The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 50: Modern Demand Generation w/ Chris Walker

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Modern Demand Generation w/ Chris Walker

Hello, everyone. And welcome back to the revenue collective podcast. I am your host, Brandon Martin, and you're listening to Is this a good time? The show where I asked Revenue Collective members some really basic questions, and they have great answers. Especially today. We're coming to you on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. So please hit the subscribe button so you don't miss an opportunity to learn from the great members of our community. And many of them could be your future boss. So today, our guest is Chris Walker, CEO at Refined Labs, and we talk about why really knowing your customer is the key to marketing before we get going with the questions I want to tell you a little bit about this month. Sponsor six cents six cents the number one account engagement platform. How to to identify accounts that are in market for your solution. Prioritize your efforts, engage buyers the right way with highly relevant messaging and measure what actually matters. With a six inch platform, you're able to get into more deals, improve win rates,...

...increase overall pipeline and optimized budget. Spend to learn more. Visit six cents dot com slash revenue collected All right, let's do this. Episode number 10. Is this a good time? Alright, we're in. Thank you so much for being here. We have Chris Walker. He is the CEO of Refined Labs out of Boston. I am excited to chat with you, man. Awesome to be here. Thank you for having me. Yeah, of course. We, uh, some o g revenue collective members of part of your team. Megan Bowen, who gets a lot of love from folks and, uh, you know, tell us a little bit about refined labs. How you got the role you've gotten. Kind of, You know, your your path on getting there. Yeah. First off, Megan's incredible. She joined our our company in August of 2020. And ever since, our company has been moving in the right direction. I'm really glad she's here. So you joined the revenue collected because of Megan? Just No, I mean all the CMOs and all the executives that we interact with our in revenue collective...

...and honestly, like, Yes, we are a vendor, but I consider myself more like, ahead of demand generation for the companies that we work for than a vendor. If you know what I'm saying like it's the way that we've set it up is more like we're a part time employee. That's just not a W two. So anyway, to get back to the question, what we do here at Refined Labs, we help B two b SAS companies that have sales lead motions transform their demand generation programs. Their sales team can win more business and the marketing team can generate more pipeline. That's what we do that's great. And just about your career. Like give us a couple of the highlights of the steps you took to get where you are. Yeah, I think my career is actually pretty pretty interesting. So I studied biomedical and electrical engineering in college, and then I started. You're an engineer? Yeah, and I think it gives me actually quite a big advantage because I think I think about demand generation. And actually, revenue generation as a whole is one large system. It's just like systems engineering. There's inputs, you do things to them and their outputs, and you have to tweak the system and things like that and so started engineering and then thought I was going to design medical devices. That's...

...what I wanted to do when I was leaving college. And then I got actually into the real world, and I I felt like what it was like to be an engineer. And I was like, Wow, um, and then immediately, I was in a project where I had to go out and talk to customers, and I had to talk about customers to get feedback on the product, to understand what we're gonna what features we're gonna build next and click to me, it was like, Oh, I care a lot more about how customers are going to use the product than actually coding it. That was a big shift for me. And so I moved into upstream marketing, which I think is easy thing, just pre launch. Like what features are going to build market research, pricing a lot of things like that. I did that for 3 to 5 years of my career and then moved into demand generation inside of my first venture funding company in 2000 and 15 16. And when I was inside of that company, it was 100% field sales outbound. When I got there, marketing in a in a lot of company to be companies would be like this, especially in more traditional industries, marketing and sales enablement and trade show booths and then, you know, occasionally generating leads or building lists or sending...

...emails. And I was like, We can do better than we can do better than this. So I went on a mission because I recognized how how buyers actually buy things and recognize that marketing was critical to the growth of this company. And so I started to to go on that mission, and I was very lucky inside of that company. I had a gift that most marketers never have, which is that the company was very well funded, had a great product, and the executives didn't know what I should be doing right. And they didn't know how to measure what I was doing. And so I just did the things that made the most sense. I set the metrics, which were pipeline and revenue and sales cycle, length and deal velocity and things like that. And then I started When you center on metrics like that, a lot of the things that companies do in terms of demand generation right now, don't make sense anymore. And so and so just by adjusting the metrics allowed me to figure out the things that work best that influence things that actually matter to a business. And then when I got out into that company eventually I p. O. And has continues to be successful. And I looked out in the world and I was like, Wow, like what I...

...did there for the past 2.5 years was really special, and I don't see a lot of other people doing it. I think we should go and actually try and help companies do this. And so that's kind of where where the refined labs companies started. I started as a consultant. A couple of our companies had a lot of success early on, and then we started to build a team. And now we are. We're almost 20 employees, and we work with 21 B two B South companies, predominantly in North America, but also in a me a u K as well. Okay, cool. And your remote distributed. Been remote from the beginning. The main reason? Yeah, the main reason is for talent like the people that we're looking for are like top talent demand marketers, and you're not going to find all those people inside of a two mile radius in Boston to come to your office. So we have employees in 13 states, mainly for talent access, And so the there there hasn't been a transition to remote work for us. We've been remote since the beginning. Um, we've been on boarding a lot more new employees since...

...this happened. We've gone through a growth acceleration over the past 12 months, and so we've had to work through those processes. But I, um I believe that we have been very well positioned to kind of go through this time, man. Knock on wood that, uh, this is gonna maybe even funnel into your next question here, which is, like, you know, an example of of luck and success. It sounds like there's some luck in being a remote, fully remote company prior to this, all happening from a pandemic perspective. But, uh, you know, maybe something like give us another example of where, like, luck played, played a factor into your success. So I was weird because there was some post on link to say it was going to comment on that was sort of in the same vein, which is that I believe that you put yourself in positions to be more luckily lucky. It's not all about luck, right? No, no, it was the prepared person, right? Like that. That's exactly you are you are You create more places where you can get lucky where something good happens to you and just by doing the right things. And so I would say you kind of got me here. I mean, I'm not sure what about what...

...about a story of, like, extreme hustle, like a real hard work that that that kind of pushed through something that got either a deal done or a partnership done or Yeah. I mean, I've always worked very hard. I remember into, like, 2000 years. It's not lucky, but it actually was like something that I did. And it involves hard work. And so in the first 2 to 3 years of my career, I started a couple of e commerce companies on my own in my bedroom, like in the off hours. And I remember sometimes it stayed up until four in the morning to ship a couple of packages that I was going to make, like, $9 net margin on and then going to work a couple hours later and the the key and those companies, you know, they got to a couple 100 K or something like that, and it was good. But the key is that I learned a lot. I learned how to read A P and L. I learned what tax implications were. I learned how to manage cash flow and inventory when inventory is coming in from China or Turkey or somewhere else, and you need to understand how long it's gonna take...

...you to sell it. And I most importantly, I learned how to advertise with my own money, where you need to generate a profit. You need to have a customer acquisition cost that's lower than your profit. Yeah, and and B to B to B companies. They, for whatever reason, don't look at it this way. They look at it at cost per lead, not customer acquisition costs. And so, um, I think I was lucky to do that. And now I c b two b marketing through that lens, which gives me, I think, a pretty large advantage. It also sounds like I don't know, getting that muscle flex of, you know, working in the middle of the night on something that is hard. But but fulfilling. I can actually remember the moment in my career that I went from working hard to working really damn hard, right? Like whatever those extra hours are like. You have them, everybody has them. And whether you apply them to these things certainly...

...matters. All right, well, this next one plug your show. I know every every Tuesday, you said every Tuesday evening here, So the podcast is called State of Dementia and podcasts. We have several content pillars on there, and so one of the pillars is a show called Demands and Live, a live show that we do every Tuesday night, 7:30 p.m. Eastern 4 30 Pacific, where you can come on to zoom. There's about 50 to 100 demand marketers and things like some salespeople, some solo preneurs that show up, and it's a live Q and A format for like 90 minutes or two hours, where you can literally ask your question. That's free consulting that other people pay a lot of money for. And so if you're interested in that feel free to join us, I love it Well, it leads into my next question, which is Give us a sales tactic of all these things you're probably firing 50 60 of every week on this. Give us a sales tactic or marketing tactic Does not matter that people can use tomorrow to help their business. The best sales tactic is good marketing. I don't think that I do any selling. Yeah, so like we have, we have plenty of people that come in and want to work with us, and we spend more time vetting whether or not they're going to...

...be successful with us than trying to sell them on anything, right? But what would be good Give like a good example of what good marketing means. So when you break down marketing, I see it as a couple key things. One understand your customers deeply and and a lot of people hear that and like, yeah, I do, but like you really need to. So I think that's it's really hard to quantify, but I spend so much time with our customers inside of the market on LinkedIn, talking to hundreds of demand marketers everyday interviewing people, talking to CMOs like having people on my podcast. I'm always. It's a constant form of market research all the time. And so that's that's one. In order to, like start doing good marketing, you need to have that foundation, and then you need to understand how you can help those people. And so I understand how you can help them and then create some type of content. Content is how you how you do marketing in this part in this time of the world. And so you create content that helps them do something, and the key is without expecting them...

...anything in return. It's hard because a lot of marketers get scored on lead numbers or things like that, and the content actually is a backhanded sales pitch to try and convert into a lead. And it's hard for a lot of people to flip their mind around where it's just like I'm going to give this to someone. And the only kpi of whether or not I'm successful is how many people send me a note afterwards and say that was really helpful. Yeah, you're talking my language. I had the pleasure of working with Gary V at Risi and, uh, your you look familiar. That's why I mean, come on. Thank you, economy. And like all this stuff, I mean, he always talks about Just give, give, give, give, give, never ask. And, uh, I love that I obviously also came from a hospitality background where you are, your instinct is give never take and, uh, certainly has helped me in my career. You know, it's nice to hear that, though, because I should probably do a little bit more of that in my own business. But I love it. Love it. All right, So a couple of lightning round we'll ask a few questions. What's the key position you're hiring for right now? Who do you...

...need in the team? Director level demand generation. Okay. And that's of course, remote because you have your entire team remote. What about any shoutouts? Who who do you follow? Content wise that you appreciate and like, like the messages that they put out a couple of people that I I appreciate their point of view. I think Kyle A. C is a top notch CMO in terms of his level of creativity. Um, and just as overall thinking. So I really appreciate he doesn't post as often as I do, but the things that he posts and I just watched what their company does, and I think it's really smart. I also appreciate Dave Gerhard. I think that him and I was mindset align quite a bit in terms of like what we think about in terms of brand and building a media company instead of a marketing team and things like that. And then, lastly, Catano Dinar He was the co host of our demands and live for the first six months, and he comes on once a month now to do that with me still, and him and I are so aligned on what demand? Generation and metrics and tech and a lot of the a lot...

...of the things that people think are How do I say this that go against conventional wisdom or go against the norm? But it's clear that we're right. Yeah, yeah, I like that. Great. And what about some up and commerce and folks that you like, uh, you know, earlier in their career and and got to keep an eye out for? To be honest, I don't spend enough time consuming information to kind of like realized the up and comers. But there's a ton of, of really talented people inside of my company that I, uh you know, I really appreciate. I think they're doing awesome things got out entire refined Labs team all right, and then, lastly and very important to my heart. Give us a restaurant that we should go to. Could be in Boston. Could be anywhere but give a favorite spot to, uh to go. And in some some place I hope you're going to hit either now or post pandemic or whatever. Yeah, so I'll give you a sleeper. I was there on Wednesday, actually, because it's so good and it's called. It's called Chops and it's located in the South end of...

Boston and it's a steakhouse. Um, and there's a lot of kind of like popular steakhouses in Boston. This one's like, uh, for whatever reason, a lot of people don't know about it. And, gosh, is it good? So it's got a great atmosphere. Your traditional big stakes, nice glass of cabernet, a little bit more modern, feel a little bit more way back then, like a really high end steakhouse. And so I appreciate the atmosphere and the people and the food is awesome. Love it, man. That's awesome. I'll definitely check it out when I'm in town. Chris, thank you so much. I think our audience certainly learn something from you, and at least they know where to find you every Tuesday night. So shout out to that. I appreciate you being here with us and, uh, you know, good luck with everything. Awesome. Great to be here. Thanks, everyone. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show, please rate and review in the apple podcasts Spotify app. Send it to some friends and make sure to hit the subscribe button on your favorite platform. A reminder this episode was brought to you by six cents. Powered by AI Predictive Analytics. Success helps you to unite your entire revenue team...

...for the shared set of data to achieve predictable revenue growth. I had a ton of fun today. I hope you did too. Please don't press your numbers. Say something Mhm.

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