How does a CRO view Revenue Operations?

On this episode, we talked with Jen Spencer, the CRO at SmartBug Media. She was recently promoted to this role and we will be talking with her about:

  • her path to marketing and the CRO role
  • how she views Revenue Operations
  • how she is measured and how she monitors that
  • a little about tech and tools she relies on

Recorded live on March 25, 2021.

Hi, I’m Michael Hartmann I’m Naomi Liu and I’m Mike Rizzo. And this is ops cast, a podcast for marketing ops pros and rev ops pros raided by the MO Pros. The number one community for marketing operations tune into each episode. As we chat with real professionals to help elevate you in your marketing operations career.

Hello everyone. And welcome to episode five of ops cast by MO Pros. Um, we hope that you’re evolve and enjoying what we’ve been talking about and learning a little bit and being entertained. I’m Michael Hartmann, uh, as is usual joined by cohost Naomi, Lou and Mike Rizzo. And we’re really excited today.

We’re going to have with us, Jen Spencer, the new CRO at SmartBug Media. She’s got a really interesting career story and was recently promoted to that role. So we’re going to talk a little bit about that and kind of marketing ops, martech and that kind of stuff as well. If you wanna, as always, if you wanna participate in the conversation, you can use the chat feature here on capeesh, or you can raise your hand if you’re listening in and asked to be brought on there, we’d be happy to do that first up.

Jen thanks for joining us. Uh, why don’t you introduce yourself for those who don’t already know a little bit about you. Uh, happy to this is, this is exciting. I’m so glad to be here. So, uh, again, I’m Jen Spencer and I’m the chief revenue officer at smart bug media, where an intelligent inbound marketing agency working with clients on their revenue growth goals.

And I’ve been here for about three and a half, a little over three and a half years. Before I was in the CRO seat. I was the VP of sales and marketing here. And before that I was actually a client of smart bugs twice at a couple of different SAS companies, uh, and, uh, love all things, marketing and sales and customer success.

And I especially loved the intersection of those three different, uh, departments awesome. So, yeah, I kind of teed this up a little bit or teased it a little bit earlier that you have an interesting career path. Um, which, you know, we, we talked before we got on, right. About how I think there’s, there’s not a standard career path for people in marketing ops or some of these roles, but I think yours does stand out.

You started your career as a teacher. So, I guess, walk us through just the story of how you went from teaching and then into marketing and sales, and now the chief revenue officer role and kind of, what are the, some of the things you think we can, we can share with those listening about how that could play into their career path?

Well, the short answer is I made my way from teaching to marketing and sales by way of nonprofit professional, regional theater. Which I know is, is common for everyone, right? It’s gonna say super calm. Um, very strange, but very true. So I was, I was teaching, I was teaching high school, English and theater.

To me to be completely Frank. When I went to school, I was originally looking for a journalism degree. Um, had a love for theater was thinking maybe I would go into some kind of theater criticism, you know, go be like a theater critic for the New York times. Why not? Right. And, and then, uh, just didn’t really love.

A lot of the journalism classes really loved the English classes, loved working with. Fellow classmates and dormmates on improving their communications and their writing skills. And just kind of teaching just seemed like a really natural progression of a way I could use the talent I had and get to spend the majority of my time.

Doing the things I love to do. So how could I just, just relish in more literature and writing composition and theater arts. So I didn’t go into teaching with the idea of like, I want to go change the world of these young people, which I think is still very noble, but that wasn’t. So I had an opportunity to join and to, to, to be a volunteer with Arizona theater company, this organization produces their own work in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona, and they had a grant that would allow students who didn’t have a lot of exposure to the arts, go to shows.

And then afterwards you meet up and you talk with actors and you have conversations about it. And the idea was like, could we create lifelong theater lovers? And I looked at it as like a golden ticket opportunity. And I think that’s, that’s the key to like everything that I’ve done. It’s always been like, what’s the potential, if I say yes to this, like what are the all, what’s the good that could happen?

And what’s the negative. And I looked at it like, wow, I’m giving up my Saturdays for like a semester, but I don’t really care. I’m going to get to go see a bunch of theater that I want to see for free. And I don’t have the money to spend on these tickets. So I got to know Arizona theater company over a couple of years doing that.

And then when our full-time role opened. I just thought, let me try this like worst case scenario. If I’m not good at this, I’ll just fall back on myself. I’ll just go back and I’ll be a teacher. And it was a role that was, um, like a liaison between the community and the educational community specifically, and then the theater company.

And I was in that role for six. When the marketing director at the time kind of tapped me on the shoulder and said, Hey, we have had this PR role that’s been open for however long, and we can’t find anybody. And we think you’d actually be really good at it. Is this something you’re interested in doing?

And I, I said, I said, well, I, I don’t think I know anything about marketing. And they said, well, we think you do. And kind of like the rest is history, right? So I was there for eight years. And by the time I just kept growing with the organization and we pull up a chair next to anybody who was willing to show me anything.

And by the time I left the organization, eight years later, I was the director of sales of marketing. I was responsible for. Generating 75% of our revenue. We had about a seven and a half million dollar budget, and I would eat sleep and breeze tickets, ticket sales. Um, and from there got a little tired, a little bit exhausted from the nonprofit grind, decided to move over into the for-profit private space, more deeper into market.

I always thought, well, if it doesn’t work out, if I’m not good at this, I can always go back to working at a theater company. I can always go back, you know, so I’ve always just leaned on myself and fallen back on myself to take that next. That’s uh, I, I appreciate that for sure. And I think the thing that I’m going to latch onto really quickly there is, um, what you, what you mentioned around just sitting in with literally anybody that would teach you.

Um, we recently had a member join the community. Um, the . And a part of her onboarding experience, she decided to message me directly and say like, I, where do I get started? I am completely green to this field. And like, I just want to know where to get started right now. And it worked out really, really wonderfully cause like I’m actually going to act as her mentor.

And of course we have like a mentorship kind of, um, program as well that we try to spin up. But like that kind of initiative is, is often what it takes. Right. Somewhere new. And her whole goal is like, I want to get into a completely new industry. I’m a skilled marketer and director at marketing, but I need to get into a new industry.

And, and I actually need tech experience like specifically MarTech. Uh, and so it’s, it’s been this really, really cool experience to have with her so far, but the key message is like, she took the initiative to say like, give me the. Right. Like, I just, I’m going to ask a thousand questions as long as you don’t get mad at me for that.

Of course my response was like, never could ask all the questions, so that’s so cool. It’s, you know, and it it’s something that I coach people on regularly also because they’re. There’s a lot of folks who there, they have a sense of, well, there’s a, there’s a role that I have to play and that if someone wants to include me, they will invite me into this conversation.

Um, and, and I, and I, it, wasn’t just me being. I want to learn and grow as much as I can, like, yes, like that’s innate and who I am. But I also was kind of starting to see the writing on the wall in what was going on in PR as I was creating pitches and I was responsible for generating organic opportunities.

I was receiving these responses that were much more like, Hey, this is a pay to play space now. Oh, like pitching to a local TV station where we used to get all of these opportunities. And, you know, I was, I was there, this is back in like 2005, 2006, where I’m going to the theater company at 5:00 AM for the morning show.

And they’ve got like the guy that’s got and he’s got the crew and they’re on the set and we’re doing backstage stuff. Like what kind of, that kind of old school, like new news morning news reporting and that sort of transitioning into. Okay, well, we’re now going to monetize these spots and you want to pay X amount and being a nonprofit.

And we didn’t have the money for that. And I started to look at, well, what do I want my career to become? Like, where do I want to go? And like, what do I enjoy? And just recognize I really had to shift into, and I had to develop like more marketing skills. Um, if I wanted to be readily. And be marketable as an employee myself and also be productive and helpful to the Oregon.

I think that a lot of our listeners who are new to marketing ops or have been working in it and are trying to figure out what the next step is in their career can really relate to some of the things you said, because I get asked like Mike, you know, you were saying that you get asked to be mentors to be a mentor.

I got to ask. A lot on the MO Pros that community, as well as just getting pinged on LinkedIn, from people who are wanting to enter the industry. Right. They’re kind of like, you know, I really like this. I have great technical aptitude. I love software and technology, but I have no idea where to start. And the common question I always get is like, can you recommend some blog articles or links that I can read?

And it’s Nike. I can send you some, but there’s nothing that’s going to be as relevant or beneficial for you as you know, attaching yourself to people who are kind of working in the same type of industry or, um, role with responsibilities that you were in, because you can just be that curious person absorb all that information and have some of those questions.

Right. And I think that really like, it’s how I grew my career too. Right. When I started marketing opposite, didn’t really exist as a function. Right. Was. Like, what do you do? Well, I kind of use my computer to help people market. Right, right. Um, it’s just, it was honestly, like you said, sitting with folks and trying to understand what their business cases were like, what do you need?

What’s broken, how can I fix it? Let me try to fix that for you. Right. And, and just having those conversations and building those relationships. Right. Absolutely. And I’ll add one more thing here. It’s that they can sales as well and just growth overall. We look at like, everyone wants to have this like hockey stick.

Kind of curve to their growth. Right. But we know that most really successful organizations are really built off of layered S curves where you have like these kinds of LOLs and then you have these Pikes and it, and it’s over and over again. And that’s really what innovation looks like, same thing for your career.

So I failed to mention when I decided to step back from teaching and take this education coordinator position at the theater company, I took a pay cut. I literally took a pay cut from teaching. To go into this, but if I wouldn’t have done that and if I would have stayed the course, I wouldn’t, would I be where I am now?

Who knows what would have happened. Right. But, but sometimes, you know, you have to kind of take a lateral, make a lateral move, or even take a step back. In order to then propel yourself up to that next, that next level. I wish the people listening could have seen kind of our like muted reactions on,

I was processing them. We’re looking at each other on video, and you’re saying that I’m looking at Michael and Mike and we’re all like

how much this is. Like, think it says. What teachers get paid as it does that. Hey take ownership of your career from that perspective would be willing to take that risk. But, um, I, what I think is really interesting that we all sort of gravitated to that part of what you described in your career was that that really inquisitive, wanting to learn proactive part of it.

Um, which I think is a really helpful thing for all of all of us, no matter the stage in your career. Um, so one of the things that we we’ve talked a lot about, even though, you know, this is really meant to be a marketing. Focus community in the pros and the, this as well. You know, we are, I think we are all getting, um, hit up with different things.

Like, um, the one in particular is like, we start hearing about revenue operations. And, and I’m sure you, as you know, with your clients, you’re saying that as well. And I’m just curious, like what, how do you, we actually had an episode kind of talking about what, what is revenue ops, but I’d love to get your perspective on how do you think about it?

Is it, is there something that you all at smart bug or are looking at it from that standpoint? Are you changing offerings or whatever? Yes. Short answer. Yes, absolutely. Um, and I think it, I think it’s rev ops is the, it’s the, the output now of what the input that I was experiencing a few years ago is that our alignment among revenue generating teams.

Uh, so looking at marketing sales, Customer success and the client or customer experience and the opportunity that you have to, um, to grow wallet, share with those customers, and then use those customers to evangelize you and your product and create a bit of a flywheel effect. Um, and HubSpot’s really doubled down on, on this in particular and, and, and talked about the, the evolution of funnels to flywheels.

But when I, when we think about revenue operations, myself, and the way we kind of picture it from, from a smart five media perspective, we’re looking at how do we align these three departments? And, and you align them through the processes that you put in place through culture that you developed, and, and also like the platforms that you use.

So. Rev ops is about making those uniting those teams. But it also, because of we live in because our world as a marketers is so technologically heavy rev ops hinges on mastering that intersection between demand, generation and operations and making sure your organization have, they have the right solutions that are architected around.

All of the customer customer experiences. And there’s some really cool things that marketing and sales and customer success leaders want to do like big, bold ideas and campaigns and ways that they want to really improve the lives of their customers. But none of it is possible without operations, without revenue operations.

Yeah, that, um, that definitely resonates with, with me and with a lot of what we’ve been hearing. I think just, you know, we had Melissa McCready on talking about the sheet. She likes to call, uh, call it growth ops. Uh, I like that term too. I think it’s a little bit more encompassing in terms of, um, client success and really thinking about the clients as they grow too.

Like if their revenue grows, your revenue can grow. Uh, one of the things I just wanted to dig in a little bit on, on what you’re talking about in terms of alignment across the business, Um, do you find, I, and maybe this is a unique perspective that you can provide as kind of an agency that comes into a business.

Right. And is thinking about deploying or supporting a revenue operations kind of function or initiative, do you find it difficult to, um, get the stakeholders aligned? So it beyond just the technology and the operational infrastructure. Means there needs to be alignment between the stakeholders in the business and as somebody sitting outside of the organization, are they coming to you because you’re outside of the organization?

Is that an actual benefit or is it a challenge or is it sometimes both? I guess. Yeah. Yeah. There’s a little bit of both. There’s a little bit of both that we see. Um, our ideal state is that revenue leaders are aligned. That’s great. Right? Like, and then we’re coming in to understand the way that they w you know, what they want that future state to look like.

And it’s not uncommon for there to be a marketing leader, a sales leader, and a CEO. And the CEO says at the end of the day, can I please have one report? That tells me what’s going on in our company and w or like, and can we make it so that when marketing runs a report and sales runs a report, it’s for the data is the same.

Right. And like that kind of just insanity where they’re like, we just don’t even have the time or the bandwidth, or maybe the skills to figure this out. Um, and so they’re looking, they’re looking for that kind of an alignment. Um, sometimes when we are. And working with an organization, they do need that third party, external kind of voice to help them, especially when they don’t have a lot of their processes that allow that alignment.

They haven’t actually mapped it out. And maybe it’s been talked about at a high level, but it hasn’t actually been implemented into anything. Tangent. Forget about the technology component, but just like the actual people and process part of it. And that’s where we can also help provide, come get some guidance.

And it is, it does tend to be easier because we can then have a conversation just with sales, a conversation, just with target marketing, a conversation just with CS. We can have all of those conversations and make sure that everyone’s heard and that everyone has kind of their priorities. And no one gets steamrolled because there’s inevitably going to be somebody whose voice is loud.

Or we’ll squeak year. Right. Um, and, but, but it’s pointless to go through the exercise of trying to really align these revenue teams. If not everyone feels like their, their voice is heard and their priorities are being addressed too. And that’s where we’ve been able to provide a lot of that. Very good.

Very good. Yeah. You, you hit, you touched on something that, the idea that the CEO wants, just that one report that’s consistent across all those fittings. Like from your perspective, you know, maybe both as kind of in your, in your role internally within the agency or with clients, right. What kinds of, you know, reporting or metrics do you rely on?

Like, what are you like every day, every week kind of. I’m looking at, I’m looking at some of like our staples, right. Of I’m looking at traffic, I’m looking at leads. I’m looking at sales qualified leads. Our marketing team is, um, their goals are all aligned to pipeline creation. So sales qualified leads and opportunity creation.

So that’s how, that’s what the marketing team is measured on. Um, and then even segmented down further by line of business. So we have a number of things that we can offer. We can offer. Uh, integrations. We do HubSpot implementations. We have inbound marketing services around HubSpot and Marketo. We have paid media sales, enablement, all of these different pieces.

And if we want to make sure that we are growing in a really healthy way, we need to have. Um, we need to, we need to make sure we’re not just like solely focused on one particular service. So our marketing team is looking at when they’re building their editorial calendar and they’re running campaigns.

They’re also looking at how many SQLs or, and then how many opportunities are we creating for each line of business that we have to make sure that the company is healthy, um, from as, as early as possible from sales, right? Looking at deal velocity, looking at close rates. And looking at average, average deal size.

Um, and then on the client services side, we’re looking at retention and we’re looking at growth within those, those, those accounts, um, and attainment of our. Goals. So every client that comes to us has some kind of a goal. Some might be, Hey, last year, marketing drove 30% or drove, sorry, 10% of pipeline. And next year it needs to be 30% and we need help figuring out how to make that happen.

And we need help executing it. We are only as successful as our we’re making our clients and them achieving their goals. Whereas another client might be like my goal this year is to just use a system and get like adoption across an entire organization. Right. So those are the other things that are harder to like put into a, into a, a, uh, like a reporting dash.

We may, we’ve tried. We, we, we try, we try to do what we can. And then the other piece is our utilization rate because we’re an agency we’re looking at. It’s the time that it takes. How long does it take much time? Does it take to do the work that needs to be done? So in my seat as CRO. I’m looking at the entire health of these three Oregon, this organization, and looking for ways we can improve.

So if we had, let’s say a couple of clients that are leaving us because we didn’t hit their goals. We also want to look at well where their goals even attainable and what can we address in the discovery process on the sales side to kind of reset expectations. So that we’re not sales, isn’t just like flinging some deal over the, over the line to client services with a goal that’s like 300% increase in leads or in pipeline with, uh, but they’ve got a, a 12 month sales cycle.

And we want to see results in four months. And, and that’s the type of thing that comes to our door that never happened. Hey, we’re not going to hit our goals. And we’ve got like three months left till the end of the year. So we want to hire you as the magic wand to fix all these problems. Like that’s a normal conversation.

Yeah, right. Or the score, the scapegoat. Right. Um, you know, take the store in the wrong direction now. Um, so I think it’s really interesting. I liked that you like, you know, so many people I think would have answered that question with really generalized kinds of things. I liked that you are very, like, these are the things for each of the different sort of domain areas and how they’re using.

To feed back to the beginning. Right? So that full life cycle, I think that’s, um, I think that’s, uh, uh, I think it would say you’re probably in the top, whatever, 10% of people in terms of how you’re doing that, because I think it’s really easy, especially in the marketing side too. You know, generate a lot of data and reporting that doesn’t really help you improve what you’re doing.

Right. But it’s easy. Right? You did mention web traffic, like web traffic is unless you know, that that is clearly a driver to something else. Right. It’s a proxy for some other, a more important metric. It’s tied to revenue. Right? I think. Yeah. And I think that’s just something that I think more and more people in marketing probably typically need to hear.

Right. Is how do you, like, how do you focus on the metrics that are going to be driving the business? Well, and there’s, there’s some, like micrometric other, I call the micro metrics to meet. But that are, that are minor to me, but are really critical to someone else on my marketing team. So one of the exercises that our director of marketing Hannah Shane is doing right now with her team is we’ve always dashboards, right?

We have all these things built out and, um, they’re all in HubSpot and, and, and she’s, she’s actually segmenting them by levels. So like what’s a level one level, two level three, Because it’s important that our content marketing manager ha, is, is looking at very specific metrics around that content engagement.

Honestly, I don’t need to see every day. I don’t need to see every week or even every month. Like once a quarter. I like to see that, um, I’m looking a little bit closer. Like w what does this actually mean from like a pipeline and revenue perspective, but those other dashboards, that data is really critical to her success as she.

Operating in her role on a day-to-day basis. And so just recognizing that not all reports have different sort of levels and there’s different eyes that should be on those reports. And as much as I love to like dive into everything, I don’t have the time to do that. And so I have to protect myself from myself, keep the, you know, just keep like a focus on like the things that, that matter most in that, that I have the ability to in.

Um, and then leave my team to do the great work that they’re doing. Yeah, that’s a good point. Um, so this brings me to another one, right? Just so you know, you just don’t like, I guess what has it been about two months since you got the promotion? Um, you know, one of the things is like how, how, how were you measured before in your previous role and how has that, how do you think it’s changed?

And the new seat. So it was previously measured exclusively on net new revenue and just new kind of new logos, um, and marketing his job was to drive revenue. So. There were like, we’d have other kinds of I’d have other measurement metrics that were put in place that were a little bit more brands. Let’s call them touchy, feelys, right.

Of like initiatives that we, that we had. But at the end of the day, it was all based off of, of net new revenue. So now, um, I’m also, I’m also measured against, um, against customer churn, right. And, and, or retail customer retention. And. Customer upsells, like out of scope sales that we’re able to increase wallet, share among our client install base, um, and, and also employee attrition.

So. If we ever, if we lose a team member that that can be catastrophic to the work that we’re doing. I mean, the cost of onboarding, hiring, you know, so retention of employees and retention of talent and creating growth paths for people. Um, that is a really important part of my job because it just directly related to our customer happiness.

That’s a really good point. I do. I it’s. And that’s, I think a unique one to agency consultancy world, but, um, having been in that role too, I, I know exactly what you mean about how. You know, th the people on a given project for a client, it can be all the difference that you need. And if you switch somebody out and it’s not a good fit with the client, it can be, if you’re right, it can be devastating only through the other people around, but also for the client relationship.

So that’s an interesting one I had heard before. So that’s, I mean, anyone who’s in a services business, you, your differentiator is your people because. That’s that’s really it. Like you’ll get any other agency on the, in, in the Marquetto or the HubSpot ecosystem. And you look at what are they, we all kind of offer the same thing for the most part.

Right? Some people have, some agencies have more strength in one area over another. It’s all pretty much the same. It just comes down to the people and who’s actually doing the work. So, uh, if you, you need to keep the people and grow the people and train them and ensure they’re well-developed. In order to, to then make your customers happy and fulfilled and help them grow.

And it’s all interconnected. Yeah, we, we, um, that, that message resonates. I think, uh, you know, I, I work full-time for a SAS business, right. And we’ve, we very carefully, I know at the leadership level look at, uh, uh, um, attrition and, and an employee turnover and the average rates in which we’re able to keep employees and for how long and all those things, because, um, at the end of the day, you’re still providing services to your clients, even though you’re in a SAS business, you still need to.

Provide them with excellent support or client success, experiences and engagement. So those are all, those are all pretty key. Um, I just have one question I wanted to go back to on the eyes on reports question, um, do you from like, and it kind of ties into this employee growth. Line of questioning and thinking, does your team cross-pollinate and share data and reports with different eyes?

So what eyes are looking at, what reports and is there, is there a reason for that? Is it like, I want to educate you on our process and our, in our programs over here and give you a sense of like what’s going on in this part of the business and how it impacts the rest of the org. I know on our team, we look at daily.

Across the entire team. And we do these big today. In fact, it got canceled, but it’s pushed to next week and it’s a big retro on what did we do last month and how are things going? And sometimes I think we sit there and go, well, like how does this impact me? And then other times we go, oh my gosh, that’s terribly interesting.

I want to spend another three hours typing into that. Right. And so just, just curious from your perspective, like where there’s value. Yeah, we, we can be better is the short answer. Um, we, we do this really well in marketing and sales and, um, we’re, we’re, we can be better as on, uh, on the delivery side. Um, and it just because it’s easy.

That’s that’s it, it’s just, it’s easier to report. So, and being a marketing agency that has, or like 115 people now. So when you have 115 marketers working somewhere, they all, everyone wants to see that data. Like everyone wants. You know, and anyone, everyone has access to our accounts. They can like log in and like, they can take a look.

So if they really wanted, there’s nothing kind of sacred there. Um, but, but we’re, we’re constantly like we are monthly kind of every month that the whole company is seeing, this is what’s going on from a marketing perspective. Um, on, on a, from a sales perspective, we literally have like a daily dashboard report psycho out.

And the main goal of that is to show. It is, is to the men aligned with the delivery teams, whether it’s on the web dev integration side or it’s on like the inbound and rev ops side, so that we can start planning from a capacity perspective too, of like what’s coming down the pipe again, everyone has access to the CRM, they can all log in.

Yeah. Let’s fate, you know, face it. Like they’re not, they’re not going to do that all the time and nor should they really be spending their time looking at that, but, but then kind of serving it up for them in a way that makes the most sense. Um, but when you’re on that, it’s easy. Again, it’s easy because everything is right there.

We can figure it, our dashboards and reports. We’ve got it all in our CRM. And so the next step. The next evolution here, um, is taking a lot of our reporting from a client services perspective. It’s either financial or it’s very, uh, qualitative. And so kind of breaking it down into something a bit more quantitative for, for other chicken soup.

And, and so that’s a big, a big piece of like, that’s a, that’s a, that’s one of the changes that I’m looking forward to making as I kind of sink my teeth into this role. Nice. Very cool. That’s really interesting. So, Couple more, couple more questions, but, um, I, I’m gonna, there’s one that I want to jump into because I think we’ve kind of danced around a little bit.

I saw in kind of getting ready for this. I saw a podcast or something that you were on. Um, at some point I don’t remember exactly when, where you talked about, um, a Magellan best practices that really may not be the right thing for a company. And I think a lot of people might kind of go wonder, like, what is, what does that mean now?

I will tell you that. I think, um, it’s actually a topic I want to have for podcasts, like the myth of the best practice. Right. Um, you know, I’m just curious when you say that, what does that mean to you so that, you know, and cause I like, I know how, what I mean by it, but I’m curious, like, like what were you intending to make a.

So, let me give you, let me give you an app, an example. So I’m, I’m one of the founding coaches over at SDR nation, uh, which is a community for SDRs, for people who want to be STRs and help them develop those sales development skills and that they can graduate into becoming an AAE or whatever else they want to do next in their life and their career.

So it would not be uncommon to see an SDR kind of pose a question to a group saying something like, um, Hey, I’m I’m, I’m not seeing a lot of success with kind of my initial outreach email or kind of asking the question. What, what, what do you recommend, like what it’s been successful for you? What should I try?

And then all of these folks then pepper rain, like, well here, you should do this. Or I saw this, someone posted this on LinkedIn, and this was really great. You should try video and you should try and they’re giving them all over. Quote, like best practices, all of these things that someone has said, this is a really good idea.

And then I take a step back and go, whoa, like, what do you do? Who do you like? Who do you serve? Who’s reading what? Oh, wait, you sell into the it space. You sell into finance, you sell into legal. They’re not. That persona is very likely not going to even click, but I don’t even know if their computer is going to even let them see that video let alone, like, are they going to click it for fear that they’re going to be attacked by some virus?

Because they’re not like the crazy salespeople who will click on anything, you know, accessible. So. It’s it all comes back to wait a second. Does this make sense for you? We can get so caught up in someone else’s best practice without really taking a step back and going all right. Like who are these people that I’m selling to and what is their day to day like and what matters to them and what might be what’s the best approach to communicate with them might be different or is definitely going to be different in some cases, from the best way to communicate with somebody else.

And so I just don’t like seeing people. Caught up in hacks and tips and tricks, and that are just too broad. And, and aren’t, you know, if you find something it’s like, here’s a best practice. That’s been really working in this vertical, in this size company. Great, awesome. Try it out. But just, there’s a lot of advice that’s out on the internet.

And so just, I just ask people to proceed with. Now you want, it’s interesting. I, when you were describing it first, you, you went, I, I agree with all that. The other part I would argue is that the people who are using that in quotes, right. Best practice that somebody is throwing out there for all different people, too.

Right. And so I remember I had a person working for me years ago, who came to me one time with a challenge with another peer in another department, and wanted me to tell him what to do. Yeah. And I, and that my coaching to him was, you know, I will, I can, I can tell you what I would do. I can’t even tell you what, like, what you should do, but the reality is, Hey, you’ve got to keep that relationship and be like, what I do is based on how I operate, how I think I work.

And it’s not the same as you. So like, think about it that way. And it ends up, I think being a really. Long story behind it, but he was the kind of person who I think felt like he needed to be told what to do for, from a military background. Um, and I think it was really empowering for him to go, oh, I can handle this myself, but I don’t know that I could have given him a best practice.

Right. If you translate that in a sales thing, right. That would have necessarily worked for him specifically, even if it was. Persona critical, whatever. Right. So I think there’s a lot of factors that go into it that may not be a may or may not work for any particular person. That’s very, very true. And you know, I mean, when you’re talking about operations, marketing, operations, like technical capabilities and systems, you.

You, you do want to lean on, what’s been done, right? You like models are helpful, but they’re models. They’re not meant to just be duplicated, not always. Right? Like, so it’s, I used to joke around like that. I know just enough HTML to be dangerous. Like I know how. I know, I don’t like Google like this and then go, okay, let me copy paste.

And sometimes it works, not same thing with Excel. I’m so bad. I need to take a class in Excel. I I’m, it’s really badly formulas. I was like, oh wait, how do you do this? And copy, but, but you have to have the wherewithal of knowing. All right, this is probably not just a total copy paste situation. And I have to look at this through the frame of.

Who is this serving? Um, and especially from an operations perspective, there are users, there are internal users and then there’s these other external users or stakeholders. And you have to have them as part of, in part of your strategy, um, as opposed to just picking up what someone else has done and then just do it.

They just using it all in its entirety and it might work, but it’s just taking the time to question, is this the right thing for us? Yeah, that’s such an interesting point. Sorry, Michael. I just wanted to like, say I love that you talked so much about strategy there. And I think like so many of us in marketing operations really get the there’s a divergent path between like going in strategy and going deep into technology and not necessarily thinking of it in terms of overarching business strategy.

But I think that like real, a lot of the standout leaders that. Have opportunities to take on different types of functions or anything like that really start questioning the overarching business strategy and then how to apply the technology that’s at their fingertips to it. Um, or, or, you know, just a, a campaign goal for that matter.

And really stepping back and asking the question. On, you know, what is the purpose of this and what are we trying to accomplish? Uh, I think years ago I wrote a blog post about like how marketing automation is not a flip of the switch kind of magic solution to all your problems. Despite what the sales folks say over, it said marketing companies, you do it does require people.

Um, and it requires strategy and real thought around what data do I have access to? And how can I leverage this best for the purpose that I’m trying to fulfill on? And. Not comfortable asking those questions yet. That’s okay. Like you can be a really, really skilled technologist and have someone come to you with a strategy and a goal, and then you can apply the technology to it.

But the better you get at asking the questions and forcing people to say. Like, Hey, hang on just a second, you know, VP of whatever. Uh, what are we trying to do here? Like bring me in just a little bit sooner so I can figure out whether or not we actually have the capacity and the means to be able to do it.

So, yeah, I just liked the convergence of strategy and technology and, and that’s such a hot topic around this space. I mean, So many things in life, including this, right. It’s not really necessarily a binary decision, right. There’s usually more than one option. And usually that’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a matter of trade-offs and.

That’s really the challenge. And I think that’s where, you know, over time you get experienced, you go, if you get brought in earlier, you can provide more trade-offs because you’ve got options on top that are time constraints aren’t as is tough. Yes. I think there’s a, there’s a time. I’m sure you have plenty of client examples, Jen, but, um, you know, where people have had to go through.

Was it, I, I, I think we could probably go on and talk for ever with you about all this stuff. I think we’re all passionate, but I want to be respectful of your time. We were really thankful for you to be on here. Um, you know, all of us, Naomi, Mike, and I, you know, so for anybody listening, is there a. Yeah. Is there a place where people can find you online and we’re not going to send them to your house or anything, but find you follow you, all that kind of stuff.

I know you have a podcast of your own too. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, um, so if you go to the smart plug, or if you go to smart by the, you’ll be able to tune into smart bug on tap. Um, it’s a weekly podcast, it’s a micro podcasts. So the episodes are. Typically between three and eight minutes long, so really short bites.

And, um, and it’s also available on, on iTunes, uh, and or apple podcasts, whatever it’s called now on Spotify. Um, and then I’m really active on LinkedIn. So if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, just let me know. You heard that. On the show. Um, so I have some context for how we came to meet you. You don’t want the cold outreach.

I want to sell you something 30 seconds later. Oh, I, I, you should see my screenshots, but no, it’s helpful just to even start like, okay, great. Now I know now I might be, I might have something that I can share with that person that might be valuable knowing they came in, um, through, through, uh, Uh, this beautiful marketing ops world.

Yeah, that’s for sure. Cool. Jen, thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate it. Yeah, absolutely. And for those who have joined in and listened, whether live or the recording, thank you for being part of this, um, stay tuned for more, more episodes. We’ve, we’re starting to work on a full schedule and, uh, you can keep, keep up with that at the MO Pros dot com or specifically for the podcast demo pro.

Dot com slash OpsCast. Um, with that, I think we’re going to wrap it up again. Thank you, Jen. Really enjoyed the conversation. Thank you. Thank you. My pleasure.