Marketing in a Volatile Economy – Keynote Presentation with Mark Maughan, David Elkington, and Rick Tollman
Rick Tolman is a luminary in the Demand Gen industry. Currently he is the VP of Digital Demand Generation at Salesforce. He previously served in marketing leadership positions at Pluralsight as the VP of Global Demand, at Domo as the Head of Global Demand, and at Ancestry.com as the Head of Worldwide Marketing. Rick also serves as a board member for Utah Polynesian Professionals, the Hale Centere Theatre, and Brigham Young University – Hawaii. Rick was recognized as a top Demand Gen and Sales Leader by the Demand Gen Summit in 2020 and is a celebrated keynote speaker.
Mark Maughan is a renowned expert in marketing analytics and is the Chief Analytics Officer at Domo. Domo was named one of America’s Fastest Growing Companies of 2021 by the Financial Times. Mark is a graduate from the University of Utah and has 15 years of experience in leadership roles. He has been leading Domo for 7 years and has also served as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer. He has co-hosted Domo Palooza and is an active volunteer in his community.
Dave Elkington is highly active in the business community and an entrepreneur with 20 years of success. Dave founded InsideSales.com, and more recently ChatFunnels. Dave is also founder and board member of Silicon Slopes (Utah’s tech community) and a member of Utah Tech University’s board of trustees. Additionally, he teaches entrepreneurship at and sits on the computer science and CVLC advisory boards at BYU. He is an active investor, advisor, and board member of several other technology and healthcare start-ups. Dave has authored articles appearing in Harvard Business Review, MIT, Kellogg School of Management and Forbes as well as having appeared on TV networks such as CNBC, Nasdaq, Bloomberg, BBC and MSN.
“ [Every department] needs to be prepared to support the sales process by providing resources such as case studies, ROI analysis, air coverage for the brand market, etc…. which brings us to a shift in positioning. The buyer needs to feel that this is a must have solution, this is something that is going to drive [their] bottom line, it will help [them] be more efficient, and all this to justify to the [buying committee] to write the check and buy.”
- Pivoting into profitability and efficiency
- Know your data, get it real time and make quick decisions
- How to prepare cost saving initiatives and what to consider
- Prioritize what matters most and distribute your resources appropriately
- Have deal flexibility in terms, price, bundles and timing
We want to welcome everybody to the fifth semiannual the man Jones summit. It’s a free online summit for marketers and sales professionals to get to really catch up on the newest strategies. Best practices that are drive that drives like engaging and closing more demand. Today in our keynote, we’ve got, first of all, one of the largest audience we’ve we’ve ever we’ve ever had.
We were nearly 4000 attendees today. And it’s an interesting time. And we’re really going to talk we’re going to dig into like what’s going on in the in the economy, what’s happening in the market and how to be successful, really, despite what’s happening right now, because it’s going to take significant pivots. But two, to really start, I want to introduce myself.
My name is Dave Elkington. I’m one of the co-founders and I sit on the board of Chat Funnels who hosts this event. And you heard that we just rebranded the organization two signals that really more accurately represents, you know, the platform and what it can do for companies. And previous to this, I co-founded an organization, organization called Silicon Slopes, which is a Utah based tech association, and then before that, I built a company called Insight Telecom. But more interestingly, as my guest, I have Rick Tallman and Mark Mohn. So Rick is a luminary in the demand gen industry. He’s a VP of digital demand at Salesforce.com, obviously one of the largest B2B software companies in the world. And he’s he’s basically done this for the last 15, 20 years where he’s run demand at Ancestry.com, at Domo, at I mean, really, every organization, Rick Rick has led the demand side of the world, and Mark, similarly, is a renowned expert in marketing analytics. He’s the chief analytics officer at Domo. I mean, he he similarly has an interestingly, just before this role, he was also the interim CMO at Domo. So he comes at it from both an analytical and a practitioner’s point of view. So honestly, two of the the I would say the most experienced demand and analytics leaders in the industry.
I mean, there’s a lot, but these are two of the leaders right now. And so those are the guests. And today’s topic is how to be successful in this economic trainwreck that we’re faced with. And I just to prepare just to add some context to what we’re going to talk about, I pulled up some stats that I think are going to be uncomfortable for everybody, so I’ll just roll through some of these.
So number one, the US inflation rate, we’re at the highest rate of inflation. And these some of these are obvious stats, but we’re the highest rate of inflation since late eighties in the United States. Next, layoffs. So just this week, on Monday, Amazon announced that they’re going to lay off another 10,000 individuals. Metuh, the the parent company of Facebook, had just laid off 11,000 individuals, which is represents 13% of their entire workforce.
But overall, there’s there’s a more concerning trend. There’s been over 120,000 people in just the tech industry that have been laid off in 2022 and nearly 800 companies with layoffs. And if you look at the trend, if you go to layoffs for AI, where all of these stats are published, you saw more smaller and mid-market companies picked right around June and July in terms of the layoffs, but right now, what we’re seeing is a huge spike at a larger organization. Some of the largest enterprises in the world right now are doing not small layoffs, but significant layoffs. So if you look at it, these are not these are all brand name companies, people we recognize. Obviously, Twitter last week, again, I’ll just rattle. You know, Stripe has done recently a very significant layoff.
Uber has. Zendesk has. I mean, it just goes on and really goes on and on. Pretty much every major technology company has experienced or is announcing that they’re going to be committing to more layoffs. Additionally, just the stock market in general, the Nasdaq 100, which is tech heavy, has dropped nearly 33% so far. In 2022, the Dow Jones has lost more than 20%, and Bitcoin. Yeah, excuse me, the most you know, the most known cryptocurrency has shed 60% of its value so far this year. Now, interest rates again. It just keeps going. It’s just piles and piles. Interest rates, 3.75% this year. That’s the highest since the eighties that the Fed has raised rates in a single year. And then and we had Amazon.
So with all of that crazy context, if you’re not feeling depressed, you do now you’re welcome for that part of the event. We actually provide free counseling. Just kidding. You bet. I would love to hear from both Rick, you and Mark. What are you guys seeing? Like what’s reinforcing these kind of trends down, you know, boots on the ground?
Let’s start with you, Rick.
Hey, thanks, David. Thanks for having me. Join you this morning as well. And it’s interesting economy, like you said to I think for where we need perspective for all of us, right. Both as customers and consumers and also as those servicing the industry. In this time, we have the perspective of both being on the buying side as marketers, but also being on the advertising side as we’re all to your point companies, our own companies and our customers are bracing for recession, and as these companies, like you said, like almost none of the Nasdaq, 100 are in the green for 2022. It’s a 37% plus get over the year. You know, I work in Silicon Valley and we have, you know, partners in Silicon Slopes as well that we’re seeing the announcements, the beginning of the announcements, right. With Mira, Alphabet, Twitter, the earnings calls that are all coming the back half of the rest of this year.
It’s continuing to show that same face of brace for the recession and then a lot of cases for the companies, it’s this the turtle up mode of like how do we store enough winter fat to survive this, which for all of our worlds means it’s that classic conundrum of do more with less, or even just in simple table stakes.
It’s just do what you can with what you have, right? The extent and so for for us is a unique, interesting scenario where as companies, especially tech companies, B-to-B SAS, you start to see that growth taper a little bit the next lever that both your board, your stakeholders are going to ask for, its profitability and efficiency. Right. And so that’s the offsetting measure that we’re looking at, not only in terms of what are we doing internally to be more efficient and provide better profitability.
But how do we then take that message to our customers for our products and services? We’re all in the same situation. Looking at the back half of this year with renewals coming up, how do you then show customers that? One, you’re the products or service that’s going to help them with their CFO, with their CEO to show increased profitability for the next coming year and then and then really also being able to drink that champagne yourself and do it for your own team as well.
So I think it’s a it’s really interesting today we haven’t seen something like this, you know, since 2006 and eight era where we’re at the point where we really need to focus on that messaging and that focus of performance marketing. But I also think that we’re in a great position for it as well with technology and tools that we have, both what we’re providing but also what we’re leveraging.
There’s no better chance for for marketers and leaders to show how performance through what their efforts are. They’re doing it through their product. They’re enabling our customers and potential buyers to be able to be more efficient and profitable. This year next.
So this is going to be a meaty conversation. This is not a is more of a steak and potatoes conversation. This is not a dessert conversation. So if you’re not, yeah, this may be too much for you if you’re not ready for this. All right. Thank thanks, Rick. Mark, what are you seeing kind of boots on the ground from your customers, from what you’re hearing from, you know, your salespeople, from your marketers?
What’s going on in the market right now from your standpoint?
Yeah. Yeah. Again, first, thanks for for letting me be here with with you all today. I think on my side, what we’re seeing a lot of is just this conservative nature from our customers, from prospects. It’s not that the wheels are falling off the bus. It’s not that, you know, people have stopped buying completely. We’re starting to just see a softening and we’re starting to see and adjustment in approach, which I think comes you know, we see this and as Rick said, you see it on both internally as well as externally as well.
So that might be buying practices. But but for us, we’re seeing it more further down funnel than we are top of funnel, you know, and that can be risky when you’re not seeing top of funnel risk or top of funnel softening, you know, you still have to continue to invest top of funnel and and focus on converting the business that is coming in.
So I think we’re seeing a lot of of softness and an expectation in later stage opportunities in the funnel for, you know, maybe unique terms and conditions and contracts and you know, maybe additional assets add ons to the product that we might not have thrown in before. We’re getting a lot of those kinds of ads. So definitely seeing a change in and not necessarily in buying habits, but in the assets that are coming from our customers.
Okay. So that you you said something. I want to I want to drill in on, but I also want to provide some some interesting context for everyone that’s kind of listening and and everybody who’s joined today. This is fascinating as we prepared for this conversation today. Last Friday, we we talked about a couple of things to prep for this call, and both of you said and I’m going to reiterate what you just said, Mark. Both of you said top of funnel is good. Actually, top of funnel might be the best it’s ever been, which is crazy if you think about what’s happening right now. But it’s the bottom of funnel. So there’s a lot of tire kickers out in the market.
There’s a lot of people were interested in finding solutions. Makes kind of sense. But getting someone across the finish line that’s tight and and I’m hearing this from from really across the board. I had a not long ago, I did a dinner with over 100 CEOs, tech CEOs, and pretty much everyone said the same thing. So we’re going to we’re getting it we’re going to get into this.
I do want to also throw the context that last week, Rick, he just come out of a meeting, a one week planning session with the executives at Salesforce.com on how to be effective in, you know, in the next quarter and in the upcoming months. And, Mark, you had a similar offsite where you were on the road, really double downing with customers, really trying to make sure that you’re taking care of your customers.
You understand what their needs are. So both of you are coming to this conversation with really interesting insights from two of the you know, I would say the leading edge or bleeding edge and largest organizations really in the world. So I think it’s going to be interesting. So let’s let’s get in a little bit to some of the content that I think I think people are going to be interested in first of all, Rick, you talked about I think you use the term profitability and efficiency.
Tell me more a little bit what you mean by by profitability and efficiency.
Yeah. And just to kind of underscore what Mark just said as well, David, you know, for us, it’s the all in dollar end to end dollars being spent. What is that generating? And of course, one of the metrics is what does that generating in terms of top of funnel your pipe generation. But the reality is we’re having to measure all the way through to HCV or to revenue, right?
And so how do we ensure that we’re spending those dollars that the leading indicators then become not just pipe jam, but also is the propensity to close? And so that’s one of the unique challenges that we have, is ultimately it’s what are we producing that’s driving better not just pipes. And again in a vacuum that’s now the table stakes.
Right, is as I love what market said as well what we’re experiencing in conversations and I spent some time this like week in San Francisco with with some other tech companies as well, some normal brands as well. And they said the same thing is it’s the buyers are still in the market that think about this, the champions are still looking for it.
So those end users that are looking for a product or solution or tool that are going to help them be more productive, they’re still in the space. So those still engaging, they’re taking the calls, they’re doing the demos. Now, the reality is, from marketers perspective is you’ve got to help sales get in the entire buying center because now it’s going to be there’s going to be a decision by committed to some extent with the remaining dollars for this year and next year that you’re going to have to go attract.
So you’re helping that champion that’s still out there actively looking for a solution like yours, but being able to help them with the right use cases, customer stories, helping your sales teams lead through this messaging around ensuring that the product that you’re selling is going to help those companies with profitability, growth or simple ways like a Domo, like a Salesforce showing that we’re able to show the ROI that you’re getting off of your spend as well.
So looking at that from that, the position is an opportunity where the good signals are showing that early market buyers, your champions are looking still for these solutions, but the committees that they have to get through to get that signoff to buy right now in this economy are more complicated than ever. So that means enablement on our side to really understand and open the aperture on that buying center and helping through those critical conversations, those blocking conversations.
But I think it’s even more simple than that right now. We don’t have to necessarily scrutinize everything that the decision makers are going to make on the product service, but it is around how to make the companies more profitable, successful where we are shoring up our resources. Right. So it’s a unique challenge, but an opportunity for us to be able to present them.
And what’s interesting, one of the things I just I want to highlight what you just said is, yeah, it is a different messaging and and and positioning, but it’s also a different approach. So the sales process and the marketing process has shifted where it’s not a single buyer or a smaller buyer committee, it’s now a larger buyer committee that inevitably is going to include finance and I.T, which it’s already been trending.
This is not a new trend, but i think what i’m hearing you say is like be prepared to support that sales process around providing the appropriate information. Case studies are way analyzes air cover just from a brand and market you know air cover for the CFO for maybe the CIO and all of their kind of associated supporting stuff because every dollar is going to get scrutinized right now, like every dollar.
In in a very simple way, it’s it’s ensuring that you’re helping arm not only the sales reps, the frontline commerce agents for those buying centers that your product or service is not a nice to have it’s an absolute must have in this economy.
And so as you talk about shift to positioning, it’s this shift of positioning as, okay, this is a must have solution and this is something that’s going to drive your bottom line and help you be more efficient. And then you need all of the justification for your CFO, for your i.t leaders, for, frankly, the cmo and the CEO to say, yep, let’s, let’s write this check so that okay, that’s action item number one.
Really enablement is what you’re talking about. This is a whole shift in enablement around profitability efficiency. So listeners out there, take note your job. If it hasn’t been double down on enablement become very proficient on telling that story of of productivity and profitability around around your solution. Mark, similar question. You talked about kind of the funnel and how your top of funnel is, is is bigger than ever and your bottom of funnel is kind of tighter than ever.
What are some of the things that you are you’re seeing you are recommending? And again, you have both interestingly, both of you have a unique perspective. You both represent some of the largest data platforms in the world where you have access to more insights, Salesforce.com and Tableau and all of the tools associated with it, and then Domo and your your access to see all of the different, you know, I would say metrics that are driving productivity.
Again, we have a unique to two very unique perspectives. What are you seeing in terms of the right way to think about tracking analytics? What are the right kinds of analytics like? What should people be thinking about?
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s you have to be able to pivot and move quickly in more so than ever. And I think if you can’t move quickly, if you don’t have access to data that allows you to make real time decisions, I think you’re going to be in a tough spot as things are shifting constantly and we’re seeing, you know, strong hiring to to, you know, layoffs and back and forth.
I think having data at your fingertips is absolutely key. I mean, you mentioned obviously, Rick is being a part of Salesforce who acquired Tableau and then Domo obviously being a platform that that is heavy in BI. We build everything in Domo and we have metrics for every single stage of the funnel. It’s been interesting as well as we started to use.
Tools like channel funnels are now now known as signals. The data that that gives us internally at top of funnel that we wouldn’t have had previously. So even that’s helpful for us where you might have had to rely on a sales rep plugging something into Salesforce before. Now we’re able to take data from that, from bottleneck tools like like signals and plug that directly into Domo and see that data top of funnel.
But I mean, you name it, if you’ve got data for it, you should be analyzing it. If you’re not if you’re not analyzing it or you don’t know if you can get access to that data, I think you absolutely have justification for getting access to that data now and spending some time and maybe some effort and some cost against getting visibility to that in order to make better data driven decisions.
It’s just it’s you can’t in these times you can’t live you can’t live without that kind of real time data in order to be able to to drive towards decisions. You know, as far as actual metrics, metrics are concerned, you know, top of funnel, we look at everything, whether it’s, you know, website traffic, you know, email open rates, you name it from a top of top of funnel perspective, but then all the way down through through stages of the funnel.
I mean, Rick knows this as well as anybody. Conversion rates, conversion rates, conversion rates, being able to see how those things are flowing through. And if you’ve got a clog in that pipe, you know, you’ve got to do something to to go in and address that immediately.
So, again, this is kind of advice. Number two, if you’re taking notes, write this down data. You can’t make any pardon me, you can’t make any informed decisions if you’re if you don’t have consolidated data like you. Well, one of the mistakes I think a lot of people make is they log in to the appropriate tool to to be able to look at the metrics, you know, their email tool.
They’re going to be like, oh, what are my open rates there? Okay, got it. And then they’re going to go log into their paid search tool. They’re going to say, Oh, you know, what’s my cost per click? What I’ve heard from both of you countless times, you have to have a consolidated view of everything and be able to understand comparatively which metrics are driving higher return rates versus kind of siloed data points.
And the problem is you can I think you can justify any decision you want if your data is siloed, it becomes very easy to do that. Whereas if it’s consolidated in a data platform with, you know, single CRM, single data platform, it becomes it becomes very difficult to to miss. And so it’s again, one thing I’ve heard from both of you, Rick, you have a thought.
I was going to say. You think about put yourself in the place of your CEO or CFO coming into in or out of an earnings call. Right. And they’re now being tasked with, okay, we’ve got to we’ve got to cut some costs here at Aristotle Company. You’ve got your cost of sales and marketing is being a proud marketer for 25 years.
We’re always number one or two in one of those spend categories, right? So there’s a lot of spend that’s happening there. And what Mark said is so relevant. True, is that naturally that’s where they’re going to such to look as the heaviest places where there’s a lot of spend that they have to consolidate dollars and if we, our average customer now comes to us with over 970 sources, unique sources of data.
So like what Mark said that the challenge is it’s it’s, you know, when you hear about real time data access, the reality is it’s the speed the business requires and that is real time. It’s daily. What you can’t afford to be doing is one have 970 sources of data, all of them telling an individual story. None of it’s centralized, none of it is accessible.
And you’re doing 30 day retrospectives on it. Right. That’s that’s not the speed of the business. And the reality is, with with all of those data sources and or spend, you’re now being looked at this call it the eye of Sauron is looking at you to go, where can we reduce this cost to make it more efficient? And so the only way that you’re able to really take advantage of that and show that you’re you’re not a cost center, you’re a profit center, is by being able to centralize that data, clean it up, serve it up in a in a analytics platform that then helps your team members and helps you showcase to that CFO, that CEO that’s been charged by stakeholders to show how you are spending and generating X amount in pipeline in ACV through every dollar you spend. But well, it sounds like it’s a it’s a it’s a kind of infinite promise there. But the reality is we have access to that. The technology that we live in today. Easier said than done, a lot of cases.
But the reality is these are the companies are here to help you get to not 70% of your was predictive you are 100% of that that can then showcase where you’re spending and not only showcase how you’re doing but also form where you structure your investments to drive the biggest bang for buck.
Which which what you just said leads us to the next point I think we want to bring up, which is you have to make very fast, like once once you have like consolidated access to the data. So again, just just to reiterate, you know, the first thing you got to do is you’ve got to adjust your messaging around profitability and efficiency.
You have to have access to real time data. And then you can make very, very quick decisions. Whereas I think traditionally it’s a little more cautious. But I think if you’ve got access to real time data, you can make those decisions much, much faster.
Yeah, I mean, if I can add something, I think it’s the proactivity to it’s not just being able to make quick decisions. I think we’re in a place now from an economic standpoint where you have to be able to make proactive decisions. So if you you know, if there’s a possibility that you might have to make headcount cuts in your organization and you want to know where you can make cuts if you are going to have to make spend cuts from a marketing spend perspective, you want to know where you could lose, maybe cut some of that, cut some of that fat.
So I think it’s that proactivity that is so critical and is going to become even more critical as the the economic the economic environment is a little more tumultuous.
Which kind of brings me to our next point, which, again, just just to recap, it’s not just quick decisions. It’s preparation is what I hear you’re saying you’re saying, okay, don’t don’t get caught being told what you have to do by your boss. You’re CEO, you’re CMO, you’re CRO build plans. And I want to talk actually, I want to double click into that.
Look, a lot of the market has not been around that long. Like a lot of the when I say the market, a lot of the employees, a lot of the people that are building that comprise the marketing teams have not experienced a downturn like this. But a lot of us, you know, we’ve got some little thin, little gray. and we saw this in 2008. We’ve seen this in 98. But in 2000, I want to share an example. I was building a company called Inside Telecom, and this is so we subsequently raised almost $250 million. But before that we were bootstrapped and we kind of went into that that period of the market. I think you know, go backwards.
Those of you are old enough. We only had let me remember this, we probably had 30 employees. We weren’t huge and we we had no financing except 100 and $150,000 revolving line of credit. So think of that as like a credit card for the for, you know, for a company. And what we would do is we would use that to cover payroll.
Oh, no, no. You guys are great. You’ll never. We love you guys. No problem. Or sure enough, two days after that call, they like the bank pulled that that line of credit from us and we’re like, oh, we’re toast. We’re screwed. Like we’re not going to be able to make payroll. And similar to what you both are advising, what we did is we we scraped through that that payroll like we figured out, you know, we beg, borrow and steal.
Like we ask vendors, you know, to help us get through this customers, partners and whatnot. But with we thought it was going to take 12 months to pay everybody back and get this turned around. And we did what you said. We had dashboards of efficiency. We built a plan and we executed against that plan. And then we we really focus on that messaging of profitability and efficiency.
We had everybody paid back within 90 days. And we also what’s more is that’s when our our organization just skyrocketed like that. That’s when we went into, like, you know, seven subsequent years of of 100% type growth. Like it was unbelievable. And it was because we really adapted to the needs of our customers, the needs of the buyers and the prospects.
So that’s I think what you guys are advising people here is how do we pivot and how do we adapt to what the needs that our needs but the needs of our customers and our buyers. And it’s around that preparation that you just mentioned. So I want to I want to ask, what are the kinds of things that if you run a team, a large team, a small team, what are some of the things you should be preparing?
I mean, ask both of you this question. So like, how do you prepare? I mean, I hate to say it this way because this is like these are people, but are there redundant roles? Are there technologies that are redundant? And and then I’m going to ask a slightly strange question. If you’re watching this and you’re not a leader or you are and you think your role might be at risk, how do you recession proof yourself?
What do you do as an employee, as a leader to prevent, to lower the likelihood that when a riff happens or a layoff happens, how do you how do you make yourself like indispensable? So first the first part of that is what are the things you should be doing to prepare for your CEO coming and saying, we’re going to have to make a change, I need you to cut costs.
And then if you’re on the flip side of that, what do you do to to make sure you’re absolutely mission critical? I’m going to start with you, Mark. Give me some thoughts and then Rick, you’ll be next. And then Mark, I’ll give you a chance to counter if we’re totally screws up, which is very likely. Possibility.
Yeah. Yeah, I’m sure. Yeah. No, I think on the cost side of things, there’s, there’s all sorts of things that you can do. I think you can look at technology and is there technology? Obviously, you have the ability just to cut technology from from your technology stack, maybe something that’s redundant, you can consolidate. We’ve seen a lot of that going on where, you know, vendors will say, hey, you know, there’s a tool out there that’s better than ours, but we’ll give you ours for free, allow you to to reduce a.
Bundling. Yeah. So I mean, that’s something that you can consider is if you’ve got a large player like a Salesforce, for example, where they’ve got multiple offerings, you know, you might be able to bundle and cut some costs there from a headcount costs. I think you can look to to to off shore nearshore options. I mean, that’s that’s always an option.
And we’ve we’ve had some success there depending on the kinds of roles, some roles you can some you know, you can you can do that more easily than others. And then but but but at the end of the day, I think it’s it’s considering how you can do things the most efficiently. So sometimes spending in technology is the answer because you can buy something that will automate an expensive headcount or reduce the amount of money like monotonous work that somebody has to do and and really save costs there.
So I think what I would say is consider, consider like a scale at least from a technology and a people perspective. You know, we often talk about people process systems. There’s a there’s a process piece to that too. But consider if I put more weight on this idea scale, what’s it going to do the other side of the scale?
And is that is that going to have the right kind of role? Why I think that goes for people and for systems. I think Rick and I have probably seen that in our careers time after time where you might spend more money on a person and get way more value from that than you ever could from a system or vice versa.
Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, Rick, let’s swing over to you. Like, what are some of the what are your thoughts on this?
Yeah, I love what both of you said as well to refer for any that they’re experiencing this potentially for the first time. I’ll say this like we’ve seen this many times before, our companies embrace through this. They’ve come out the other side of this as well. You know, in even in in year 2000. Right. 2000 2008 the dot com recession.
Right. And it took almost 15 years for the Nasdaq to return to its peak value from the dot.com recession. On top of that, in Y2K, there was a fear that all the Internet was going to shut off, too. So there’s been worse times than this. At least there’s no fear that the Internet’s going to shut off at January 1st, right this time.
But we can start that. So the room, if you want, Dave, that that’s also going to shut down.
But Twitter made I have not paid my $10 to be validated yet so.
But but again, companies have seen through this and I think this is it’s a awesome opportunity for leaders and team members to see their companies through this transition, because coming out the other side of this, there’s a forcing function that will occur through this that I think is actually really well needed because in a lot of cases, whether it’s a fast growing company or a stable company, there’s a lot of places that spend and resources are being structure that isn’t necessarily the most efficient.
So this this takes a nice and the needed time under a critical lens to be able to really look and see where you can drive better economies of scale. But I love what Mark said a while ago too. There. I think it’s important for leaders to be proactive about this instead of seeing this as a an audit or a colonoscopy, be in front of it, come with your recommendations.
You’re if you’re leveraging your data and analysis, you’re able to show up in a case that says this is where we think we should be spending or restructuring our investment to drive X percent of conversion rates or ROI. So again, being in front of that conversation, which hopefully all of you can be versus having the CFO say, I need an arbitrary 25% cut, you can lead that conversation with data saying Here’s how I drive 40% more output with 5% reduction in overall costs, whether that’s agencies, contractors or technology.
Being in front of that I think is really key. Having your point of view and a strong data backed point of view is how we make it through this. Likewise, I think it’s really important as we look and work across the aisle with our sales teams is again is really focusing on where should we be focusing our time and that includes sales where that’s on your your focus the countless that set to close this quarter that has a high propensity to close this quarter and doing the hand-to-hand combat in the trenches with the sales reps I think is key versus kind of keeping the perpetual motion on the carpet bombing for your digital advertising or the same tools and technologies. It’s a nice forcing function to get together with sales that intimately understand by region, by segment, by SKU. Where should you be focused that data is leading you to? But then also, how can you really make the focus really simple around what that is to close business verses which a lot of us have to go through.
We feel, you know, very empathetic to our sales teams. There’s a lot of noise coming out of there’s a lot of noise of what they should and shouldn’t be doing, where should be focused. This is a great test to distill that noise down to very quickly points and then marketing and sales and finance are all aligned around to driving the best productive results.
So again, get ahead of it, like leverage the opportunity to build that voice because again, if you if you don’t think it’s coming, it is coming wherever whenever that earnings call is coming in of the year and just being a good steward of the business to have your strong point of view on fiscal year closing, but showing how your proactively, like Mark said, looking at the business and, and rather than waiting to be retro or retrospectively or even reactively what to do, have that Chris point of view of where you can better drive and structure your investments.
And one of the things I love that you’re both highlighting is be proactive in some of the things you guys have mentioned, you know, previously was really look at which vendors are mission critical, which ones are not, which partners, which technology before you actually have to let somebody go. There’s many layers that are actually in place there in order to manage that.
I mean it there are there are a lot of options. The problem is if you come at it late when your CFO or CEO has come in, come to you and said you have to make a change, you kind of lose your your your flexibility. So you just said now is the time that leaders are made, not managers, but now is the time that leaders are made.
So I want to again pivot now briefly and talk about, you know, there’s been 120,000 people who have just been laid off or there are people who are going to be at risk of being laid off. What advice do you give those individuals? Because there’s I’m sure there’s there’s hundreds on this on this presentation right now.
Yeah. I mean, I think Rick said it earlier. If you feel like you’re at risk, the easiest way is to take as a cost center to a profit center and really look at your position and what is the value that I bring to this organization and how can I bring more value from a profitability perspective to the organization?
And there’s a number of different ways to do that, depending on your role or where you sit in the organization or what your company does. You know, Dave, you talked about earlier, we we went on this this tour Connections tour, we called it road Show, where we’re out visiting with customers. And, you know, one of the ways that I’m I’ve shifted my team is that I’m having my team help out with critical renewals and where they’re not typically externally facing.
I’ve said, hey, let’s get out and start to visit with customers and help add value from a customer standpoint with the thought that it’s needed to try to retain and make sure that we’re making those customers as sticky as possible. But also it’s kind of this conversion of cost center to profit center becomes less like, Oh, that’s the guy that sits in the back room, you know, that has the red stapler and it becomes more like, Hey, this is the guy that was out meeting with MasterCard or IPG Health or, you know, the state government or whatever, and adding true value there. And, you know, we can’t we can’t lose that guy or that gal that okay.
That’s amazing shift from being a cost center to being a profit center as an individual and frankly, as a leader. Right. This is this isn’t limited to line level contributors. This is like anyone. So you’ve got to figure out how do you drive profitability and efficiency for the organization, which is, you know, one of the points Rick highlighted.
So. Okay, that’s amazing. Take a note again if and I’m going to recap all of these at the end. Rick, what are your thoughts on how does an individual, whether it’s a align level contributor or, this is, you know, you’re somewhere in that leadership stack. What do they do to to make sure that they are, you know, I would say, safe and instrumental through, you know, through these next tumultuous months and hopefully not years, but, you know, the next period of time.
Yeah, I’ll use a corny line just basically inspired from Dumb and Dumber is where where the companies are going through the change. The economy is going through a state of change. Switch out that G for a C and now you’ve got a chair. So. Well, Mark said it’s so true. Or is it is not true it’s it’s there’s a state of the player right now if you’re looking across the board as an employee those employees that are just looking for ways to be able to drive that that change but be a part of the conversation, even extending themselves outside of where they their normal remit is.
I think as we gather and talk about leaders looking at the landscape of both the economy, our team structures, even looking at beyond next year as well, one, we all believe that we’re going to weather the storm. And so it’s but we’re also looking to see are there those that are really want to be a part of this journey versus those that are saying, like, I need someone to tell me what to do through this process.
So I’m waiting for someone to tell me. Like there’s a lot of it that’s in our control. There’s some that is out of our control. But the reality is you show how well you’re built for this moment by just extending yourself to problem solve and to be a part of the solution versus the let’s wait and see like this.
When we say that the companies are turning up, that doesn’t mean we want employees and leaders hurtling up like you’ve got to be out there, be a part of the conversation and show you where you can extend capabilities. Now, let me say that carefully, because in the same context, you know, where there’s a lot that’s being required of our teams, our leaders and our companies in this moment and the layers of of what we have to go through from a personal wellness standpoint, while we’re still a lot of us still largely remote to the pandemic, they’re just being conscious of the employees are going through a lot.
Our teams are going through a lot. They’re being asked to do a tremendous amount. And so I think it’s key for us as leaders to really be able to paint the vision of what the future looks like. Any member paint the vision, what that future looks like, and where we’re navigating this fog of war where we’re unsure how the year will settle, how the Fed’s going to adjust rates, like what what macroeconomic factors are going to impact us before next year.
Anchor On the things that you do, no. Anchor On those values, those principles, and even the fundamental kind of priorities in the business that, you know, will not change. Anchor on that clarity because I think a lot of team members have to navigate that ambiguity and the fear factor sets in right when they’re seeing what’s happened, the economy, they’ve seen their friends getting laid off.
You want to be able to as much as you can as a leader, really anchor on those things that are that will drive clarity in the business. Even if it’s three out of 15 things, those three can give you a unique focus and it gives the employees something to focus on versus just expanding our remit across the board.
It’s all hands on deck, which is destroys that company morale and the employees and be conscious of the employees that they’re going through this. This is a challenging time of many, many of those that we employ. This is their first recession they’re going through. So it’s a it’s a unique challenge, but an opportunity for us to be able to really, as a as a wholesale team, come together on a united front and paint with that vision of the future, looks like together and march towards that.
So I love one thing you said, and for everyone who’s listening, just know like this you’ll be okay if you’re unemployed right now, you’ll actually be okay. The way this these happened in the market is, again, it ebbs and flows. And what we know is the market, even though we’re having a downturn, we know it’s going to come back.
We know there are jobs out to be created in a month and six months in a year. So like so so two things I wanted to highlight that you said if you if you’re a leader and you manage people, one, I think, plan, prepare, be very open, be very transparent, be honest with people, but also support them because this is really this is scary.
It’s really difficult. And still confidence build a vision kind of support, not just your team, but I would say everybody within kind of your influence, it kind of help as much as you can and that actually will help the company because the thing that is is definitely not helpful is when everybody gets in a, you know, a death spiral, everybody starts to panic and they stop.
They start spending time on the wrong thing. So again, what I’m hearing from you is to ensure that, you know, the best you can, that you have job stability is become critical, get in front of profitability and customer renewals and expansion and and revenue related activities. And so kind of get outside maybe your comfort zone, really try and be proactive and then support frankly everybody around you the best you can.
As we go through these tough times. I want to I want to move now to the last thing. We only have another ten or so minutes. It’s one thing that we talked about and Rick, you called it taking care of, you know, taking care of, you know, your home base. Like you start the year you think about as a marketing leader or as a sales leader, where do you spend most of your energy?
What you described was home base. I’ll go. I’d like to get your sense of what that means. And then, Mark, you can I mean, you literally just came off a week of doing that. So I want to get some examples from you of what that means. So so, Rick, let’s start with you.
Yeah, good question. I think, you know, looking at this again, limited resources in time and only certain ways to be able to protect your ACV or your revenue. It just be have that real estate conversation it can you do everything to go continue on the growth. So I think you have to have that realistic conversation to say what is the home base?
We have to protect it. For a lot of companies, that’s going to be renewals at the end of the year, right? That’s your book of invoice. That’s what’s going to be looked at against that. Even I was on a plane flight home a couple of days ago with another major tech company as well. And they were talking about just that there’s going to be roughly 50% miss in their ACV, and the focus again was on preserving that home base of their customer renewal. And as we’re seeing across the state of the economy, is while there or you still may see top line growth, the reality is, although what a lot of companies are experiencing, there’s not there’s not an expansion of customers or licenses or new projects yet like it’s part of this recession kind of getting braced for that is is are we are we adding new contracts or re adding new projects to our existing state of business?
Not necessarily. But the renewal side is where that’s I think Mark said on his tour, it’s like the critical customers where you need to be able to put those resources to ensure that they renew. That’s that to me is home base number one but then be able to say with two was identifying those those deals where you can see where you’re helping those companies be more profitable.
So net new prospects as well. But in a very simple way, I think that’s where marketing has a really good role as well as ensuring that by especially as we’re coming in in the year, ensure the renewals as the de facto table stakes. That’s your home base. And then how are you what are you looking at to be able to be really crisp in prioritizing the remainder of your time, investments, resources for where that would that expansion or new logo would be very declarative over that because I think that’s the key to the game right now, isn’t to say it’s all of them.
You need to be realistic and say what is priority number one? And then in short sequence it can be two and three, but you need to establish with that number one home basis.
And that’s amazing. So again, home base, you’re critical like your customer base, your critical customers. And then overall, the idea is you can’t do everything you have limited resource today. So like where do you spend your time? And the answer is it depends. Every every every listener has a different set of priorities. But what you’re saying is make a be purposeful about it, plan and execute against that plan.
Rick, what again, you just came off a week of this. What what resonated as you talked to your critical customers? What seemed to resonate? What was their sentiment? What did you hear?
That’s no problem. I know, I know. Got confused based on the handsome nature there.
So you both it’s it’s very difficult to tell the difference between.
It’s there’s an art there’s a case for both.
Yeah we’ll give you that. It has nothing to do has nothing to do with the gray on the sides there. Yeah. No, I think you have to make it very hard, if not impossible, for your customer to say goodbye. And I think that can mean different things for for for different folks. But for for us, it’s getting creative.
It’s getting creative around how you add value. So it might be that they use you, you for one use case. How do you get to a second or third or fourth use case? You know, the broader you are, you know, captain obvious statement but the broader you are in the in the organization, the more people can say goodbye and you still get to retain that that that revenue.
So I would say make it make it really hard to say goodbye tactically. There’s some things that you can do. For example. Well, we recorded some some customer videos where it’s a great tool for us to be able tell the customer story, but it’s a great tool for them also to be spotlighted and presented to their organization as a leader in this space.
No tactical, but something really helpful and can can make you stickier. Like I said, getting to a place where you’ve multiple use cases I think is is absolutely critical. And I think that applies that to really any organization. Think, think outside the box if you haven’t already, you know, maybe you’re your primary marketing use case, but how do you transition them the primary marketing use case into a sales use case? I think if you think creatively about it, you’ll find ways that you can expand into other use cases.
That’s I think it’s brilliant. So there is actually one last thing I want to bring up in this was was consistent, Rick smiling because he’s like, what’s Dave going to say? No, this one’s a good one. I swear, guys. Dill creativity. I heard this over and over. So the theme I’ve heard from both of you, I’ve heard from other companies like this seems to be the trend.
Again, top of funnel is expanding. Bottle funding, funnel is contracting. And so what I heard is if there is a deal to be had, you got to adjust your needs in your expectations within reason to accommodate what the buyer’s needs are, because in many cases they don’t have cash right now. So if there’s some terms flexibility, tell me some of your thoughts.
Let’s let’s actually I’m going to go back to you, Mark, to start and then Rick, I’ll have you finished. What are some of the kinds of things that you are you are seeing your teams are recommending around deal creativity?
Yeah. I mean, I think getting getting flexible and creative around you name price pricing what you include in your offering like I talked about earlier, you’ve got add ons you might might charge for historically but but throw, throw, throw those in. I think anything that you can do if you’re subscription based to get multiyear deals is going to be so helpful.
Is it’s less energy that you’ve got to put in a year or six months or a month, depending on how your contracts work, to trying to keep that customer lock them in. And, you know, to get a small to take a small cut on price to get multi-year is will pay off in spades, especially in a in an economic downturn.
So I think, you know, be flexible on pricing, be flexible on on what you throw in from an add ons perspective. Get creative around whether you include maybe services and somehow bundle that together so that you know that they’re going to that your customer is going to hit the ground running and be successful. If you’re not able to get a multi-year deal again, make it so hard for them to say goodbye through, you know, through how how creative you get with the deal.
I know, like I said, with with Rick, I know you guys have so many different offerings you can if you’re in a in a situation like Rick, you can get creative with it because you’ve got a lot of different things that your sales folks can throw at people. But, you know, there’s some thoughts on my side.
That’s super helpful, Rick. Same question. Like what how do how do we support getting these transactions done when people don’t have budget? I mean, how do you new tech at the same time, you know, you may have to be considering a layoff. Like how how do you how do you as a vendor, how do you approach companies asking them to make those buys?
Yeah, great question. And it’s really important, I think, in this case to put yourself again in the shoes of your buyer and a lot of us should be able to empathize because we’re having to go through the same exercise to that they’ve been given a limited pie to deal with. Right? So I think a lot of times we tend to think like it’s a big brand company or whatever they are.
They’re a series with a ton of funding. The reality is that the CFO is giving them their small portion of the pie. So in that situation, is it better to have $0 from the customer versus X dollars? Now, obviously we don’t want to go downgrade the product enough to where we’re we’re taking a net loss. But like Mark said, it’s just recognizing it’s a competition for every penny now, and what can you do in the near and short term? Just to be able to be flexible with that, creative with that, where it’s even recognizing terms later, what Mark said, doing bundles, anything that can help. Again, you’re putting the front line champion or the businesses, your maker in their hands, their capability to go back to their CFO seat.
You can go and say, here’s the justification, here’s the breakage I’m getting, here’s the deal I’m getting that makes us better than others. And as well. Yeah, it’s the CFOs are they’re not going to give us the leeway and go like, you know what, keep spending because I know we’re going to come out of this. What we’re saying that we will we know that we know we maybe get that budget back next year as well, but the CFOs are going to pull down the curtains right now and go, nope, we’re done as day and date. And so it matters now. Like if they’re if they’re not having those conversations, they’re coming very soon before the end of the year. And so being in front of that and really be able to say this is how we can make this creative and the best deal for I think is key, especially knowing, again, think about who the buyer is, what they’ve got to go through, the justification they’ve got to go through, and really understand.
It’s it’s about the the portion of the pie they had before is now significantly less. How do you get a piece of that pie?
And Mark, you told me thing that kind of intrigued me. What’s your CFO doing as he’s seen his you know, his customers, you know your customer has come to him with these kind of special asks of price discounts, things like that. I love this. And Rick, this is what you said also. But but Mark, share this this quick anecdote. We’re going to end with this for sure.
Yeah, I think he keeps the notebook of evil, as I call it, where he’ll write down every idea that has been played against him. He’ll then write down to then play it against a vendor. So I think it’s a it’s a it’s a two way street for sure. As you’re seeing and maybe certain plays from from specific vendors.
Consider whether that play plays for you. I mean, before we close, I feel like we’ve we’ve maybe a painted a a pretty gnarly picture and I think that that there are there are tough times ahead of us likely. But that being said, I’ve always seen this in my career that when something shifts, it creates new opportunity. And so I think staying in front of that is key.
But like you said, Dave, if you hit a hard time, it’s easier said now than maybe maybe when you’re in the situation, there is opportunity on the other side. Undoubtedly things shift, creates new opportunities. I’ve seen that time and time again in my career.
Be the person who sees the gap in the market and try and move, you know, you know, skate to where the puck is going to be versus where it is today because that’s where the opportunity is. Less less thoughts.
Yeah. Look, I’ll say this as well is, is where again, the change equals the chance. But just being a part of this for any company and seeing your company to the other side of this is a tremendous opportunity for as individual leader, contributor, team member, because seeing that and building that vision together, I think is one of the key disciplines that we need in the market right now versus now.
The challenges also, and I’ll say this as well, don’t be afraid to ask for people for help as well. This is a wonderful form with the demand in summit here to have leaders that actually will are willing to have conversations around this, those that have cut their teeth on this before. There’s there’s a sense of kind of like the calluses that many of us have on the backs for going through this. They’re willing to share. They want other people to be able to have that conversation as well. I think that’s one of the benefits and values of having this gathering is really being able partner network and have people. I just I had someone just actually right now someone that I’ve met in the past has asked me a very simple question on Monday night is, hey, can you break down end to end your marketing attribution model for me?
Like sure, let’s have a chat. Right. So but the reality is I’m more than happy. I love having those conversations because whatever we have learned together, we’ve done through all of us on this call as well, is through mentors, through leaders that have helped us through this as well. So don’t be afraid to reach out through this conversation and ask questions about what people are doing, what are some of the strategies and tactics and programs are using as well? There’s an army of community that’s that’s willing to help in this as well. So take advantage, though.
So two of the greatest leaders I’ve ever known, two of the great marketing leaders, analytics leaders, and honestly, two of the best people I’ve I’ve ever worked with and I’ve ever known. Thank you both hugely for doing this. This is, you know, just just your willingness to be but be willing to kind of share some of these things that you guys have experienced, I think is helpful for everybody is helpful for me.
I learned a lot from both of you. Thank you so much. What’s the best way for people? Because I know, look, both of you are very generous and do a lot of mentorship. What is the best way people can find you? Reach out to you? Is it is it over social? You know, first, you know what? How should how should they reach out to you if they have questions or or, you know, one, you know, maybe a double click on something.
I’ll give you mine Mark, Snapchat and then or LinkedIn, LinkedIn or I’ll post your cell phone number. Dave And they can reach you to reach us.
Please post the 900 number if you will know. Okay, so something good is the best way. How about you, Mark?
Yeah, same. I think. If you’re not a salesperson, I’ll 100% accept your connection. If you are a salesperson, tell me you’re hitting me up for another reason. I’ll absolutely accept your invite and happy to connect there. And instead of time, like you said, Dave, you know this is a mayonnaise in the beard. We’ve we’ve experienced some some some things on our own and would love to help other people not have to experience some of the same pain that we have some amazing.
So I’m going to just to end it, I’m going to summarize the number one piece of advice was messaging around profitability and efficiency, both internal messaging and external. It’s number one. Number two, data consolidated data in real time to make quick decisions and you’ve got to do it proactively. Number three, prepare cost saving initiatives. Think about agencies, contractors, technology.
Number four, convert your self to a profit center versus a cost center. Become required, become necessary, move outside your comfort zone and role and have empathy with your buyers and with your excuse me, your your team, your peers and paint see a vision of the future that isn’t what it is today. Number five, take care of your home, but home base, which means figure out what your home home base is.
It’s probably your critical customers, ensure renewals and then prioritize everything else because you don’t have time to do everything. Add use cases as a subset of this, take care of your home base, add capabilities, become more critical. Six Deal flexibility. So these are terms price bundling, timing. And what I heard is empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of your buyers and help, help deliver what they need.
Seven Use Vendor Plays Use of the plays vendors play on your vendors within some level of empathy. So use be proactive about using those techniques used on us or on our vendors. And the last thing is be confident this is this to show pass we’ll get through this and ask for help. Rick Tollman, Salesforce.com Markman, Domo, two of the greats. Thank you, guys. Absolutely amazing. People, please reach out. They truly are some of the leaders in this space. Thank you all.