Our secret sauce, the power of brand, and giving the damn demo | Samuli @ Sales and Marketing Show

February 2, 2023

Episode Description

On today's episode I was asked to join Samuli Salonen's Sales and Marketing Talk Show for an episode all about demand gen. He's somehow made it 73 episodes in and hadn't yet covered DG. Wild. We cover what I'd consider to be a core part of our secret sauce, the power of building a brand and community (finding your tribe), and just giving prospects the damn demo. Seems straightforward, but qualification calls aren't helping your brand, or your conversion rates. See you on the other side. ✌️

Show Notes

Follow Samuli: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samulisalonen/

Follow Kaylee: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaylee-edmondson/

Learn more about Chili Piper: https://www.chilipiper.com/

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About Demand Gen Chat

Demand Gen Chat is a Chili Piper podcast hosted by Kaylee Edmondson. Join us as we sit down with leaders in marketing to discover the key to driving B2B revenue. If you want benchmarks or insights on trends in the market, this podcast is for you!

Episode Transcript


Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Demand Gen Chat. I'm your host, Kaylee Edmondson. And on today's episode of the podcast, I actually sit down with Samuli to join him for an episode of his Sales and Marketing Talkshow. The date when I did the interview with him, he had 73 episodes published, I believe, on his podcast. And hadn't yet covered the topic of demand gen. So we get into a little bit of everything. Uh, ways in which to determine successful acquisition channels, ways in which to determine success at all for a demand gen function. Uh, when you should hire one, what it should look like. A little bit of everything. So stick around to the end. At the end, he always has a segment where his previous guest asks his future guest, um, a question that they want an answer to. So his previous guest was none other than Neil Patel. Uh, super interesting. So I get asked a question from Neil Patel towards the end. Um, so yeah, without further ado, let's get into the episode.

So I think, uh, like for many people, demand generation might be a little bit like new term, like, "Wha- What do you mean by that one?" Uh, so before hopping into like details on what demand generation is, uh, I would let you tell us. So e- if you should give a like 60 second pitch about like what demand generation really is. What-


... is it?

Absolutely. No, that's great. So I think at the highest level, I think about demand gen in two waves of thought. Primarily being, your main focus as a demand gen manager or marketer, director, whatever you are, is to capture the demand that exists in this space for the product that you are trying to sell. Um, or the pain point that you are trying to sell for. Secondary motion is to create demand for those who do not yet know who you are, what you do, what your purpose is, what pain point you solve. Right? At its highest level, simplest form, that's what you're here to do.

Um, and I think about it in those orders, right? So if your, um, product ... Obviously you have hopefully built a product with some level of product market fit. So first and foremost, you should be going out there and capturing the demand that exists in this space today. And making sure that that experience, once they hit your website and are ready to convert and buy is completely optimized. I think that's 60 seconds, so I'll stop there. [laughs].

Yeah. That's 60. I, I think I, I should have some kinda like watch going, or like every-


... timer show-

You should have a-

... uh, showing-

... a-

... it or ... [laughs].

Yeah. You should have a really intense like countdown timer that pops up on the screen. [laughs].

[laughs]. Yeah. I think I, I must do it for the next guest. So, uh, great idea.


Great idea. [laughs]. But I, I, I think like many, many people working in marketing or somewhere else, they are like super familiar with the term like, "Lead generation." And-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... uh, that, that is something that many, many companies are talking about. So what do you think, wha- what is like the difference between, uh, demand generation and lead generation?

Yeah. So I think that lead generation is a tactic that traditionally makes up part of your overall demand gen strategy. Um, hmm, but like lead gen is also kind of touchy for me. I think that if you work for a company that in, is in this game of lead gen, or even like generating MQLs, Marketing Qualified Leads, it's a really bad cycle to get stuck on, right? You get stuck on quantity versus quality. And I think that's part of this lead gen game is like, okay, say that we're a company. Obviously reporting to some higher exec that says, "Hey, you have to generate eight ha- 800 leads, or 800 MQLs a month," or whatever your number is. Then we as marketers, our goal is to just get to that number regardless that if these people are the right people, are ready to buy, are a good fit, et cetera.

So your focus shifts away from what it should be, which is ultimately driving revenue and pipeline, qualified pipeline for your business. Um, lead gen is a little tough for me. But that's, lead gen is, you know, driving ... Supposedly driving quality leads for your business. But I think that if you're working off of a lead gen strategy, you're losing sight of the larger picture, which should be demand gen as a whole.

Yeah. Yeah. Great ideas. And I, I think actually like one thing that I come across like every now and then is, we, we are a like growth marketing agency. And-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... typically like companies are, are looking for a quote. And a, like every now and then, I get a question from like potential clients that, is there a possibility that we wouldn't have like fixed fee, but it would be for example, based on the amount of marketing qualified leads that we are bringing in for our clients. And I think there is the exact problem that you mentioned there. So if a CMO or agency's measured by ha- only that one, it, it can bring like some, [laughs], some wrong decisions on the table.

Exactly. Exactly. It's like same for if you're running, you know, a really great social advertising strategy. And your only KPI that you're looking to is CPL. It's like-


... "Oh, that's great." But it's great that you're generating more cost effective leads, like what is the quality of those leads? You need to make sure that you're looking further out into your CRM, or however you're running your business, to make sure that the people that you're actually reaching and the buyers or the personas that you're getting in front of. And actually having take action based on whatever your funnel is, are the right people, and are like a good fit for your product. Even if there are additional levers that you can adjust for like enterprise, versus mid market. Like all of those things really aren't being considered in a lead gen strategy most often. Or if you're like looking for leading indicators, like CPL as your primary metric.


So yeah. I agree.


I think it would be so bizarre. I'm sure there are-


... agencies out there. [inaudible 00:05:47] saying this. I'm sure there are agencies-


... out there that do charge by, that type of model. Um, but I think that if you are a marketer that is currently working or partnering with an agency that is charging on that kind of like retainer based model for, um, essentially q- quantity over quality-


... you should stop. Find someone else. Um, 'cause-


... there's no way that they're actually doing great things for your business.

Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. And we can actually later talk a bit about like wh- what are the best ways to like basically measure your demand generation. Whether it's like you are using. Or doing it by yourself ort- o- of- of- or with someone else.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

But, uh, I think like the goal, goal for here today is to have some kind of like actionable tips for, for like marketers out there. Like when listening to this one. But before hopping into that, those one ... Ca- Can you open up a bit like what, what is your background? Ha- wh- what kind of things you have done in marketing, and how, [laughs], how are you now in Chili Piper doing demand generation?

Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Lemme try and be brief about it. So when I first graduated college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I started out going to school for business, because I thought it was broad and generic. Uh, two semesters in, that was super boring, so I swapped to marketing because it sounded really interesting. Um, I was always quite creative. And so I thought it would be a good blend of, you know, science and art to sorta say. And that is definitely marketing. At the time I had no idea. Um, so I graduated, found a job in healthcare. It was a job. I was excited to have a job.


I didn't last long doing marketing for healthcare. It's really weird for me. Um, it was, um, it was hard for me to market, you know, "Hey, when you're sick, come to d- our hospital." Um, so anyways, learned the roots, like figured out that I really had a passion for growth marketing, digital marketing. Which is now considered demand gen. Um, and literally fell into this B2B tech world at a really, really small startup based here in Nashville, Tennessee. And loved it. Lo- Fell in love with SaaS, fell in love with B2B. Um, like never wanted to leave. And I've just kind of gotten in this track of running demand gen programs for B2B SaaS companies.

So, um, I've worked at a series of B2B SaaS companies, super small, larger, post series B. Um, and yeah, now I'm at Chili Piper. Um, ironically enough, I stood up and championed buying Chili Piper for two of my previous B2B SaaS companies. Because we had this very same problem that Chili Piper solves for. Um, so when I found out that they were hiring for an in-house demand gen function, it seemed like a no-brainer. I obviously believed in the product. So, um-


... as a marketer, that's like something that's really important for me is that obviously I need to believe wholer- whole heartedly in what I am marketing, um, since I didn't have that experience in my first gig in the healthcare world. So, um, yeah. So now I'm here. I, um, I'm weird I guess in the fact that I have only ever done demand gen. I feel like most often I talk to people who have really diverse backgrounds in terms of their career path, and kinda how they got, how they got into this function. I, um, just kinda fell in love with it quick. And then never left.

Yeah. I- Interesting. Interesting story. And I, I think that, that's a great, like great background for, for this discussion. I think there's a lot of learning from, [laughs], from your background to share, share here. But, but before like talking about tactics of demand generation, what, what companies should, uh, should do. I, I think like one, one thing that is important is like for companies to understand who is their ideal customer like.

And I, I think you mentioned already data for example. In, in Chili Piper, eh, you use to be our like client. And like really understanding the value that product is bringing. For example, if, if we think like your case, uh, being a scheduling tool, I, I think there's like a lot of scheduling tools out there. So how do you go, eh, in, in, in Chili Piper? Like understanding who are the ideal customer of yours, like before moving to tactics. Uh, or like [inaudible 00:09:52] what you, what should you be really doing?

Yeah. Absolutely. Before you ever start a demand gen strategy, launch any programs, any marketing at all, right? You, eh, probably are joining an organization that has some customers, right? A few customers. You've, maybe you've sold to them yourself. Maybe you're like, you know, starting at a really, really small startup. Um, you have to have some kind of customers, right? That's the most powerful thing. Uh, go and talk to your customers. Talk to them often, talk to them frequently. Figure out how they're using your product, how they'd like to use your product. Um, ways in which they're really excelling, or maybe using your product in ways that you didn't even know were possible. Um, and hear it straight from, straight from them, right?

Word of mouth is like obviously the most powerful. And like they are, um, they are an extension of your team, especially in the early days, right? As you're kinda getting your feet wet, and understanding the best ways to use your product. Or, you know, ways that they're using it that you haven't even thought of yet. Um, but that's the most powerful thing, right? So any time I will join an organization, it's like the first thing I normally do is go through case studies.


Most often I'm, I'm not joining a company ... I might be the first marketer at a company. But I'm not the person who's selling the first deal. Um-


... I'll, we have some deals, which means we almost always have some type of case study, some type of Gong recording, a Zoom recording, whatever it is, to go and listen to. So that you can hear it directly from your customers' mouths, how they're using your product and what they love about it. And even sometimes like what they don't love about it, right? What changes is, can you make, what product enhancements are like on the roadmap that they're most eager for? Um, I think that should be first and foremost regardless of how big or small of a company you're joining. Um, and that will help you shape your ICP all day. Um, and in some cases, it might even help you extend your ICP. So like for us at Chili Piper, we've always primarily actually sold to demand gen marketers. Um, our primary product is something called the Concierge. Um, it helps you with your website conversion. So for that-


... with the primary person who's feeling that pain point, it's normally someone like you are I. Um, so that's been our like bread and butter for several years now. Um, however, talking to customers, understanding how they're using our product, we actually understand that sales is another primary persona of ours. As well as customer success. Um-


... and it's like we would've, you know, I'm sure we would've figured it out on our own. But it's like so much easier and faster, and more accurate to figure it out directly from your customers. Um, so I think that's tactic one, right? Before you get into an- launching anything, creating anything, like talk to them. Hear their words. Most often, the words that they're using to described your product are a little different than the words you think you would use. Um-


... but you're not trying to like speak to people like yourself. Most often you're trying to speak to people who talk and think just like them. Um, so it's best to use their words and their lingo. If there's nothing else we know in this world is that marketing has its own language, customer success has its own language. We all love acronyms. We all use our own acronyms, right? So like understanding directly from them what's happening is the best way.

Yeah. Yeah. I, I agree on that one completely. And I think some great, great points there. And like wha- one thing that I, I noticed that like happens very often actually for people is the fact that if you ask from the company like, wh- what is the problem that they are solving, or how the clients are using their product. And then if you ask from the client itself, the answers actually might be, might be totally different. So I, I think that's, [laughs], that's something that is, is quite interesting. And then one, one-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... thing that I, I personally love, love to like have a discussion with clients. Uh, eh, eve- even though I'm, I'm working in sales. But like, I still like, really love that kind of information. It's the fact that, uh, I would say like most of the companies they, they have are like competition. Whether you're, uh, like B2B SaaS company, various [inaudible 00:13:37], a lot of similar tools out there. Or if-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... you are a service business, there is for sure other service businesses doing exactly what you are doing. And then like one challenge that companies are having is really like how, how to differentiate from like the different companies. And then you are saying that, "Hey, probably we are different from that tool, because we have this and this, and this feature." But then when you ask the client, "Hey, when you were buying from us, what were the alternatives? And why did you choose us?" Probably the reason will be, [laughs], totally different as well.

Exactly too. And I think that like, yes. I think in this world, we will always be ina feature war to some degree, right? Your competitor can build your features. Like there's no way that what you've built is like top secret, unless maybe you're like going to Mars, or something. Like that's another conversation. But, um, in the tech world, like there will always be a competitor that can build your feature set. So it's always feature wars, right? And I think that's something like we'll never get away from. But what I'm learning more and more is like most important is really building a brand, and a community that people feel attached to, and feel empowered to be a part of.

Um, and that's like what most often will, you know, resonate with your buyer. And, you know, even if, you know, your competitor has nine out of the 10 features that you have, if you have a more compelling brand, a more compelling people behind that brand, um, an extension of, you know, their own team, right? So it's like any kind of software that we're using here, I'll reach out to their CSM, and it's a great experience.

That's super meaningful to me. Um, like if I got to a new gig and start at a new place, if I've had a really meaningful experience with a service or a software based on their brand, their community, whatever it is that they've built and I feel attached to, they're the first people I'm gonna call up when I'm at this new gig to buy their, to buy their software again, or use their service again.

Yeah, yeah. Exactly. And I, I really think like brand is a big part of demand generation as well. And for [inaudible 00:15:36], e- if I think like personally that I would be, for example, checking out some tool regarding let's say, uh, for like scheduling appointments. Na- Now we are using HubSpot, and we have everything there. But if I would look for something, they will be basically like Chili Piper and Calendly that I'm thinking of. And like I know those brands, and I would probably, [laughs], go, go to two, two of those. So I, I think like brand is super big part.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And for example, in, in, in this case, like why, why we are even having this interview. I actually got an email from some of your sales rep, or-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... or, uh, [inaudible 00:16:13] automated sales rep or wha- [laughs], what, whatever that was. And then, then I came across you. And I, I rea- like really enjoy the brand that you are building. And like, that-

Oh, thank you.

... the feeling, and every- everything there. But actually from that one, it will be super interesting to learn, since e- it's [inaudible 00:16:31]. So like what has happened, uh, in your end? Like in your demand generation that I've got an email from you, um, your sales rep? Like what is happened there? Like how you are identifying the companies that you are sending those to? I'm quire sure you're not everything like manually there. Or the emails, you are probably not sending those on like manual either. Like wh- uh, how, how is that side working?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, so that's, that's super interesting, actually. It's, um, probably not automated whatever email you received. It's probably from a real person. Um, we have a really great, quite large sales organization here. Um, lemme start, before I get into our sales org, lemme start with like what makes us a little bit different, um, in terms of-


... how our actual business model works. Um, without giving a sales pitch, the way that we leverage our own product allows us to automatically qualify or disqualify inbound coming demo requests. And so for that reason, instead of following a traditional business model where we accept your form fill, we understand that you've raised your hand and you wanna talk to a sales rep. Traditionally that form fill would go to an SDR or BER, whatever you're gonna call them. Somebody's calendar in order to help get on a [qual 00:17:42] call with you, do a disco, whatever. Then route you to an AE to actually get on that demo if you're actually qualified, right?

But because we use Chili Piper, we do all of that on form submit, and just route you directly to an AE's calendar. And so as a result, that allows our SDR organization's time to be freed up. Instead of qualifying inbound prospects, their time is completely filled with outbound prospecting efforts, and building their own pipeline and their own funnel. Um, so as a result, you probably got an email from one of our, um, team members on our SDR organization, not a bot, not an automation.


Um, they are full- fully outbound, which I think is super unique. I've never worked for a company actually, um, that is designed this way. Almost every company I've worked for follows that traditional inbound qualification model. Um-


... so I think that's super unique. Um, and it allows us to reach obviously, a lot more people with customization at scale, than we would if they were sitting here taking 30 minute qualification calls all day long. Um, so the way that their outbound prospecting works, obviously we leverage tons of tools to figure out who's within our ICP, um, who's likely in buying mode, who's showing intent signals. Um, obviously who's on our website already and knows about us, but hasn't yet committed to raising their hand and requesting a demo. They have tons of tiers and prioritization that they work within, to figure out who they need to be reaching out to now, versus who they need to reach out to once they're a little bit warmer, or further down in their own like discovery process with who we are and what we do. Um, and that's what they're doing. They're outbound prospecting all day long.

Yeah. And, and would you say that all of that, is it like under demand generation? Or do you think that it's separated from demand generation, and it's more like sales?

Mm-hmm [affirmative]. I think that's a touchy subject too. I think you're just here to ask the like, controversial questions, which I'm so here for. But-


... um, I, I think it depends on how your org is structured. Um, so for us, the SER organization sits within our sales team. Uh, they don't-


... roll up to marketing. Although I know that, you know, s- it's like hit or miss, right? Half the time they live within marketing, half the time they don't. Um, and for us, it just works that like, Chili Piper is actually founded without a marketing team. Um, we have had a sales team the entire time we've been in business. Marketing is fairly new to the game. Um, and so because of that, sales has been its own organization for so long, we kind of added marketing as like a new initiative. So sale- like the SDR organization just rolls up to our sales org. So for us-


... I'm gonna consider it outbound. But, um, for other organizations, you know, that are rolling their SDR org or their BDR org underneath a marketing unit, they might say otherwise.

Yeah. Yeah. I- Interesting to hear. And I, I think there, there is for sure like different kind of versions of that one. Uh, you can do it basically both ways.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

But the- then when we are, like think about demand generation itself. Like wha- what are the like, uh, would you say like typical tactics that you've been using now, now in your current role, or then if we think your past? Like wh- what are the typical tactics-

Yeah. For sure.

... companies are, are, are using, and probably should be using in, in demand gen as well?

For sure. So I think that it goes back to this initial like 60 second overview that I said about what is demand gen. So some of these tactics around capturing the demand that already exists in this space. For me, obviously start with retargeting for whatever is left of retargeting after this post-cookie world. Um, retargeting is obviously critical. If people already know your brand and are engaging with you, but aren't yet converting, those are definitely the hottest prospects that you should be getting in front of today. Um, and that's like the low-hanging fruit, so to say. If you don't have any retargeting campaigns running, you should get some up.

Um, if these people are coming to your site and engaging with an email list, if you have an email list, I would consider that part of capturing demand. You need to make sure that that is staying warm. Um, that does not mean create an automated drip nurture series. Um, I can give a, something actionable like that we do. Um, I actually don't have, um, an email drip from a marketing perspective. We don't have an email nurture. Um, because I just don't believe that it works. Um, and I'm, I'm coming from my previous B2B SaaS company was an email service provider. So, uh, maybe that's a hot take. I don't know.


Um, but I just don't think that drip nurtures work in marketing. Um, so that's my perspective there. But what we do from an email perspective is, you know, we ask, you know, if you'd like to be part of our, um, part of our newsletter list. And that is an extension of our own Chili Piper community. Um, the emails come from me, I send them once a month. It's basically-


... anything and everything that I have personally learned that month. Um, anything cool that I've seen on any of the communities or forums that I'm on, that I think could be really helpful for anybody that's subscribed to our email list to consume, um, that might help them with their day. Um, so it's not a sales pitch. We actually don't even put a demo CTA in there. It's just like, "Hey, here's some cool stuff that we consumed this month. Like, we hope it helps you." Um, and that's-


... that's our email strategy. But it's building a community, and it's helping us build a brand. Um, we get obviously more engagement from those types of emails than we get from any of the traditional like, "Here's what inbound link conversion looks like. And here's how we can help you. Um, like those emails are, everybody's doing that. So it doesn't help you stand out in the crowd. And it doesn't help you build a community that really cares about what you're doing. Um, and definitely seems very distant from connecting users to you as an individual, versus you as a, as a company. Um, so capturing demand, that's part of it.

Um, with that, of course comes any kind of website optimization that you can put in place. Obviously making sure like your form, your forms are as optimized as possible, your website itself is very user friendly. And that customer experience one they, once they get to your website, is going to be the most ideal that you can possibly serve them. Um, so those are some of-


... like initial tactics that I think I would start with on capturing demand. Um, and then our, in terms of creating demand, like honestly for us, we're on Google. Um, for bottom of funnel, bottom of funnel, um, search terms. So we're not bidding on terms like, "Lead gen." That's like super, super high level. And I just don't believe that there's any intent there. If people are Googling to figure out what lead gen is, they're not looking to buy your product. So you can come up-


... organically. You can let them learn about you. But for us, it's bottom of funnel intent terms on Google, and social. Social is huge. It's, um, eh, it's essentially, uh, a guaranteed content distribution platform. And I think that's how people-


... should be using it.

Yeah. Interesting. Couple of new question ca- came up from-

Oh, yeah.

... from that answer. [laughs]. Eh, first of all, you, you mentioned that, uh, like companies should be doing retargeting. And I-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... I think there are a lot of companies doing that one as well. But, uh, wha- what do you think like, wh- what is the most efficient way on like doing retargeting? Like what kind of retargeting you should be doing, and for example, in your case, are you targeting people to a landing page where they, they can book a demo? Or are you targeting them to get for example, some kind of blog post with value? Or with [inaudible 00:24:38] case, it's o- ... Or, or like, whe- where you should be, like getting those people from retargeting, if they already like know your brand?

Yeah. I thi- I think that it definitely depends on your brand, like your business itself, what you're selling and where you sit within the space. And especially who your buyer is. Um, obviously every buyer reacts differently to advertising. So like if you're selling to engineers for example, good luck. They don't really respond very well-


... to advertising. Um, but for us, we're primarily selling to marketers. And so I think, uh, me personally as a marketer, and of course anybody on our marketing team, um, we're s- like I engage often with advertising. I'm very intrigued by advertising. Obviously it's what I do for a living. So, um, I think it's just a different angle. But, um, for us, like one of the tactics that we use for people who have sps- specifically visited bottom of funnel pages. So it'd be a product page, a pricing page. Um, maybe they viewed the demo page, but haven't actually like followed through with a submission. All of those candidates go-


... into a pool. Um, and we actually retarget them right now using LinkedIn conversation ads. Which for us has been really successful. Um, the ask is to get a demo. Um, we're actually testing something new right now, and I'm gonna keep you posted on the results, on actually joining a demo with me. Um, because we're primarily targeting demand gen marketers. Um, and so obviously-


... I look and think much like them. And, you know, might serve, uh, a, a more unique experience once you get them on a call, to just have a conversation. Not necessarily a hard demo of our product, but just more so talk to them in a discovery manner to figure out what their pain points are, what they're trying to solve for right now. Um, and if it leads to an actual demo with a [inaudible 00:26:11] executive, great. But if not, then that's really great research for us to have in our pocket as we continue to go to market, and kind of tap into this ICP.

Interesting. Uh, wa- we are actually like trying something quite similar. Because [crosstalk 00:26:25]-

Oh, yeah?

... past we've been try- trying to get people to like sign for discovery call with the sales team. But now we are actually just testing on LinkedIn as well to have-


... these kind of like crowd marketing doctor kinda thing. Where people can book a 50 minute call with like our growth marketing strategist. And it's really, it's not a sales call. Uh-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... but, but it's really like for, kind of for networking and like figuring out some ideas together, and so on. So I think it's like interesting, uh, strategy that, like I, many companies are, are going after that one. Because basically, [laughs], not that many people wanna, [laughs], wanna talk with sales.

Yeah. Absolutely. And like before, yeah. No, I think that's fair, right? People don't wanna get on a sales call, because then they f- they feel obligated, right? It's like they know that they're here, they have to look at your product. They're ... You know. And maybe they're ready to see your product, but they're really just not ready to get into a buying cycle. Um, and so I think-


... providing your customers or your future customers with some additional avenues to get in front of you, and have meaningful conversations is gonna be really important. Especially as, um, the SaaS world isn't getting any less crowded. Um, so it's like-


... we need to find ways to have meaningful conversations with prospects that s- doesn't mean getting them on a demo with a s- with an account executive.

Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. I agree on that, that one for sure. Wha- When I was preparing for, for this discussion, I, I went through your LinkedIn wall. And, uh, the- there was interesting post that-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... said, you know, I think big capital letters that, "Lead scoring is broken." Uh, wha- wha- wha- [laughs], what do you mean, mean by that one? I like wha- ... Like wh- what do you think? What, what is the like way that companies are, are doing it wrong? And how do you think that companies should be approaching this one?

Yeah. Absolutely. So that was actually from an interesting conversation that I had with Hana Jacover who's the Director of Demand Gen at MadKudu, which is obviously, um, a lead scoring software. Um, I'm sure they would probably describe it differently. But in layman's terms, it's a lead-


... scoring software. And so I personally just think that lead scoring is broken. Um, the way that companies have set it up traditionally, and probably are still sometimes setting it up today, um, you know, you get a spreadsheet, you figure out like, "Okay. Here's a list of behaviors, or actions, or, um, demographics, or firmographics that make up this person. All of these activities get a random number assigned. Once somebody reaches this random number, we'll [inaudible 00:28:48] them and pass them over to an FTR's calendar, so that they can try and book a time with them." Um, my like hot take on that is, what you're actually doing is wasting your sales team's time, um, giving them leads that aren't in buying mode, to go and try and prospect to them and convince them to be in buying mode. When instead, your FDR organization should actually be reaching out to hosp- hot prospects of their own. People that are in their own-


... um, you know, tiering system, or whatever, um, in terms of prioritization. Those are the people they should be focused on. Not the people that you've arbitrarily MQL'ed, based on who you think they are, uh, or the tech stack you think they have. Um, or because they've looked at, you know, a random pricing page. Um, that doesn't yet mean that they're actually ready to talk to a salesperson. And it can actually be more harmful than helpful for your brand and for your business.

Um, so we actually don't have lead scoring here. We, like, we stood it up when I got here. And then the more I saw it in action, we obviously created this feedback loop between us and our sales organization. And that's what we were hearing. Like, "Hey, like, like, this isn't like a sales versus marketing game. But like, we're wasting our time. Like, this is not working for us. We're following up with these people. Sometimes these people like say they've never even heard of us. But, you know, they're in our database somehow. Like, what's going on?"

Um, and so we were like, "Well, let's just stop. And stop wasting your time. Prioritize your efforts on other things that you've got going on. And let's see if that drives more revenue for the business." And it did. And it's still doing so. So we aren't leveraging lead scoring at all. Um, we'll look at intent signals through G2, um, and things of that nature, if we, you know, know that they're a- they've been on our website based signals and HubSpot. Of course that's like what we'll leverage. But most often-


... those people are already, um, within the tiering system for our SDR organization. So they're already being reached out to. A- And that just works for us. So I think that like, putting people through this arbitrary motion of giving them a random number and passing them over as an MQL doesn't actually mean they're an MQL.

Yep. And I think there, there was a great point there that, like, really the sales team should be focusing their time on the, like, right, right cases for people who like really wanna buy. And actually like o- one thing that came, came in mind from there regarding on like, uh, using content as, uh, demand generation. I, I think there are still like, many companies out there doing a lot of like, [laughs], gated content, for example. Having some-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... kind of ebook to download or so. And then like, eh, the moment you are downloading the ebook, there is a sales guy calling you, "Hey, I noticed that, [laughs], you downloaded the ebook. Uh, de- [laughs], de- do you wanna buy our product?" And I, I think that's a like great example of the fact that most of those people, they are not like ready to buy. And probably sales organizations shouldn't be using time for those ones as well.

Exactly. No, I totally agree. And, um, to your point around gated content, I, I, uh ... When, having gated ta- content and, you know, being able to make that phone call quickly in 2008 was really impressive, right? Your prospects was like, "Oh my gosh, how do you know? How are you able to get to me so quickly? This is very ... " Like, it was a very good experience. However, um, like most often, we as marketers have like ruined that. We've ruined that for our prospects. We've ruined that experience. It's saturated. Um, like, we've been there, done that. And we've done it too much, too often. All of those things. Um, a- and so I just don't think that like gated content serves a purpose very much, uh, hmm, like maybe hardly never. Um-


... with the exception of webinars, right? Like that's a transactional thing. You need to register for it. You need, you know, wh- we need to get a confirmation email, those types of things. But-


... um, most often I think that people, marketers really pride themselves on what they think is quality content. But it's actually not quality content. Um, so there might be things, I'd love to be proven wrong, that we think are like worth gating. Um, but more often than not, I think that the, the blog post you're writing, even the ebooks that you're creating is m- going to be so much more valuable if you just give it away. Give it away, share your brand equity. Have people really understand what you as a brand or you as an individual are really passionate about, um, and are very knowledgeable about. That will better position you and your brand as a thought leader in this space, and a trusted authoritative voice. Instead of gating every single thing that you create, and thinking that it's worth more than it really is.

Yeah. I, I agree on that one. And then, like I think really for someone in that kind of case, like the companies or the individuals who need help with that subject. And you have brought-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... a lot of value for them. Uh, I think it's easy for them to reach out after that one to you, like, "Hey, I need help with that one." And then you can use your, [laughs], your time for those cases.

Exactly. Agree.

Yeah. But hey, then, ha- we earlier already discuss a bit about like the resource, when like measuring things. So what-


... do you think, wha- what is the best way to measure your demand generation stocks? Is it's, like the revenue? And I think revenue will come at some point. But probably if you haven't done so much things, I, I think there might be a little road ahead, [laughs], before hitting that revenue. So what do you think, how do you-

For sure.

... see measuring that?

For sure. And I think I jumped the gun on this a little bit earlier when I was talking about being, um, being measured based off of MQLs. So I think that the, you know, traditional like waterfall model that everybody was, you know, building their business around five, 10 years ago, and maybe even today, had marketers being piped, uh, for success based off of MQL volume. Um, and I just think that that is extremely broken for all the reasons we've already talked about today.

Um, obviously most often, people are generating MQLs through, um, gated content. And if we are saying that like gated content is not something that should be part of your marketing strategy, um, then your MQL volume is naturally going to reduce dramatically, as it should. Um, because all of that was just like false inflation anyways. But for us, we are measured, we measure our success based off of qualified pipeline. Not just pipeline, qualified pipeline. So that means like the meeting has already happened with the account executive. They are actually in buying mode, they are actually ready to buy. So for us, we call it a qualified held meeting, where we're meeting this company. So almost all of our internal terminology is based around the word, "Meetings." Um-


... however, for most other organizations, this would be considered an SQL, uh, sales qualified lead. Um, it just means that the meeting, the demo has already happened with the account executive. And this person is actually a great fit, um, a viable prospect for our solution, and are in buying mode. So that's what we're piped off of. That's what we measure our own success off of here at Chili Piper. Um, and I think it's where other demand gen marketers should be measuring their success off of too. It's a great, um, leading indicator, in terms of, uh, you know, you, you're on your way to get to revenue. Which is of course your ultimate goal. Um, it's to-


... really be aligned with the sales team. Their goal is revenue. Yours should be too. Um, it helps break that cycle of, um, misalignment between sales and marketing. And I think that's like the thing, and that's why marketing and sales have, you know, historically not been well aligned. Because-


... the KPIs aren't the same. Um, you so you have, before you can start doing all of these other cool things in your marketing strategy, you should really make sure that your sale, or your sales team and your marketing team are working towards the same goal, which should be revenue. Um, but your leading indicator should be qualified held meetings, whatever you wanna call it, SQLs, qualified pipeline. Um, uh, and then of course too, it's like I'm not saying that we don't as an organization look at other metrics. Like, you know, top level metrics.

For us it's like, yes, it's important to make sure that our ads are reaching the right people at the right time. It's important to understand the cost in which we're getting in front of these people, is it cost effective? Are, are there ways for us to better operationalize our advertising, or our inbound strategy as a whole? Um, of course all of those things are super important. So I'm not saying, you know, don't look at them. Don't, you know, understand the trends and figure out, you know, what's changing or, or what's, you know, what's performing worse this month than last month? All of those things definitely should still be in your wheelhouse. And you should still be looking at them frequently. But that shouldn't be your ultimate north star. Your north star needs to be par- pipeline.

Yeah. Yeah. Sounds good. And I, I think, uh, uh, that is like one challenge that many companies are having, having. They're like-

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

... wrong, uh, wrong things that they are measuring, for example them. Like marketing qualified lead, as we talk earlier. I think if, if you are right now there, uh, you think you should be changing that to something else, for sure.

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think too that it's like, important for you. So say that you're, you're a demand gen marketer, and you're reporting to someone who is telling you that your goal is an MQL. Right? That's your, that's your north star, you need to be generating MQLs. You should challenge them. Ask them why. "Why is it an MQL? Why can't we more deeper engrain ourselves and our efforts in with the sales team?" And work with your leader to figure out, you know, how we can make those changes, so that you can free up your time to instead of focusing on, you know, filling the funnel with junk leads. This allows you to fill up your days to be more creative, and do some, you know, really impactful campaigns that are maybe a little bit out of the box, because they're less measurable. Or, um, you know, less directly tied to generating leads.

Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. Well, hey, then lastly I have this tradition that I, I have a question from my previous guest to you.

Mm-hmm [affirmative].

And then you have a chance to ask a question to my next guest. And on my last episode, I had Neil Patel joining me. And Neil's question to you is that, what demand generation tactics provides the quickest result with spending the least amount of money?

Oh. What a great question. I mean, okay, wow. Neil Patel, no pressure. Um, what tactic provides the quickest results with spending the least amount of money? Technically, okay, lemme try and go off script a little bit.


I could answer, I could answer very traditionally and say, "Oh, we Facebook ads. And Facebook's are, Facebook ads are very cost effective, blah, blah, blah." All those things are true, yes. Do you those things if you're able to target on Facebook. Yes, you should be doing that. However, technically this was free. So I'm gonna say this was the least amount of money. Um, what we've actually started doing is building a pre-pipeline before we do a product launch. Um, so we're starting to do pre-product launches in which we generate an email list that's curated with people who are raising their hand and showing intent, buying intent for our product that we're releasing into the world.

And the day of launch, you know, send out a huge launch email, letting people know that it's happening. We did this for the first time back in March. Um, and generated immediate revenue in month, technically for free, right? It's an email list. It's something that you own. You probably have a marketing automation platform in your suite. If not, Mailchimp is free under like 2,000 subscribers. So go get yourself a Mailchimp account. Um, and start doing pre-product launches, right? It's really great for so many fronts, right? Product marketing can get, um, some level of like pre-discovery of who these people are, help you understand your ICP. Understand what they care about, which messaging is resonating with them, et cetera.

But then also, these people have come to you and raised their hand, and said, "Hey, we wanna buy this product." So then the day it's ready for launch, great. There's all of those people, you know, are in a nice little list for you. You can send out an email, l- relatively low lift. Incredible impact for us as a, as a team. We're able to get a lot of really direct insights on what's gonna work as we take this product for a full launch in market. Um, yeah. And I think it's like something that companies should really move forward to more is like, a, a pre-product launch. It's, uh, you know, Google it if you wanna do some research on how other companies are doing it. But we just started doing it in March, and have seen a lot of success. So, um, I think that's gonna be my answer for that. That was a great question.

Yeah. And great, great answer. And interesting, uh, I, I was thinking that it might be something different. So, I, I think it was kinda-

I know.

... outside the box answer as well. So, [laughs], it was great.

Yeah, yeah. I wanna try and mix it up a little bit.

Yeah. That's good. That's good. But hey, then lastly, your question to my next guest. And we, we kinda have this, hmm, I would say interesting moment here. Since typically, and actually like always before this one, I have had a next guest in calendar. But before this episode actually the next guest, [laughs], canceled, [laughs], the podcast. So we don't know who the next guest will be. But I think-


... that s- this will actually make this kinda fun. Because you have the chance to ask a question from someone we don't know yet. But a- I, I will make it a little bit easier for you. Uh, it will be someone that we will be discussing something related to sales or marketing. So, [laughs].

Is that easier? [laughs].


I ca- I feel like that's so broad. Um, here's something that, eh, I think is a hard hitting question that I'm always very interested for people, people that are willing to just like be honest and vulnerable about. I know it's like really, really hard to come on a podcast and like spill your secrets, or, um, you know, share your, share your mistakes or your, you know, your faults. But, um, for me, I'm always interested in understanding, um, what their biggest public mistake is.

So like, um, marketers, everything you do is very, very public. Which is really great and rewarding from one aspect, but can also be really like detrimental to yourself or your brand, um, a- on another aspect. So for instance, um, this is coming off of obviously that HBO email going viral a few days ago. So for anybody that's listening that maybe doesn't know, um, there was supposedly legitimately an intern working at HBO that sent out an email to their entire prospect list, which I can only imagine is hundreds of thousands-


... of people. Um, that was like a template. So you open it up, and it's just like one line that's like, "This email is to be used for tests," or whatever it said. Um, and within minutes, HBO was trending on Twitter. So it actually turned out to be pretty great for their brand. Like, HBO, you know, came out and made a tweet about it. It kind of made it comical, like, "We're working with them to like resolve their challenges." Like all these things. But can you imagine being that intern? Um, and so-


... anyways, I know that I've had several moments like that in my life. I've definitely sent go on an email, like without any links in it, without qe- like properly QA'ing it. Like I know I've done that. But I just always love to hear other marketers, or even sales people's, um, mistakes. And a- you know, and their learnings from it. I think it's, um, it just makes us feel a little bit more human. Like, we all mess up. So like, let's just like live in it, and, you know, be honest about like, "Hey, I fucked up." [laughs].

[laughs]. E- It's a great question. And I hope we will get some great story from, from the person who is joining on the next episode.

Awesome. Well, thank you guys so much for listening to today's episode, as always. If you enjoy this content, please be sure to leave us a review. It really does help us continue to bring great content like this your way. Also, huge thank you to Samuli for asking me to join an episode of his podcast. Again, his podcast is The Sales and Marketing Talkshow. Follow along on LinkedIn. He interviews some really, really, really great guests. Um, covers a lot of interesting topics, everything from marketing to sales, and anything in between. Uh, the relationship or working relationship there between the two departments, very interesting content. And always has really lively guests. So go follow him on LinkedIn. We will, um, put a link to his profile in the show notes. And thank you again for listening to today's episode. We'll see you next time

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About DGC
Demand Gen Chat is a Chili Piper podcast hosted by Tara Robertson. Join us as we sit down with B2B marketing leaders to hear about the latest tactics and campaigns that are driving pipeline and revenue.
If you’re looking for tactical ways to improve your marketing, this podcast is for you!
About Mastersaas live
MasterSaaS Live is the interview series that seeks to answer the question: What does it take to be a badass CMO? For our host Alina Vandenberghe, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Chili Piper, this question is personal. A CPO-turned-CMO, Alina is on a journey to become a badass CMO — and is building in public as she goes. If you're a current or aspiring marketing leader, this is your only chance to learn from top marketing leaders, innovators, and big thinkers about marketing in 2023 — from CRO to brand to music and so much more.
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