Rusty Hall from the theme song is back as guest host joining OGK because it is now KAC’s turn to attack a buzzword. In this, breakdown of awareness, reach, and consideration you will learn; the value of the funnel model, the often forgotten but crucial parts of the buyers journey, product value proposition, and much more.
In a hurry? Jump to 20:33 to get the three things you need to know.
A reminder that we have an open call for guests. Submit your buzzword using this form or type the link into your browser – https://bit.ly/must-contain-pitch. We can’t wait to hear what topics you want to break down with us in Season 2.
Hosted by Rusty Hall, and Kristin Crowe (OGK)
Theme Song: (00:01)
Intro Theme Music
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:36)
Hi, I’m Kristin Crowe
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (00:38)
and I’m Kristin Carideo.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:40)
And this is Must Contain the podcast from Etumos where we help explain the how of marketing, although we can’t always explain the why.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (00:48)
Join us every two weeks as we break down marketing and corporate topics and discuss what they really mean.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (00:53)
And if you enjoyed this podcast, please remember to like, follow or subscribe in all your favorite podcast platforms.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (01:02)
Welcome to episode ten of Must Contain, this is actually our last episode of our inaugural season, and we’re so thankful to those of you who’ve been with us the whole time and those of you who filled out our pitch form. We’re going to take some time to regroup, plan out season two and get back to you if you’ve submitted an idea. So, if you have submitted an idea, look out for something in the next month or so. This week, we’re still turning the mic over to our hosts, and Kristen (KAC) will be talking on a topic that is very dear to her heart. So, filling in on host duties, we’re joined once again by Rusty Hall.
Rusty Hall: (01:32)
Hi again, all. All right. Well, as you mentioned Kristin, today our guest is Kristin Carideo VP of Revenue and Client Results here at Etumos. Kristen, everybody probably knows you by now on the podcast, but if you’d like to give a formal introduction, please feel free.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (01:47)
Yeah, thanks for that. Again, I’m another Kristin. There’s so many of us. We’re legion. For the purposes of this episode. I guess it’s important to note that I’ve been both a prospect and a customer marketer in B2B SaaS and in services, which is obviously where I am now and in my agency life, both at Etumos and in previous employers. I’ve served almost wholly B2B SaaS companies, so from startup to enterprise. So, I’ve kind of seen it all and that’s the perspective I am coming to you with today.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (02:18)
So, what are you here to talk to us about?
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (02:21)
Oh, boy. OK, I’m here to talk about funnels. I, you know, think it’s really important to have a conversation about the funnel model of the B2B buying journey and to kind of deconstruct that as a model for B2B marketers.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (02:41)
OK, so funnels, why funnels? I mean, I know that’s not our typical first question. Usually, we ask you to define your topic, but I think we should start with why you’re bringing this topic to us today.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (02:54)
Yeah, I think it’s probably the whole reason I wanted to start a podcast specifically so that I could rant and rave about funnels, but I hate them.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (03:00)
Not beer funnels, right? Those are the good kind.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (03:04)
Yeah, no. I definitely don’t hate beer funnels, but I do hate B2B marketing funnels as a model, as a way of thinking about the customer journey. And I don’t know why we got so stuck on them as marketers and marketing ops folks. I know it was really trendy and buzzy like a few years ago with the advent of ADM to be like, forget the funnel and redefine it, but then everybody just went back to using the funnel. So, I am personally invested because of my experience in customer marketing with redefining how B2B marketers think about what is driving their demand at the top of funnel.
Rusty Hall: (03:40)
Wow, so the great funnel fight. I love it we’re here for a fight today. Let’s – let’s ring the bell.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (03:46)
First rule of the Fight Club, though, is don’t talk about fight club.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (03:50)
Yeah, I am here for a good time, not a long time in terms of how our listeners are, are thinking about me.
Rusty Hall: (03:59)
So, let’s just step back a second on our on our funnel discussion here. So now we can find out. So Kristin, what is a funnel? How do you define that?
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (04:08)
The capital “F” funnel is the typical way that lead journeys are mapped out in B2B marketing, so the most simplistic view to that is awareness, research, consideration. Sometimes there’s an evaluation phase in there as well. When you start talking about B2B SaaS and like demos and things like that. So, awareness, research, consideration, that for a long time has been considered the buying journey funnel. It’s modeled as a funnel because supposedly you have, you know, lots of people coming in at the top and then you whittle it down to the people who can actually buy your product using qualification and that’s where your sales skills come in. The serious decisions waterfall methodology, which we looked up and I think is from 2006 now and people are still using it. It’s really old. You know, that waterfall methodology was then followed by their like demand unit account based methodology. Those are both the operationalization of that kind of simplistic approach and broke down the funnel into points of handoff between sales and marketing so that you could measure and benchmark you know how your prospects were moving through their buying journey. Serious decisions methodology is very like internal facing, meaning it’s about your sales and marketing, whereas like awareness, research, consideration like those stages are really about how somebody is proceeding into purchase. So the way that marketing ops tends to look at this with the serious decisions methodology is like marketing is involved in awareness and part of research sales gets involved at the research stage takes it through research evaluation, if that’s how you’re thinking about it and into consideration. And then the sale is closed and nobody ever thinks about it again. That’s – that’s what the funnel model is.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (05:49)
So you don’t like it…?
Rusty Hall: (05:53)
That’s what we’re getting at.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (05:54)
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (05:55)
We boil it down for everyone. Kristin hates the funnel.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (06:00)
I hate the funnel model as a micro view into what people are actually doing as they’re considering a purchase of your product. I think it is OK. Obviously here at Etumos, we work with our clients to benchmark and measure their funnel through those serious decision waterfall stages. And I think like as an aggregate measurement of conversion, velocity, all of those fun metrics, it is a good model in aggregate. I think if you’re a marketer, though, like you really should be thinking about your journeys at the micro level, your customer experience, your prospect experience at the micro level, what is actually driving people to purchase? And I think it is a crappy model at the micro level to capture everything that is happening that goes into a services purchase. In the case of Etumos, or a B2B SaaS purchase.
Rusty Hall: (06:55)
If we agree then that, you know, we shouldn’t be looking at, you know, the funnel with a capital “F” for individual buying journeys. What is the kind of shared lingo that we can we, as marketers can use when we’re talking to sales and we don’t get that like glazed over look, because you’re not using the right buzzword. What should we be thinking about?
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (07:13)
Yeah. So I’m always really skeptical of buzzwords that’s kind of the whole point of the podcast. So I don’t have a great answer there. But I will say when people were kind of talking about, oh, like down with funnels, I saw a lot of models that were more of like a bow tie or an infinity symbol. And I like those better. I know that there are those models out there. So if you Google, like other models of B2B marketing or like non funnel models of B2B marketing, you’ll see some of those diagrams where it’s like an infinity loop. And what I think those capture nicely is the impact happy customers have on your pipeline and on the acceleration of your sales. That’s like the one thing that the funnel model does not capture that needs to be understood and captured, especially by B2B SaaS prospect marketers. It’s really important for us here in services marketing to understand that. People show up at the top of the funnel because other people they know tell them to go look at your product. We’ve always, as B2B marketers, conceived of this awareness stage as, Oh, I have a problem. By the time people show up on your website, they’ve been directed there because they knew they had a problem. six months ago, they went and had, you know, a drink with their buddy. Their buddy was like, “Hey, I just implemented this great product. It’s really helping me out. You should take a look at it.” They show up on your website. They’re not at awareness stage anymore, but that is not captured at all in the in the aggregate way that we tend to look at that buying journey as B2B marketers.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (08:47)
So how do we capture it as marketers? So people are out there, your average Joes talking and typing up your solution to their friends over beers and your new prospects are coming to your website. More at the consideration stage because someone already told them this is the best of the best and did all the research. How does marketing get involved?
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (09:06)
I think that that’s a really hard question, and I know for our marketing and marketing ops listeners like this is where I like I’m expecting pitchforks, because it’s really, really hard to measure and our org structures here are kind of failing us. The marketing department tends to be viewed solely as prospect marketing. Customer marketing is usually handled somewhere else. That’s not always true in every organization, but that’s true a lot of the times. It’s one of the things that actually got me to Etumos was this idea that I would kind of oversee our customer side and also oversee some of the marketing pieces because I think that connection is so important. Marketing needs to be in touch with customers. We talk a lot about sales and marketing alignment, and now I wish we were talking more about customer and marketing alignment or product and marketing alignment. Why were customers purchasing your product? I think if marketers actually, like, sat down and called them and asked them, they would hear a lot of, “Oh well, my friend uses you,” or, “oh, I was able to really quickly see what it was going to take to implement your product.” And we’ll get into that a little bit more later. But the measurement for that is really hard and it’s not clean. You know, there are platforms that help you kind of measure the lift of your customer advocacy program, which can be really helpful products like Influitive and Get Satisfaction and things like that. Those are sort of there to create a customer community and gamify that and measure it. But I’m talking about things that even would happen outside of those structures, right? Like you really can’t measure two people having Zoom beers and talking about your solution. What you can measure is the happiness of your customers right? Through, I mean, most organizations do an NPS something of that nature like CSAT. The happiness of your customers and how that impacts your top of Funnel X number of weeks, months, years, later right? I think the one thing that. Is a big miss in a lot of organizations in terms of measurement is we do a lot of work trying to capture lead source, right? And that lead source is usually related to a marketing channel like they came in through the website. They googled something. It’s organic, like whatever. A lot of cases, what’s actually happened is they’ve reached your site directly because their friend has told them to go there. That’s not really captured in kind of a marketing ops focused lead source structure. And if your sales team is not asking, how did you find out about us and able to capture it was a referral in a way that makes sense for how you want to measure your attribution. That is a huge miss where you’re going to miss all of the data around OK. Yes, they googled us, but like really what caused them to Google us or Google terms related to us is that their friends told them to go do that.
Rusty Hall: (11:51)
So in talking about that. It sounds kind of like our org structures are failing us a lot through measuring this marketing, right? If we’re talking about having prospects, customer marketing, along with account management, having all that came on the same team. What would that ideal structure look like then? If we’re bringing everybody on to kind of the same, the same marketing team, the same kind of goals?
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (12:11)
So and again, like, I’m not going to advise every single one of Etumos’ customers on their marketing org structure, like, that’s not my place. But I do want to say, you know, I used to work at an unnamed organization. I was a customer loyalty marketing manager and it was we were totally under a different VP than marketing. We were under the same VP as like our account management team. But we like there was a totally different VP of marketing, and that structure was so deeply frustrating because I knew what was going on with the customer side, and that information never made its way back to marketing. So don’t do that. I think in a lot of cases, you know, I wouldn’t recommend necessarily putting marketing, prospect marketing, customer marketing, account management, your service team, which is an important part of this as well, which we can talk about and like all of those people on the same- in the same org. But again, like as we’ve talked about sales and marketing alignment, I think having customer marketing alignment and customer marketing on the same team as marketing is really important. Where you place your account managers as an organization is going to depend on, you know, your own goals and how that sits within your org. But there also needs to be some tie back between account management and prospect marketing. However, you’re going to do that in your org things that are coming up for your customers that are points of friction with your product or with the implementation, like if you have a separate implementation team for your SaaS product, they’re a really good source of data as well. All of that intel that your customer accounts managers and your implementation teams and your service teams are getting all of that information should make it back to your prospect marketers because that customer experience the frictionless move from sales to implementation to happy customer investing in that is going to improve your top of funnel like it’s going to improve the acceleration of your sales. It’s going to improve your top of funnel and your implementation team knows that implementation gets a little bit rocky at points A, B and C, being able to prep people who are still in early phases of their of their sale for that, it’s going to create a better customer experience. And then a year from now again, if we’re talking, hopefully a year from now, it’s no longer Zoom beers, but we’re talking beers like, you know, a year from now, you know, that person’s going to say to their buddy, “Hey, you know, it was a little rocky in the implementation phase, but they prepped me for it like I knew it was coming, and they really helped me through that process,” and that customer experience – I think that’s so important for driving that top of funnel piece and it just gets missed so much.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (14:49)
I think it’s safe to assume most of our listeners are not in the dream scenario because it’s pretty rare breed. They are B2B marketers, marketing ops folks sitting and supporting prospect marketing, and they’re listening to you saying, Wow, I could. There’s a lot more I could do here to improve the way I measure and how I track and what content I put out there knowing that what can they do? Where can they get started knowing they’re not- they need more, but they’re not going be able to change the structure of their organization?
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (15:18)
Well, you could talk to your account managers like, I don’t know. I think that that’s a great place to start. I know when we had Christine to talk about sales and marketing alignment, I don’t know that was like episode three or four. She talked a lot about just like those informal connections to the sales team, and I think that those are really important too. So go have a chat with your account managers in lieu of that or like if you want something that’s a little bit more reportable or database, I think a great place to start is tickets. If you have a ticketing system for services integrated with your CRM, like if you have service cloud for Salesforce and that’s how you’re ingesting tickets, go look at that. If you’re if you’re solely a prospect marketer, go look at the tickets and the issues that your customer set is having with your product, with the implementation of your product in particular. Obviously, the product marketers are already doing that. But if you’re – if you’re tasked with even the top of pipeline, like driving top of pipeline MQLs that kind of stuff, go read that and see what people actually think of your product. And based on that suggests content to prep your prospects for those potential issues. In a former life, I did some original research into the B2B SaaS buying journey and the one place that, like IT professionals kept calling out as something that they wished marketing would do is more content around what implementation is going to be like. Because if you think about that scenario, we talked about, upfront where like somebody already knows about your product, you’ve already been told it’s a great product, they’re on your website, really the content they want, like they want to get their hands on your product. You should let them do that to the extent that you can, you should get them – they should not have to talk to sales to like, actually operate your product. No demos. Get them into a free trial if you can manage it and then, you know, content around. Here’s what the implementation process is going to be like because nine times out of ten, it’s not necessarily that they don’t know that they need a solution or that they aren’t sure that your solution is right, but they’re on your website to determine price. Get their hands on the product and do I have time to do this in the next six months? And if you remove the friction around getting that information, I think that you’re going to accelerate sales in a way that a lot of other organizations aren’t doing. It was really trendy to do thought leadership only for a little while. I feel like all that stuff’s important because it will kind of reach audiences that maybe are outside your referral customer set. But truly, like there is a miss in prospect marketing of, you know, creating content that helps your prospects understand what this is going to be like from the moment that the sale closes all the way through to getting to a place where they’re implemented and they’re using your product.
Rusty Hall: (18:02)
That brings us to another topic, right? We hear this buzzword, too “Product Lead Growth” and talking about like taking down those, you know, friction – areas of friction, those barriers and just making sure that the product is solid and we’re leading through growth by just having a rock solid product. I’m sure that’ll be its own buzzword topic in a future podcast. But yeah, what do you think about the idea of, you know, the product led growth strategy here since we’re kind of touching on that?
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (18:29)
Yeah, I hate that term too. I just hate the term. I don’t hate the concept. I just I hate that – like as marketers, we have to like, market our own-
Rusty Hall: (18:40)
Everything gets a fancy word-
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (18:41)
Yeah, yeah. Like your product is so important. And again, I think one of the things that drives me a little bit crazy about the way that B2B marketers tend to use funnel models is by saying like, oh, we need all this awareness content, right? Like awareness content. We need thought leadership awareness content. Thought leadership is great. And I will say, like again, I’m talking about B2B SaaS, because that’s where a lot of our customers sit it’s different. If you’re marketing services like for us, at Etumos thought leadership is super important because our product is like everybody’s brains, right? But if you have, you know, a SaaS product, this product led growth model is essentially doing what I – what I just said like creating content around the product, making it frictionless for somebody to experience the product, investing in that experience. And we are seeing that a lot more, I think, and how our customers are trying to connect product signals, right? Like – like somebody finished their free trial or have they actually logged into the product into their marketing automation platforms, you know, using those signals to trigger relevant marketing? “Hey, you finished your trial like, let’s talk about next steps” or “hey, I noticed that you didn’t use this particular feature that we think is really great and great for your use case. Like, here’s how you use it,” right? Like all of that kind of trial nurture kind of stuff. Products led growth again, it’s a silly name for something that everybody should be doing, which is investing in the customer, the upfront experience of the product that you’re giving to prospects.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (20:15)
We’ve talked about everything Kristin hates in one episode.
Kristin Carideo (KAC): (20:19)
Everything, literally everything I hate about marketing.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (20:22)
Super successful and a great way to close with all the things you hate. So, you know, thanks for your time. And just in case you missed it, here are the three things you really need to know about funnels all the things Kristin hates;
One. Your demand is being driven by your customers in far more ways than your marketing is measuring. Make sure, as a prospect marketer, you understand the pain points and frictions your prospects and customers feel when they purchase and create content that helps them.
Two. don’t get stuck in the old ways. The buying journey is not as linear as it used to be. Awareness research consideration aren’t always what they seem. The Capital F funnel is a lot flatter, and marketers need to recognize part of the awareness and research stages are happening before a web visit. Plan your content accordingly.
Three. You are your product. Consider removing as much friction in your prospects, getting their hands on the product and the understanding of the implementation and onboarding process as possible. People want to know what it’s really going to be like to use the product. They don’t need as much fluffy thought leadership as they once did,
Rusty Hall: (21:28)
And that’s it for Must Contain Funnels, a.k.a. things that Kristin hates we’ll be on hiatus for a little while, as Kristin mentioned, but we hope that you’ll be back. We’ll have some other great MOPs professionals here on the mic to talk about buzzwords that they need deconstructed or just made fun of in some cases. Until next time, remember in all things MarTech, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Kristin Crowe (OGK): (21:54)
This episode was produced by Kristin Crowe, Kristin Carideo, Ali Stoltzfus and Lindsay Walter. It was edited by Kristin Crowe, theme music by Rusty Hall. Special thanks to our guest host Rusty Hall. And that’s it for Must Contain season one. We’ll see you with more great mops buzzwords after a short break. In the meantime, you can visit us at Etumos.com/Must-Contain. I’m Kristin Crowe, and we’ll see you in season two.