Five Keys to Marketing in Uncertain Times

Overview: In these uncertain times Matt Heinz shares 5 keys to improving your pipeline. His five points are having clarity, collaborating, focusing on integrations, being agile and carefully selecting a story to share with customers. 

About the speaker: Matt, President and Founder of Heinz Marketing, brings 20 years of marketing, business development, and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger. He is also a dynamic speaker. Memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.

Matt’s career focuses on consistently delivering measurable results. With greater sales, revenue growth, product success, and customer loyalty. Matt is a repeat winner of Top 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management. And Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers.  


Hi, guys, this is Matt Heinz, president of Heinz marketing. And I’m really excited to be here joining the Demand Gen Summit from ChatFunnels will appreciate the opportunity. Thanks very much for allowing me to join what I wanted to talk about today. We’ve been talking for years actually, but especially this year about the need to create a predictable pipeline. It’s a little ironic to talk about that right now.

Because this is not exactly been predictable year. I feel like we’re in just this continuous cycle where Billy Mays keeps showing up in a late night TV ad and saying, But wait, there’s more, because this has just been just a ridiculous year.  

But most of us still in businesses that continue to operate. We expect to continue to operate this year, we expect to continue to grow next year. And so as marketers, the need to have a foundational precise, repeatable, predictable system for generating demand and generating piping for your organization has never been greater. We could, it’d be easy for me to sit down and just say, okay, like, here’s the fundamentals of building a predictable pipeline, we talk about that all the time, I spend a ton of time, you spend a lot of time on stage at conferences talking about that.  

Now, I spent a lot of time right here in my basement on Zoom talking about it. And we can get to that at some point. But in this short period of time. In this moment, I thought it was worthwhile to take a step back and talk about what I think it’s going to require to create political pipeline in 2021.  

We are doing this event here. Now, middle late September, we’re getting close to the fourth quarter of 2020. A lot of companies are thinking about what 2021 is going to look like, what are my resources is going to be? What are my objectives going to be? Are the headwinds that are going to face us in this new year, that are going to be different from what we saw this year? Lots of unpredictability coming up to us as well.  

I think there are five areas that I would recommend everyone put a focus to really make your planning effort for the new year you’re planning for q4, I mean, this can help you starting tomorrow. But as you think about what the new year is going to look like for you, and you prepare for headwinds as you prepare for resilience and focus on success. These are the five things that I think I’d recommend you start to look out.  

Number one, it’s just clarity. And I realized that made me feel counterintuitive to talk about in a time when we don’t have a lot of clarity, but to understand, what are my objectives? So just really be clear in the organization, not just how many leads Can I generate? Or what’s my marketing number going to be? What is the sales goal going to be for the organization? Or what revenue number are we trying to hit? Take a step back and see what are the business goals? Are you on a path towards an exit strategy somewhere? What would prepare the company for that? 

 If you’ve had a down year and look many companies have is next year. A rebound year is next year, a foundational year, like what is the number look like. And it’s probably not something you as a marketing leader can come up with on your own. You’re going to have to partner with sales. To come up with that number. You’re going to have to partner with your CFO to come up with that pipeline number together as well. But clarity on what you control. Clarity on what you can define clarity on what the number will be at least to start. So that you’ve got something you can use as the foundation. Something you can use as a rock to build from. I think is story number one, so the first on my list is clarity.  

The second on my list is actually collaboration. It’s somewhat related to that. But the idea that you you can’t be successful in producing pipeline today in marketing, by sitting in your corner and doing your thing. Marketing, especially in b2b is increasingly more difficult not just because the buying journey is getting more complicated not just because we’ve got all these technology tools we’re trying to figure out how to use. Marketing today is getting more difficult and more challenging. Because to be successful, it requires a collaboration with other customer facing teams, you cannot be successful in marketing unless you are an active partner with the sales organization.  

And this means more than just raising your hand at sales kickoff and saying we all agree that pipeline is important. We as a marketing team, we’re going to focus on driving value for sales and creating pipeline. That all sounds nice that sales kickoff. But I’m not talking about just strategic alignment. I’m talking about operational alignment.  

Do you know what alignment looks like between your sales and marketing team on Tuesday? Like what happens when a lead is generated? What’s going to happen from a follow up standpoint? Like is it the right kind of lead? Is that the kind of lead that a salesperson is expecting? Do they know how to follow up with some level of continuity of the story that was created with that prospect? What system are they going to use to follow up with how many times are they going to follow up? If it’s not the right kind of a lead? What if it’s someone that you thought was ready to buy but isn’t actually ready to buy right now like what do you do with that lead?  

So understanding and having a really tight level of collaboration between sales and marketing is key. Part of that is also knowing that some of those leads are going to suck. Some of the follow up is going to stink. You aren’t always going to have all optimum circumstances, not everything is going to work the way you want. And so part of this is having a real playbook for how collaboration is going to happen on a day to day basis. Part of this also is to have a culture of respect and empathy between sales and marketing.  

You can’t underestimate this, this idea of creating a culture that allows for failure a culture that respects both sides a culture that assumes that everyone’s working with the best of intentions to truly correct crabble collaboration. And to be able to sort of make improvements as you stumble requires sort of a respect, and it requires a focus on the culture within those organizations.  

Alright, so number one on our list was clarity of objectives and needs. Number two is collaboration. Number three is integrations. And I don’t just mean ops integrations. I don’t mean just sort of making sure all your tools can talk to each other. I’m also talking about just integration of information. The more complex the buying journeys get. And the more complex our systems get, the more important it is for us to have a common view of the customer. The more important is to make sure that our data is all integrated together. Like I don’t, you don’t win with the marketing technology strategy.  

By having the most tools by having the biggest martech budget, you win by making sure that the systems can all talk to each other that across different channels and implementations across marketing channels, let alone across sales and marketing, that you’re able to respond to what the customer needs and what the customer is doing in real time. If something happens in a marketing campaign. And if the prospect engages in a marketing campaign, and that is not a reflected in CRM. If a sales rep or a customer service rep has a conversation with the rep and is blind to that activity. They look dumb, because the customer obviously knows what they have done themselves. Now they may or may not remember every step.  

But for you to be able to have a full picture. It will increase the precision and success of what you offer to that prospect as a next step. Some of that will happen in an automated way through your systems. Some of that will probably happen as a phone call or happened as a live interaction, right or as a real time interaction with a prospect on a phone call and a zoom call. Your ability to actually create those integrations of systems. But really integration of data, I think is going to be foundational for companies moving forward.  

Especially if you’re a little tight on budget, like let’s assume that going in 2021, the budget floodgates do not exactly open back up, let’s assume that you might actually still have a tighter budget, the tighter your budget, the more you’re going to have to leverage the resources and systems that you already have to create pipeline. And so making better use of your system starts with having more consistent integrated view of your data. That’s number three.

Number four is agility. We talked about this all the time. But I don’t think we’re always very good at it. Sometimes we treat agility as something that just means come up with new ideas and execute that as quickly as we can. But keep doing the stuff you’ve been doing. The hardest part of agility is being willing to give up on things that hadn’t been working strategy really is about choosing strategies about identifying different options and opportunities and figuring out which of those you actually want to pursue.  

So key to having an agile mindset in marketing is is not to just sort of fling things against the wall and figure out what’s gonna work like agile strategy is an oxymoron. I think if you’re going to have an objective, if you start with the numbers, we talked about the beginning of this, of this video, if we then build a strategy around that the strategy should be something that has some level of staying power. Now how you execute on that strategy may change over time, you may be decided certain channels don’t work. So messages don’t work, certain offers don’t work, the way sales follow up need to change, you need to be agile on how you approach that. 

If you look at the market today, and you look at some of the messages that are still coming at us, in September, there’s still a lot of companies that are still using language that we first heard in April. I think it’s evidence that some companies have a planning cycle for messages and marketing campaigns right now that are built for better types that are built for stable market conditions.  

If you aren’t able to turn and create a campaign and adjust your messaging in real time, right now, you run the risk of looking like you’re behind and not listening to where customers are right now. So a discipline of agility, I think is gonna I mean, many of you watching this are like duh. We’ve done that for a while. Yes and No, I think when we first shut things down in March and April of this year, we kind of went into crazy mode.  

Like we kind of threw a lot of stuff out and just said let’s just let’s just survive. I still see that I still see evidence of that a lot of marketing teams that are just sort of in like let’s just survive this year and are agile to the point of chaos, you need to have a foundational strategy, you need to understand what you are trying to achieve and have a point of view of how you are going to achieve that. In your market with your customers with your customer facing counterparts across sales and account management and customer success. Agility relates to tactics, be willing to move more quickly going to change quickly be willing to make changes quickly to your tactics and campaigns and programs, not necessarily a strategy.

And the fifth piece I was I was, I would say that I want to include here today is around storytelling. There’s a few different ways of thinking about storytelling. First, I think, you know, just going back to what we’ve already talked about so far here, you know, your ability to create clarity and objectives, clarity, intention, clarity in focus is about storytelling.  

Storytelling impacts your scorecard, what are you putting on your marketing scorecard to tell the organization what you’re focused on? When you go and report to your CFO, to your CEO to your board? Does that report have open rates and click rates on it? Like those may be reasonable measures to make marketing better. But is that what you want to communicate to the board that you’re focused on? What you put in your dashboard, tells a story, what you prioritize in your updates to the organization, whether it’s metrics or words, it tells a story, it’s not just saying that we’re doing all these campaigns and just working super hard, it also says, we’re doing too many things and may not be very focused. 

Storytelling also relates to how you communicate to your customer facing counterparts inside the organization? How are you focused on telling your teams where you are focused? And why you’re focused on those areas? Are you telling them which campaigns You are killing and why? Because they’re not generating the results that you want? Storytelling, so last, but not least has to do with how you are addressing the market? How well, you understand your customers right now. The personas you may have built in January, maybe temporarily irrelevant. The members of the buying committee may have shifted the priorities your customers have may have shifted.  

So your ability to recreate the story or at least modify the story your customer needs to hear right now is critical. It’s very simple. I heard this last week. It’s sort of a very simple sort of reminder. But a lot of us don’t really follow what is the idea that if you’re making adjustments, if you’re making pivots, if you’re thinking about what 2021 and q4 need to look like in your organization, start with your customer and work backwards. Don’t just say let’s send more emails, let’s make more phone calls. Let’s buy more technology. How much budget are we gonna have? Like? Those are all good, sort of sort of planning questions. 

The answer to almost all of your questions and sales and marketing can be answered by what is our customer think about that. But as our customer looking for, what does our prospect need? How has that changed? Your ability to understand your customer needs will improve your ability to tell stories back to that customer. About what you how you can help them back to that customer in terms of insights that can help them think differently about their business.  

Remember, they’re freaking out about 2021 as well. They’re trying to figure out how to finish this calendar year strong and have a good q4. What story can you tell them? What story? are they telling themselves? What story do they need to hear do they want to hear that you can then recreate. To make them successful to make them the hero and to make your product or service the enabler.  

Lots of stuff to think about. These are meant to be short videos. There’s a lot more behind I would be happy to talk to anyone further about any of this stuff. But wanted to provide just at least a little guidance in a framework for thinking about 2021. So just as a reminder, our top our top five things to really consider and prioritize. One is clarity. Two is collaboration. Three are your integrations. Four is agility and five is storytelling.

My name is Matt Heinz. Thank you so much for listening. If you have any questions or want to chat with me about any of these things, feel free to reach out anytime you can just get me at thank you to ChatFunnels for allowing you to be part of this and enjoy the rest of the Demand Gen Summit.