In-House Marketing Ops vs. Consulting

Michael Hartmann: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of OpsCast brought you by the MO Pros powered by marketing in this the year of MO Pro . There we go. Yeah. Thanks Mike. Yeah. So I am your host Michael Hartman joined today by regular co-host Mike Rizzo. Our other cohost, Naomi Liu is unavailable today. So we’re gonna power on even without her today.

Our guest is Stephen Stouffer. Stephen currently VP of marketing operations. SA and a revenue operations consultancy. He has a passion for email marketing, automation, and data, and how they all come together. Marketing strategy and execution prior to Stephenheld several roles, both inhouse and agencies consult in marketing operations, revenue, operations, marketing, and web development.

He’s joining us today to talk about those experiences as both a consultant and in house. And kinda, so we’re gonna talk a little bit about the differences as we’re seeing shifted shifts in the in the industry in terms of how people are [00:01:00] staffing teams. Stephen, thanks for joining us today.

Stephen Stouffer: Yeah. Thanks for having me. You missed out my passion for coffee. I have to get that in there. 10 years of experience of marketing ops, but coffee’s probably closer to 15. .

Michael Hartmann: All right. So co coffee is the passion. Alright, so I have to ask you, so what’s your preferred method of making coffee?

Stephen Stouffer: Ooh, that’s a good question. In order probably ChemX would be number one, espresso would be number two. And then probably like a cold brew, like a nitro cold brew would probably be number three. Ooh.

Mike Rizzo: Wow. I’m impressed. I don’t, I have no idea what you said the first time. that first thing.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, I no idea.

See I’m a I’m a French press guy. So

Stephen Stouffer: I’ve had a French press. You could also say pour over. So ChemX pour over, it’s yeah. It’s basically you gotta filter on top and you pour hot water over it. So I do

Mike Rizzo: like that method as well. Yeah. Yeah. It’s quite

Michael Hartmann: delicious. So for our, for sort of our listeners, Steve and I, both Stephen and I both live in the [00:02:00] Dallas area and I’m really excited.

He may know this. Are you familiar with Essent? Oh yeah, sure. Yeah. So there’s one that’s coming in soon near where I live and I can’t tell you how excited I am because they maybe have, I think the pour over is like one of their top ones, right? Yeah. So here we are giving them free advertising for all the, dozens of people who are in the Dallas area.

Nice. Good. All right. So passion for coffee and data. What a combination. It actually sounds very much like a marketing ops person. All right. You and I, when we talked about this topic of in house versus consultants kinda roles you, you were saying that you were seeing some changes happening within the profession and just like top level, right?

What are you, what are some of those observations you’re seeing. Based on your experience, both in house and as a

Stephen Stouffer: consultant. Yeah. Like changes within the different types of job or changes within the industry.

Michael Hartmann: I think, what you were, I think we, where we were was at least, and maybe it’s from my perspective too.

I think there’s, I’m even seeing a shift in that. I think [00:03:00] there’s more of a recognition about the value of marketing ops revenue ops, if you wanna go broader at the same time, I still think there’s somewhat of a challenge of for people who are in a hiring position to build a case for bringing on full-time people So I think there’s been an emergence of more people doing freelancefreelancer consulting work. And I think that was what we were talking about is I think the mix of where people can, Get work that’s in marketing op or rev ops and how they can grow, get experience maybe, yeah. Improve their financial. Sure.

Stephen Stouffer: Yeah. So about, I don’t know, six years ago, the term Rev Opreally wasn’t very common. I think back then it was more marketing specialists, marketing automation. And then like a slew of, maybe it and some other stuff and all these different departments did a little bit of revenue operations.

And then fast forward, six, seven years. It seems like I hear this term all the time. As far as people entering into Rev Op email marketing, a sales background, that’s a really good place to organically [00:04:00] get. I can’t tell you how many SDRs and BDRs that I’ve met that kind of have moved more into a marketing role.

Or even someone, on the on the I it side as well, just. It’s become more and more technical. A rev ops role is the 50 50 of both creative, but then also analytical and finding that kind of sweet spot of someone who is both super creative and like really good at solving problems, but then also on the more technical side and they can, pick up each pick up JavaScript and Google their way through any problem, almost like you would be like, maybe if you’re an it.

Find finding that, that person and learning that, that trait of kind of always solving new problems. Is pretty rare, but as far as like a business goes, I’ve seen smaller to medium size businesses grow to where, maybe they’re an agency early on and then they hired, in-house finding a full-time person or even leveraging like 50, 50, like having an agency partner with someone in house within the org.

Michael Hartmann: One, one of the things I [00:05:00] think I, I was really curious to get your perspective on in this is because you’ve worked both at a company and at agencies I never say like one is better than the other, cause I’ve also been in consulting. Yeah. But I think there are trade offs, right? Yeah. I think so from your perspective, what do you think are the sort of relative, strengths or things that people would find maybe.

Better about being in house versus agency and vice

Stephen Stouffer: versa. Yeah. Sure. So in my opinion and I get, may get some backlash on this. Every Rev Op person, every marketing Op person, even sales apps should work for an agency at one point or another. It’s a catalyst for learning. You’re gonna learn at an agency in six months.

What you’re gonna learn at a single company in probably four years. And I’m saying that from a position of experience so is working for an agency, right? For everybody? No. It’s definitely not. Some of the trade offs, at least that I’ve seen when I was working at an agency was burnout, was like the norm.

They just worked you to death. One make sure you find like a good agency that you can partner with, but then also set [00:06:00] those boundaries. No is a very powerful word. I, I didn’t forget where I heard it, but no is a full sentence. Being able to set those boundaries for work, being able to throttle your workload is super important, but the learning that you would get in an agency I can’t understate it like even here in my current role where I started and where I am today is just like night and day from what I learned.

So I love, so I. Again, I think everyone should work for an agency at one time or another, even if it’s just to learn the trait. And the reason why is because you’re dealing with the technology stack of multiple companies, you work at a single company, you’re gonna get their tech stack.

So let’s just say they have Salesforce, they have HubSpot, they have Google analytics. And maybe yeah, I mentioned Salesforce. So let’s say they have those three tools. You work at an agency you’re gonna be in HubSpot. You’re gonna be in Pardi. You’re gonna be in Marketo. You’re gonna be in all these different tools, picking those up, and you’re gonna get a wide breadth of.

Different, systems, people use cases that you’re gonna be able to work through. And that’s just gonna make you a better marketer. Now you may work with a B2B company. You might just be like this [00:07:00] isn’t for me. But then you work for BDC companies. You’re like, all right, this is a little bit more my pace.

And you get experience into tools and you can find your niche a little bit easier. But then. When you work for a single company, it’s typically work is a little bit more stable. It’s a little bit slower paced, better work, life balance. If you don’t constantly wanna learn new things every single day, which can be exhausting.

At least it is for me that might be a better place to be. Yeah. But it’s it’s good though. You can see something grow, which is the downside of being at an agency to step in, step out. But if you wanna come in, make a difference and kind of see that through that’s exciting.

And sometimes that’s where some people are just really charged up about it.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. I have to say though the slog of being in an in-house role and sometimes I don’t know, the politics, the red tape, whatever it is that you have to navigate the budgets, all of those things.

Michael Hartmann: What are you talking about,

Mike Rizzo: Mike?

That doesn’t exist? Never for those who are in that role now, or who are in an agency thinking about that [00:08:00] transition or who are thinking about entering marketing ops in general, like that in-house role you will sometimes face those types of challenges where things move a little slowly.

Now to Stephen’s point you get to see things through and work on long term projects. Sometimes that make a really big impact. Really do take a long time to bring to fruition. And sometimes that time that it takes is a byproduct of just the navigation, the organizational navigation you have to go through.

Convincing people that it’s a good thing. Now on the flip side, sometimes that’s the beauty of being at an agency is that you are the people that are called the agency. If you’re at that agency. That team that you’re on. You’re the group that was called to go do the thing that someone couldn’t convince their internal team was important enough to do with their resources.

And they’re like here, I’ll just have a third party [00:09:00] opinion come in and then they’ll listen to that person. and that often works too. So sometimes you end up getting to be the savior as on the agency side. So

Michael Hartmann: for sure. Yeah you’re hitting on a couple of things, but actually Mike, before I, I was gonna, I have.

Couple of thoughts on this, but I was curious how you were gonna react to Stephen’s point about inhouse moving slower since you’ve worked for startups, right? Like the, since I guess having not worked directly in a startup, at least not for a long time, is that, that you it’s, it, it maybe has a lot more overlap with what Stephendescribed, the way that the consultancy world is right.

Where you’re moving a lot, learning a lot. I think it does.

Mike Rizzo: it does. But I think what you gain in an agency is that you have, hopefully you have leaders and seniority to guide you through that fast moving environment. Whereas in a startup it could still be a fast moving environment, but you’re trying [00:10:00] to, oftentimes you’re.

You’re not staffed with a senior marketing ops, specialist of any kind, you are often just that one individual. And so you’re trying to figure it out as you go while navigating the organizational, convincing everybody of what it is that you need to do next or trying to figure out what it is that they’re trying to solve and how can.

How can you enable them and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, I would say that there are a lot of similarities. In my opinion, I’ve spent a little bit of time at an agency. It was an inbound agency. So we weren’t touching all the tools, but stayed on the HubSpot side. And things, I picked up a lot really quickly, but I had to lean on the folks that knew more about eCommerce than I did.

Cause I wasn’t, I came from B2B SAS. And so there was value in that was totally different compared to that startup life. Yeah,

Michael Hartmann: Stephen, I’m just curious. One, one of the other things I think that I look back on my early career experience in consulting. It was D it wasn’t in this space, but I think it still was [00:11:00] applicable is a little bit of what Mike talked about in that, typically like when they’re bring, when you’re bringing an agency, especially for like big project stuff, it’s usually the kind of stuff that is challenging, hard to figure out.

it’s, to me, it’s in some ways, More interesting than some of the stuff that you might have to deal with on an ongoing basis within an organization. Not to say there’s not some of that there, but I do you have the same kind of feel like the interesting projects you’ve worked on tended to be more on an agency side than in, in house or.

Is yours a little different

Stephen Stouffer: I don’t know about that. I think that the amount of interesting projects is higher more at an agency, but not to say like here’s the thing technology and the market is moving so quick. Whether or not you’re at an agency or at a, in-house. Shop, it’s going to, you gotta either keep up your you’re just not gonna do very well.

And keeping up means that there’s change in interesting things like GDPR. I wouldn’t consider that fun, but like whether or not you’re in an agency side or you’re in house, it’s something that you [00:12:00] had to solve for. But definitely the amount of projects that are new, where when you’re in an agency typically, you’re right.

They bring you the problems they can’t solve. And I tell my team every day, it’s 75% on what we do. We’ve never done before. But we’re being paid to figure it out and all we have to do is figure it out once. And then once, we’ve sold, and let’s just use like multitouch attribution as an example, that’s a big thing.

That’s a hard thing. But the good thing is once we figured out with one customer what’s where really worked well, and we’ve gone through some use cases, the next customer that comes to us and is Hey. We don’t know how to solve for this. We wanna do multitouch attribution, here’s our tech stack.

And then the second time go around is, much easier. And then the more reps you get easier and easier it gets. I guess that’s the benefit to the agency is we get a lot of similar problems so we can solve for them. And. Every single time we do it, it gets just gets better and better where maybe if you’re in house, every new problem, once you’ve solved for it, you just move on the next and maybe you don’t get the satisfaction of doing it a second or a third time.

Unless of course, you jump to a [00:13:00] different role in a different organization. So from that perspective, it’s a little bit different, but on both sides, you’re gonna get a lot of change. Often.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, I was, I was totally different context, but I was talking to somebody today who’s at a Rev Opagency as well.

And one of the things we ended up talking about is how every client thinks that their business is super unique. And I think one of the things that happened for me having been in lots of different industries or worked in a lot of different industries is that there’s a lot more that are similar across these businesses.

It will keep it to B2B. Then there is differences. Clearly there are differences. But I think people tend to over overestimate how different their business is. So I think your point, like you’re able to apply what you’ve done and learn to the next place and it’s, what 80% overlap.

Maybe unless there’s a major difference in text that sure.

Stephen Stouffer: Yeah, almost every client I work with, they use UTMs, they know what UTMs are, how they use them is a little bit different. They use life cycle stages. They have, a sales [00:14:00] team, they, there’s a pipeline.

There’s different stages that someone needs to go through. And really it’s just defining what those are. That’s unique to the business and just making sure, it’s trackable and it’s a scalable solution, so yeah. It’s, it is funny. And in some cases, which is. We’re at the fresh air. We have some clients come to us and just be like, we don’t know what we don’t know.

You’re the expert, like what we’re doing right now, just isn’t working, come in and fix it. Those are the best, people to work with because they have, no selfish ambitions. And they know that, they need help and they’re open to it versus someone coming to us and just being like, we know everything and, you’re just here to push buttons.

Here are the buttons we want you to push . So yeah, it’s, you mentioned politics, Mike you get it on both sides of the house. Whether or not you’re coming in and telling someone on an agency side, you’re wrong or you’re telling them that the person that everyone thought was wrong in the company is actually right.

Yeah, , sometimes we you should see that we hired from the person who just wants to have backup. Like they’re the only person in the revenue operations. They’re saying our data our data’s horrible. Like we need to fix the data before we, [00:15:00] onboard a new technology. And then you got the executive suite saying no, just buy a new technology.

They’ll solve the problems. And they hire us and we’re like, no, She’s right, or she’s right, the data’s horrible. Don’t buy anything else, please stop.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah. You’re either the voice of reason or the voice of treason. Yeah, exactly. One or the other. .

Michael Hartmann: This is we got a couple what was, it knows a full sentence.

And what was the reason of the voice of treason? These are like,

Mike Rizzo: we got soundbites for this episode.

Michael Hartmann: that’s awesome. Yeah. I think it’s really interesting. And I, also having been on both sides of this, like I’ve seen and I’ve, truth be told, I’ve brought in third parties just to do that to help validate or to. Support a case or something like that. There and there have been times where I’ve had to go.

Okay. I know I just need, I need additional cycles for the team to do, if we use the four pillars model again, campaign ops tends to be the one that everybody sees. Yeah. It’s but there’s a lot of this, like under the hood that’s stuff, like you talked about data cleanup.

I was telling my. [00:16:00] My boss one time that, we really need to go address the quality of our database. And it’s not sexy stuff, but ultimately it’s gonna be really beneficial to do it. And like convincing people that’s the right thing to spend time on because you don’t really see the results.

It’s really hard to see the results, especially in a short run. You know what I mean?

Mike Rizzo: So what’s hard about that too. I. I think there’ll be like new challenges potentially down the line. Maybe still like a decade out or so. But I could foresee someone making a request like that, Michael, where they’re saying, Hey, we need to go clean up the database or work on some, health around the data.

And my immediate reaction was yeah, how are you going to communicate what was cleaned up and how are we going to keep it that way moving forward? Because if it ends up in a sort of a. A black box, just all by itself, in your brain. Because you know what the project entailed and fixed, [00:17:00] and then, the new process that was implemented that same problem will persist.

And so I could foresee down the line as we get more and more senior sort of leadership Involved in, at the C-suite right. That understands the value of that exercise, but that they start asking the questions like, okay, you can do that. But only if you build in the rigor that tries to keep it, more consistent and communicated, cause you’re not to.

Not to say anybody’s trying to leave a role or anything like that. But none of us are gonna be in our roles for life. And, so we do need to have that communication and that transparency around what is the process that we built. So we can go do those exercises and have them be meaningful in a longer period of time.

I dunno. That’s just my 2 cents though.

Michael Hartmann: No. If we, it’s interesting that we’re center around like data quality and one, I think one of the challenges to communicating that every time I’ve ever talked about that, usually leads to it. And by the way, that means our database is [00:18:00] gonna shrink by 20% or 25%.

Cause we’ve got a bunch of people in there that, addresses are bad or they’re just not responsive. And selling that even though you go. If we do that we’re gonna get better deliverability. We’re gonna get better response rates in the, like you, you could say all that, but what they focused on is, especially if they’re like really focused on growth, and this is where the, like how you measure the stuff is really important, right?

If what you’re looking at is how many unique names or email addresses are in our database. It’s gonna be really hard. Yeah. To sell a project that’s gonna cut 20 to 30% of them sometimes more, depending on how. Figure database is and how outdated some of that stuff is. I don’t know.

Mike Rizzo: That’s I think that’s, I would make the argument that purging the ones that look like they’re bad.

Just creates more room for getting quote, unquote, net new names back into the database. because they’re just not there anymore.

Stephen Stouffer: well, and it’s yeah, it’s not so much a data. It is a data issue, but to me that’s a leadership just tracking the wrong [00:19:00] metrics issue. Yeah. Yeah. Like they just haven’t.

If marketing is being measured by the number of net new names in their, whatever org part Marketo, HubSpot, that’s the wrong thing to measure. I even think the MQL is the wrong thing to measure. No, especially you got to fighting words. Did I? No. That boom. No, the. Marketing being measured by MQL should have died back in 2015.

Oh, come on. Isn’t

Michael Hartmann: it just a

Stephen Stouffer: definition problem though. It’s not. And the definition is defined by marketing. So the fact that they’d be measured by something that marketing defines in itself as a flaw. See, I don’t think that’s

Mike Rizzo: see. I don’t think that’s

Stephen Stouffer: Let’s fight it out right now. I don’t think that’s we cannot move on until we talk about this.

Now I’m just gonna go

Michael Hartmann: on and let the two of you go at it. Okay.

Mike Rizzo: So I think that. When you are building your life cycle funnel, you in a, an ideal world, you do that in a top, from top to bottom. There’s a certain component of it. That is pretty [00:20:00] obvious net new names. That mean nothing, except for the fact that they just got into the database are probably a subscriber or a lead depending on which part of the top of the funnel you have.

But then as soon as you wanna start making that handoff happen I guess for me, the MQL should be and agreed upon. Here’s what we think is worth sending to you. . And do you agree? It doesn’t mean that you have to accept all of the leads, right? It doesn’t mean it has to move to sales

Stephen Stouffer: accepted.

No, I agree with everything you just said. My only thing was, I don’t think marketing should be measured by, I think the MQL is a great leading indicator of, something that might be qualified by sales. I also think it’s important to have as a life cycle stage, cause it, it you’re right. It is a it’s a key milestone going.

An email address to someone that you might, take action on. But I think marketing should be measured by. Sales qualified or sales accepted leads, probably more sales accepted leads, right? Because you have the marketing defined [00:21:00] MQL and you have the sales defined SQL, which should be the same should, assuming marketing is, setting over the right person in the right, ICP company and whatnot. Then those two things should align. So whether or not they’re, Being measured by the MQL or S QLS. Theoretically, they should be the same. If you’re doing what you should, the problem is businesses.

Don’t do what they should marketing inflates the pipeline based if they’re a little under their targets, they just tweak the scores. They just tweak the grades a little bit. They get what they where they are. If they get all their bonuses and then sales is what the heck? We’re not hitting our quarterly numbers because there’s a dis-alignment there.

So the minute that you, you start measuring marketing against sales metrics and you tie it directly to revenue or pipeline or stage your opportunities, that’s when you’re gonna force. Those two departments start talking to each other. Yeah. Versus hoping that it happens. Yeah. I’m

Mike Rizzo: totally, I’m completely in agreement.

I just I think it’s okay to measure your ability to generate what you believe is an MQL, but yeah, you’re right. [00:22:00] So like the success with which you measure your marketing department definitely doesn’t stop at MQL. I would agree. And but I don’t like hearing on repeat in an echo chamber on LinkedIn that the MQL is dead or has been killed off or whatever.

Like it’s just misunderstood.

Michael Hartmann: well, I, to me, I think there’s two, two things at play here that I’m reacting to. One is I’m with you, like this sort of reflexive. The measurement a is bad and measurement B is good. It’s I don’t think that there’s any one metric that can tell the full story.

So I think there should be a basket of metrics. The issue I see with marketing being measured on something that is. Is dependent on another team doing their job, right? So sales qualified leads, especially if there’s a timing component to it. You is that There’s lots of opportunities for that to break down as well.

And that, maybe they’re not qualifying stuff [00:23:00] because they didn’t take the time. Like they didn’t actually do the work. You, so I think that you’ve gotta be very disciplined about how you’re tracking it. I, again I don’t, again, I wouldn’t say just that should be it, I think there’s some. Combination of things, it’s probably the best indicator. But I think that’s also like I’ve also been, I was a big believer in attribution reporting and I still think there’s value in it again, despite some of the, I think there’s a real mix of opinions, strong opinions about it.

Either being good or helpful or not being good or health or worthwhile, I still think there’s value in it. I think it’s how you use it though. That’s

Mike Rizzo: really important. Yeah. I. I think there’s I saw an example of it earlier where we saw someone had registered for one webinar, engaged with some other content and then ended up getting an email about the latest piece of content and.

Which happened to be like another webinar and that’s what caused them to raise their hand and want to talk to us. And attribution would tell you that it had nothing to do with the email that was sent most recently had everything to do with just the like couple touch points that were logged against the record [00:24:00] on the form conversion and the original acquisition campaign.

And but you had to go like click in to go see. That’s how that happened. So you gotta figure out how to use the data. Hey I don’t wanna derail us too much, but Stephen I know we went all over the place. I wanted to get back to something around this idea of like seniority and leadership and your transition into your current role.

. I, there aren’t a whole lot of VPs out there in the marketing ops world. We’re seeing more of it. I was really excited when you got that opportunity. I was excited for you. I was excited for the industry as well. I would just love to hear a bit about, how you are shaping that role and how the organization originally had it in mind.

And if there’d been any changes as you’ve sort. Progressed. Now that you’ve been there. I don’t know how long, a little

Stephen Stouffer: while . Yeah. Yeah. So it’s. I’m probably more lucky than I am anything else, but because I work at an agency, we’re a revenue operations company. So our [00:25:00] entire company is probably made up of what would otherwise be one person that would be at an individual company.

So if you just pick. I don’t know mediums, you just fill in the blank, medium size company. There’s probably, three or four demand generation people, designers, you have multiples of pretty much the same role, but then you start to getting, Rev Opor marketing ops or sales op and it’s one person, so you’re the alone individual contributor, let alone have an opportunity to grow in any sort of management role because they typically work either for marketing. So you’ve got the VP of marketing director of marketing, and then eventually the CML or you work on the sales side and you got the same thing.

You got directors, you got VPs. There’s no opportunity for a VP. Marketing operations or revenue operation just doesn’t exist. For me, I’m lucky in that our entire company is made up of those folks. We don’t have, a marketing director, a marketing VP, or a CMO, it’s all revenue operations based, we have team leads Juniors mids [00:26:00] all within kind of that grain.

I don’t know how likely it is for my role to exist at a non-agency to be honest with you. Unless you’re maybe at a Google or a huge enterprise org, but , I would like to think that it will happen sooner rather than later. Especially since marketing has taken on more and more and needing to partner with sales.

So hopefully there’s a lot more rev ops roles. And if not rev ops than sales ops and marketing ops,

Mike Rizzo: me too.

Michael Hartmann: indeed. So Stephen, one of the, you were, I think if I remember the, your career sort of directory you’re in a consulting kind of company. Now you were in house before that and then you were in consulting again, before that, I don’t know what the total, I can’t remember.

The total time did between those two consulting experiences. And maybe there’s more but curious about are you seeing things that are. Different in that consulting world today than you did a few years ago. What are those kind of

Stephen Stouffer: trends you’re seeing? [00:27:00] Yeah. Yeah. So between my first consulting role and my most recent one, just my current position I’ve seen a huge difference.

Before it was like, and this was like six years ago, six and a half, maybe seven years ago. It was email like emails. Like the new thing, emails, is amazing. And I still think emails amazing. So don’t get me wrong. But it’s changed a lot. GDPR is in the picture, apples now opening up all your emails.

Let there’s a lot of, there’s a shift for data privacy. Like all of that has happened in the last seven years. And. And before it was like people starting to do email marketing just dipping their feets into HubSpot and Pardo MailChimp. Now we’re more in the mature stages of businesses using email.

And it’s almost like an afterthought to their tech stack. It’s like a piece it’s not the whole thing before. It was the whole thing. Now it’s we. We have HubSpot, but like it’s one piece of, seven or eight different critical tools that they have. So I’ve seen the conversation shift from, [00:28:00] marketing emails, sending nurture campaigns to a more cohesive strategy within marketing that involves other techno clear bit enrichment tools you met.

We talked about attribution. You. What is attribution? What model should we use? How are we tracking all these activities? Data, data analysis, like it’s almost like before we were striving to get the data. And it’s we got what we asked for now. We have too much of it. and now we’re just trying to make sense of this sea of data that we’ve been Cal capturing over seven and eight years and making it actionable.

But I’ve seen I’ve so like that. And then also I think integrations like integrations is coming up more and more. I see that every single day at least within my team and our business, it’s we have these four tools that don’t talk to each other, let’s get them integrated. So the issues and the complexities of things that business are trying to solve for are definitely increasing.

And it’s not just email anymore.

Michael Hartmann: Just curious. Are you seeing, so a lot of what you talked about is shifts in the technology landscape. I didn’t hear you [00:29:00] mention ABM technologies. I didn’t hear you mention directly CDP. The other one that I keep thinking of is I think there’s be becoming more of an overlap between sales tech and marketing tech, right?

So like sales, enablement tools. Curious are you seeing some of those same things there? Are you guys seeing more activity around? Yeah. Stuff like that. I assume you are, since you talked about integrations, but just any of those particularly jumping out. Sure.

Stephen Stouffer: SalesLoft outreach they’re all, emails being sent out from sales, someone unsubscribes to that.

You’ve gotten to manage it from a marketing perspective and a business perspective. Someone opts out. So compliance is. A tricky thing when you’re dealing with all these different tools, and systems. So in, in the integration piece is almost a must for GDPR, if you deal with anything in the UK.

So yeah that, that’s a big piece of it. Just keeping all the systems talking the same language and then like tools like Workado and Trey, or, middleware, IPA solutions integrations of services those are becoming a big thing too right now. Getting those [00:30:00] implemented and to just help you manage your tech stack is becoming more and more common as well.

Michael Hartmann: That’s really interesting. I totally agree also with what you said about like the volume of data that we’re generating is just. Gotten huge. And then we haven’t really been able to action on it. Like my assertion is that we actually, part of the problem is not technology, but a people and skill gap right.

Within the industry. Are you guys do you have people on your teams or are you seeing that on your it’s hard to find people who can have, can really narrow in, on not only pulling data together and reports, but identifying insights and recommendations from

Stephen Stouffer: that. Yeah. Finding the people just depends on the role that we’re hiring for.

We’ve actually found success hiring with someone with no experience. It’s so impossible to find someone unless they come from another agency to do the work that we do. We literally hire someone with zero experience. We just hired someone recently who worked in a shoe store.

He sold shoes in a mall. Another one was a chef. So like we, we hire almost [00:31:00] exclusively based on Their ability to learn quickly the ability to solve problems. And then we just train them on it and then we just let them loose in the different systems. Now, if we’re hiring a more senior person, then we expect them to have experience of course.

But yeah it’s really hard finding someone with all the experience needed specifically to work within an agency. It’s just hard. Cause we work with so many different tools. You mentioned ABM, like 6 cents, As well as sales, loft, and outreach, like how many people would have experience in both of those, if they didn’t work at an agency, unless you moved from one to the other, within your company.


Michael Hartmann: Okay. So now I’m fascinated. How do you evaluate for those skill sets? If you get somebody who doesn’t have directly relatable experience, like I can I actually have. In hiring for marketing ops I’ve partially because I had success before of hiring somebody who had sales ops experience into marketing ops.

But I don’t know that I’ve. Scene where somebody who, was completely in a different role. Would you say chef or

Stephen Stouffer: Yeah. Two selves actually. I think we have two chefs now. But it’s almost completely off aptitude. I’d love to come here and tell you that we have some [00:32:00] ridiculous, like survey or questionnaire that we have someone fill out.

We don’t, we have our most senior, most talented folks have a 30 minute interview with them and there’s about three interviews that they go through and we just talk to. We don’t have cookie cutter interview questions. We just literally have a conversation. What are they passionate about? What do they do on the day to day?

What are they excited about within the industry? And then we basically make a call from there of whether or not they would be able to overcome some of the problem solving. Yeah, it’s not very scientific. It’s basically find the person that you wanna. Or if you, if there’s someone currently in the role and you want to replicate that person is the one who should highly be doing all the interviews, because they’re gonna be the best possible person to pick the next person.

It’s not me. It’s probably, someone on my team. So we just involve them.

Michael Hartmann: That’s really insightful. I think that’s an underrated. Kind of statement right there. If you ask me, because I think there’s a lot of people who are hiring positions, who wouldn’t think of having, maybe somebody else appear to what that new role would be to be involved heavily in that [00:33:00] process.

That’s a really good call. Okay. So just since we’ve been talking about technology stuff for a bit just curious from your observations, what, think we talked through a bunch of things that have already are have on the move in terms of shifts in the industry or the technology space.

Are there any others that you are seeing trends that you’re seeing are coming that you, whether it’s through projects you’re getting pulled in onto, or there new things? What are you seeing in the industry from that standpoint?

Stephen Stouffer: yeah, it would definitely be like the middleware kind of IPA solutions.

That is the number one thing. If you’re a business and you have open budget and you don’t have some sort of like middle technology that sits between your tools to like help that data flow, keep data clean or on the same page. Like that would be the tech that I would evaluate to get because it’ll help you scale your business.

Enrichment tools too, I think are becoming more and more popular. You’ve got, zoom, infos and the clear bits of the world. And they’re trying to keep up with the GDPR regulations and making sure that they can provide their service, but within the compounds [00:34:00] of, policies that are constantly changing.

Workado trays even Zappier maybe a little bit that like, that’s the future tool for revenue ops folks, because it’s gonna help them manage their technology. I am actually building a whole integrations team that’s that leverages these tools. Salesforce has MuleSoft HubSpot has operations hub, right?

Like the, these are just becoming more and more prominent on the day to day use cases that marketing’s trying to solve for. I don’t see it slowing down. I just see it increasing.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah, I would agree. I we were fortunate to get introduced to syncy. Have you heard of them? Oh, yeah. Yeah. I

Stephen Stouffer: don’t actually know a few folks


Mike Rizzo: there.

Oh, okay, cool. Yeah. They’re we were fortunate that they wanted to see if they could make an impact within our organization [email protected] and and I was like, sure, let’s give it a shot. So they’re gonna, they’re gonna let us tinker with the tool a little bit and try to do some of that standardization play and moving data from different places.

You can imagine how crazy it is to have , every organization [00:35:00] has data everywhere, but when you’re running like the website and we got the community and people are everywhere doing different things with us we it’s a mishmash in our HubSpot, so I’m excited to see how it works. It’s it.

I have to agree like those tools, that tool set could be. Incredibly valuable to not just us, but like most, any organization. So that extra budget, if you’ve got it laying around, looking at those products probably is really worthwhile. He heed the advice of Stephen.

Stephen Stouffer: It’s not, it’s just what I’m seeing.

It’s just, the customers are coming to me and they’re being like, Hey, we. Salesforce and HubSpot, as much as I love Salesforce, as much as I love HubSpot, they create this bubble ecosystem of just the tools that they want you to use. And you end up being locked into just kind of those plug and play solutions, but businesses, most cases, they can’t do the plug and play.

They have a fringe use case. They need. And it, Salesforce has an AP and API. HubSpot has one of the best APIs I’ve seen the, this middleware can sit between that and literally do [00:36:00] exactly what you want it to. It just requires a little bit of creativeness from the person who’s building it and just mindfulness of what you’re building, making sure it’s scalable and documented.

But if you can do those two things I have seen it just reshape the way that businesses operate. From the top down from financial, stuff for finance and creating invoices to attribution and capturing UTMs and, working with HubSpot’s custom objects and stuff. So it’s been incredibly impactful from a business perspective.

If you can leverage it correctly.

Michael Hartmann: So I totally wanna take us off on another, down another rabbit hole about just like the future of CRM, but I don’t think we have enough time for that one. Like I still I, I keep waiting for some upstart to come in and changed the model that Salesforce put forced on everyone.

I don’t know that it’s gonna happen anytime. Yeah, Nope. You can say that. , I too, I

Mike Rizzo: can make the argument that HubSpot did change that a little bit. Like they, it’s they moved away from at least a multi [00:37:00] object person object. And so there’s that, that changes everything and that’s like the biggest, that’s really the biggest thing. Yeah.

Michael Hartmann: So anyway, so Stephenwe’ve covered a lot of ground here. Is there anything else like about the idea, like in house versus agency or future of tech in the space like that, that we didn’t cover, that you would love for our listeners to hear about.

Stephen Stouffer: If you’re starting out and you want some like tips, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. But like I said, at the beginning of this I think anyone who’s starting out their career, or even if you’re in the middle of your career, go join an agency maybe do some side consulting.

You’re just gonna learn so much. And you’re gonna be able to take that to the next job. If you just don’t think it’s a right fit. Highly recommend working for an agency at least for a year and a half. Learn what you can learn from your colleagues. You’ll build tons of relationships, not only with other businesses, but internally, and it’s just gonna help you within your career.

Other than that not much learn data, solve the problems that no one else can solve and you’ll do pretty well for yourself. [00:38:00]

Michael Hartmann: That is key there. Cool. We normally ask where people can keep up with you. I think you already answered that for us. So is LinkedIn the best place? Yeah. LinkedIn

Stephen Stouffer: or Twitter.

I’m on Twitter too. Yeah. Stephen Stouffer. What’s your oh, it’s so on LinkedIn. It’s Stephen Stouffer on Twitter. It’s marketing nerd. So marketing, and you N U R D? Yeah. N U R D. Got it. Yeah. Yeah. The other, it was taken the other one.

Michael Hartmann: awesome. Stephen, this has been really fun and interesting went places. I don’t think we expected. So thank you for joining us today. Yeah. Thanks

Stephen Stouffer: for having.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. And for those of you listening, thank you for continuing to support us, providing your feedback and support. And if you’ve got suggestions for other topics or guests, or you wanna be a guest, feel free to reach out to Naomi, Mike or me either on LinkedIn or through the marketing

Slack or community sites with that. Thanks everyone. And we will talk to you next episode. [00:39:00] Bye bye.

Mike Rizzo: Yeah.