Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges

Bernie Borges - Host of the Modern Marketing Engine Podcast

The Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges is the podcast for the modern marketer who wants to hear from their peers in the trenches and the occasional analyst or rock-star-influencer sharing strategies and tactics about what’s working in modern marketing. Show notes are available at

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  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    My B2B Podcasting Strategy


    Social audio has become very popular recently with the advent of Clubhouse. According to Edison Research 15% of social media users 18+ say they have used Clubhouse.  Podcasting is a form of social audio. And, it continues to grow as a content channel. According to Edison Research’s Share of Ear study, which began tracking audio consumption in 2014, podcasting’s share of all audio listening is now 6% of consumption. This level marks an all-time high for podcasting, up from 2% in 2014.  Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have launched or plan to launch social audio functionalities. I’ve had a love affair with podcasting for nearly 10 years. In fact, I listen to many podcasts. MME is my second podcast. My first podcast ran for 49 episodes. I co-hosted it with a buddy of mine. We bantered about digital marketing topics. The big difference between my first podcast and my second podcast is that I didn’t have a strategy with my first podcast. I had fun recording them. But, there was no strategy.  We just horsed around, recorded them and published them hoping something good would come of them. In truth, some good did come from the first podcast. But, we all know that hope is not a strategy, right?  So, what is my B2B podcast strategy? My strategy is relationship building. I set out to build relationships with marketing executives working at B2B brands. The method is simple: I provide a platform to feature marketing executives. I interview each guest and share their experience and wisdom with my audience.  This relationship-building strategy in podcasting has a business benefit. First, it starts with a human connection. I genuinely try to connect with each of the guests I’ve had on the podcast. I don’t mean just connect on LinkedIn. I mean, I want to make an authentic human connection with each guest.  So, what’s the benefit of this relationship building?  Life is all about relationships. People do business with people they know, like and trust and that is relationship-based. Some have become friends. And, some of my guests have become clients of Vengreso. And, in some cases I was able to offer something of value to my guest in the relationship whether it’s an introduction to someone or an endorsement or whatever.  The purpose of the MME podcast is for me to build relationships with marketing executives at B2B brands – it’s that simple. And, if you’re thinking this strategy is over simplified, you’re right because it doesn’t need to be more complicated than building authentic relationships with no more agenda than that.  However, there is something I do behind the scenes that works really well for this relationship-building strategy. Be sure to listen to the whole episode to learn what it is. An Important Announcement This episode is the last one of the MME podcast. The reason is that I’ve accepted a new opportunity at a different company and the Vengreso leadership team has decided to sunset the MME podcast.  Vengreso has a sales-centric podcast called the Modern Selling Podcast, hosted by Vengreso’s founder and CEO, MMJr. He’s published more than 175 episodes at the time of this recording. It’s a wildly popular podcast and you and or your sales leader at your company should definitely check it out.  Additionally, Vengreso has a live show called the Modern Sales Mastery show, which is broadcast live every Friday at 11:30 am ET.  I tell all about my journey at Vengreso and my next steps in a blog post here. Finally, I want to thank you, for listening to the MME podcast. I TRULY hope I’ve delivered value to you through the modern marketers I’ve interviewed on this show. It has been a privilege.  
  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    B2B Influencer Marketing for the Entire Customer Journey


    B2B influencer marketing is not the same as it is in B2C, where you have celebrities like top athletes and Hollywood actors endorse a brand and post on Instagram about it. B2B marketing leaders can leverage industry influencers in their marketing efforts with a solid plan. That is the topic of conversation with my guest in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine, Amisha Gandhi, SVP of Marketing at Tipalti. Amisha is a groundbreaking B2B innovator with deep marketing and communications expertise across multiple industries and geos. She was recognized in PR Week’s Women to Watch 2020, Top 50 Influence Marketer by Talking Influence and Top Digital Marketer on LinkedIn. Amisha is also an accomplished speaker at multiple industry conferences including Content Marketing World, MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, and many others. Listen to our conversation to learn how to find and work with B2B influencers. What is a B2B Influencer? Influencer marketing is the practice of engaging internal influencers at your company or industry who are experts, analysts, bloggers or public speakers who have active networks of influence. They can influence their audiences to help you achieve your business goals. “It's about people,” Amisha says, “it's about community. B2B influencers aren't celebrities, but they could be celebrities in the business world. They've written books, some of them are even academics.” Start by asking yourself: Whose audience do you want to reach?  Why do you want to reach them? What are you trying to convey and what is the outcome that you hope to achieve by working with influencers? How to Find B2B Influencers Amisha says there is definitely a process to identifying and selecting influencers. There are specific tools you can use, but you can start by using Google and search for the top influencers in your industry. Then use LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Clubhouse. “It just depends who you're trying to reach and how you would like to relate to your audience.” Amisha says. “You have to find out where your audience is and who they're listening to and who they’re influenced by. Look at the conferences, third-party associations and other places where people are speaking, you'll start seeing some names popping up.” Then you have to look deeper at the content these people are sharing and the level of engagement their content has. Once you have a list of potential influencers, you should assess which ones can help you achieve your goals in a mutually beneficial relationship. Amisha says you should look at influencer marketing as a holistic practice that you can apply across the entire customer journey. For example, can you get some good top funnel content? Can you create some demand? Can you create a community of advocates? “Once you find folks that are really influencing your audience, reach out to a couple of influencers, start talking to them, see if they’d like to work with you. Say, ‘we're thinking about doing this upcoming campaign, what do you think?’ And have a conversation, because they may tell you, ‘I don't think that's going to work for my audience.’ That will help you frame up your campaign and make it even better than what it is.” Start with top of the funnel activities, like a podcast, to create awareness with their audience. Then you can go into demand generation content like co-authored ebooks or a webinar series where people are willing to give you their information. “There are some influencers who are very speaker heavy and they don't do long form content. They are thought leaders and they do more podcasts. That's why you have a group of influencers. You're going to have some people that are going to do top funnel and events and some people who are great speakers and great on video. There are some people who are great only in voice and folks that do longer form content.” Over time some influencers can become advocates. This happens when they keep talking about your brand even when not taking part in your marketing campaign, because they consider your content to be of value to their audience. Listen to episode 299 for specific ideas of what you can do when working with an influencer and some of the pillars and best practices for co-creating content and sponsored content. Finally, Amisha reminds us that customers can be our best influencers, so we should take care of them.
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  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    How Internal Communication Drives Marketing ROI


    Most CMOs favor external communications (demand generation, content marketing, etc.) over internal communications. Why? Because these external activities seem to create more measurable ROI. However, with the modern workforce internal communications are now more important than ever to motivate and activate people within the organization to be a channel of communication. My guest in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast, Mark Derks, has great insights about how much effort marketing should put into internal communications. Mark is the CMO at BlueGrace Logistics. Founded in 2009, BlueGrace Logistics is one of the fastest growing leaders of transportation management services in North America. As a full service third party logistics provider (3PL), BlueGrace helps businesses manage their freight spend through industry-leading technology, high-level freight carrier relationships and overall understanding of the complex $750 Billion U.S. freight industry. Listen to our conversation to learn the pros and cons of allocating resources to internal communications versus external communications. Five Pillars to Develop a Profitable Internal Communications Strategy 1. Develop your strategy/goals. Any successful program must identify the goals it is trying to achieve and the strategy and tactics to get there. Ask yourself these questions about your internal communications: Is it going to be multi-touch? How frequently will I communicate to the organization? At what velocity will information be shared? Some examples of goals are:  Having 100% of your internal resources know and being able to recite your mission, vision and values.  Having your internal resources know your company revenue projections and targets and your gross profit targets. “I think that our own internal resources and our own people are a marketing channel for the company,” Mark says. “You should build a strategy around and goals around things that bring strong results. So there has to be a metric if you're going to engage in a robust internal comms plan. What are the key factors to success and what are the metrics that you as an organization are going to agree on that you can either identify as a success or identify those gaps where you need to continue to refine and improve.” 2. Mission/Vision/Values Mark says that case studies have shown, organizations who have stated missions, visions and that drive stated values are higher performing than businesses that do not, because they build a strong culture around those pillars.  “We're empowering our employees to share public information that they've learned through internal communications to our external customers,” Mark says. “And to be really successful, you have to make it easily accessible to all employees. We need to make it available in multiple places, on our website, in our hallways and on the signage and our offices.” 3. “How does my job contribute to the company’s success?” “We have to look at our organizations where every employee adds value and it's our job through internal communications to tell them how they do that, to make sure that they know how their specific job leads to company growth.” Highly engaged employees are those that understand how their contributions help the company grow. And when they know that, they become more creative, more productive, more innovative, and they're more successful in their own professional goals and what they're trying to do. 4. Content Content is at the intersection of external communications and internal comms, sharing content between teams and channels. Not all internal communications can go externally, but almost all external communications can be shared internally. You can take the content that you share with your customers, partners, suppliers and share it with your internal teams through an employee advocacy program. Mark says that will make them better service providers, better salespeople, better marketers. Listen to the whole episode to learn some great ideas on how to repurpose marketing content for internal comms. 5. How does the CMO lead the internal communication strategy? “Make sure you have a solid strategy and stated goals that you're pursuing and that everybody knows,” Mark says. “So when we measure our efforts we can clearly come back and see if we've been meeting our goals. So be a leader of strategy, focus on what's important, communicate that strategy, clearly measure the impact and ROI.”  As the CMO you don't do this by yourself. “You're a leader, but you have teams, so consider allocating head count as a resource to internal communications. Consider adding resources around culture and standing up things like diversity, equity and inclusion programs within your company. Make sure that you're communicating critical attributes of your ideal customer profile.” Your employees are one of our best external marketing channels, but they're only good if they have internal comms that have educated them on messaging, target customer profile, new products, new customers, changes within the organization, mission, vision, and values. Don’t miss this episode to learn more about finding a balance between external and internal communications and how to develop a profitable strategy.
  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    Planning the Marketing Strategy for a Global Brand


    How would you plan the marketing strategy for a new brand? What are some factors that marketing leaders should take into consideration when rolling out a new product? That is the topic of conversation of this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast, with my guest Armen Najarian. Armen is the CMO at RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence, which is part of the larger RSA Security, a 38-year old global brand. As his division expanded and with more revenue and customers around the globe, they decided to transform the Fraud & Risk Intelligence division into a stand-alone business. As the CMO, Armen was responsible for creating and implementing the marketing strategy for this new business unit. Listen to the episode to learn how he did it and some key lessons you can implement in your own organization. Creating a Marketing Strategy 1. Assemble a Team “I'm spending a lot of time on organizational design,” Armen says. “I'm working very closely with the HR leader for this business and really plotting up the next three years and the type of organization I need to assemble.” What are the roles you need and what is the hiring priority? Listen to find out. 2. Develop the brand “Second, I'm spending a lot of time thinking about the brand, knowing that we are moving from a product portfolio within the broader RFA family into a more independent business with its own identity. How we describe that business, what we call it, how the product is positioned.” Armen and his team decided to create a new name while taking advantage of the history of its parent company. However, the buyer persona of the new company is different from the persona of RSA Security, which created new challenges. To navigate the complexities of rebranding a global company, Armen hired an external agency to help create a new website and sales collateral pieces. 3. Content Strategy “We have a product called Fraud Action, and that is our risk intelligence team,” he says. “So this is actually the team that investigates the dark web, goes deep undercover and understands the organized crime organizations around the world, uncovering very important and interesting insights. So we take those insights and we actually package those up as services.” This primary research is the fuel for great thought leadership, so they publish Quarterly Trends Reports from the insights, blog posts and a podcast. “Every CMO should have a content strategy. We have 3 or 4 anchor pieces that are evergreen, that we are always refreshing, always publishing, and our Director of Content Strategy is largely accountable and responsible for keeping that pipeline of great content flowing.” Listen to the whole episode to learn about the challenges Armen has faced during this transformation, including organizationals challenges, managing finite resources, prioritizing areas of focus and issues with having a global presence (language and privacy issues).
  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    Why Analytics is a Must in Account-Based Marketing


    How do you formulate an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) strategy? How do you decide which accounts to target? And what is the role of analytics in ABM planning? That is the topic of this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast with my guest, Chris Rack, President at PureB2B. PureB2B leverages a database of B2B decision-makers in combination with their predictive analytics technology, to provide a full suite of solutions that help their clients meet their specific B2B demand generation sales and marketing revenue goals. Listen to this episode to learn how to plan a successful ABM strategy. Building Your ABM List Who is responsible for creating the ABM list? Marketing or sales? Chris says it should be a very collaborative approach, “taking a data approach and combining thought and feedback from both leaders, frontline sellers, sales leaders and front line marketers to come up with a real collaborative list.” Marketing must go through a process of digital marketing transformation to rely on data and analytics to build a list of target accounts. Instead of just going for the larger enterprise clients out there, marketers should start by looking at their CRM data to see: Who is buying with the highest frequency Who are the prospects answering sales calls Who is engaging with your website Who is engaging with your emails Which gates have the highest conversions on your website Once you have that list, start filtering them by: Job title Company size Geo Industry Buyer personas Roles Level  Influencers Buying history Public/private All of the above are analytics that marketers can use to determine which accounts to target using internal data. Using Analytics Data Now, there are also external analytics or predictive indicators marketers can use, with some tech tools available. However, Chris says, the intent signals from these tools are not designed to identify when people are ready to buy. “Only Google knows that,” Chris says. External analytics can identify when a buyer has a problem they need to solve, based on their content consumption triggers as well as public data such as job board postings. For example, certain tools can identify companies who are consuming content across topics that are related to the solutions you offer, either content on your own website or other websites.  If you want to know when a customer is “in market,” your first task is to know the ICP and then partner with analytics providers to acquire intent data. Chris says that companies of all sizes have access to these analytics tools, but large companies have more data to process from their CRM and many more products to sell requiring more analytics to uncover intent signals compared to smaller companies. There are also many analytics companies as a service who can help smaller companies analyze data to identify buyer intent. Chris says that in a startup scenario his first hire would be a Rev Ops person to understand their buyers and to select the tools needed to create a successful ABM target list. Listen to the whole episode to learn more about using analytics and sales tools in your account-based marketing plan.
  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    Marketing’s Role in the Modern Sales Experience


    B2B buyers have changed dramatically, especially during COVID. Consider these three recent trends, for example: B2B buyers are looking critically at any opportunity that comes to them, whether it comes from marketing content or from a sales conversation. B2B buyers are giving less access to sales people and traditional conversations. In fact, 83% of the buyer journey does not include a sales rep. B2B buyers place a greater priority on perspective and recommendations from people who aren't sales people, from their peers and from subject matter experts via content marketing. So, as marketers, how do we approach the modern buyer? That is the topic of conversation in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine with my guest, Spencer Wixom, Sr. VP Marketing at Challenger. Listen as Spencer unpacks marketing’s role in the modern sales experience. The 3 Pillars of the Modern Sales Experience 1. Role of messaging to the buyer “I think it's really critical for B2B marketers to think about how we are interacting with today's buyer,” Spencer says, “who is putting more scrutiny on their decisions, who's giving less access to traditional channels for education and who is listening to so many other sources.” Spencer believes that B2B marketers should use the three-act structure of classic playwriting to engage with buyers. Act one is about introducing and building the understanding of the various characters, and introducing the problem those characters are going to face. “In act one of the messages we create, we need to establish our credibility, why we have a perspective or a point of view about that customer’s business and we need to introduce a problem in their business that we're going to have a perspective or point of view on.” Act two is the journey or the struggle. In act two of the marketing message, we have to introduce the status quo or the current actions that the customer is taking.  “Those actions are costing them something in rational and emotional ways, and we need to explore that to build some motivation.” And act three is the solution. We must suggest the next steps they need to take and connect that to our differentiators or our solution. So, what is marketing’s role in developing this narrative? Spencer says marketing should not create this message by itself. “It really is a cross-functional group that needs to come together to develop that narrative and we'd recommend marketing play a key role in that. But you also need to get the feedback of sales people who will ultimately be delivering that narrative as part of a conversation. You need to make sure that product is involved in representing the end part of that narrative where you do talk about the solution.” Think about the story you want to tell to the market and then “atomize” it. That means telling the story in bite-size content throughout your website, social media posts, sales conversations, pitch books and other channels. Listen to the whole episode to learn the three types of content you must use: Spark, Introduce, and Confront. 2. Foundational skills for sales to deliver the message Research reveals that buyers are not satisfied with the experience that sellers create in the remote selling environment.   Spencer says that it is on the shoulders of salespeople to improve that experience, to get better at presenting information, listening, using silence to build constructive tension more effectively, and having more engaging virtual experiences with customers. However, marketing must look at the narrative and give sellers compelling content to bring to the conversation. In essence, sellers need to: Address the unique perspective they have of the customer’s business Express what that perspective means to their business And marketers can help with more confront tools, with bite-size content for natural conversation and making it easy for sellers to create conversation. “If you can build a confront tool that can get that buyer or that buying group to really evaluate themselves and capture that data and you put that in the hands of your sales people, then they're not having to do that confront exercise on their own. They can take the output of that exercise and have a powerful conversation with the buyer around that output.” Don’t miss this episode to learn more about creating great sales messaging for sellers. 3. Arming sellers with the right content for the right time Buyers trust others in their network more than sellers. In fact, only 12% of buyers rank sellers as top trusted resources. That’s why modern sales must be done through advocates of mobilizers. Marketers have to build content not only for their sellers to use, but that B2B customers can understand and then use within their organizations to build consensus. “It has to be clear,” Spencer says. “It has to be defensible. So when they get those questions and objections, they can easily handle those because they have the resources and the information they need to be able to defend the narrative, the concept, the insight that you've presented to them.” Sellers need to identify those individuals and pass that content to them at the right moments so they can use it in consensus-building. Sales enablement tools will help teams to know what information and when it should be used to interact with customers. Listen to our conversation to learn how to measure the efficacy of your marketing content in sales conversations.
  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    The Importance of Customer Data Marketing for Modern Marketers


    Marketing professionals need to have a strong grip on data. These uncertain times have inspired marketers to rely less on qualitative insights and more on data-driven insights.  This is what my guest realized during 2020. Paul Cowan, CMO at FreshBooks, joins me in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast to talk about why they are doubling down on customer data marketing in 2021. FreshBooks serves mainly the small business owner segment with easy-to-use accounting software. As many organizations, the pandemic affected their business initially but it then bounced back and they started to experience growth in 2020. So, they decided to invest in a direct sales force, target international markets and focus on demand generation to accelerate growth. Join our conversation to discover how you can use customer data in your own marketing organization. Leveraging Customer Data Marketing Paul says that after 15 years of operations, FreshBooks realized they were sitting on a lot of data they had not previously leveraged. For instance, they had a tremendous amount of invoice and expense data within the SMB universe ― 15 years of historical data on how small businesses have either created revenue or spent their money.  For example, looking at the data, they discovered some interesting trends and published a report on the impact that Covid had on women business owners and how it took them longer to recover than their male counterparts in many different industries. “When we talk about the opportunity in data marketing,” Paul says, “we're sitting on this huge resource to be able to turn that to our customers or to prospects in the industry in general and say hey, here's how your business should be performing, here are all the historical norms that you should be expecting your business to do.”  Besides reports on specific trends, FreshBooks has created gated microsites with specific information related to particular verticals and industries. “People can go through and see how their vertical looks, how it has changed and be able to drive insights into their business so it helps them with their planning and then eventually, we all assume that it's going to then help drive activity back to us and convert through the funnel.” This focus on content marketing using data has been driving leads for FreshBooks. Furthermore, data on their engagement with the content brings even more insights on their customers that then they can use to improve their marketing efforts. “The cool thing is that it's like this virtuous data circle where it all started with knowing something about our customer and then bringing other people in and then progressively knowing more about them because they engage with customer data. We'll bring them all through and then at the end of it all it helps us improve our overall funnel efficacy and in our conversion rates overall.” We also discussed the dynamics of the current marketing team and why it is important for marketers to understand data analytics and the sales process.  Listen to this episode to learn more about how FreshBooks is using customer data to improve marketing and how they incorporate the feedback from their sales teams.
  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    Mission-Driven Marketing and Sales


    The pandemic hit just about every industry hard and many companies are still trying to recover. That’s why stories of B2B companies helping out others around them are so encouraging. And I’m excited to bring you one such story in this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast. My guest is Kathie Johnson, CMO at Talkdesk, a cloud-based contact center, unified communications and artificial intelligence software provider. Customers use their contact center software to scale and improve their customer support experience. Traditionally, customer support was limited to call centers, which involved agents receiving phone calls. But today they're really contact centers because when people reach out for service or support or to even purchase online, they use many different channels, not just the phone. “We like to say we're the best solution for those companies who are customer-obsessed,” says Kathie. Listen to this episode to discover how Talkdesk became a mission-driven organization during the Covid crisis. Mission Driven Marketing in Response to Crisis At the start of 2020, Talkdesk had plans to launch 20 new products. But then, Covid happened. “It was a fun marketing campaign idea,” Kathie says. “But the world had shifted, what was important to people had really shifted. So we pulled together a group of people across the company to say, what can we do to help? You know, we said we're customer obsessed, so we want to figure out, what can we do to help our customers, other companies and the community at large?” As a result, Talkdesk revisited their 20 in 2020, and launched a program called Business Continuity, with 12 of the original 20 offers. Pre-Covid, 5% of the workforce in the US worked in a contact center, and 85% of them worked on-premises. That meant that many organizations would face a challenge to get their employees remote and safe. “In a contact center, they're sitting three feet apart,” Kathie says. “There are hundreds or thousands of people in a room making calls or answering emails. So this was a pretty big issue for companies. How do I get my employees out of the building? And how do I still maintain productivity for my business?” They rolled out their strategy in the following three phases. Phase 1: Get Remote The first challenge was to get employees remote and fast. They launched this offer on March 4th, helping clients get remote in only 24 hours, and offered the service for free to industries like travel and hospitality. Not only that, but they launched Mobile, to allow employees to connect from their phones. Phase 2 : Get Productive By March 21, Talkdesk began phase 2, to get employees productive and leverage AI and training to help not only their clients, but people in the community. In this phase, Talkdesk launched a new gig economy platform, called CX Talent, which trained people to become certified agents or supervisors in a matter of hours and then paired them with companies looking for agents.  “This was one way we could really help not only our customers who needed to hire agents quickly in remote locations who are trained, but also to help people out in the world who all of a sudden were displaced and didn't have a form of income.” Phase 3: Permanent Remote In the summer, Talkdesk began thinking about the future of their clients, anticipating there would be a new normal, where remote working could be permanent. So on July 1st, they launched phase 3 with remote management solutions and solutions against fraud and for authentication. This is now a reality, where remote selling is the norm and our customers are working from home. “We're still in Phase 3,” Kathie says. “Companies today are still making the decision on what their contact centers will look like in the future. I believe most will be hybrid. But some people are going back into offices and we'll have people working in buildings again.” The Impact on Marketing and Sales The marketing team at Talkdesk was doing full-throttle marketing at this time, educating analysts, sending out press releases, raising awareness through thought leadership and blogs. “There was no playbook for Covid for any marketer,” Kathie says. “But we really found that people had a huge appetite for content. So we spent a lot of time writing content to help companies and people understand what's happening, the impact on the business and how we could help them continue to survive and hopefully thrive in this environment. So full-funnel marketing across every offer is we brought to market.”  Kathie says that the sales team at Talkdesk really embraced the challenge of offering free services and giving back to the community.  “This is why I talk about this as being mission-driven,” she says, “the way that we could help people, the way that we could help the community, the way that we could help companies. I think everyone at Talkdesk rallied behind that.” Listen to this episode to learn more about what Talkdesk is continuing to do in phase 3 and innovating in driven-mission marketing.
  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    The Future of B2B Buying and Selling


    What is the future of buying and selling? How do marketing and sales approach digital native decision-makers? That is the topic of this episode of the Modern Marketing Engine with my guest, Dave Boyce. Dave is the Chief Strategy Officer, XANT, where he divides his time between corporate development, corporate strategy, and operational strategy. He is also a board member of Forrester Research Inc. since 2017. This episode was inspired by two articles that Dave published on LinkedIn: The Future of Buying The Future of Sales Join us in this conversation to learn why marketers must understand the modern buyer. The Journey of the Modern Buyer Both marketers and sellers must be aware of the changes to their buyer personas in the past year.  Today, our buyers are sitting in their living room, the people who are signing purchase orders are at home, almost nobody is at an office. That means that almost everyone involved in the decision process is using digital channels to research potential suppliers. Dave says the modern buyer is a digital native. That means that: They will do independent research online about our products and our competitors They don’t like to fill out forms so they will rely on ungated content They trust their network and will ask other people for recommendations and experiences After the steps described above, the buyer is now 60% to 70% of their way towards understanding their options. “The remaining amount of her journey,” Dave says, “she's going to have to do collaboratively with the sales team. But her silent partner during that 70% of her journey was our marketing team. Not that they were talking to her, but they were publishing and orchestrating and curating a learning journey that was either easy to use and therefore she really leaned into it or is less easy to use and therefore she learned from our competitor.” Marketing needs to focus on providing a great experience during the modern buyer’s journey, even if it means ungating content.  Dave says that instead of collecting information through forms, marketers can use technology like intent signals. This technology tracks searches from domains to know when people from certain companies are searching for specific terms related to your solutions. Then it can flag your CRM so you can do outreach to existing contacts from those companies. The Modern Seller In the US, 56% of the B2B sales force were field sellers. But with now remote selling being the norm, those sellers are either out of a job or doing something different. And the truth is that buyers like the new normal and don’t want to go back to the old field sales model. “The buyer doesn't want protracted exchanges with the salesperson,” Dave says. “They don't want to retreat again from acquiring information digitally. They don't want us to force them into the conference room to have a stakeholder meeting with a white board. They actually like the way it's working right now and it's better for everybody. If we're honest with ourselves as salespeople, we're more efficient. If we're not spending our time navigating airports and trains and cabs and Ubers and instead we're on the job of selling most of our time. So it's not going back. We have to figure out how to lean into the future and do it faster than our competition.” Sales leaders must now focus on modernizing their sales teams with the five modern seller attributes: Fast (answering to their messages quickly) Always-online (engage the buyer when they want to engage) Customer-centric (being empathetic, sympathetic and helpful) Content-rich (adding value with information that is helpful to the buyer) Technology-enabled (it's not just Zoom and LinkedIn but the entire marketing and tech stack, including a CRM and sales prospecting tools) “It's all about being where the buyer is and being a resource to the buyer,” Dave says. Don’t miss this episode to hear some great insights from Dave about the role of the modern seller.
  • Modern Marketing Engine podcast hosted by Bernie Borges podkast

    Shifting the Conversation of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace


    This is a different, but very special, episode of the Modern Marketing Engine podcast. My guest is Hang Black, VP, Revenue Enablement, Juniper Networks and I invited her to talk about her new book, Embrace Your Edge: Pave Your Own Path as an Immigrant Woman in the Workplace. This book has the potential to be life-changing for some. Hang says the idea for this book was in her head for a decade. It not only describes Hang’s experience as a Vietnamese immigrant to the United States, but also deals with important issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. So don’t miss our fascinating conversation about inclusion, diversity and access from a perspective you haven’t seen before. Tokenism Although Hang was raised in a diverse culture, she really never felt included or excluded. As an Asian, she wasn’t shunned from the black community when growing up, but neither was she fully embraced -- and the same thing happened within the white community. “One of the reasons I wrote the book was there's a lot of conversation about diversity and inclusion,” Hang says, “but it's an incomplete conversation without a discussion about access.” Whether it’s women or ethnic minorities, more and more people are gaining access to leadership roles in the workplace. Nonetheless, they may still be a minority. Hang explains that minorities are the smaller population in the room. However, when there is only one person of a minority group at the table, that person may feel that she got a token seat and will try to hold onto that position at all costs --unintentionally excluding others. This is known as the Queen Bee syndrome. Hang thinks this needs to change. “I never ever proposed a revolution,” she says. “I prefer Evolution. And that's where I'm trying to have these very frank conversations because the most heartbreaking thing for me is to see minorities who bemoan injustice, turn around and do the same to other minorities behind them.” Building Access The reality is that sometimes a person from a minority is invited to the table because there was a diversity initiative.  “So the question is,” Hang says, “once you get to the table, do you have a voice? Do you have your role? Do you know what your goal is at the table? Are you sitting, are you serving or are you speaking? They’re all very different things.” Access is not just about getting to the table, but once you get there, how much voice are you allowed to have? And if you don't have a voice, how do you gain that voice?  Hang’s experience is that there will always come a point in a person’s career where they will need to find a person who will give them access to opportunities where meritocracy is not enough. “Meritocracy works for a while, it works through the individual contributor ranks. But as you move up, you need to find a person who will show you the secret door and give you the secret code. That's what access is.” The people who will help others move along the journey to the top are a combination of mentors, sponsors and allies. Be sure to listen to the whole episode to learn the difference and how to identify them. Intentional Evolution Hang says that there needs to be an intentional evolution in the conversation about diversity and inclusion. That means we need to get to a point where it is not an issue, but it just happens. And it all begins with leadership. “It's so important to ensure that leaders not only talk the talk, but they walk the walk,” Hang says. “Every executive has about three to five people in their closest circle. In that circle, do they have any one that represents diversity? Even if it's just one. There are many categories of diversity: age, tenure, religion, gender, all of that stuff. And if they don't, my challenge to leaders is: are you willing to find someone, even if it's uncomfortable, even if it goes into a little bit of a lower rank than you're used to, because there have not been enough women and minorities promoted?” Embrace Your Edge Hang wrote Embrace Your Edge for the next generation, those who are exhausted, for people who don’t have access and for people in power to understand this population. This book is written for those who did not inherit access, but who have clawed their way to earn every step forward. It is written for those with will and grit, who are searching for guidance to build their own powerful networks and to shape their own destinies.  This book is dedicated to those who are highly capable but may be exhausted or stuck.  This book is also written for those in power who want to attract these scrappy ones, the often diverse talent pool who possess an innate entrepreneurial spirit. And for this audience, the book is written without anger or accusation, but with a simple mission to seek mutual understanding and support. Listen to the entire episode to discover more on this important topic from Hang Black.  

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