Everybody’s talking about the evolution of customer experience, but has B2B marketing really changed that much in the last 20-30 years, or is there just a lot more noise generated by the glut of technology solutions used today by marketers? Daniel Kushner, CEO of Oktopost joins MarketOne’s own Shaun Ma to discuss the issue and suggest how we might cut through the noise and return to the core tenets of marketing.
Mary Kleinsorgen (00:00:00):
Hi everyone, Happy New Year and welcome to Funnelocity, the B2B sales and marketing podcast, where we exchange views with some of the top industry experts on what it takes to succeed in global demand generation and elevate the customer experience. We’re your hosts, Gifford Morley-Fletcher, Senior Marketing Strategist, and Mary Kleinsorgen – that’s me – Principal Consultant here at MarketOne. We’re back for season two. We’re really excited about the lineup of guests this year. So let’s get to it.
I’m super stoked for today’s episode. So, I have to explain this for our listeners though. All right. So, to break this down, MarketOne partnered with Oktopost a few months ago on a webinar, and they had this brilliant conversation around ‘The Silent Killer of Pipeline’ and what you can do to keep your pipeline alive and drive the business forward. And for our listeners that they haven’t already, highly recommend checking it out. It’s gonna be on our website, it’s on Oktopost.com, but it is this mind-blowing conversation and kind of like this murder mystery type of format. I’m not gonna do any spoiler alerts here on who the murderer is. So, you have to check it out. But the reason why I bring it up is today, we have this sequel now to chat about, a slightly different topic about how we’re all talking about the evolution of customer experience. Yet, if you think about it as marketers, all of our challenges have remained the same over the years. So this isn’t gonna be this murder mystery, you know, type of format. But I can tell you that our guests are gonna slay it today. So Giff, do you wanna intro our guests, please?
Gifford Morley-Fletcher (00:01:50):
I sure can. And, you know, I love a sequel. I mean, just when you thought it was safe to go back into the podcast, it just, it fits. So, onto our guests. Daniel Kushner is a serial entrepreneur, B2B marketing expert and social media enthusiast. With more than a decade of experience, leading marketing and sales organizations in global tech companies, his latest venture is Oktopost. The only social media management and employee advocacy platform designed for B2B companies. As the CEO of Oktopost, he’s helping B2B marketers measure the true business value of social media marketing. Welcome Daniel.
Daniel Kushner (00:02:34)
Thank you. And thanks for that great intro.
We’re also joined by MarketOne’s Global Director of Strategic Services. Shaun Ma. Shaun has over 12 years of performance focused MarTech experience, along with a passion B2B enterprise and helping fortune 500 clients achieve marketing excellence in an ever increasingly complex world. Focused on CX and full end-to-end platform orchestration, Shaun’s past career highlights include enabling CDP capabilities in organizations before CDPs were commercially available, and pushing marketing automation to the limits of its capabilities in order to deliver the ideal customer experience. Shaun is also our fearless leader and like a good cup of coffee, he’s warm, nourishing, a little bitter at times, but always welcoming. Thanks for being here, Shaun.
Shaun Ma (00:03:20):
Jokes. Thanks Giff. And, thank you Daniel for being here. This is killer. So yes, excited for this episode. And Mary, you bring up an interesting point, right? Like last time we had this conversation with Oktopost about what is the silent killer of pipeline. I love that Oktopost as their podcast always asks the right questions. And this is an interesting kind of like continuation of that conversation in a way. But maybe we’ll just zoom out for a sec. Daniel, maybe, some thoughts from you on where marketing sits today. And I don’t mean to ask such an open question, but specifically look, marketing is this very nebulous thing, right? And as in industry, it’s constantly chasing after the cutting edge, but then you start to, as you, as you sit through marketing for, through your career and build it whatever, you start to see, like, are these questions really repeats over and over again? Is there anything actually new? And you know, whether the answer is yes or no, how does an organization really elevate itself from its other cohorts in its competition industry to really move the needle? What’s your view on that today?
Wait, so you say you don’t wanna ask an open-ended question Shaun, and then you go ask a super open-ended question that can take me two hours just to, you know, touch on certain aspects. I’ll try to give my best you know, like where is marketing today, you know, compared to where we came from in marketing. I think one on the surface level the core guts of marketing it’s still there and hasn’t changed. There’s just lots of noise in marketing and marketing teams. And I believe that a lot of the noise has been created by automation platforms. I heard that, that you are well into your marketing automation knowledge. So I think we should do another podcast of just around marketing automation.
But there’s so much you know, technology in the marketing stacks today. I think we we’re forgetting what core marketing is. And that’s where you know I believe that that as marketing moves forward in the next few years, those kind of the MarTech stacks that we have today are gonna start to be consolidated and make it a little bit smaller and simpler. ‘Cause it seems like the many markers today they’re using technology to solve problems, but that’s just the plaster it’s not, they’re not solving the core problem. And that’s why, you know, there’s certain times that I see organizations they have tens, if not hundreds of different pieces of technology that needs to be glued together. And then you even have technology to understand what technology you’re using and to manage the expenses of all the technologies that are using. That’s another piece of technology. So who’s gonna manage that? And it’s just become such a huge mess. And this constant run after the next shiny tool, the next shiny solution. And you know, at the end, it’s just people trying to solve marketing problems. And I believe that we have to go back to the core marketing concepts that were written 10, 20, 30 years ago, and start to work away up from there.
It’s interesting thing that you raise, like you’re almost describing maybe a chicken and egg situation. Because the questions that come up is then number one, is marketing actually measuring the right things? Like, is it a measurement problem that leads to this? Because you started off by saying, there’s a lot of noise and you know, all these tools add to that, but this noise I’m imagine also is like end user facing as a consumer of marketing. Is that noise too rampant? And how does marketing navigate itself through the current world?
Yeah. So when we talk about noise, I think there are two parts of the noise, right? One is the noise that our prospects and customers are hearing cause of all, so many marketers trying to get their attention. And there’s the other noise, which is internal. And there have to be very different topics of conversations. So, first of all, from the internal, and one of the topics that you brought up was around measurements is what do I measure. Now, if we look at the good old days, sales was measured with dollars or euros or pounds, wherever you are. And marketing was measured with leads. It was simple. When you fast forward today, you have the MQLs and the SQL and the SOLs. And then when it comes to so social, we have the likes and the followers month over month, and how many comments.
And then you’re looking for the brand at Glassdoor reviews and at those reviews and due to crowd reviews. So there are so many different types of metrics that we start to get lost. And when you look at marketing dashboards and Excel spreadsheets, or, you know, platforms that they might be using, it’s just all over the place. And I think as human beings, we we’re not smart enough to consume so many numbers and see trends in numbers. So, I think one, the internal noise on what we are measuring, it has to be dumb down. Now I’m a simple person. I want simplicity in my life. Right? Give me one number that I can know if it’s good, or if it’s bad, right. You’re driving a car, you’re looking at your speed. That’s what you need to know the speed of the car, right?
You don’t know how many revs the engine is doing. You don’t care these days, right? Maybe 50 years ago, you cared, but it’s like, you have this one number, are you over speed limit under the speed limit? And then you have warning signals. And the same with marketing, I believe when we’re measuring marketing, we should be measuring with one single number. The, and this is the, I wouldn’t even say leads cause you wanna understand marketing contribution in regards to value and dollars. I would say marketing influenced opportunities. How many opportunities are you opening? I don’t care if they close or not. This is up to sales, right? Salesmanship. But how many opportunities are you opening on a weekly month monthly basis that derived directly from marketing influence or marketing activities? It’s one simple number. It captures a lot of the metrics that you’re checking on the way, and it can show an indicator are you increasing or decreasing? So end of the day, a number in itself has zero relevance, a hundred opportunities. Is that good or bad? I don’t know. You wanna see trends. So, my opinion again, is measuring the marketing influence or marketing generated opportunities. But most importantly, you have one thing which you know, how to measure, which is objective. It’s the zero subjectiveness, it’s an objective number. And then you start looking at the trends. Are you going up or are you going down? But as long as you’re measuring it exactly the same way, month over month.
So this is, this is really interesting. It’s, it’s really meaningful to hear you say it. In that, look, marketing is kind of, maybe the industry makes it more complicated than it seems. If I may say that. Meaning like all these tools, addressing all these different use cases you are saying produces a lot of noise internally. And what that does is it causes marketing to lose focus. And if we are to refocus marketing, you’re saying like, look, simplify it. And one of the primary factors marketing should be looking at as, with regards to determining if it’s successful or not, is marketing generated bookings or leads or what have you, right? Like basically marketing’s direct influence to pipeline.
Marketing’s direct influence to pipeline. Yeah. And you know, I think it’s not, you know, the way that I look at its even simpler cause pipeline is a dollar value. That’s in the early stages, it comes up from the account executive or the sales rep, right? So it’s now subjective, right? I want zero subjectivity. I want as much as objectiveness as I can within those numbers. Right? So even if it’s generated opportunities, right? So here at Oktopost, for example, we generate an opportunity when something happens. It’s not, if, oh, am I gonna sell to this company? Let me create an opportunity. Right? If we have a discovery call that matches A, B, C, D criteria, that’s an opportunity. I don’t care if you think you can sell, or can’t sell, you might sell, they don’t have budget, they do have budget, right? This specific thing happens. Discovery call with criteria, you open an opportunity. And then we know that this opportunity come from a webinar, from a podcast, from a trade show, from in inbound, was it an SDR that called, was it, you know, a customer referral. You have the opportunity source. And then you gather all the marketing opportunity sources and you know how much they created. And then when you know you’re measuring the same thing, then you start looking at the trends. Am I going up? And I’m I going down?
Yeah. It’s a good point. Where my head goes is like, first of all, that there’s many optimizations there, right? Because you’re saying you are laser focused on how marketing is driving, meaningful conversions. Meaningful conversions, as you define it is, you know, there needs to be a certain set of criteria that needs to be met before it’s an opportunity for Oktopost. So actually, the way Oktopost labels opportunities is a level down than most organizations. So it’s more meaningful, right? But then there’s the other side of it, which is, are there not marketing activities that may not be direct influence to opportunities? But when I say that, I mean, marketing’s also responsible for advocacy, driving brand. You know, there’s almost like a partially not measurable cost to marketing. If you’re gonna try to associate it to opportunities. Right? So, as a marketer on that side, maybe more brand side or product marketing, do you have advice for people who sit in those seats?
I’m gonna say something that might be really, really unpopular. And that’s not everything is measurable. That’s one. We have to live with that fact. And sometimes we don’t wanna measure everything. I’ll give you a radical example. However, I’m not getting in trouble with, you know, our peers. Okay. Let let’s look at analysts. Okay. So we won’t name, we won’t name them, but we know analysts, right? They charge a hefty fee for annual subscriptions. So you can talk with them. You can debrief them. You can do inquiries. To measure how effective that investment was, right, if it’s 50K, 100K, 200, whatever you’re spending on analyst is virtually impossible. And this, you are actually interviewing each prospect that comes your way. Right? Cause you are talking with a bunch of analysts. They’re going, you know, to their other meetings and they say, oh, you know what? We spoke with Oktopost. You might be interested or they’ll talk with other analysts or with other prospects. Right. Analysts, they have a lot to do with also M&A the back, but no one sees it. So, what’s the ROI of signing up for an analyst subscription? Right. In my opinion, it’s practically impossible. Right. But it’s that you need to do it right. If you are selling into enterprise, if you are in a specific, domain talking with the analyst, having them understand what you do, having them write about you putting them in magic quadrants, in curves, whatever waves. This is, you know, you need to be there. Right.
So, the things which are, are a part of the game, part of the marketing game that you don’t always have to measure, right? Podcasts. They’re extremely difficult to measure. Because there’s no like link trackability or it is very hard to, oh, I heard you in a podcast on the way to work. And two days later I did a Google search and found your products. And go measure. Right. You can measure from surveys from, you know, asking how do you hear about our company, our solution, but, you know, I think, you know, the things we would also come from the gut feeling, right. My gut feeling is that podcasts are amazing for brand, amazing for thought leadership. It gets your word out. Does it generate leads? 100%. Does it help push opportunities down the pipeline? Does it position your company or service at a better place among competitors? I have no doubts. Well, you know, where is that coming from? It’s all subjective gut feeling.
I love what you’re saying, right? Cause you look at MarTech today, the industry goes towards this world of measure everything. But as you’re suggesting earlier, like there’s a big noise problem. And there’s a big theme here, right? So you’re saying like marketing as an organization, there are very specific things that you can focus on from a meaningful metric perspective. That’s what you should be looking at. There are other aspects of marketing that you do, as you say are part of the game. There’s a certain mix of ingredients that needs to be understood well to play that game. But those are not necessarily things you have to be so focused on measuring, because maybe there’s too many assumptions to make that measurement. There’s basically a lot of unknowns for dot connecting. So is it actually a good exercise to pursue or not? Right.
Yeah. You know, I can just give, you know, give 1 example of what I see as kind of false measurement or, or false, we call it false measurement. So, you take a marketing organization and someone in the demand gen team is trying to generate more leads. That’s what they generate. And you go pay for some content syndication, right? So, you have your white papers, e-Books on some third-party websites and people register, they leave their name. You get a bunch of names from this content syndication service, this offering. And let’s say, you’re a company you’re generating a thousand leads a month. And with this content syndication, they’re giving you another 300 leads a month. Cause you you’re basically paying per leads. So you went from 1000 leads to 1300 leads, right? A 30% increase. Now a marketer can come and present to the board to leadership, to whoever, to the team. We increase leads by 30%, we went from 1000 to 1,300, is that good or bad?
In my opinion, it’s meaningless because where do we get the leads from? We get got them from content syndication, which is most likely over lesser quality. Yes. Now I’m sorry. I like being radically transparent. You know, we have our podcast, Radically Transparent, we go with the flow. So, we increase leads by 30%, but what’s the value of those leads. Right. And that’s why I’m going back. The way that I believe you should be measuring is how many opportunities are you creating from those marketing activities? Right. So maybe the 300 leads created five opportunities, right. And the 1000 leads created a hundred opportunities. So I’m just throwing out numbers, right? So, you have 10% conversion on your regular leads and then, you know, smaller percent conversion on these. Right. So, it might be creating something, but it’s definitely not 30% increase. Right. So, it’s also measure what matters, right. Measure what you can take at the back and either change something that you’re doing, right. Increase, dial up, dial down, right. Or measure something that shows value.
I have a question cause you’re making interesting statements here. And by the way, I love it. Like we very much subscribe to the way of thinking that you’re explaining this, these problems. Because it really does help refocus marketing today. So, it sounds like we’re talking a lot about marketing attribution. At the end of the day, marketing should understand how it’s driving opportunities. Right. So if we go with that then, and you’re saying how you also got to make things simple in terms of measurable, actionable all this, but in a long B2B sales cycle, how does marketing really figure out its attribution? Because of course you can say like this was the last touch point that enabled an opportunity. I understand. But what about all that work that led to it? How do you connect those dots? Do you have advice for them?
Again, this is gonna be unpopular. I would always go with the first touch. And the reason, cause if there wasn’t a first touch, there are no multiple touches. There’s no last touch. Right. You know, I’ll give you an example, which is unrelated. I’ll try to change the story so cause the context is kind of top secret or, you know, under NDA. But, speaking with a friend on some business activity that we’re doing here. And then, you know we spoke about someone that we worked with a few years ago. I said, you know, this guy, you know, he was great, but you know, didn’t bring much value. And then he said, yeah, but what you’re doing today, right, is a result of one single introduction that he did five years ago.
Right. And that introduction led to me knowing someone else, someone else, and it followed up and you know, you have the whole butterfly effect you can call that, that led to where we are today. So, if it wasn’t for that initial interaction or that initial person that I engaged with nothing else would’ve followed up, right. I could have taken a different path to get to the same position, but who knows. And the same with leads. If we don’t have, if that lead find you on a webinar or they didn’t download that white paper and that was the first touch, they might never see you again. So I’m a big fan of, of first touch attribution.
That makes sense. That makes sense. So now with that in mind, first touch attribution, I think in terms of digital marketing, when we talk about that, it is the point at which a person became known, right? So, in your examples, they’re downloading a white paper, what have you, they probably gave an email address, right? And, if that’s what we’re talking about, my question is, in your opinion, does the industry put too much emphasis on the value of email for B2B marketing?
If we put too much value on getting the email itself?
No, not getting the email itself. Meaning B2B is a little bit old world, in some ways with regards to how they go to market. And, there’s a lot of, there continues to be so much heavy focus on email being important. Email is a channel, important channel, to market. But you know, if we talk about noisy channels, that’s probably one of the most noisy channels. And are people looking at email maybe in a dated fashion or is it still relevant? Do you have an opinion on that and how do we make you better?
I think it’s super, email is super important. But it has to be used at the right time. And I believe that that’s the secret sauce, right? It it’s 90%, 80% is timing. Right. So think about all the you know, intent data that’s available to date, right. That can be used in conjunction with email. Cause we all get dozens of emails, if not hundreds of emails a day that are irrelevant. Right. So, we, you know, Oktopost, we raised like 20 million a few months ago from a great group in the UK, Expedition Capital. They got to us through a cold email, right. They and I have the email, they sent in January, a cold email. They even used an old email that I had at Oktopost, like when we were in the very, very early days, we founded the company, you know. We founded in 2013, you wanna seem big. So how do you seem big? You have like long emails, Daniel dot Kushner, Oktopost.com. Right. I had that long email for about two and a half days. I said, I’m not gonna write this email every time I have to write my email. So, I changed it to Daniel at Oktopost.com and then Daniel dot Kushner at Oktopost.com became in alias. Right. Then until today points to my email. So the email that I got from Expedition was to Daniel dot Kushner, right. It’s some lead database, right? Yeah. Cause it’s not an email that I use, but the timing was super. Right. Seven days before we had a board meeting and we discussed doing the round. Right. So the, the emails like, and you know, this is a 20 million dollar email basically. Right. But the timing was spot on. So I think emails are super relevant. If you have the time right. If you don’t have the time right, it’s 100% irrelevant. And I think the vast majority of emails, they don’t have the timing right.
Yeah. As you say, secret sauce, that’s very, like, if people figured that out, then of course it would be air quotes, easy. Interesting.
Yeah. You know, and there’s so many things that we can do, like when we’re talking about data, right. Data is king and, you know, we’re using the data smartly. Right. So, you know, how many companies do you know? You know, you work with lots of organizations. Are you looking at the data that the account executives get? Okay. So they speak with, a prospect, they say, no, we are in contract until March 23. Yeah. Right. How many times are organizations using that date? March 23. Go back two, three months and send an automated email. Like nurture them based on that conversation, the dates they got from that conversation. Right. That’s getting the timing right. And the email right. We’re not doing that. I don’t know who is doing it. But that’s what we should be doing as marketers.
Would you consider that to be a core factor of ABM, that kind of activity?
Don’t get me started with ABM.
Started with ABM.
You hit a nerve, Shaun.
ABM was done in the sixties, right. Used to send, I don’t know, doctors golf balls. And they say, come here, I’ll give you the golf club. It’s and nothing has changed, you know, just a fancy three letter word or acronym and you know, some more technology to try to solve it.
I said, thank you for saying that.
I’m not gonna be popular. I don’t wanna be popular. I wanna.
No no, exactly, this is meaningful. This is, what’s the word, polarizing, polarizing statements. But, based on what you’re saying then is you’re saying since the sixties, it is 2021, marketing hasn’t advanced?
So what I think we’ve definitely advanced, right? Some, you know, amazing brands doing amazing marketing and you know, we’ve definitely, you know, changed. I think that there are so many that are trying to find these quick fixes. Right. So let’s, you know, we need more leads, you know what let’s do ABM, cause everybody’s doing ABM and they go rush to ABM. Like, what are you doing? But you know, ABM account executives, they had lists of accounts they had to go after in the eighties and nineties. Right. I’m just throwing out dates. Cause you know it’s a long time ago. Right. So, you know, what has changed there saying these are my target accounts, these are the companies that I wanna sell to. I’m gonna map the accounts, map the contact, see who’s there, see where I have connections, send them stuff in the mail in snail mail, send an email, send a postcard, invite them to dinner. What’s changed.
That’s true. Well, this is an interesting point. This is a very interesting point. So actually, if I distill down what you’re saying, at the end of the day, there’s progress, but nothing really has changed because actually we’re still humans marketing to humans, right? Like that’s what we’re talking about. That it’s, it’s the same construct that we’re working within always.
We’re still humans marketing to humans. The issue is that you brought up in the beginning, Shaun, is the noise, right? Because there’s so many more solutions and so many more companies and so many more SDRs and so many more, marketers. And it’s simple, easy to send out a million emails with a click of a button. The amount of noise that is being created, you’re constantly trying to get above that noise. And, that’s the issue, right? So we spoke about the internal noise, which is the noise of data, the noise of numbers. Which 90% of numbers, they’re meaningless to advance your organization, but also the external noise that we are creating for the prospects. And cause it’s like, what’s the cost of sending an email? Like nothing. Let’s, let’s send them.
With all like, you know marketing automation better than I know marketing automation. Right. How, how many company newsletters are changed and tweaked for different segments of your database? It’s true. Right. We’re all guilty. I’m guilty as well. Right. But the technology is there. Yeah. Right. But we have to use it properly and then you can get much, much better marketing. Because if I, from a marketer, I say it doesn’t, I can work harder and segment my database and write five different newsletters or five different, you know, tweaks or five different subject lines and send it to different segments. Or I can just send the same one to everyone. Right. And I sent, and in my quarterly or monthly checklist, when I report up to the CMO, yeah I sent the, the newsletter to, you know, my million person database.
Yes. So that’s, that’s very, uh, spray and pray marketing. That’s definitely noise generation. So, question then, you know, Oktopost occupies a unique space with regards to the problem it’s trying to solve in these conversations. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Yeah. So again, I believe that the ultimate measurement on our marketing is all about understanding how marketing influences the business. But we are in the B2B space. So for the B2B influencing, the business is how many leads am I generating? And how is my multi-nativity influencing opportunities? And what we find is that within the data stack or take stack of marketing, social is disconnected from the rest of the game, right? You have the multi automation platforms that are controlling the email, they’re controlling the web tracking code. They’re connected to CRM. You have all your data, your 360-degree view, right. But the external social media content is very much disconnected. So, we wanna show and understand how social is generating leads and how social is influencing opportunities. So, we have that technology in place to, you know, for marketers, whatever they’re doing in social, if it’s corporate social, if it’s employee advocacy, if it’s employer branding, if it’s company branding, whatever they’re doing on social, right. How does that trickle down and influence the business in real business metrics? So that that’s basically what we’re doing.
Yeah. That makes sense. I think from where I sit a lot of organizations, perhaps underutilized social, because of the problem that you describe. It’s hasn’t been easy for them to tie it into these core metrics and understand impact. And so it’s been very, it’s so siloed off it’s siloed within silos. It’s just so far removed from typical corporate marketing, that even the planning and incorporation of it as a channel is often overlooked.
Yeah. I think, you know, so even if you can’t measure social, right. Take Oktopost at the picture. You know, I still believe it’s something that you should be doing. Right. I said, there are things that, you know, analysts, right. You can’t measure how the ROI of signing up to an analyst subscription. True. But, you know, if you get to that certain stage, right, and you need a relationship, you need the relationship and you have to pay for it. So, you know, it’s the same thing with social. I think, you know, when, and it’s not only social, you know, I see we, we see a lot of movement into using the employees for social and using the employees networks. Right. And we see this in two areas, one is using employees to amplify the brand messaging. That’s what we call the employee advocacy.
And the second, and I think, especially in B2B organizations in, I think this is maybe, you know, definitely worldwide is talent acquisition. It’s becoming harder and harder to get good talents. Right. And now companies are thinking about talent and talent pipeline, just like they’re thinking about out leads in prospect pipeline. So they wanna, and one of the ways to get talents is to put the employees on the front line. And this is, not sure if it’s new, but it’s a newish, trend though that we’re seeing. And it’s all around employer branding, getting the employees out front, that’s gonna help get more talent. One, the friends and family and colleagues will see, you know, their LinkedIn and the partners they’re doing and the fun they’re having at the organization. And these things are shared.
Right. Cause you know, just take, you know, one quick example, if I’m looking for a job or even if I’m not looking for a job, but if there’s a job ad on LinkedIn, for someone recruiting, I don’t know, CMO or someone recruiting, an engineer versus I see an employee of the company that I know, or I know someone who knows that employee and they say, hey, come join me. This is how much fun we’re having. Right. Which one is gonna resonate. Right. So you said humans marketing to humans, right? So that’s the same thing. So it’s also, you know, it’s what started about, you know, can you measure social, right? So even if you can’t measure, right, it’s still something that needs to be done, right. You still have to get your, your corporate message out there on social. And I think today more important than the corporate message on social is the employee message on social, right. That also helps with the brand and the prospect pipeline. And also with the tenant pipeline.
That’s a very interesting view of the world. So, the picture you paint to me is like, look, there’s multiple facets to address when looking at this problem. As you say, it was a very open-ended question. But you start off saying like, look, there’s noise you need to measure what you need to measure, needs to be meaningful. And what you’re also saying is, from a perspective, it’s absolutely meaningful to not just look at your customer, there’s also the internal side, there’s the employee side. And actually, to solve this problem and why I say it’s like 360 view is talent is a huge equation, right? And so the collection of talent is equally as important as the collection of leads that lead to opportunities. Is that fair to say?
I think that that’s my observation of what’s happening today, right?
Why do you think there’s a talent gap?
Why is a gap, we have a lack of resources in globally, right? From still in wood to real estate to talent. You know, why I’ve, I have no idea why that’s too macro for me, but this is right. You see, like companies, you know, I can consume the big companies that they’re growing faster than smaller businesses. Right. They’re sucking up lots of talent. For them money is no issue. Right? If an engineer 20 years ago was on $100K salary and today they were on a $500K salary, right. This is the problem is just expanding, right? So there’s not enough talents. Right? Look at the number of IPOs tech IPOs that we had in the past six months, right. Each on those tech IPOs, they have to hire double, triple, quadruple, their workforces. Right.
So, the need for talents is increasing, but the supply isn’t there. And I see companies again, they’re struggling to get talents. At least as much as struggling to get leads. Right. It, something which is an kind of an equal problem. And now they’re using the HR, right, that’s in charge of the talent pipeline, they’re using marketing to get more talent into the pipeline. Right. So the, if you think about it, maybe this wasn’t a topic that we even brought up that marketing is becoming even more important in the organization. Right. Cause it’s not just the fuel for the sales in regard to leads, but it’s the fuel of the company in regards to talent.
It’s interesting that you say that. I think this is an underrepresented matter in the industry, and it’s not talked about enough, right. So of course, as you say, short of a talent, like all these new orgs popping up, a lot of demand everywhere, understand. And then also adding the layer of, because the demand is so high and the pool is so small, people are being paid more than ever. And so that can lead to a problem of retention as well. For example, what’s Oktopost doing to help maintain its culture, its retention of its people?
So, one we’re growing at a very fast pace. You know, I mentioned that, that we, you know, did the, you know, big round and after round you grow. So one we’re, you know, I would say struggling, like any other company in recruiting, it’s tough. Right. But, you know, we managed to, to get apart. For me, the DNA is super important. Cause we came up from a small startup we’re basically bootstrapped. We raised a very small seed fund, you know, back in the day when we founded Oktopost and it was a very, very tight knit team. Right. Was, you know, hope still is. And as we grow, we wanna maintain that tight knit team. So, you know, just like we have the Radically Transparent podcast, right.
That mindset came from a DNA of Oktopost, right. We’re a radically transparent company. And where we see that radically transparent inside Oktopost is one, everything is shared within the company. We share everything. We have a monthly and quarterly, all hands-on meeting. We go through every single numbers, right. From, you know, the revenue, and the churn, and the ARR, and the growth, and where we are succeeding, and where we’re not succeeding, to every single employee. Right. And we’ve explained the meanings of these numbers. So one, on that we’re transparent. Yeah. We have three, three locations we’re in Israel, London, and the US. There’s super collaboration. One between geographies and also between teams. Right? So it’s amount of teamwork, even when it’s something to do with, you know, some individuals, you know, what they’re doing on the day to day, everybody is there to help. And I think that to maintain that during growth, if that was the question, is showing by example, right. Keeping their radically transparent mindset. And also that radical teamwork, and everybody’s here to win. Cause if one person isn’t able to do their job, right. That’s gonna propagate through the entire organization. Right. And we have one goal in mind, right. First of all, successful company, customers, and then that will lead us to a successful company.
It seems like that simplicity theme carries not just with your strategy, but then at your organization as well. Just keeping things simple.
Listen, again, I’m a simple person with a simple, I can’t think of complex solutions. I come up with the most simplest idea.
I dunno about that. I think you have to be complex in order to be simple. You know what I mean? Like, it’s very easy to boil the ocean. And how do you step out of that, requires a lot of a focus and forethought. So, you know, one of the things you talked about with regards to internally at Octopost radically transparent, it’s almost like I think you’re also saying the culture is important, right, and that’s a big part of retention. And part of what you’re doing with this transparency is this culture of information sharing it’s of driving, maybe people to be accountable and to feel connected, this sense of belonging. Because for at least specific roles or teams, they can see their immediate impact to some of the numbers that are shared. Right. So people don’t feel like a number. They feel like an actual contribution to larger whole. And it is that I guess, community, that helps with retention. Which I believe in, if that’s what you’re saying, I totally believe in that. Yeah. And, and that is a big thing, because that’s not something that you can’t put a cost on. Right? Like people go for jobs, not just because of the pay, they go for jobs, because of all these, other of factors that kind of invigorate them. There’s a value exchange beyond money.
It’s your own internal customer experience.
It’s the internal customer experience, yeah. And then because, you know, we started out, as a smaller startup, there’s like a global WhatsApp group that, you know, everybody joins. I hope we’re gonna reach the limit one day. So I dunno what the limit of our WhatsApp group is, but I’m dreading that day. Cause you know, right now .
Out of curiosity, how big is your group right now? Out of curiosity,
It’s a number of employees, right. Just over 50 employees. Wow. Right. So, and so they have the Slack channels and that’s more work, but then when you get outside of, you know, what you’re doing at Octopost and more about who you are, that that’s on the WhatsApp group. For what you’re cooking on the weekend, and where you are, and vacation people send pictures from vacation. And we have these little Octas, I don’t know if I have one here somewhere.
Oh, I have one of those. Yeah. Yeah. The plush?
I’ll take it all over the world and, you know, take pictures and share it on WhatsApp and then, so you know that that’s you know, one way to get everyone together and it’s a great place to communicate. Yeah.
You’ve got a way to go Daniel, it’s 256.
Oh. So yeah. So, my dreaded day is gonna be somewhere next year.
That’s fast growth. Wow
About 2023 maybe.
Yeah. Cool. Okay. I don’t know. I feel like you’re giving a lot of advice to marketers, right. Based on what you’re saying. That there’s a solve the noise problem, solve the measurement problem, make it simple. There’s kind of like meaningless forms of measurement and be able to identify those quickly because sometimes activities just need to be done because they need to be done. There’s a game aspect there. So play the game well. And there’s a lot of, like je ne sais quoi in that, right? Like you’re either good at playing the game or not. I think. But then from the measurement side, that’s very black and white, very, very black and white. And then the find talent hold onto talent. That is a, I guess, black and white thing to say, not as easy of a thing to influence depending on the size and shape with organization. Right. But basically, those are the primary factors. Ultimately those are the primary, at least distilled down to core fundamentals, those are the primary factors of success as a marketing organization, period.
Dumb it down to the core fundamentals. Yeah. And then start building slowly with more mind, you know, on where you wanna go. I think, you know what I’ve been saying for years and years, and you know, I’m super, I love data, right? Anything has to do with data and you know, how you represent and show data is, you know, I love those conversations. And I remember even when, you know, I was in my, in my twenties, you go into marketing meetings, somebody would show a graph on the overhead projector. And, remember we had those like plastic slides?
Yo in school.
Shaun, do you really remember that?
No, but it wasn’t overhead projectors just like just regular projectors. It wasn’t like Apple TVs. And then, everybody will be in the room and they’ll note, this amazing, beautiful looking graph. But how many people understood what that represents? Yeah. Right. Times I look at the graph, I say, no, you know what? It doesn’t make sense, what you have there, like, well, what are you even showing? Right? The logic isn’t there. So then, you know, for me, when marketers look at data and this is maybe is the biggest, like,
I know where you’re going with this.
Okay. Let’s see. Write it down on paper. See if it’s there. If what you are looking at, you’re not gonna change any action. Yep. You’re not gonna take, say, okay, I see this, I understand that. Now I have to do that. Yep. That was a waste of time.
But here’s the thing, are you then saying there’s a certain level of education that needs to happen for marketers and that level of education perhaps is under done, under executed today. Because the problem that you described as a common one, right? Like it’s innocent to put up a very pretty graph where people can have conversations about it and feel good, but it’s actually not actionable because the business cannot make any pivot on what’s presented. But this happens every day in corporate.
I cringe. This is like my nightmares that I have. Right. You have to say, I’m looking at this, I understand what I see. And you know, I’m gonna take a different direction or I understand what I’m doing better. Or if you don’t understand, if you don’t have any takeaways from looking at a piece of data or looking at the graph. Yeah. Might as well not look at it?
Well, I think that’s why it’s so important. Sorry. I think that’s why it’s so important to have that sales and marketing alignment so that everyone understands what the key KPI is. They understand, you know, how is this, how did we come to this result? And, you know, everyone has a part in it. So to make it actionable rather than, you know, just the pretty chart where everyone’s like uh huh, but I have no idea what that number means. I don’t know if it’s a good thing. I don’t know if it’s a bad thing, but you know, just having that alignment between sales and marketing and maybe even measuring it the same way. So, having sales and marketing have shared KPIs so that everyone is really on the same page and measuring success in the same manner.
Oh, actually it was gonna be. so Daniel, based on what you’re saying, does that mean marketing needs to uphold more of an analytics function? Or are you saying that the data presented needs to be more prescriptive and today it isn’t?
I would say both, but definitely the first, right. Without understanding numbers and being good at numbers, right? The marketing team isn’t going to function. Right. Not everybody has to be a mathematical, you know, grad. Right. We have to have, some portion of the team, which understands how to what does numbers mean? Right. Let’s say you have, you know, on top of my head example, your CPC rate, you know, went up or went down, right. And you see this change in the graph. So, everybody looks at the graph, oh the CPC changed. Right. There’s no analysis, like why the what’s happening behind the numbers, what does it matter if it changed or didn’t change? I wanna know, like what’s the course of that change. Yeah. And it’s not just the, you know, sometimes the numbers are just showing the end results. We have to understand how you got to those results.
Makes me think about the old quote about half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half.
Yeah. I heard that one but with doctors. That half of what I’m gonna learn in med school is gonna be relevant afterwards. Wonderful. I hope they know which half is irrelevant. That’s true. You know, it’s around, you know, not everything is measurable. Right. And we shouldn’t, I don’t believe that we should strive to measure 100%. Right. You know, at the end of, if we look at almost any organization, right. They’re doing, they have a blog, right. They’re doing webinars. Yep. Right. Many are doing podcasts. They’re doing trade shows or were doing, and they will do in the future trade shows. Right. They’re buying lists. They describe to analysts. Right. What, what else are we doing as marketers? Right. We’re redesigning our website every time the CMO changes. Right. What’s the difference between that what we’re doing today and what we did 20 years ago, or 10 years ago? It’s true. The exact same thing, we just call it something different. We call it something different. Yeah.
You call it something different. There’s more things that you can measure today. I guess your point of noise earlier. But like, so then you just added an extra ingredient here, which I think is really interesting. You’re saying, hey marketers, you have to be savage. Like really. Because just because the graph looks pretty and it shows some result. If you don’t know why, then it’s pointless, your job’s not done. So like figure it out.
Yeah. So one, there have to be savvy. Detail oriented is a must. That’s one. And also in marketing, you know, so you mentioned, you know, ABM, right. Which is, it seems like a silver bullet. There are no silver bullets, right? This is like from, what’s the Hard Things About Hard Things. The book by forget his name. It’s, you know, there are no silver bullets, it’s a whole bunch of lead bullets, right. You have to do the webinars and the conferences and the, you know, the webpage redesign and the landing pages and the email marketing, and the automation and the lead scoring. It has to be this. And it’s a lot of hard work. Right. But you have to make sure that you’re measuring what you can measure to make sure that at the end, you’re getting to your KPI.
If your KPI is generating opportunities, make sure, you know, how to measure generating opportunities. If your KPI is closed won deals and not pipeline, but actual revenue coming to the company, make sure that you know how to measure that. But take one or two or five measurements, whatever it is, keep them simple, keep them as objective as you can. So it’s not, doesn’t depend on who’s measuring, you’re gonna come up with different results. And the numbers don’t matter. It’s the trends, the ups and downs that matter at the end of the day.
You know, you know, what’s funny, you say that, you know, the no silver bullet statement. And I think everybody listening will nod their head and be like, yes, there’s no silver bullet. And the funny thing is, people may nod at that, but I feel like there’s still organizations that fall into the trap of being so compelled by a particular solution or a particular way to address a problem that they, in a way, live like there is a silver bullet. But the problem is like we talked about earlier, we’re humans marketing to humans. Human behavior is random and unpredictable. And especially in B2B, when there’s many humans involved, humans upon humans, there can’t be a silver bullet. It’s just, like you said, a bunch of lead bullets, because what works in one scenario may not work in another. And that’s where the measurement comes in play.
And also, what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. Right. It’s constantly changing. So, it’s, you know, I think every marketers today that they know they have to be testing, right. And I think it’s testing, testing quick and things that aren’t working get rid of move on to the next one.
It’s interesting you say that because what that leads me to think also is if marketing has a very experimentative mindset and they are doing this testing, this begins to solve for that education thing. Of marketing needing to learn more about how to be analytical, ask the right questions, whatever. This leads organizations down that path. And I think a lot of organizations today don’t embrace that strongly enough. At least not Fortune 500 B2B. This test and learn thing doesn’t really happen too much.
That surprises me. Cause you know, it would seem much more efficient yeah. To be testing rather than doing, you know, full blow projects, which are longer, much more expensive, have a longer lifespan and figuring out that you didn’t get anything at the end of the day.
Can I throw a curve ball out here? Cause this, a lot of our conversation has been marketing focused around keeping it simple for marketing. Marketing focusing on, you know, a couple of core KPIs, bringing it all back and simplifying the marketing process. I don’t know if it’s this podcast or maybe another one, but does sales need to simplify, does operations need to simplify?
You wanna get me started with sales now? Mary, this is, that’s a different podcast. Let’s do a sales podcast and I’ll bring my sales leadership one as well. So, we can have a back and forth.
There we go. Well, I mean, I think it’s perfect. We’ve had two conversations so far. We can just turn this into a whole trilogy and we’ll bring in sales in the next conversation.
Yeah. I think sales is very interesting. Cause also, you know, you hit the nail on the head, right? This is human selling to humans. So there’s, you know, so much in there. And also we’re trying to, one cells is also trying to cut through the noise. Right. Which is a huge problem. Right. So, it’s go like to the beginning of the pipeline and from SDRs, et cetera. That’s an issue you were there. But also, just like we spoke about talents, there’s not enough sales talents. And you look at a large portion, I don’t have any stats on this, I’m just throwing this out from my gut feeling, is a large portion of the, especially the SAAS sales force, right. This is young talents and someone today with five years experience, that’s a lot of experience.
Yes. Right. But you can’t learn sales in five years. Right. You can learn the basics, you have experience, you can be successful if you’re at the right place at the right time. But, but you know, these are things it takes time to learn. It takes a lot of practice. I think there’s a big issue in the global sales force, with the one, the lack of talent and the young, the smart, but it’s a young generation. Yeah. Right. That they there’s not enough patience there.
So I’m gonna make your unpopular statements more unpopular. You’re saying globally humans are un-talented. I’m kidding. No, but like, there’s simply a shortage of talent because the industry has been moving so quick. The pool hasn’t kept pace. 100%. And this is a widespread problem. Well, thank you. Those are some really compelling ideas. I like that you’re unafraid of being so, polarizing in your statements. I think we explored, I think we had the talk that maybe a lot of marketers may want to say, but no one ever says. Right. And, you’ve made it very real. You’ve made it very actionable with regards to here are some of the problems and here’s a very pragmatic way, a practical way to solve for it. So, very grateful to have had that conversation with you.
Well, it’s been my pleasure.
Just before we let you go. There’s just one more thing that we like to do, just so we can learn a little bit more about our guests. So we like to finish off our podcast with a round of quickfire questions. I promise they’re not hard. Only 10 of them. You literally just need to pick one option in each case, although the answer both or neither is also allowed as an answer
And pass. Can I say pass?
If you want to, if you want to.
Well, Mary isn’t allowing pass
Oh, Mary doesn’t allow pass. All right, here we go. Question number one, cats or dogs?
Number two, inbound or outbound?
Beach or mountains?
Leads or opportunities?
Wine or beer?
Search or social?
Social, a hundred percent. Yeah.
Day or night?
Instagram or TikTok?
Car or cycle?
And finally, the most important one of all – B2B or B2C?
All right. Well, you got six of those, right.
Oh, there’s right and wrong? Listen, we can go back on a list and I’ll give you the reason why I chose each one. There’s a very specific reason.
I thought that was awesome. Thank you. And I wanna thank, Daniel, thank you so much for joining us today. Shaun, thank you so much for being here for fascinating conversation. You know, to our listeners to learn more about Oktopost or to listen to their podcast, Radically Transparent, you can go to Oktopost.com. You can also check out marketone.com to learn more about us. And to listen to more episodes of Funnelocity, you can also check us out at marketone.com/Funnelocity.