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How Marketing Will Change Post COVID-19

Marketing is changing and the old lead game is dead.  If your company is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result, it might be time to disengage from the monotony of the same old marketing tactics.  Marketers talk about content, but executing it well means understanding your customers and focusing on what matters.  Find out what 3 things marketing leaders and teams can do to separate their products and services from the competition in our newly minted online marketplace.

Inside this episode, Chris and Kyle share insights on:

  • How to reach your market in innovative ways
  • Why doing more might be driving more leads, revenue, or sanity
  • When marketers need to stop listening to the KPIs



Chris Walker: (00:00)
When things aren’t as good in the company and the marketing budget starts to get scrutinized. How are you going to make the choices about what to do? I think is a really fascinating debate that a lot of people that have had to go through during this time,

Kyle Hamer: (00:13)
We’re talking about marketing in a post COVID or even a COVID based world. And I’m today, we’re, we’re, we’re here with Chris Walker, Chris. Um, you’ve had a lot to say about what’s wrong with marketing lately, but before we get into today’s topic, you tell me a little bit about yourself. Just give us a, you know, a short 20, 30 seconds on, you know, how your adventure got you to where you are today.

Chris Walker: (00:37)
Yeah, so, um, as quickly as possible. So I want to get into the meat for everyone, but I, um, they were on 2015, before that I had built several eCommerce companies out of my bedroom and then moved to my first venture funded high ticket, um, company and built a demand function. It was a hundred percent outside, um, outside sales and I built a demand function in inside of that company from the ground up. Um, during the time there, the company grew from 27 million to 46 million had a successful IPO. The work that I was doing there, um, drove a significant amount of net new revenue, which then led to expansion revenue and recurring revenue. And so it had a big impact. Um, and then I looked out in the world and I realized that what I had done, I had a gift to doing it on my own.

Chris Walker: (00:37)

Chris Walker: (01:22)
Cause the company didn’t tell me what to do and the executives didn’t know how to score it. And so I could just do whatever made sense, like measuring marketing on revenue made sense to me, but a lot of companies actually don’t do that. And so, and then I looked out in the world and I was like, wow, I actually just did something that a lot of companies, one they’re they’re aren’t doing the tactics to, they aren’t measuring it appropriately. I think I’ve got something here. And so moved into the world, started doing consulting for a couple of SAS companies have rapidly scaled. And now we work with 16 predominantly B2B SAS organizations throughout North America to help them retool their demand programs to drive results.

Kyle Hamer: (01:58)
That’s pretty cool. I mean, when you, I think there’s something interesting and unique that identify with your particular story in that if you had to do it for yourself to put food in your mouth or your belly for scaling up an eCommerce company, or there’s some risks that you’re willing to take the companies that are more established won’t, but you learn lessons at a, at a more rapid rate than, Hey, I’ve done traditional marketing. This is the way this is the way to drive revenue. You know, the long tail things, it changes your behavior and the way you think.

Chris Walker: (02:26)
And here’s, here’s really, I think really the key is that when you’re selling that product and it costs $60 and it’s your money and you know that you only have $20 of margin in there, you know, that you have to be able to get a customer for less than $20 and ideally less than $10. So you actually make some money on it. And so you’re going in and you’re running Amazon paid search ads and you realize that’s a broad targeted search to keywords are driving clicks and not driving revenue. And you cut them out and you realize how to make an Instagram ad that is ROI positive, and most B to B marketers that execute millions of dollars in media do not have discipline to get there.

Kyle Hamer: (03:01)
Look, anybody that’s, anybody that’s, that’s listened to any of the clips that you post there or, or consumes any of the comment content you put out. They know that the refined labs and Chris Walker about aligning sales and marketing and putting marketing right up against that revenue revenue metric, right? It’s like if marketing is not generating revenue, you’re wasting your time. You’re wasting your money. Uh, I recently talked to, I recently talked to a fractional CSO or us chief sales officer, and we were talking through what was happening with field sales. Cause COVID is not allowing people to go out and get out what what’s really happening for marketing what’s happening for these companies where I can’t call into an office. I can’t people are more available, but are they really, do we get more attention what’s happening with marketing as we’re, as we’re transitioning through this.

Chris Walker: (03:52)
Yeah. And so, um, it’s really interesting and it’s, this is not only in marketing, but my view on this really unfortunate situation, it, it is accelerating change. That would have happened anyway, we’re here. We probably would have taken us three to five years to get here if it wasn’t for this, but all this stuff was going to happen anyway, it was just being prolonged. And so now the companies right now that hadn’t taken the steps to figure out how to do this right now are incredibly vulnerable. Like I compete with marketing agencies that have built their business on referrals and paid search and some weird things like that. And I’m winning, right? And so I think the same thing goes, goes for companies. It’s just that they, they have, they have a lot of things that they need to change in marketing that they should have changed already.

Chris Walker: (04:41)
Um, and hopefully they can use this time to take a step back and reevaluate how to do marketing and how to, how to use that budget to actually drive results. Instead of just doing the things that are accepted inside of their company, going to 10 trade shows because they get the leads every year, I’m doing a ton of print brochures as sales enablement for their field sales team. Um, you know, running content syndication programs to get a ton of leads like, um, those are some of the things that I see that when things aren’t as good in the company and the marketing budget starts to get scrutinized, how are you going to make the choices about what to do? I think is a really fascinating debate that a lot of people that have had to go through during this time.

Kyle Hamer: (05:25)
Well, I think they’re, they’re living it and trying to understand how to reach a customer or even their, their end user. One of the things that I noticed that was a very interesting trend is probably late last year, late 2019, early 2020, you start hearing this mantra of email is dead. Email is dead. You can’t use it, the channels decay, and you can’t get open rates. And then all of a sudden everybody’s stuck at home. And what did every marketer do? The guys that are that aren’t, aren’t thinking creatively, immediately leaned into a canned, send them an email, Hey, in this really challenging time and literally was cookie cutter from company to company,

Chris Walker: (06:07)
How do you the six best work from home tips come read our blog that has nothing to do with anything that’s what people were doing.

Kyle Hamer: (06:20)
Yeah. Then it just, it was wasted effort. Right. So tell me, tell me what a company say. They’re, you know, they’re 25, $50 million AR software company. Some of the people you’re at, what are the things they’re struggling with? Tell me, I mean, you talked a little bit about trade shows. You talked about these different things, but I can’t do a trade show. Should I do an online trade show? Should I, should I look at the virtual events? Like what, what are the things that we should be looking at in thinking about in this, this world of upheaval? What is, what is it you’re saying that got accelerated? What was going to happen anyways?

Chris Walker: (06:52)
Now it’s just been catapulted forward. Yeah, I think there’s, um, a couple of things that immediately come to mind. The first one is that I think companies would have a huge benefit in focusing in picking a couple of different things. I noticed that not only my customers, but when I look out in the world, people are trying to do everything. And when they do everything, they spread out their budget, they spread out their resources and they do everything mediocre. Um, and so being able to identify with intuition or data or ideally accommodation to, to where are the best places to spend your time and budget to get the best return and you define return, however you want. Um, that is I think one key thing. The next one that I think is really interesting is that now that we’ve moved to an online world, you got to produce good content.

Chris Walker: (07:39)
And the fundamental flaw in most organizations is that they, the people that are creating the content do not have enough expertise inside of their buyers. They do not understand their buyers world enough. They didn’t understand their customers enough in order to create content that truly brings value and cuts through that noise. And that is just a, in my view, a lack of understanding about how it, how important content creation is, and therefore investing appropriately to have the right resources to do it. Um, those are, those are a couple of the ones that I see right now. And then the last one is like, I think that, and this is not only right now. This is like just perpetually all the time is that companies, um, I think have a very flawed way to measure marketing,

Kyle Hamer: (08:27)
Expand on that. What do you mean floodway to measure marketing? I mean, we’ve got more tools than you can shake a stick at these days.

Chris Walker: (08:33)
Yeah. I mean, I haven’t, I haven’t talked about this right now, but I was thinking about it last night and I was actually talking to a CMO, um, of a pretty big MarTech company and going into the conversation, I was like, huh, that’s really interesting. We actually, I’d never thought about this before, but we don’t have a, we are, I think probably one of the most, well, um, for the quality of our work, um, marketing agencies that are focused on B2B SAS, and we don’t have a single customer in the Bay area. And I was like, this is, I’d never put those two pieces of data together, but this is really interesting. Why is that? And then I started to think about it and I’ve talked to those companies before. And the sense that I get is that their, their investors shove this model down their throat about MQL, which is the whole thing that I’m against.

Chris Walker: (09:27)
Right. And so no wonder none of them, none of them work with us, but the flawed metric is the idea that you just get a certain amount of MQL and then your, your world is okay. Um, and those companies have the benefit of basically playing with monopoly money. And what’s not like what’s not sugarcoated cause they, they I’ve looked at those companies. I’ve audited them. Their CAC paybacks are not like the couple that I’ve looked at, the cafe paybacks are terrible, but because they’re getting a seven to 10 to 12 X valuation on their money, they can afford a seven year payback period, which I think is I just find super fascinating and creates so many flaws in an actual business in the unit economics to do it that way. Um, where companies accept that they’re getting 6,000 SQLs every month and marketing did their job and the sales team under-performs over the last eight quarters and somehow that’s okay.

Kyle Hamer: (10:22)
Well, it’s no wonder that the, I think the statistic is continuing to show that CMOs are marched out to the gallows frequently. Right? I think the average time a COO is in their seat is somewhere between 27 and 32 months. I can’t remember. The last study was

Chris Walker: (10:38)
Same thing with head of sales. It’s even lower, I think.

Kyle Hamer: (10:43)
Yeah. I think you’re right. I think it’s like in the 23 to 25 month range, like it’s, it’s just a little bit over two years. And if you really, if you really look

Chris Walker: (10:52)
Deeply as to why that’s happening, um, my feeling too much capital creates unrealistic goals that are unattainable, which then force you to do the wrong things in order to hit goals that are unattainable and you don’t get there anyway, and then you get fired. Like

Kyle Hamer: (11:10)
It’s actually so simple,

Chris Walker: (11:11)
You really break it down. Um, but like, you know, just because you didn’t hit your revenue target doesn’t mean it’s the VP of sales fault.

Kyle Hamer: (11:21)
Well, you look at it, you know what I mean? I couldn’t agree with you more. I mean, I think, I think it’s interesting that you, you blame it on the, the over-investment or the, the unrealistic goals set by capital

Chris Walker: (11:31)
Goal setting process. I’ve been, I’ve launched companies set their goals. Like I studied, I’ve worked in sort of a lot of companies and I studied how they do it. And now I get a broad stroke. I get to look at 16 companies and how they put their goals together. I get to see

Kyle Hamer: (11:46)
Isn’t it isn’t it. Um, we’ll blame it on being like the Salesforce effect. I mean, th really in many ways, Oracle and were the model for what we’re seeing in most Silicon Valley and SAS companies today that base it around the MQL, right? It was like, Hey, this internet thing is new. We want people to fill out a form early days of inbound before HubSpot picked it up and turn it into a buzzword. And we’re going to have these leads called by people who are lower, the lower value sales folks. They’re going to prequalify. So you get your sales accepted sales qualified. We’re going to push it over to an AA or, you know, account manager, whatever you want to call them in this high end closer is actually going to sell the software fast forward 20 years.

Chris Walker: (12:31)
And this is, yeah, and this is per this is absolutely perfect to touch on because people glorify that model and that Salesforce had success with that model in 2004, 2007, right? No wonder it works so good. Then the internet was barely in maturity. The social platforms didn’t exist. Buyers had way little control. There was no public pricing. There was no review websites. All that stuff has didn’t exist. No wonder they had so much success doing that. Um, that was the way that buyers bought. But now they continue to repeat that model more than a decade later and push it like it’s different for the $50 million company in 2004 to do that. Then that $800,000 ARR company in Silicon Valley, that’s doing that in 2021. Like it’s a different world. But somehow, because that model was successful in Salesforce did that all of the investment community that’s so far away from the actual work, thinks that it still works.

Chris Walker: (13:35)
Um, and on the off chance that you have a good product, like I’m not saying that it doesn’t work, right? Like there, it’s very clear that for the right type of company, it can work, but it’s not the model that makes it work is how good the product is. It’s how good the people are inside of it. It’s how good the marketing is to support it. How much people know the brand. There’s so many components. And so I think a lot of people just look at, um, whether it’s marketing or an outbound predictable revenue model or whatever it is, just look at it, be like, yeah, I’ll just like plug this into my company and will be a unicorn. Um, I’ve talked to keep people that thinks that’s what’s happening when they hire us. And it’s just not the way it works.

Kyle Hamer: (14:17)
I’m laughing because there’s really, there really is this unrealistic expectation of capital. And this thought of, well, I was, I was speaking with somebody at this last week and their, their CEO had come to them inside. We just got this round raised. What are all the levers we need to pull in order to hit a 30% year over year growth? Ben, my first question, which I’m sure yours was as well. What’s your historical growth Bennett to this point? Well, we’re our historical growth is somewhere around 8%. Okay. So is that a, is like, is it 8% because this a new market and you’re, you’re making the market, so it’s all leading edge or bleeding edge buyers or is it 8% because this is a mature market and you’re just capturing people as they come through on the back end, like where where’s this ad and the person I was talking to, they said, well, it doesn’t matter. We have to hit 30%. I’m like, who came up with that number? The investor, the investor was the one that wanted to see a 30% year over year growth. And, um, it’s really interesting to hear your perspective as you work with these other companies in, in bring in, because that, that model is so busted and it creates so much animosity between sales and marketing marketing. Can’t really do what it’s good at. And sales is always worried about whether the

Chris Walker: (15:37)
Right like really visit. Um, and this is I’m making blanket statements, but there are obviously very responsible investors that invest in companies and show them how to do the right things. I just want to put that on the record, but for the most part, like I’ve worked in a lot of companies. I work with a lot of companies. I talked to a lot of companies that raise, whether you’re in the series D raising $60 million or your series, a raising $5 million that get a number put on top of them that make them do all of the wrong things, which create short term profile of your, of your employees. Like your employees don’t stay for very long. Cause the environment sucks. You’re never hitting your target. So everyone feels like they’re playing from behind which hurts culture. Um, your marketing team was doing the wrong things. Sending a bunch of leads to sales that doesn’t, that are not good.

Chris Walker: (16:27)
Sales is coming back saying these leads aren’t good. Like sales is playing behind the game. And then eventually when they can finally hit quota, they can’t wait to go and move to a different company. So they don’t have to be in this environment. So no wonder you can’t retrain, you’re retaining your best players. And so I just find that like, it’s been really fascinating for me to, um, go and build my company over the past 18 months to over 2 million in revenue. Um, and to, to look at how I did it with, with no funding, no outbound phone calls, no outbound emails, no advertising expense, except for a $423 YouTube pre-roll experimental where we could roll it out to our clients. And so with none of those factors, and we were able to grow at that rate, which is much faster, which is faster than most of the series, a companies that just raised $5 million and burn it.

Chris Walker: (17:21)
And the reason is because it forces you to be creative. It forces you to be smart. It forces you to do different things than what the normal people are doing. Um, and like I’m so proud and happy about the quality of life of our employees. I’m super happy that the company is profitable. I’m super happy that we continue to grow. I’m super happy that we have a really strong brand and deliver work and we don’t have to do any of the wrong things. I don’t have to take on the wrong customers. Like I said no to a company today, they wanted to pass $10,000 a month. And they told me very black and white what they wanted us to do. And I was like, no. And, and most, most executives CEO’s head of sales. Don’t have, don’t have the discipline or the environment to say no to a customer.

Chris Walker: (18:10)
That’s going to pay them that amount of money because they have a target to head. And so, um, I just find it like really fascinating. I think that we will see an interesting turn, not tomorrow, not next year, over the next five or 10 years where, um, I personally would like to see a lot of early stage companies get to a certain level first, which forces them to build a real business, which forces them to do the right things, which forces them to make sure that the market actually wants their product. Um, and so that’s what I, that’s what I’d like to see.

Kyle Hamer: (18:49)
We’re in complete agreement on that. I think there are too many companies that on the back of a napkin have an idea that a it’s a variation or a niche of a product that’s already in play. They, they raise capital and funding and then they spend all of their time running in circles versus actually building something that people want is compelling and will keep them coming back for more. Right. It’s better to have five extremely happy customers than to have 500 people that do transactions with you, but are, yeah,

Chris Walker: (19:18)
They’re irritated either. It really depends on, on what you’re trying to accomplish. Right? Like I’m not trying to sell my company next year. And so if you are like, then that’s, it, it really depends on, on your goal because a lot of people love to if their, if their objective is to sell the company next year and they get people on 12 month contracts who cares whether or not they’re happy. Right? Like it’s, I mean, when you, obviously, I’m not saying that everyone thinks that way, but like, that’s, that’s what ha that’s what happens. Like you get driven to the, like, if we can pump up our ARR by $5 million over the next 12 months before we sell it, we’re in it. We’re going to get 10 X more, um, whatever, we’ll get a better multiple, and we’ll get blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it’ll end up being $40 million to our investors and the people that have stock in the company

Kyle Hamer: (20:13)
Look in, in what’s. What’s fantastic to hear you say, and I actually, cause I’ve lifted. It’s fantastic to hear you say that because you’re, you’re 100%, right. That depending on what the, the executives and the leaders want to accomplish, and if it’s selling your company, you’re going to make short sighted decisions that are going to have longterm effects that you’re not going to be able to live down.

Chris Walker: (20:31)
It’s interesting because once you, once you sell it, it’s no longer your problem, right? Like I’ve actually, I’ve actually, I’ve actually watched, I know executives that have sold companies for $500 million in those companies have gone directly over in the, in the trash over next five years. Cause they didn’t invest anything in product. They pumped up all the metrics, they stripped out a bunch of different things to Bumba margins. And then, you know, the big acquire comes in and then get screwed and who, I mean,

Kyle Hamer: (21:03)
Well into that, even to that, in that all the time, way too much, you know? And, and sometimes it’s as

Chris Walker: (21:09)
This is actually the acquire fall to you think about it. Yeah.

Kyle Hamer: (21:12)
Right. Cause they didn’t do their due diligence. Yeah. Well they, I mean they didn’t, they didn’t fully appreciate what it was that they were procuring. Um, so in this, in this transition phase, who’s doing it well. Like who do you think out there, B2B, who’s doing a really good job of, of having high IQ, creating good content, making sure that they’re focused and in, from what you can at least see, you’re seeing what looks to it appears to be profitable results or, or happy salespeople. Right. Fat and happy salespeople is a sign of good marketing. Um,

Chris Walker: (21:49)
You know, I can’t put my finger on anyone particular. I’ve been shouting out this company called [inaudible] lately. I’m very hope high profile HR type of software. Um, mainly just because I think their, the executions that they’ve been doing are smart. Um, they raised a ton of money. They raised like $200 million. So they’re kind of like going all out here and I’m not sure that it’s something that I recommend for everyone, but like their paid social execution has been very strong, which I think is honestly like the best place that you can market right now, as long as you know how to do it well. And I think there’s a lot of people that don’t do it well. Um, and then the second piece is that like, if you don’t know how to measure paid Facebook or paid LinkedIn, then you aren’t going to keep spending on it because you don’t know how to measure it.

Chris Walker: (22:37)
And I’ve just over time, I’ve, I’ve gone and spent $50,000 in Facebook and watch what happens in the CRM. And yeah, there’s no attribution, but I know what’s going on. And then I take the 50 and move it to a hundred and I see what’s happened in CRM and it goes up some more. And so like, um, I think because people need direct attribution to everything, they end up doing the things that are the most intent based and most measurable. And I talk about that a lot. Like that’s, that’s what people do. Um, and I think it’s just a lack of understanding, a lack of understanding how people actually buy products and a lack of common sense.

Kyle Hamer: (23:12)
Yeah. If somebody wants it, somebody wants to told me that it’s not B2B or B-to-C, it’s a, HDH that all marketing and all sales is done human to human. It doesn’t matter what the interface is or at what scale it is. At some point that transaction that conversation, that content comes down to one human communicating something to another human in order to move the sale forward or backwards. When you look at, you know, you talked about the three things, focus, good content, and a way to measure marketing, where are the areas that you think companies should be focusing or, or starting to divert attention to, to understand what’s next for them? Cause I mean, a lot of people are putting together their 20, 21 budgets and plans at this point.

Chris Walker: (24:02)
Um, I’ve been talking about this for awhile. I’ve seen it.

Kyle Hamer: (24:06)
Very few people take it

Chris Walker: (24:08)
Me up on it. Um, the ones that have, whether taking me up on it, on my advice for done it without knowing my advice, but just because they were intuitively thought it was smart are hiring or somehow acquiring or whatever you need to do two or three subject matter experts that are focused on creating content that helps your customers. Like that’s it. The reason that my, the reason that my company has been able to grow is because I am an expert in the things that the CMOs that I’m trying to sell to care about. And the reason that it’s very successful in the cybersecurity company that I talked to and how do I podcast last week?

Kyle Hamer: (24:47)
Because they have two people that were

Chris Walker: (24:49)
CIS is inside of companies. And now they, all they do is scan the dark web, find insights, produce content that CIS those want, which then creates a lot of awareness and traffic to their website and drives more inbound results. Um, and so it’s there, I guess there’s really two components here. It’s one, you need people that actually know what they’re talking about and can speak it a peer or even a thought leadership level to those, to those buyers. The second thing is that, you know, you need to know what you’re trying to do. And so like a lot of people that create content, they say that they’re creating content, but they’re mainly doing it so they can get your email address and sell something to you. And so it’s, it’s not only about who’s doing it and what you’re producing. It’s also about what you’re expecting out of it, because I think a lot of companies have, have ruined content marketing for lack of a better term based on how they do it.

Chris Walker: (25:38)
Um, which is not a bad thing for everyone listening here. The fact that so many companies suck at it gives you a real opportunity to stand out. Um, I think that is a real recommendation I’ve seen for four or five companies, a couple that we work with directly do that and have a ton of success, but their C CEO on, you know, the CEO that is an expert in whatever they do onto, um, four podcasts that are top in their industry. And just let them talk about how they would do something different for those audiences, not pitching the product, not asking someone for a demo, not asking for their email address, not seeing if they’ll set up a meeting with their SDR, just providing information that helps people. Um, and so I think that that’s one, um, if you’d gotten me back on the question, I could think about what the next one would be, but I mean the take home year, especially where we are right now is that, um, people

Kyle Hamer: (26:39)
We’re on all these platforms for B to B, there’s a lot of people on LinkedIn, we

Chris Walker: (26:44)
Use paid to get to a lot of people on Facebook and Instagram. Wouldn’t recommend that as an organic strategy right now. Um, and then there’s, then there’s podcasts, which is in my view, one of the most undervalued, um, channels,

Kyle Hamer: (26:59)

Chris Walker: (27:00)
And I, I won’t go into deep, deep detail, but on, on Tuesday night I rented for like nine minutes on a podcast about how all of the different benefits that are outside of just having your podcast on Spotify, all the different benefits of doing it. And so people can reference that if they want, but I think that’s a super undervalued channel. Again, people don’t do it because they don’t know how to measure it. No wonder they don’t do it. Like if you really break it down, marketing comes down to performance and brand and companies because of the, all of the different things that happen inside an organization, they just do 100% performance marketing, AKA sales.

Kyle Hamer: (27:39)
What’s what’s interesting about that is if you go back to the 2004 to 2007 paradigm where you were talking, we were talking about, you know, the Salesforce effect right? In, in these models, one of the big cohorts or not even cohorts, but, um, pillars for marketing at that time was creating a brand, creating a lasting brand, creating something that would leave an impression. And for the organizations like Salesforce, they used their business model, their MQL, their outbound efforts. At that time to create brand that’s shifted. It shifted because people are more interested in being educated. They want to learn something. They want to know what you know, and that they can trust you because your knowledge is at like tier two, your point of the SME. I think, I just think that’s really, really wise when we started, when one of my last organizations, we started printing subject matter experts in front of cameras and doing tips and tricks. And when they were talking through how people were preparing for, for doing their job, as they started creating content, the value not only went up, but our understanding inside the product and the way that the company behaved changed dramatically, because now you had these subject matter experts that were creating things and you had something that the rest of the company was trying to live up to. So I think that’s really wise to, to provide that

Chris Walker: (29:00)
Just the, just the, the tactics on brand quote on quote unquote, have it ultimately comes down to, can you make a connection with someone, right? And that was basically what it was. And so if you look back in the 2004, seven timeframe, the places, the ways that you made connection was a great relationship with your sales rep, going to the booths and seeing the new product, because you couldn’t see it anywhere else getting a piece of mail.

Kyle Hamer: (29:31)

Chris Walker: (29:33)
There’s probably a couple of other ones that I’m leaving out here, but those are some major ones about the opportunities to, to create brand. And then ultimately someone into the product where they can see it and get the value and then communicate the brand to others through word of mouth, which is by far the most effective channel there is. Right. And so when you look at it now, companies still do all of those different things. Well, the attention about how you would actually do that and mainly focused on because the buyer has more control through all the different availability of information, they have way more control for their process. They don’t need to go to your booths and see your new product anymore. They don’t need your sales rep to call them to get pricing. And so, because of those things have moved people and the buyer, um, consumption of information has changed.

Chris Walker: (30:20)
There are different ways that we need to do the same job to build the brand, to get people into the products, to create the word of mouth. Right. And, um, I think companies have just been, um, slow to adapt to those things. And I don’t expect this is going to be like, people are gonna listen to my podcast and then change their whole marketing measurement. Like that’s not going to happen. Um, but I, I do just think that it comes down to one being stuck in a certain way of doing it. And I talked about this a lot over time. As you keep growing your company, you get more and more stuck. It’s no wonder companies don’t, you know, shift their go to market model when they have 95 SDRs. It’s hard.

Kyle Hamer: (31:04)
Well, it, it, yeah, cause there’s a, there’s not only the, sometimes I think it’s about ego, right. And admitting, well, maybe that wasn’t the best decision and then trying to figure out how to navigate out of it. There’s, there’s always some, some of that that plays into it. But the thing that I think is really interesting, and it’s a question that I don’t know, as we ask often enough is before you could measure performance at a one to one level or do the paid spend to try and, you know, tie it all out, how did companies grow? What was it they spent money on? And if you ask yourself that question at a core, you realize that it’s, it’s the exact same. The game’s the same, just played on a different field. It’s 100% about brand awareness. You, you know, your content and all the different pieces have to have to be valuable, but you’re, you’re creating something that people want to be a part of. Whether it’s a, you know, a new energy company or space X going to send people to the moon. Like it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter what the company’s product or services, there’s somebody out there that cares about it. Do they know you, can they find you and is the stuff that you’re educating them with or creating awareness with resonating with them. And I think that there’s a lot of wisdom in what you’re, what you’re sharing.

Chris Walker: (32:18)
It’s, it’s really, um, for lack of a better term. I, I think it’s really unfortunate the situation that a lot of marketers get put into companies. Like I have my wives QA on Tuesday nights, we’ve been doing it for six months every week, 26 episodes. And I get questions from people, 10, 20 questions per episode. So a lot of questions that I’ve built up and a lot of them definitely come back to, how do I convince our CEO to do X? How do I change our measurement away from MQL? How do I do it all comes back to how do I change the way that the people above me that actually make the decisions about how I do my job? How do I change that? And the answer that I usually give is you go find someone else that already understands the thesis. It really is the easiest way.

Chris Walker: (33:07)
Um, and I think it’s really like to go back to the unfortunate point. I think it’s tough because like these executives have come up through the era where, um, the predictable revenue model worked a lot better than it does today. And then they were brainwashed through the early 2000 tens about how you need to measure everything and are just so far away from the actual like work and buyer that they haven’t realized how things have been, have been shifting. And so now marketers get in and they want to do a podcast and they want to post organic contact through content marketing on LinkedIn, not spam DMS and other shit that you can measure putting a wink in your post with a UTM tag on it. Like, so not doing those things like doing true marketing, they can’t do any of those things because the executive comes back and says, you know, you’ve been posting on LinkedIn for six months now I see that you’ve gotten 800 more followers, but how many leads did I get then I think it’s just, I’m just really not smart.

Kyle Hamer: (34:14)
It’s short term investment versus a longterm investment, right? I mean, there’s, there’s always going to be some components you’re going to need to try and drive the revenue right now, whether it’s, Hey, I gotta hustle and get a contract to do something today to get started. Do you gotta have something to start the flywheel? But once you start the flywheel, you’re now going to start placing longterm bets and too many companies aren’t betting longterm.

Chris Walker: (34:36)
It’s not even in my view, like I do this the $50 million company and with no extra budget, no extra people just literally changing the things that they do are able to impact their demo requests by four or five X impact their sales qualified opportunities per month by three to four X, literally by just doing things that are more customer centric by not spending $70,000 a month on LinkedIn getting eBooks, and then having your STRs chasing around by not buying broad match ad words terms, and driving them into a squeeze landing page for an ebook downloads that you can call them five minutes afterwards, like by not doing those things and doing things that actually help your customer by showing them the things that you, they can accomplish with your product by showing them other companies that have had similar successes by showing them the problems that your product can solve, that they might have and doing it in an effective, communicating that in an effective way.

Chris Walker: (35:29)
Like it’s not that hard. I don’t know what to say, but like I lose, I lose customers at the same by doing that because they want 9,000 SQLs and they’re only getting 300 demo requests. Um, even though they will get, definitely get more customers on this 300 demo requests and the 909,000 empty Wells. And, um, but they’ve been, they’ve been trained to only look at that the leading metric, not the wagging one. And during that period of uncertainty where you have a 90 day sales cycle and you’ve gone three months without 9,000 MQL, and you haven’t seen the funnel metrics play out and you’re not, you don’t understand the actual revenue model enough to know what’s happening at the leading end of the metrics and see how they’re progressing to STOs and looking at the conversion rates. They haven’t seen it before. You’re kind of sitting there as the VP of demand and being like I’m out and I’m, and I’m, I’m comfortable with that. Like the results speak for themselves to people that don’t want to do it. I have no interest in, in trying to convince anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do.

Kyle Hamer: (36:35)
You know? So I think, I think if we had some takeaways here from today’s chat, cause I think I could, you and I could talk about this stuff until the cows come home. What are we talking until 8:00 PM tonight? I guarantee that, but the takeaways for people navigating, it’s just like, let’s get back to the basics, focus on what’s most important, right? Make sure what you’re providing folks is, is good content and it’s a value to them. So, you know, don’t go higher Peewee, Herman to talk about engineering. It’s probably not going to,

Chris Walker: (37:06)
And you create the content one Hunter, sorry to interrupt you. But you create the content 100% to help them 0% about how you’re going to get a sale out of it. And people can feel it, even if you’re 1% of the way of trying to, like you put the button at the bottom of your content, which is, Oh, by the way, if you want to talk, here’s a way to book a meeting. Like just leave it out. I don’t know. I don’t know how to communicate that in a more direct way, but like the sales intent ruins the quality of the content over time

Kyle Hamer: (37:40)
Who knew we would over and engineer things as marketers. Uh, and then the last thing, the last thing that you said, which, which I think is really, um, is really interesting is revisit the way that you’re measuring marketing and success and failure, right? Because what’s successful. What’s what’s right by whatever the model is that you’re working may not actually be successful for your ultimate goal is. And so figuring out that formula that works or that the comfort level, to your point, you’ve found that you mean, you found your Zen with what you’re comfortable doing and where you’re comfortable, the space you’re comfortable functioning in other marketers that are listening or sales guys that are listening. They’ve got to find that space for themselves.

Chris Walker: (38:22)
Yeah. And I’ve, I’ve created the structure here in the relationships with the customers that I get to do a bunch of new things every day, like buying podcast, podcast ads for this company and run tech talk ads for another company and things that marketers that are working in house would never do. Um, and so, yeah, I do have a core model that works. And at some point in time, the core model won’t work as well as it does right now. I know that Facebook ads do not work as well right now than they did in 2015. Cause I ran them in 2015, just like the executives that are running their predictable revenue model. Probably know if they really look deep that it worked better in 2009 than it does today. Right? And so over time, at some point I won’t want to buy Facebook ads anymore and I’ll need to know something else to do.

Chris Walker: (39:13)
And so I’m, I’m on the way to try to figure those things out. Um, and other people that do claim to do similar things, to what I do are going to run Google ads, no matter what, even if the ROI is bad, a company comes to you and says, we’re going to, we want to spend a hundred thousand dollars in Google ads. And, and we’re okay if you take 10% of that, you, so you’ll make $10,000 a month. Um, and then if you actually went in there and you looked at the keywords and you said, okay, but actually you still need to be spending $40,000 a month. No agency is going to tell you that because their fee would go from $10,000 a month to $4,000 a month. And so there’s, there’s some really interesting if you, if you look deeply about those types of relationships where it’s a single channel, I think that one of the benefits of what we do is that because we manage the entire digital media budget, I’ve had companies that are like, we want to spend $200,000 a month and I’m like, you should only be spending one 20.

Chris Walker: (40:11)
You, you decide if you want me to, how you want me to do what with the other 80,000. But like, I know that you should only be spending one 20 and most, most people can’t do that because of things that are set up. So, um, I don’t know how I got on that little tangent, sorry to interrupt your closure. Um, I feel like that was kind of a way to try and like reopen this. We could keep going, but uh, no, I look, Chris, I appreciate you being on the show today as always, it’s, it’s a blast to chat with you to talk what you call it. Common sense marketing. And I think it’s just business one Oh one, right? You find something that works. You work it until it doesn’t work anymore, but while you’re doing it, you’re a, you’re an avid learner of other things that are out there always looking for that next advantage. And I think that there’s, there’s something very cutting edge about this conversation. And yet it seems so incredibly basic, but thanks for being on and sharing with the audience.

Chris Walker
Chris WalkerCEO
Chris Walker is an entrepreneur and marketing leader on a mission to challenge the status quo in B2B marketing. Currently the Founder and CEO of Refine Labs, a progressive revenue marketing agency based in Boston, his journey to get there wasn’t exactly a straight shot. He graduated with a B.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering and worked in Product Management in the medical device space before making the move to SaaS Demand Marketing.

Chris now functions as an advisor to CMOs and CROs at B2B SaaS companies and is well-positioned as a B2B marketing thought leader. His company, Refine Labs, is focused on augmenting Sales performance using progressive digital, social, and content marketing strategies. As CEO, Chris partners with B2B revenue executives to accelerate growth with a proven process called Revenue Engine Optimization.