Tried, True and Tested Approach to B2B Sales: Steve Schmidt


Sales is a combination of art and science.

The best salespeople combine personality, insight, research and time to engage people and convince them to make purchases.

In this episode of Marketing Spark, SellX's Steve Schmidt talks about:

- How salespeople should operate given the economic landscape

- What makes for a great sales person beyond sales

- How sales and marketing can work together effectively

- The biggest mistakes made by salespeople on LinkedIn 

- Why Steve has enthusiastically embraced TikTok

- The link between sales and demand generation.

As a B two B Sas marketer, I recognize the importance of creating partnerships with sales to drive growth. I know that marketing and sales are powerful one to punch, but to be honest, I've been remissed and not having enough sales leaders on this podcast. So today I'm going to address this situation by talking with Steve Schmidt, chief revenue officer with Selex, which helps companies expand their sales teams without making up higher wealth in the marketing sparks team. Hey, thanks for having me, man. It's a it's a good time to be alive. It's a good time to collaborate with marketers and you know, whether that's people like yourself and messaging and focusing on that. I just got done clipping up content from back Holland this morning. We were really diving deep into her, you know, flip the script, personalization and relevance, and just I said, you know, Beck, I'm hearing this so much right now. And so this is why I was excited to chat with you, because I get to talk to you too, Like we get to dive deep and say, hey, right now, this landscape is kind of freaking out and so today. I can't wait to talk to you about like the importance of really what people are seeing is how do we how do we focus on personalizing, how do we focus on quality over cranking the volume up? Man? This is this is a fun time to be alive. That's what I say. There's a lot of things to talk about from the sales and marketing perspective, given the economic landscape has shipped is so dramatically and so quickly. But you get into that. I did want to talk to you about your entrepreneurial journey before Selex. You were the founder and CEO of Title, which focused on sales for early to mid stage companies. Can you talk about the journey from Title to Selex? What was happening a Title and how did the merger with Selex happen? So this is I'll give you the play by play. So for me was kind of this year of an evolution. And we all go through these things in life where we kind of feel a significant shift. And for me, the way that COVID affected me was not in a bad way, but it was just you know that story of here I am working out of my son's bedroom. Everybody had an overwhelming sense of uncertainty, which is sustained itself, I think for the better part of two and a half years now. We can unpack that later. But what I did was I kind of sat there and I looked at my wife and I said, you know what, I'm finding myself here back again as an account executive after leading sales for a long time. And I said, I just I feel I'm at a point right now where nobody wants to hire me because I'm from South Dakota. I don't have a bunch of software on my resume, and and that's where I was, you know, trying to break into again. But I was really successful with being able to break into new businesses and so I did that at a T Mobile. I did that at a T T Verizon Wireless over the fifteen years span before in I went to outreach. And so the only reason I didn't have a job and sass and was sitting there wondering about it with my wife was because I had moved for Minneapolis to South Dakota. And what that was a pretty significant part of my life. I had gone through a divorce, relocated, and here I am happily remarried, happily sitting there going, wow, I have a choice. Now I have a spouse is very supportive, and she looked at me and she said, why don't you go out and do your own thing? And so consulting, as you know, as a vast sea of a lot of things. And so I said, I want to be on the execution side versus the strategy side. So I called a couple of people. Jake Dunlap was one of them. I said, hey, Jake, do you know anybody who would need really good top of the funnel services? And he had a couple of companies in mind, and so we got to work, and before you knew it, six months later we had forty two clients and thirty employees. And then another year later that that grew to fifty two employees and over a hundred and eighteen clients, seven and a half million in revenue. So that bedroom turned into an office. The office turned into a company of fifty two people, and that company was sought out by Selex and Selex had seen some posts...

...on LinkedIn right mark you. That's how you and I met And they're venture capital preseed company four point five million, and had seen a post and they said, hey, I think you guys might want to consider contacting this company. They look like they really have it together, at least it appears that way, and you guys might want to consider merger and acquisition versus organic growth as you kind of flex forward in your a round and kind of unroll and unpack this and release it to the public. So they contacted us, he met on a blind demo. I didn't really tell us what they did. They were in stealth mode, and so we didn't know that we were being I didn't know I was being interviewed essentially to say, hey, we want to hire you. And and Dean Glass, who is now my boss, um turned thirty the other day, very young guy sold this first company to TikTok founded Celex, And two years later he's sitting there going, Steve, I need you to come over here and leave this thing for me on the revenue side. You know how to do this, you know how to you know as a practitioner, you're passionate about it. And I said, not without the rest of my company. And he said, well, that's not really what we were thinking. And so about six months after that, what had happened was, you know, thirty eight employees from Title came over to Selex and then we opened our operation together on June six, and that day forward, Selex now went from a company of seven to a company of forty. And we brought in revots, client success, data quality, call quality agents, and so we had all the infrastructure that they didn't have, and we perfected that in the services world in a relatively short amount of time. I think perfected as a strong word, but I'd say we did pretty good at it. And so now Selex today is a software sass offering and we have that services backbone. But I will end with this is right now, like the most the funnest part and the most challenging part is like transitioning the mindset to still have services and being of service at the top of mind, but to to fold that into a sass offering where it's meant to scale with philosophy. So here we are today, the company's um thriving, but also challenge with the same economic conditions as everybody. So here we are and growth is on the mind and that's where we're headed up into the right now, as a seasoned sales leader, I have to ask you what it's like to have a three year old boss, obviously very smart, he's got a track record for success. What's the dynamic like when when you've got all this experience and you've got this entrepreneurial track record and you're dealing with somebody who's who's relatively young and and for that matter, relatively inexperienced. Yeah, good, good thought. That was the first thought that I came in my head was this guy's young, and um, it turns out he had a ten year entrepreneurial track record back to college, and so myself relatively a young spring chicken two and a half years into this, I thought, this guy knows things I don't about venture capital, about the things that quite frankly, I didn't want to learn about because I knew it was available. But running a services company, venture capital isn't really an option because the margins aren't there, the growth skill isn't there. So I never paid attention to what that can do, or you know, I certainly do. The bad components of venture capital and and sort of the idea of what it can do to ruin the company are sort of force growth, right. But the part that I really liked about Dean and it reigns true today. This has not changed is he grows slow, although it appears fast on the outside. He doesn't like to make quick decisions operationally um and he's constantly asking us what do you think about this? What do you think about that? His feedback loops are extremely tight, and so what I've learned to grow is I'm sure there's a challenge in the gap of maybe call it experience in terms of years on earth, but he knows so much about the part of business. Quite frankly, I don't want to have to learn. And I know things about revenue and top of pipe that he doesn't want to have to get to know. He appreciates the hell out of he founded a company around it, but that is not where his expertise is going to lie. His is going to be steering the company, leading the company, and pushing this forward. Before we hit the record button, you and I were talking about the economic landscape and how a lot of B TB and a lot of bb stas companies are and I'm not using this word too dramatically are desperate or leads. There's a lot of anxiety right now because...

...the economic landscape has shifted so abruptly. Two thousand and twenty two thousand, twenty one more awesome years. The rising tide lifted all ships. That's changed with rising interest rates and economic volatility. I'd be really interested to get your perspective on how the sales landscape has changed and how sales people and sales organizations need to operate differently. Collaborating across other departments has never been more important. So I think those companies who have demand gen marketing arms and all that messaging tied quickly into sales, and a lot of that's done through automation of the RM, A lot of people have partly abandoned the ability to sit and have a conversation without taking it personal. So, for example, revenue right now and client success like that that intro battle of handing things off once you have a customer right aways, kind of this toxic relationship. And we're looking at right now going like a lot of companies, how do we expand the revenue we have as well as think about top of pipe? And so when I talk to other CEO sum they are panicking right now, and they also don't necessarily have the economic favorability to just make a bunch of mistakes, and so we have this really important time where you can see in their eye the hesitation they're asking for guarantees when guarantees have never been a thing from companies in a time where we all feel this slight grasp of desperation, right, And so I also think the more we talk about it, the more proliferates the future of that. And so I think that what will happen here, which is very common in human nature, as we'll talk about it, it will get solved at a macro level that we couldn't quite understand and before the just like when BCS and tech felt it three to six months before everybody else felt it, we will feel the emergence of capital injections again before the public market and consumer markets realize it. So I predict that by the end of Q four early Q one, we will be coming out of this, mostly because there will be desperation from people that we need to start getting this thing moving again. So six months is about as much as our country tolerates these days for any sort of change that it can affect. So I think right now is it's you have two choices, and this is what I'm hearing. Number one, take action and take a hold on the market, will sits on the heels or number two sit down the hills, protect capital and d risk everything, which is boring but also very effective. Yeah, it will be interesting to see which option companies select. Early, a lot of companies sat back on their heels, tried to write it out. Other companies pressed forward really aggressive sales and marketing, and when things picked up again, they were well positioned. The one observation I will make about the sales and marketing landscape is that a lot of entrepreneurs are leaning heavily into tactical execution. The need for leads is being few by the fact that if we do more tactics, if we do more stuff, if we have our fingers and more pies to drive brand awareness and consideration, that'll fix the problem. That will help us address this this pipeline issue that they're suffering from. And I almost feel like they're putting the car before the horse if that they're not planning them work and then working the plan. Is that what you're seeing out there? Yeah? Well yes, I also think that we've seen that enough where people are now saying, well, what are you doing? And so we talk about dark social and the conversations that happened behind the curtains and in the peer groups that I'm in with other cr c r s. So not at a macro level like a community like Pavilion, but call it a group of five to six people and six cents puts on a really good c r O monthly coffee session where we sat there and so I just listened. I wasn't there to pitch our services. I just said hey, me too, write and the talk was really around what are you doing? So? And I can de risk it... saying, Okay, if you're gonna do that, and I kind of know that you're reputable, then I'm going to do that too, because it feels like the safe move. So I also think right now that dark social will continue to emerge is sort of this, Hey, these people are coming out of nowhere, where in fact, they're forming little pods of trust saying hey, if you're going to do this, then I'm willing to do that to versus you know, Hey, we're just gonna forge ahead and do this because we feel it's best. I think it's that's what people do is they typically don't want to lose a loan in a time where risk can be um can lead to failure, you know, in a big way. A little question for you, and your answer may have changed given where we're at right now. What makes for a great salesperson? And as important are there ways to assess UH salesperson's success other than sales? So the second question I'll answer first is I feel like a true quality salesperson does bring their whole self to work. And I'm not saying that you ruffle the feathers of those people who want, you know, work life separation. It's just it is so hard to succeed in a job like that and when unless you're always on right now, and I know that just kind of right. Everybody goes, wait, what I'm supposed to term myself? I get that be present with your family, do that. But I will say those people who tend to check in often and frequently and have a sense of urgency, I would say are the people who are first and foremost going to succeed in sales. Now. I've seen a lot of introverts lately, especially who have the ability to pause and look at data, to pause and actually do research. So I think this seller today that I would say, what makes a good sales person today is more than ever its self awareness. Um, who are you going to forge trust with that you don't know today versus who are you going to hustle your way into? So I feel like whether that's called at a macro level influencers, UM, I don't want to go down that path necessarily an unpacket or practitioner and then consultants, right, you start to look to those people to go while those people can be an extension of that, And I need salespeople who can come into my company and build these personal brands enough where they still have a sales backbone to say, I'm bringing a little bit of hustle and I'm bringing a sense of urgency, but I'm also willing to go out there and take the time on the background to over time build trust in a marketplace where I can offer value without talking about my company, and that's where we seek content and and backing up to so when the recession started, the last night PR partner, when when COVID hit and the last time people are hanging on the money, we came out of the gates with title and we didn't we weren't anything before that, and so we came in with a storm when everybody else was steamed back on their heels. And I was the first salesperson because it was just me and we were hungry and we were going after it. We were coming in with energy in a time where things were flat and people were scared. And I think what that did was it was like a bomb where people went WHOA, who the hell is title? Who's Steve Schmidt? Who's this guy? And I'm just sitting there going, hey, we're here and this is what we're doing. And LinkedIn and and just that platform itself allowed us to thrive and grow. And you know that revenue mark came from you know, over six and a half million from LinkedIn post. Now, I wish I could tell you that every one of those people we had a very successful experience with. But what we learned, and I'll and I'll say this is through that selling experiences is trust. Right, So trust trust trust, So that's how people are gonna do it. And they're gonna go to dark social in their communities and go, hey have you heard of this? And you work with these guys are the legit And so right now, those sales people who are willing to establish trust and be patient are going to win in those channels, and so immediately, I don't think it's gonna be the person who bust alligates and crushes top of funnel. I think it's gonna be someone who overtime can do a little bit of that upfront and over time can do a lot of it by evangelizing without the title in the space versus the company that they work for. And so I think the modern sellers should be half evangelist, half content well a third evangelist, a third content specialist... the third very traditional salesperson who knows process, who knows fundamentals and can see things through from from front to finish. I was reading the post this morning about the new SDR and how they need to operate, and one of the things that the author emphasized was that they need to be smarter and more strategic. Is that they have to be armed with deep intelligence into a prospect and really understand the prospect inside out before they even reach out. So it's the idea that if you're not prepared, then you're probably going to fail because your your sales pitch won't resonate. How do you get sales reps to think that way, and what do they need to do to actually arm themselves with the information they need to be successful. I would say that we might want to rethink that entire idea and think that they the traditional mindset of selling might not be where we need to be thinking today. And that's why we're starting to emphasize more discussions with that SDR organization reporting to the marketing because if it is indeed in a direct extension and without that ethos of how you're creating demand and how you're circling, whether that's an A B M A B S correlated campaign or whether that's as simple as here's our marketing events, and how are we going to approach this with sales together and focus on outcomes versus m q L. So another hot topic right is how do we start to marry that up. So I think the modern SDR to have them lead with content, to have them lead with community is not your traditional seller. And that's why a lot of those sellers are struggling right now, because the seller of the future cannot simply transition and take a course on social selling and perfected tomorrow, because that's not why they got into the job. More than likely they got in because they were told, hey, if you hustle, if you do this, make some cold calls like it's going to work out. And that worked and it still works to a degree. But if your entire organization is depending on only outbound with no coordination on collaborating with messaging and overall impact to the market, then you're simply throwing darts at a big board that everybody else is throwing darts at. I would rather distinguish myself as a seller and establish a team of sellers, which is what I'm doing right now. I'm hiring four more account executives right now, and not one of them is coming from a traditional background of I've sold, I've developed funnel and done this. They've certainly done that, but now they've gone on to do other things within content, within advertising, within media, where we can now start to become a media company who has one hell of an offering behind it, because I believe that that's the company of the future. I never supposed you mentioned e Q or emotional quotation as as a key ingredient for sales. Can you talk about the importance of leveraging and controlling emotions by sales people and how they can build that into their sales processes and workflows. Yeah. I laughed a little bit because I was just thinking, Um, I was reading watching a TikTok by Leslie Vaness and just kind of like talking about the emotional fragility of salespeople and how we, by nature, at least the salesperson of today and what we've known is tends to go from high to low and tends to really celebrate wins and really get down on themselves. And then we go, well, good, because that's going to motivate them because they don't want to do that again. And I don't know if we're living in a generation where fear is the primary motivator or pain or risk aversion advergence. I think people are looking for what causes me pleasure more than pain, And so e key allows you to be self aware and aware of what others are going through. And empathy versus sympathy, by definition, is saying, not only do I feel sorry for you, but I'm able to sit in your shoes and truly understand and listen to you talk about it and truly understand that. And so by doing that, naturally we're extending out to the market saying Hey, if it isn't about us, then what am I saying about you that makes you get value? That's why I deliver content that people can take away and apply every day if they want to for free. We all know that strategy is what hired and...

...and people will pay for it, but very few people are willing to execute on it. So that's why the free methodology of giving your stuff away works so well. It's because they're gonna go, hey, I like this, but I'm not equipped to do it, or I don't have time to do it. But it resonates with what you're talking about, resonates with my business, and so that kind of selling takes time, and people want immediate wins. Took four months for me to get one lead off it. Now we're getting four to five a day um, and so that is what you can do over time. So I think that you need to be willing as a company to have longer call it ramp periods where you're augmenting funnel, whether it's internally or externally on the front end, but that person is building themselves as a trusted advice or whether they're hired from the space or what not to go in and evangelize for the customer versus for the company. You've talked about trust and empathy and the need for sales people to do their research. And this is an interesting question given the fact that Selex has both the services and assas company. Curious about the fact that a lot of marketing and sales are automated by software, and curious about how do you feel about the mix between technology and people Where one plus one could equal three. You get the get the scale through technology and automation, you get the personalization through relationship building and establishing trust. And what's that balancing at look like to you? I think it's a I said, well, it's a loaded It's a really good question. I think it looks like and I'll give you a very tactical example of what it might look like at the REP level. I think a REP could use software to help simply automate connections only but no messaging, no cadence, no d M, no pitch slapping, because that will help populate your audience within your I c P. Right, there's a lot of tools out there that do that today. People have use them and use them that they get banned. So it's this kind of taboo thing. But let's say you automate that so you don't manually do it, and then it claus back, you know, the invites that don't go out. Okay, that's about as much software as I'd want to use in that effort. Now, on the other end, what I'd still do is who cares about the d M Because if you're creating content, you are now getting that first page of their newspaper developed, so as you expand your audience. Um, and this is the secondary tool. And I've given this idea to a few people. I said, so do that. Now, like this situation, have once twice five times a week, your I c p on and do a micro twenty minute podcast and just talk about them and talk about the problem that they're facing, and just let it be all about them. And then what you do is you post the content, tag them, give them the assets, and they go, oh wow, cool. I'm gonna take myself, show my friends and family because I like me and I'm a human, so when I get this stuff, it makes me feel good and I also want to advocate for myself. And so now that travels onward and you're also still connecting with your audience. And so while that's building over time and you're developing trust, credibility and relations and ships, you are also working traditional funnel through outbound, inbound, whatever. And before you know, you have so much funnel and credibility that you don't know what to do with it, and then suddenly have to build a company around it, like I did, just to support your efforts. So if that can happen out of one person with fifty eight people in a company doing seven half million, what could you do if you had the infrastructure of a company to help support that initiative and drive that out. Now, the problem is is they don't a lot of these companies don't encourage creativity. So they're gonna go yeah, I'd love to do that, but I'm afraid to go on on my own and post anything that linked in because HR will come down and say, what the hell are you doing? Or my boss will say, well, Geez, would be better if you're on the phone making cold calls and making videos at the break room. And so I get that. And if I were you and you really didn't like that, you wanted to get out of there, Get the hell out because that environment is for different people than you. That environment can have a very traditional seller who wants to sit in a great cube thrive. But if that isn't you, then that kind of sales role I think is the biggest need for sas companies right now, especially those who are willing to invest in taking a little bit of a quotum quote risk by allowing people to flex a little bit and enabling them...

...with called the mechanisms of video editing, you know, a content team to support their initiatives, go do it, fail a little bit, win a little bit, and then have them build that too, because whatever it does for them, that's good. Don't worry you're getting the benefit in the meantime when they move on, which they will anyways, they'll move on and you'll still receive the impact of their brand. And by the way, if they suck in their toxic and they're bad, you'll also receive the negative benefit of that. So be careful on who you hire and who you allowed to do that, and make sure that they're very authentic and they're more interested in you than they are themselves. That's the secret ingredient. The other angle to sales that I'd like to explore is messaging. That's something that you wrote about recently, and how it allows sales people to connect with prospects as someone like me who focuses a lot on position and messaging and the ability to be clear, coherent and instant, and how you go out to market. What's the rule of messaging and storytelling within sales? It's everything. We use a proof point as the second p problem, proof persuasion, and that proof is an emphasis on telling a story and telling a story in words that people understand. Salespeople tend to be very verbose, me too, rite We all want to talk, but when we when we when we stop and think and remember that the words that they hear and the story that they hear very simply, even if it's the same story over and over again, needs to be clear concise. Where you say, this is who it was, this is how it was before, this is what they did to solve it, and this is their life now that they solved it. And that's how we appreciate stories in human life. Hey, Mark, I went out, um was outside of this concert. Ran your buddy Tom Toms Austin. He was like, hey, how's Mark doing? And I was like, oh my god, Mark's awesome. Me so busy now, you know, da da da raising kids. And he was like, you know what, we all got to get together. And you know what I said, I was like, you damn right. And so what I did is I set up the time and I want you to go da da da, and then you're gonna go, okay, cool, a little bit of me in there. You know, that's good and it makes me feel good. And you told me a story that wishes I was there. Man, I missed that. So how do I get a part of that next time? I sure as hell, I'm gonna let's get that on the calendar right now. That sounds fun because it made me feel good because someone missed me, not because I missed the event. And I think that that ability to personalize that and make it about other people versus more about you is what's probably the biggest challenge for a lot of people now. One of the talks about the topics that I have to ask you about, and this is I guess controversial, and people are very polarized in terms of how they view it is cold, cold outreach, cold calling. You have one camp that says it's alive and well and it's what you need to do. To reach prospects be generally when they're busy these days. And then the other camp says, listen in a world for the relationships and authenticity and trust, it's just not going to work anymore. And and to me, this is a really fascinating topic because there's no right answer, but it would be interesting to get your view on cold and and how cold fits into your sales methodology and your sales workflows. The worst of targeting, the worst of the messaging, the colder it will feel. So I think if you want, you know, deep and wide with the fish neet um, you're gonna get a few in there. And you don't need super great messaging, and you just kind of need to get lucky. And that's why some companies have survived. Right It's it's called the old spran prey. But right now, I think I think cold will always have a place. Right. It's kind of like, you know, I met my wife kind of coming in cold. You know, when I approached her, she was not looking, you know, And I wouldn't have gotten called what I want if I would have sat on the hills and waiting for it. And so I think that those people who are bold enough to come in cold and have a very good idea of who they're I deal customer is and the messaging that that customer wants.

They can still survive with cold and they will survive, and they'll still have the benefits of an outbound message. But what we're seeing is traditional cold bound email is more than dead. Email is deader than a doornail. We did it to ourselves. D M s are deader than a doornail. We did it to ourselves, and cold mail and cold calls are deader than a doornail because we did it to ourselves. We kept calming people over and over again with no relevance, and they already feel like you're barging into their life. Um now I'll end with this is I think a warmer cold call is one that you can start to uh and Chris Walker will roll over, you know if he hears this. But yeah, let them raise their hand a little bit and cold calling, you know, now it's time to go out and get them and lead the horse to water, because they might have a problem and it might not be the first one, it may be the third one, but now might be the time to capture their awareness because if you do not demand capture on that and go out and grab the lead and generated in your funnel, which is now lead gen because you're awareness creat it that, but you're going to grab it and pulling them through. Now you are forcing things to happen. And if we look the amount of things in life that have happened due to force, whether it's how North America and America came to be or the history of Man, many things that happened in a big way, we're not due to people sitting back on their heels and waiting for the perfect situation. They were happening because of bold initiatives, and they were certainly patterned interrupts at the at the least. I have a client that has desperately tried for the last six months to leverage cold email. They've they've done it through a b M, they've done it through extracting information from Apollo, They've tried, tried different creative approaches, and time after time, the response has been almost zero, very few opens, no engagement, no conversations. Why has cold email died so quickly? It used to be the fact that you could get some engagement, you could get some conversations going, but seems to have crumbled and if it's if it doesn't work anymore, is dead. And if it doesn't work anymore, then what do companies do? From a from a cold perspective, I think cold creative companies are going to alternative channels to come in cold. So think about that, really, nontraditional ones like Cora, think about Reddit, think about what's appen like different mechanisms to come in on and stay away from SMS cold. Just stay away from it, trust me, because it's illegal number one, and all these other things. And I think that the idea is that cold is going to feel cold? So why did we not start looking at the other channels and exploring that although I might not know it, there are certainly millions and millions and millions of people who do. And for example, Cora very much unfamiliar to me until I started diving in. And then now you have to be engaging with people, and now there's these little sub communities that happen out there were although you're now still cold to them, they don't know you. You can find the time and the topic to insert yourself. And that's where I think the younger generation, for the most part, because they grew up in that ecosystem is going to look at like by the way, I could go to Facebook and how a success will be to be prospecting campaign by messaging every one of my prospects and adding them as a friend. There you have a much better chance than doing that through d MS on LinkedIn. By the way, I mean I tested it that works at scale. Um, there are you know a lot of different things you can do that feel cold by simply selecting the channel that's not being tapped into. And so I think it's less the art that's fatigued and the channels that are fatigued. There are cybersecurity solutions that will keep you out of inboxes. Enterprises pay people millions of dollars to make sure your email ever gets delivered. Their companies like Gated are now keeping you out of the inbox right And so when you look at your chances, you've got an offensive line of steel curtains from from sideline to sideline. So why are you focusing on pouring more money into a channel that, no matter what, a doesn't strike up a conversation that you can actually get benefit from. Be although it's your lowest cost channel. Could also just you know, harm your domain and...

...all sorts of terrible things that you can do by trying to depend on that. I would wait for the invention of seeing what web three does to allow you to diversify your email delivery. Um Emon Musk is delivered an email technology that's supposedly is going to be able to allow you to get through those barriers, and so I think with any sort of obstacle becomes innovation to get around it. So that will be the interesting part to me as seeing who is from a technology standpoint, going to crack the code on email because nobody has done it yet and people have spent billions of dollars trying. We're bouncing around a lot, But I did want to ask you about how sales and marketing should work together. Off the top, I talked about the fact that it's a one plus one equals three proposition that if sales and marketing can create a very cohesive collaborative partnership, then it becomes a virtual circle. Sales is feeding marketing the intel they need. Marketing is providing sales with the assets and the narratives and the messaging that they need, and then they can move forward in lockstep. That the fact that they can be very aligned in terms of how they're going to identify prospects, engage prospects, and and and attract them. How do you make that happen with an organization? Because sales marketing tends to operate in silos, and the head of sales and the head of market and have their own five stems that they protect. That world doesn't seem to strike me as as feasible anymore. So how do you make these organizations blend together and work together? You force it to happen. I think that's the only way. And I know that that sounds forceful, But here's a really good example of something I implemented. Is what I would do is take sales and marketing and every Friday, say we are going to do a ten minute micro podcast where you two are going to get on and do one together, and you're going to deliver that news to the company and what you're trying, what's working, and how you're succeeding. And you're forcing that to happen, which will force collaboration across the rest of the week. Now, it might start off bumpy, depending in your relationship, and now not only are you getting those two departments to work together, but you're reporting back to the rest of the company, which is now opening up your communication channels, which is every company's biggest problem. Right You might be in sales and all of a sudden campaign roles, I go, WHOA, what happened there? You know what? I didn't see that one coming, or we're certainly not locksteps. So I think something as simple and tactical as that really works well versus hoping and praying or hiring a trainer or or some moderator to come in and intervene between those two people. So that's just really tactical and it's free. You know, it's really free, and the outcomes will be significant. I wouldn't be a good interviewer if I didn't ask you about your approach to LinkedIn. Have you establish yourself as a leading an authoritative voice. But before we get into that, I wanted to get your take on the biggest mistakes that sales people make on LinkedIn because a lot of people are obviously jumping on the LinkedIn bandwagon. It's a great place to connect and have conversations, but all of us are feeling the pain of salespeople who are d m in us cold mus commenting on posts that have no relevance or posting stuff that is clearly sales oriented. Can you sort of look at some of the mistakes that they're making and how would you, as a sales leader advise people on how to take a better approach to LinkedIn? Well, I think right now we're seeing what happens in social media, which is um two years ago we're saying, hey, everybody like LinkedIn works? Where is everybody? And now we're seeing everything going okay, I'll try it, so we see you know, call it. The number one thing is there's a lot of STRs on LinkedIn. We all know that, right you know, they sell, they hit quota for one month and two months later they're starting seven side hustles and selling e books. And so if I'm a buyer or a prospect or someone looking at you, I'm going hell to the know, do I want to work with this person? So I think the number one thing we do is we don't represent what we do in the company we work for as well as we should. And we've taken the idea of personal branding and and just crushed it and said, oh... man, I can get a side hustle. Well, guess what you know, what a really good side hustle is is something where it's infrequent and that pays you a lot of money. And so master what you do today so well, or someone is willing to pay you less for time and more for value, and the best value is coming from successful outcomes from existing customers who refer you to other people over a period of time. And so, rather than forcing this to happen at at breakneck speed, realize that LinkedIn is is still a really good platform. If you go for trust before you know, call it reciprocity, If you go for getting before you go for receiving. And so comments to me, like when I see people commenting just for the sake of the algorithm, it really turns me off from them. It makes me also want to not like them because I'm going I see what you're doing. Now, I also respect it because I know you're playing that game, but you probably got a team of five people behind you helping you do that. Now, I've got a ghostwriter. She does not write my post. She takes what I talk about one hour a week and breaks it down and rewrites it right. So I do take advantage of a team. I have a video editor, real simple. But those are the people that I use on LinkedIn, and it's always me. When people d M me, it's me. And so I think that now when I look at how to do it right is over time. I build value. Over time. We've somehow got a catalog with five videos and posts that people have. You know, I get messages some people who are like man, I implemented this and I went from the worst SDR tow on the top eight in a year, and I'm like, man, that makes me want to cry. Like that makes me happy because I now started storing those in case I ever need those for a rainy day, but just to know the impact you had without asking people for it. I've never asked anybody for ship on LinkedIn, pardon my French. Never, I've only given. Now I have people who probably can't know I know. I have people who can't stand me, who would think that I'm not their kind of person. And that's okay. I used to get concerned about it. Now I don't even blink. I don't read the comments that are negative, and I if I if they're toxic, I delete them and block them just because you know what, it's my LinkedIn And so if I'm going to put the time and energy into putting what I believe is quality out there, I'm not going to let a troll come in and crash it. I'll let someone with a strong opinion any day. If they want to disagree with respect let's have a conversation in public. I'm all for that. But when you get disrespectful and you're one of the millions of trolls out there, then you know, move on. And and that's where I think LinkedIn is, Yes, you want to have an opening, candid conversation, but we did not show up to watch two people argue about petty things. Take that offline, and let's get back to call it business, which is how do we make each other better? How do we make each other profitable. At the end of the day, we're all in business to make money. Let's be honest. How do we help each other do that more without just trying to get money? And and that is built by value. And you know this, Marcus, this is your space. Is when you do it for people, you do it well, they're going to start to refer you, which is how you grow your business. Peel back the onion a little bit on the on your tactical approach to LinkedIn? Do you post every day? Do you do you look to post different types of content? I know, for example, that you you leverage video in a big way, but also a text post. Walk us through how your day to day approach to LinkedIn and how much you plan in advance versus what you do spur the moment. My morning posts are always written in real time, so that's me sitting down over a cup of coffee. The evening posts are always Mackenzie and me. We sit down and peel at a part, so that's typically when a video will happen. And now we're getting into pillars, so our approach is centered around what are we really talking about this week? How do we get themes in place so people don't feel like it's all over the place, right And when we look at the analytics on the post, which is where I look at the success of it, it's always founders and CEOs one and two who are getting the impressions. What that means to me is those are the people who it's resonating, whoever your target audience. And this is the tactical exercise I would tell everybody. Go to LinkedIn, go to your latest post and look at the audience impact and is the one, two or three within your targeted persona And if not, what are you gonna do today to change yet? So stop writing posts at other SDRs with like who cares? Like. Yes, it's great to have a community, but that's not what this is for. It is for you to establish yourself the space where people...

...who could potentially buy from you are engaging with your posts, not a community of other people struggling like you. Right, that's great, but you know what I call it, that's a community, right, Like go you can find that in rev Genius or whatever positive influence as an awesome community. Go in there and they will love you and treat you and take care of you. That's they do it awesome LinkedIn. Though, if you're an SDR and you're selling the manufacturing man, I would be researching manufacturing. That would be listening to every manufacturing podcast. I would be following every manufacturer thought leader, and I would become an expert man. I would wear a freaking hard hat and you know, I would just be the thing because to me, that's the only reason you should be doing that job. Is because you love the space. And if they know you'd love the space and you care for the space and you want the space to thrive, now they're gonna let you in to the circle. That's great insight because my experience in LinkedIn is that a lot of my comments are driven by marketers, and a lot of the content that I'm commenting on is by is written by marketers. So it's it's this sort of community of like minded people who are focused on the same thing to do. Yeah, and I look into my analytics, my top three audiences consistently are CEOs, founders, and the head of marketing, and that's all we care about. To me, that is that is success and if that keeps happening, then you know you're on the right track. One final question and and and this is the question that I should have asked you right off the top, is to talk about Selex. What does Selex do? You mentioned it's a services company and sass who does it serve? And why would someone want to hire Selex versus do sales and house? Yeah, Selex is a company that we are a platform, so we currently have the offering of call it what is traditionally known as outsourced SDRs. We have three plus xdrs. We love the x anything, right, So we're trying to over time, when we talked about this modern seller, how do we do that? Are people in more of a modern way? And modern doesn't mean email and digital, it just means thinking about it differently. And so when people want to use our platform and how us do that? That's what we do to Data's one that's we do that soup to nuts, like we write the content, we developed it the i c P. You probably know your i c P. So we're gonna pull data, clean data. Now, what we found over time is we are not the best fit for companies who don't know especially if they don't have a product market fit, they don't have a TAM identified, they have never flexed on outbound at all, if they don't have risk tolerance. That's gonna be us really going out and you know, tip of the spear, like okay, like this is gonna where are we marrying up with marketing. We're marrying up with messaging and a lot of companies know what do you mean? Like we're just supposed to do this thing called predictable revenue. Right, We've got an str and a you guys just make it happen and we get rich. And I'm like, well, no, I mean that was Salesforce and they had a secret thing called like the world's best CRM that they built over time, and that's how they built their business. Our targeted customer tends to be because of that environment. SASS is really that call it freedom. One hundred million is the sweet spot typical people. We talked to our CEO c r OS. But that platform that we're now calling a revenue enablement platform is as we walk into Q four and get bigger, right and now that we're gonna be able to beef up engineering and come in with some really exciting news pretty soon, is is we're going to be delivering a SAS product that we will compete directly without reaching sales long and we will be instead of a revenue engagement tool, we will be an enablement tool. So we can not only be a tool that you can use for your teams, but not just your sales teams, your demand gen teams, your marketing teams to get insights and run campaigns. And that is the central nervous system that Selex wants to become. And we have partner with Salesforce, HubSpot, callently Chili Piper. We're about to partner with companies like clear Bit, and so when you come to Selex you can start to plug in those things you need natively within us. If you think Salesforce and they're at marketplaces, we're building that same sort of marketplace that people are. One item you can get in the marketplace if you need a CRM that which would be I guess weird.

But if you needed to buy Salesforce you've never bought it, you could also buy Salesforce, and now we sink unilaterally with both HubSpot and Salesforce, it would be a good thing to have. You can also say, you know what, I don't have a tool like clear but I guess I've never been tracking my Okay, let's talk about that. Because if we actually went and took your website visitors that you're not doing anything with to day and then repurpose that to outbound, we have such a stronger ability to capture things. And so we're trying to not just be the legion. We're trying to say, how do we think about your entire revenue motion and how do we deliver software and people if that's what you need, that can allow you to push that forward. So that will be the transformation you see and will always keep that that people part as a emphasis point. But when I think of center right now, with that, think of having that be more left to right than intercent, and that will be something you can do on the platform that no other company, as a software company can offer, And so that will be a very unique distinguisher where companies can throttle us up and down with people as they need us, versus going to find the next legion firm on Tavilion because you need to put a band aid on a little bit of a wound. Final question, if people want to learn more about Selex and you, and I know the obvious answer. If they want to learn about you, where do they go? TikTok actually is where I'm having the most fun lately. Uh Steve sells stuff. Is my TikTok name LinkedIn is still somewhere where I hang out quite a bit. But TikTok has been super fun. And man, I'm telling you right now, the first deal came out of TikTok last week, Like we've got our first real deal that went to contract and a deal Velocity was five days from first conversation to contract. A lot of a b of BB sales people are still on the fence when it comes to TikTok. What sort of put you over the top. I needed a place to be entertained as much as I needed a place to learn, And honestly, like, I don't go there, and I don't want my kids on TikTok because man, there's some serious weird stuff to it now, especially with their now feature they just released, which is super creepy. But I do know that people are going there, and I'm a little sick and twisted to say no matter what, I was not for to linked in, but I will be first to TikTok. And so when there's market capture happening there, I'm gonna like Chris Walker that good luck catching up to him right now. If that's your goal, doesn't need to be that's kind of what I want to get that far ahead. So by the time you have a million, I have a million followers. The next person goes, man, I have twenty thousand. This is really tough. Not because I want to compete and beat everybody, but I want to be someone who is called the voice of reason within sales and the voice of TikTok in a generation that's all about bits and bites and sound bites. Well, it sounds very inspiring. I think for people like me who are just starting to get into into TikTok, it's good to know that people like you are already there and already starting to build an audience. It's fun. It's a fun creative process. It's it's it's a break from the call. It like, oh my god, I gotta get CEOs and founders. It's like, I don't know who's gonna watch this. And by the way I'll end with this is I turned a TikTok post just out of curiosity marketers will love this into a paid ad, just to see what an organic TikTok would do on TikTok as a paid ad. Put twenty bucks into it, uh, and it had I don't remember a hundred forty views, two thousand legs, no business, right, but the traction you can get on there. I think it's a lot like Facebook, where I'm like, I don't know where this is going, but people are looking at it, so nothing came out of it. So I'd say, until you have a clear message on TikTok who puts ad money? Just have fun with organic because that's where you're gonna get the biggest reach hold on your ad money on TikTok till you can figure out what you want to be the outcome of that, versus saying, oh my god, TikTok, we gotta go there, like redirect all our spending. Just do little tests, do little tests. Well, this has been a great conversation. We've covered a lot of ground, We've bounced around a lot, and we've hopefully we've explored some of the inner workings of sales that people need to know about. So I want to thank you for your time, and I want to thank people for listening to an other episode of Marketing Spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review, subscribe via Apple Podcast or your favorite podcast app, and share via social media. And to learn more about how I work with B two B stas Companies as a fractional CMO strategic advisor and on positioning and mess...

Chaine development, email Mark at Mark dot c A or connect with me on my dyin. I'll talk to you soon.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (104)