespeople can become better marketers by building their own personal brand. He and Arthur Castillo discuss the blurred lines between sales and marketing, the role of storytelling in sales, and the evolution of B2B influencer marketing.

Vin Matano is a highly-driven sales and marketing professional with a unique background in door-to-door sales.

He started his sales journey while in college, selling Home Internet & TV packages, where he faced numerous rejections and doors slammed in his face.

These experiences taught him the importance of resilience and determination in sales, which he now applies to his current role as an Account Executive at Demandbase.

Create Your Own Story

More than ever the lines between sales and marketing are getting blurred.

Vin believes that the best salespeople are creating their own stories by pulling quotes from podcasts, LinkedIn posts, etc., and weaving them into their own story within their pitches.

By telling your story, you can create a connection with your audience, which can lead to building trust, credibility, and ultimately, closing deals.

Build Your Personal Brand

Having a personal brand can help build credibility and create awareness for your employer's brand.

Vin cites an example of driving 6,000 accounts to his page through a single post.

He believes that in order to be the best, salespeople should focus on their own personal brand rather than their company's brand.

By building your own brand, you can differentiate yourself from others and showcase your expertise.

Embrace B2B Creators

The evolution of B2B influencer marketing has made it more accessible to everyone.

Vin believes that everyone has their own niche and that the first wave of B2B creators was more traditional in the execution and was only available to the top 1%, but the second wave is much more accessible due to platforms such as LinkedIn and TikTok. People who are just two years into their careers can now build their own personal brand and get more opportunities than they could before.

Embracing B2B creators can help you stay relevant and provide value to your audience.

Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Vin Matano: Storytelling is a huge skill for being successful in sales 'cause you can just run through a slide deck, a pitch deck. Anyone can do that.

[00:00:05] Arthur Castillo: Yep.

[00:00:06] Vin Matano: The best sellers are creating their own stories. If I'm speaking to a marketing executive and they make content, or just, like, active online, I'm pulling, like, quotes from them, from podcasts, from LinkedIn posts, and I actually will put it on my slide deck and then I weaved it into my story.

[00:00:20] Arthur Castillo: All right. I'm here live at Demo Stack Studios with my man, Vin Matano. We're here at the B2BMX conference, sneaking away to shoot this little podcast. Vin, why don't you introduce yourself to the audience?

[00:00:32] Vin Matano: What's going on? Happy to be here. My name is Vin Matano. Been in, uh, tech Sales for the past four and a half, five years. Currently an AE at Demandbase. But as of recently, started, like, doubling down. I would now consider myself, like, a content creator.

[00:00:45] Arthur Castillo: Hell yeah.

[00:00:46] Vin Matano: Um, so that's a conversation that we'll have. And, uh, yeah, from the East Coast, excited to be here in Scottsdale.

[00:00:51] Arthur Castillo: Yeah, man, this is gonna be great. Um, so I know the topic that we wanted to chat about since we both hail from sales is, what can sales reps learn about being better marketers? And I see people like you, um, Ryan Scalia comes to mind, Jacob Grabbelwald. To me, you're almost like blurring the lines between sales and marketing, and I think you're, you're a really good marketer, but obviously you, you come from sales. So talk to me about how you see... Is this like an evolution of sales? Do you see all the top reps kind of becoming maybe better marketers? How do you see that path going down?

[00:01:26] Vin Matano: There's definitely, there's definitely a blurred line. I think, you know, marketing's obviously very vague. Like, you know, salespeople are not running ads and things like that, right?

[00:01:34] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:01:34] Vin Matano: So I think to-, in today's age, where the lines are getting blurred is through building a personal brand and in turn promoting the company they work for.

[00:01:41] Arthur Castillo: Mm-hmm.

[00:01:42] Vin Matano: Right. And so, you know, you mentioned, "Is this a path that most salespeople are gonna go down?" Do I think all top performers are gonna have their own personal brand and make content? No. Do I think it helps, helps people out? Absolutely. And so I think of my personal brand as like a landing page for a website.

[00:01:58] Arthur Castillo: Mm-hmm.

[00:01:58] Vin Matano: Right? And so if you're checking out a company, maybe you go to their website and you check out their case studies, you check out they're branding, you check out their logo, and you may have a positive sentiment about that company.

[00:02:08] Arthur Castillo: Mm-hmm.

[00:02:09] Vin Matano: Well, the same thing goes for me as a salesperson. Like, I'm having a prospecting call, a demo or a discovery call, and someone checks out my LinkedIn profile, like that's my landing page. Like, I want my contact to be built out. I wanna be known as a thought leader in the space. And that builds some credibility. So it helps in a few ways. One, it creates awareness for your brand indirectly. Because if someone comes to your page... I think I, I made a post about this, you know, I drove like 6,000 accounts to my page over the past, like week or so.

[00:02:34] Arthur Castillo: Wow.

[00:02:34] Vin Matano: Uh, just from one post. And what's on my page is my employer. Right? So Demandbase is getting, kind of, you know, free press just from me creating content.

[00:02:41] Arthur Castillo: Yep.

[00:02:42] Vin Matano: Um, so I agree. There's this, there's definitely this blurred line. I think the salespeople that want to do this the best are gonna be focusing on them a personal brand versus their company's brand.

[00:02:51] Arthur Castillo: B2B creators. We're hearing a ton of it. I know some companies are, are really investing in it. Maybe some are, um, hiring creators, influencers, whatever we want to call them. I'm curious on your take of, like, do you see... Uh, we kind of talked about this. Um, are the best B2B creators sales reps?

[00:03:09] Vin Matano: [laughs]

[00:03:10] Arthur Castillo: Are they, are they better marketers than maybe marketers that are trying to be creators?

[00:03:13] Vin Matano: No, I don't think that's true. [laughs]. I don't think that's true. I think everyone has their own niches. Right? And me, I'm just in the world of tech sales just because of my profession and my content. So, like, all my feed is all incredible tech sales creators. But there's all these other niches that like maybe you and I don't even know about.

[00:03:30] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:03:30] Vin Matano: Marketing and sales, like you said, the lines are blurred. So I do know a lot of marketers that are great creators. Um, but think about the creators in the FinTech space, or think about the creators in HR space. Like, those creators exist.

[00:03:42] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:03:42] Vin Matano: They're just not in our circle. They're not in our universe because that's not our audience. Um, but the, the new wave of B2B creators, this is like V2, is really, really exciting to be a part of. And I feel like our little community is like the pioneers are, I don't wanna say pioneers, but we're the ones kinda like leading the charge of the second wave.

[00:04:01] I think wave one of B2B creators was that like really old school, traditional, like, you're an analyst, you speak at events and... Or maybe you're, you're get paid to feature on a, a webinar or some sort of like white paper. It's that like old school content. And there was only like the top 1%-

[00:04:17] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:04:17] Vin Matano: ... of people actually fit that criteria. Now, with LinkedIn, it's allowed people that are two years into their career to start building their own personal brand and showing off their expertise, allowing them for, to get more opportunities. So there's more opportunities, maybe a less, uh, ticket price-

[00:04:36] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:04:37] Vin Matano: ... versus V1, which is like only a handful of opportunities, but they create a ton. Right? So they're really exciting to be a part of.

[00:04:43] Arthur Castillo: Where do you see... I know you're, you're talking about B2, maybe more opportunity, um, different types of content. Where do you see kind of B2B creators B3 going or, or the evolution of that?

[00:04:54] Vin Matano: Well, I think we're just scratching the surface of B2. Like, I don't even think we're... We're not there yet. Um, if you look at B2C, influencer marketing is like a part of their DNA, right? You wanna buy a physical product, maybe like a cosmetic product, whatever it is... It's, influencer marketing is part of that. And the reason it's so popular is because it's easy. It's a tangible product someone can promote end of a video. Um, you can attribute direct sales to that.

[00:05:21] With B2B influencer marketing, it's very difficult to actually track ROI because in most cases, no one's actually clicking, buy now, and buying like six figures worth of software.

[00:05:30] Arthur Castillo: Yeah, yeah.

[00:05:30] Vin Matano: There's no attribution. And in most cases, some of the creators don't even have access to this enterprise product in some cases. So the difference is with B2B influencer marketing is more so about awareness. And depending on if it's like a PLG model, yeah, you can drive signups and things like that.

[00:05:46] Arthur Castillo: Not such a great example of, um, yeah, almost... I don't wanna say boring or renting, but exposing yourself to that very targeted following of, of some of these creators, right? Where they know the audience that they're speaking with. You're getting in front of it. You, yeah, you're, you're getting much more targeted than some of these awareness campaigns.

[00:06:03] Vin Matano: A- and one thing I'll add to that to-

[00:06:04] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:06:04] Vin Matano: You asked the question about like, "Where do you see it going?"

[00:06:06] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:06:07] Vin Matano: Just how marketers today are doing always on digital advertising campaigns. There's, it's going to be very common to have an always on B2B influencer marketing campaign-

[00:06:16] Arthur Castillo: Mm-hmm.

[00:06:16] Vin Matano: ... where these companies are signing creators to a 12-month agreement-

[00:06:21] Arthur Castillo: Mm-hmm.

[00:06:21] Vin Matano: ... and they're posting consistently for them once a month, twice a month, whatever that is. Um, and so there's just always on campaigns for B2-, B2B influencers, um, and then they're becoming more of a, a partner and, and, and less about just one-off transactions.

[00:06:35] Arthur Castillo: So let's, let's dive into the, the tactical tips, right, of um... I think, I think you blur the lines really well. I think there's a, there's a couple others out there, but let's say, I don't know if you wanna speak to somebody that's, um... Or you, you find yourself in a position where it's open territories, right? You're not, uh, you're not account-based focused. Um, is there frameworks that you yourself follow in terms of what you would want to do, creating content as a sales rep in order to expose yourself to buyers? Or how are you thinking about that?

[00:07:05] Vin Matano: I don't know. I, I actually... My, my buddy is launching, um, a business and he was trying to pick my brain on what he should do to start creating LinkedIn content to help him with his inbound.

[00:07:14] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:07:15] Vin Matano: My advice was to be careful making content for your, specifically for your customers, because if his business ever changes, he goes into a new line of business, now he has this audience that's not really as valuable to him. Right?

[00:07:28] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:07:29] Vin Matano: I'm in a lucky position where I can make content about sales and marketing. And, by the way, I sell to sales and marketing.

[00:07:34] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:07:35] Vin Matano: So that is a very thin line to, to, to try to figure out like, do you wanna build an audience that are your customers today? And then if your current situation changes, your job, your company, whatever it is, now you have this audience of people that you'll never sell to and you're kind of stuck in this industry. I had a buddy-

[00:07:51] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:07:52] Vin Matano: ... who is in the EdTech space and he was trying to make a lot of content for people in EdTech and, and teachers and things like that. And he's not in the ed tech space anymore.

[00:07:59] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:07:59] Vin Matano: So now he has all this content that's really not as relevant. I would honestly just recommend sharing what you do on your day-to-day and how it can help somebody. That, those seem to be the highest ROI, um, because it, it'll track like-minded people to you. And no matter where you change, that audience will still like, remain true to what your content is really about. You know, you think about that, what is that, like, true a thousand fans? What's that saying?

[00:08:24] Arthur Castillo: Yeah. A thousand true fans. Yeah.

[00:08:25] Vin Matano: A thousand true fans. Exactly. Those are way more valuable than a million just average fans.

[00:08:29] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:08:30] Vin Matano: Right?

[00:08:31] Arthur Castillo: Very interesting. Um, and you said two things there that I'm curious about. 'Cause you're, you're documenting your journey and in a way it's probably reinforcing your learnings, but you also talked about at one point you were doing content that you didn't find was helpful. So is that, is that the goal of, "Am I just viewing this from the side?" Is that your goal of, like, "Hey, I want to kind of ingrain my learnings and share with the audience, but I also want to be helpful?" Is that how you're kind of looking at your content?

[00:08:58] Vin Matano: Yeah, I just found the skits would, would do really well. Like my, the s-, whenever I did a skit, it would always do well, but I wasn't really bringing value to anyone. And I don't know if this is me being self-conscious, but I always thought that, like, like, "Are people taking me serious?"

[00:09:11] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:09:11] Vin Matano: Because I'm not giving any value. I'm making a funny skit with my friend. I'm having a blast and I'm getting likes and impressions, but I'm like, I don't think this is leading to anything. And so for me, I just wanna be able to give value, give value, give value, and in return those create more opportunities for me. One thing I'm doing, I don't know if you saw, I literally just started last week. I missed President's Club last year-

[00:09:31] Arthur Castillo: I did see that. Yeah.

[00:09:32] Vin Matano: ... by, like, 1.2 deals.

[00:09:34] Arthur Castillo: Bam.

[00:09:35] Vin Matano: And so I'm obviously pu-, like, focusing this year on hitting President's Club. But what I thought would be really cool is share the journey with everyone-

[00:09:42] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:09:42] Vin Matano: ... of how I'm doing that. And so what I did last week was I basically took all my week stats, how many emails I sent, how many meetings that I booked, how many meetings did I sit on, how many opportunities went to pipeline, "Did I lose any deals? Did I close any deals?" I just wanna be openly transparent with everyone to show the journey of like, "Okay, what does it take from not having President's Club from the previous year to making President's Club this year?"

[00:10:02] And what I found, I posted on a Saturday night, 'cause I had no plans on, uh, you know... I had no plans that night. And I was like, "Let me just sneak this post out. If no one sees it, that's cool. Like, I just wanted to see how it work." I, I think it's close to 400 likes right now, which is good for me. And I, all the comments were very encouraging. Like, "Hey, I'm following along, I'm following along. Like, you're gonna hit this. This is awesome."

[00:10:21] And so that is exciting for me. So now every week I'm focusing on that LinkedIn post. I'm like, "Crap, like, I don't wanna, like, show like bad numbers. Like, I, I gotta make sure I'm hitting my email goals and like closing things out." And so that's gonna be a really cool story, story of me hitting Presidents Club. I know I'm gonna do it the, this year."

[00:10:38] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:10:39] Vin Matano: Um, yeah. And I think it's gonna open up a lot more content opportunities for me that, um, that I haven't started yet. But I think it's gonna open a lot more doors for me.

[00:10:47] Arthur Castillo: That's awesome. So almost using it as a little bit of a pub- public accountability tool, right?

[00:10:51] Vin Matano: Yeah, yeah.

[00:10:51] Arthur Castillo: And, uh, getting people bought in on the journey. And, yeah, I can, I can tell you're already gonna hit it. You're like, you're locked in, you're gonna do it.

[00:10:57] Vin Matano: Locked in.

[00:10:58] Arthur Castillo: People are going along, along for the ride. I'm wondering, 'cause we, we've talked a lot about sales reps. You're an awesome sales rep. I know you document a lot of these tactics of, um, yeah, some of the best creative prospecting stuff I've ever seen, dating back to your SDR thing, um, SDR outreach. Where do you gain or get marketing inspiration? Is there... I know you're pretty observant, but is there somebody you're following along that you're saying, "Wow, that's pretty interesting and I want to do things like that?"

[00:11:24] Vin Matano: It's, it's har- I, I get a lot of inspiration from B2C.

[00:11:27] Arthur Castillo: Mm-hmm.

[00:11:27] Vin Matano: I really do. Like, all the influencers. Like, if you go on my timeline on my Instagram, if I gave you my phone, it's all like guys that are doing stuff that I'm interested in.

[00:11:35] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:11:35] Vin Matano: Like, I'm interested in fitness. There's a lot of guys I follow that are making fitness content. I, I'm into traveling. I don't do it nearly as much as I'd like to, but I follow people who travel. Um, I'm into entrepreneurship, so I follow a ton of people that are into entrepreneurship, and I try to take that model and apply it to B2B. And I think if you look at my content, I think you'll notice that too. It it feels more of a lifestyle-

[00:11:56] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:11:56] Vin Matano: ... content than it is about tech sales, even though that's really the whole goal of my content. I don't really have one person in particular. I know there's a few people that are inspiring for me and they're not even in the, the marketing or tech sales space. I dunno if you guys follow, like, Yes Theory.

[00:12:09] Arthur Castillo: No.

[00:12:09] Vin Matano: They, they're basically a group of guys that think... Their whole motto is like, the best things in life are on the opposite side of discomfort. And so it's like about saying yes to things. And for me, theirs is like, you know, skydiving and doing tr- traveling videos.

[00:12:22] Arthur Castillo: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:12:23] Vin Matano: But I take their storytellings, they're incredible storytellers, and I also try to apply that with me just saying yes to opportunities and in creating this like, experience on my page versus just me saying like, "Here's three ways to craft your email." Another person, obviously, Casey Neistat, he's another person who is like the godfather of vlogging.

[00:12:40] He basically vlogged every single day. And instead of just... It's not just him showing his day. He would tell a story in every video. And so that's rewired my mind to be like, "Where's the story here?" I started off initially just sharing my day. I, you know, I s- get in the office at 8:00, I have coffee, I send emails. I still do that to an extent, but now my mind's thinking, "Hey, what's the story in my day?" I just posted a video about how our office is, uh... We're, we're not renewing our lease in New York.

[00:13:06] Arthur Castillo: Mm-hmm.

[00:13:06] Vin Matano: I could have made just a day in a life video about that, the last day in the office. But I told the story, there was a hook.

[00:13:11] Arthur Castillo: [inaudible 00:13:11].

[00:13:11] Vin Matano: "So, this is the last time I'm walking through these doors." And then I told the whole story, and then at the end I told you what actually happened. Um, through that you learned about what I did in my day. Right? You don't even realize that I was sharing my day. You were more so just focused on like, "Okay, why is he not coming back here?" So that's where the inspiration I think comes from, a lot of B2C creators.

[00:13:28] Arthur Castillo: Yeah. That's awesome. Um, do you think the, the best sales reps are, are really good storytellers?

[00:13:34] Vin Matano: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Storytelling is a huge skill for being successful in sales.

[00:13:39] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:13:39] Vin Matano: Because you can just run through a slide deck, a pitch deck. Anyone can do that.

[00:13:42] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:13:42] Vin Matano: The best sellers are creating their own stories.

[00:13:45] Arthur Castillo: Mm-hmm.

[00:13:45] Vin Matano: And one thing that I'm doing that's helping me tell better stories is now in the age of like all this content, however, everything's public. If I'm speaking to a marketing executive and they make content or just like active online, I'm pulling like quotes from them, from podcasts, from LinkedIn posts, and I actually will put it on my slide deck-

[00:14:05] Arthur Castillo: Damn.

[00:14:05] Vin Matano: ... and say, "Hey, you know, I love this. You mentioned X, Y, and Z on this, like..." And then I weave that into my story-

[00:14:10] Arthur Castillo: Mm-hmm.

[00:14:10] Vin Matano: ... with my pitch. Or if they're not active, maybe I'm finding something about the company online. Maybe there's, uh, you know, earnings report. Maybe there's an announcement. And I weave that into my story. "Hey, I just saw, based on my research that, you know, you guys are focusing on going up market." Right? Well, here's how I weave that story in. And it could be the same pitch, but it's really just about like dropping those little, uh, pieces of personalization to help tell the story better. You're still talking about Demandbase at the end of the day-

[00:14:36] Arthur Castillo: Sure.

[00:14:36] Vin Matano: ... or whatever your product is, but it's more of that storytelling aspect of it.

[00:14:40] Arthur Castillo: Yeah. That's such a, such a fantastic example of like... And people notice that too. I remember even back in the, the day when I... It really doesn't take much, like, just a quick... I mean, you're, you're going next level, right? Getting podcast clips, I think that's amazing. But I think even something as simple as, um, and shout out to Nick Kaposi for, for sharing this with me, just looking at their LinkedIn profile, finding something that interests you, and starting the call with that.

[00:15:06] I've had so many calls where like, "Hey, before we even dive into Chili Piper, I, I saw this on your LinkedIn-"

[00:15:11] Vin Matano: Oh, yeah.

[00:15:11] Arthur Castillo: "You started like a gambling business on the side? Like what, what sports was that?" And the guy was literally, like, "I've never ever heard a sales call, like, start off with that." And to me it was almost just as important to get them talking in the first five to 10 minutes, 'cause that would dictate how well the call would go. I would hate when reps would be like, "Oh, yeah, they didn't really answer any of my discovery questions." I'm like, "That's on you. Like, you have to get them comfortable, right?"

[00:15:34] Vin Matano: Small talk is important.

[00:15:35] Arthur Castillo: Yeah. I think that's a, a skill that you, they need to practice, everybody s- is small talk, especially with prospects. Vin, this has been amazing. Um, I'm excited to, to learn more about what you've done and where you're going. Is there anything that maybe I didn't ask you around this topic or, or things that we've touched upon that you want to share with the audience before we hop off here?

[00:15:55] Vin Matano: No, I think I'm just really excited about the opportunities for like B2B influencers and creators-

[00:16:01] Arthur Castillo: Yeah.

[00:16:02] Vin Matano: ... and the doors that they're opening. Um, we're just starting to see that, and I'm just really excited about the whole trend.

[00:16:07] Arthur Castillo: Yeah. No, it's, uh, it's, it's been really cool to see, be at the forefront of this and, um, yeah, find our, find our little group of community of, of tech sellers and marketers that, uh-

[00:16:16] Vin Matano: Mm-hmm.

[00:16:16] Arthur Castillo: ... that are pioneering this movement.

[00:16:18] Vin Matano: Yeah.

[00:16:18] Arthur Castillo: Vin, Thank you so much for your time, man. It's been great.

[00:16:19] Vin Matano: Yeah. Thanks for having me, man.

Arthur Castillo
Vin Matano
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