The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Ep 24: Building a Marketing Team from Scratch with Nicole Wojno Smith

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Ep 24: Building a Marketing Team from Scratch with Nicole Wojno Smith

Hello and welcome to the revenue collective podcast. My name is Casey. Let Gordon and I'm your host. Today. I have the chance to sit down with Nicole Bueno Smith, the vice president of marketing and tackle. Nicole is not only the head of marketing there, but she's also the head of our Atlanta chapter for the revenue collective community. So I'm very excited to sit down with a fellow woman, a fellow Atlantan and one kick ass marketing leader to talk about. How do you start as marketer number one inside a high growth company? Nicole is going to share with us how to align leadership in your board, how to avoid the shiny object syndrome, how to build trust and easy four step process for any marketer to be able to set themselves up for success. I also want to give a huge shout out and thank you to our sponsor. This episode is brought to you by Quota Path Commission tracking software built by salespeople for sales people. If you wake up in a cold sweat, dreading the commission's process quota path is for you. Quote. A path provides commission transparency for everyone involved while motivating reps to sell more. Plus, it's so easy to on board it'll be running before your next commission cycle. Ditch the spreadsheets and formula. Simplify commission calculation at quote a path dot com. Let's get started. Hello and welcome to the revenue collective podcast. I am so excited to be sitting down with, ah, fellow Atlantan today, Nicole Boy. No, Smith. She is the vice president of marketing at tackle. She is really, you know, such a leader in the revenue collective community. I know that you lead the Atlanta chapter, but I swear between slack and email I see your name popping up all the time. So I am so excited to sit down and talk about how do we build marketing at the very beginning? Like we hear about a lot of times these high growth companies and you hear about the later stages. But what there's a deficit in, especially when it comes to content, is how do we start? Where do we get in? And, you know, actually build that foundation. So, Nicole, thank you for joining me today. I'm very excited for us. Toe. Have this chat. Yeah. Hi, Casey. Thank you for having me. It's a topic I'm passionate about, so excited to talk about it today. Toe Help Get the audience familiar with your background. I want to just read off a bit of your bio so that everybody understands you know where you're coming from and maybe even situate themselves in your own narrative. So you have 15 years experience building B two B brands to drive demand, increase awareness and accelerate revenue growth prior to tackle, which you join January of this year. So we'll talk about what that looks like. Joining a new company, building the marketing practice during a pandemic because you know don't have enough of those stories. You were the CMO at user I Q. Where you built the marketing team from the ground up, resulting in significant year over your air our growth when you're not at work. I understand that you enjoy cooking, spending time on the water with your husband and to Ozzy doodles. I need a picture of that. That sounds cute as hell. And also, as I mentioned running the Atlanta chapter of Revenue Collective, it sounds like you are one busy woman. Nicole. Yeah, I like it that way, though. You know I get bored if I'm not busy, so it's better that way. You are the second woman in revenue collective I've caught up with today, and you both said the same thing like burnout Israel, but also boredom Israel and I've got to keep going. So I empathize with that a lot. My husband sometimes says I find projects just to keep me going, and I don't think he's wrong. Yes, my husband says the same thing, and right now, you know, I also have some home projects that we're doing around the house going on, so I could never have enough projects. I know we need to create like a husband support group for yes, All right. So, Nicole, what we're going to talk about today This was actually born out of some of our conversations going on in...

...the revenue collective community. People were saying, like I mentioned in the intro is that when I'm starting at a company, especially as a marketing leader come in, you know, maybe there's a round of fundraising that's happened or some sort of event where they're saying, Hey, we're moving beyond a CEO or founder and we're building out that leadership team and marketing is such a key component to that, especially in B two B. Tell me about where you came in and maybe tackles journey of growth and what your mandate was coming in the door. Sure. So this is the third time now I've done this and come in as the first marketer and an organization, Um, and coming in to tackle they had about I think they were at about 30 people when I came in. Maybe a little less, Um, but they have been very successful, had done a great job and sales product customer journey, but had no marketing to date. And But I was just blown away by everything they've been able to dio. But they wanted to someone to come in and to really build the brand. We were in a space where we really don't have competitors are competitive. Nature is really that, you know, someone's gonna build it rather than by. And so how can we build this category around what we're doing and tell that story and then start building this inbound demand? Gen engine Israel And what we do is we help companies open up a new revenue engine Thio establish operating skill revenue through the cloud marketplaces. So aws Azure and G C p marketplace. So ah, lot of our inbound referrals have been coming through the cloud marketplace providers, which is great to have that relationship with them. But we wanted to make sure that we weren't relying on them forever. So how could we build this content marketing engine and demand Jin engine around? You know, just people knowing about tackling coming to us instead of going through the cloud providers for that? So I was really brought in to build that and establish a great you know, relationship of that marketing to sales hand off to so a few, you know, big priorities. And, you know, at first when I came in, they were saying, You know, you might be the only market, or this year that we bring in, you could do this all yourself, and I knew that would be a reality with our growth goals of wanting Thio three X revenue this year and then thinking about next year what we wanted to dio and so it really, you know, had to be having those open and honest conversations. Even in the interview process of Hey, if we want to do this, here's how we have toe feel to set up a team. Here's what budget needs to look like. And, you know, if I accomplish these goals, here's how we should be looking at growing the team this year. A swell. Okay, so you said a couple of things here. You said you started those conversations in the interview process. So as you were speaking with leadership, the board, maybe of bringing you in, You set that stage before you even had the gig. Yeah, that's correct. And I think that's really important to be transparent and honest and the interview process of especially when you're coming in for as the first marketer in a V. P. You know, head of marketing role, anything like that. If they're wanting you to take on a role that's both, like that strategic and tactical role and be the only person you need to understand, you know what the company goals are and how you're gonna align to that. And if you're gonna, you know, they're expecting you to be the only marketer for a while, which you know is totally fair. You know, everyone's got to kind of do it group. It works and get your hands dirty. I understand that. But have those conversations of Okay, Well, when will I be able to hire? When will I be able to build my team? You know, if I can't hire someone right away, what is budget look like for me to outsource work? I need to agencies. And you know, when can I start doing that? You know, you maybe you're not doing that on day one. But it's not realistic for someone to come in and just be able to do everything in an organization, especially a fast growing fast organization themselves, and absorb all...

...that and be ableto really like think big picture and get down in the weeds. So you need help. I've had these conversations in the past, and I'm curious your take. I find that in an organization, marketing more than any other function, is oversimplified. Yes, I completely agree with that as well. Um, I see that all the time, and I see it a lot. And you know, people I'm talking to in revenue collected that are looking for new roles. Especially now since Kobe and with the pandemic. And as people are looking to hire a new revenue leaders, marketing leaders there, you know, really putting a lot of pressures. Marketing teams have been cut in wanting people to do so much more with less, with less budget, with less teams. And it's really challenging situation right now. Yeah, I have so much empathy for that. I've been a sales and marketing leader in the past, and you at the onset. It feels like being conservative is good. You know, you're trying to manage headcount toe output, but in the long you end up stifling growth so significantly. It's almost, you know, cutting off your legs, so to speak, in the sense that you're preventing the ability to scale and so that that balance and I empathize. Also for founders, that air, you know, our leaders that are making those hires. Yes, it is. It's definitely tough, and I feel like sometimes it could be the last place to get budget and an organization. And then the first place where it's cut. Yeah, preach. So you said that this is your third time doing it. You negotiated or, you know, had these upfront conversations this time around. And you it sounds like you knew some of the milestones that hit right. Like when we hit this kind of revenue or these KPs can I bring on a team? Here's what a budget might look like. That sounds like somebody who's done it before. I want to hear about, like, tell me the time that it was not that clean. Or maybe what are some of the lessons learned? Because I think that a lot of times people that are listening to this this is their first time ever doing that. So they may not even know what budgets need to look like what revenue goals look like. So I'm curious if you have any insights Or maybe lessons learned from when it wasn't as good as it is a tackle. Yes, for sure, I do have some good ones and you know tough things I've learned along the way. And I think, like I said, it all starts during that interview process and really getting clarity and, you know, talking to as many people as you kind on the leadership team and, you know, talking to the board as well and getting and having those open conversations and it's hard. It feels uncomfortable. I think when you're going through that to ask about like, you know, what are the sales? There are goals. What's quota attainment? What's your churn rate? Um, you know what? What budget are you going to plan on giving me? And, you know, companies might hold back on answering those questions. And I think if they are holding back on giving you that information, that raises a red flag to me. And, you know, there was one company that I was at for Onley three months, actually. I took a CMO position there and then ended up leaving, but they were They were very hesitant on giving me answers to some of those questions, but I thought it was a really good opportunity to take on a bigger role than I had. And I realized then when I walked in the door that they were what they thought of a marketing leader, and what I thought a marketing leader would do were completely misaligned expectations. And they they did not want a strategic marketing leader they wanted so into just come in and create white papers and thought again it was my example of you should have 300 leads a month just right now. And whatever you need to do to get that is all we need you to dio instead of actually taking a bigger picture. Look, aligning with every you know, other leadership team member, understanding their departments, understanding our customers, looking at messaging and really, strategically putting together a plan for marketing and how we scale a marketing...

...organization was just like, no sorry. Anything you say doesn't matter. Just go put out white papers to get leads, which is, like, the most archaic thing I've heard of. Actually, yeah. I mean, to me, so much of the especially in this world. I mean, it's highly competitive for talent, the culture, peace and not of, you know, Rob, we have a pool table, but culture piece around like, what do you hold important? What autonomy give employees, you know, how do you set goals and allow people toe, reach them or fail, but and and do that Those all speak volumes. And I think that you know, something you said is moving from that tactical market or into that strategic marketer, and that's a journey within itself. But when you hit that point, you begin to look for different things inside an organization. I'm curious if you can share a bit about your background. Like where? What was that journey to go from a beam or execution oriented into someone that now leads, you know, teams and large organizations to growth. Yeah, so I just kind of got my background of where I started on all of that. So I started actually on the PR side of things and was in the agency world starting out. And then while I was there, I was getting my MBA in marketing and business and then decided Teoh had a great boss who understood that this probably wouldn't be forever, that I would stay at that agency doing that. And then he decided to give me a shot to run marketing for the agency. And at that time, that was really my first foray. And so how do I run marketing for a company? And we were selling toe all be to be health care I t customers. So again, that was the introduction as well. I needed into SAS and understanding that space. But I would just started doing marketing for the agency and then one while I was there. We also started using marketing automation at the time. And as you know, you might know health care. I t tends to be a laggard industry to on. And, uh um, none of our customers were using marketing automation. So I kind of spun up a agency program where I partnered with a bunch of marketing automation agencies like Part Ott and Hub Spot to offer these services to our clients of helping them implement marketing automation. So I went from just doing marketing for our agency to then doing everything from, like the biz Dev side of Things going out on pitching proposals. Thio, then actually doing the implementation Thio helping them with marketing campaign. So it became a whole literally, like practice out of being the quote unquote brand marketer for the agency. Yes, and then the story I say is like, That's when I, my CFO, stopped hating me, I say, because, like I learned, that's what I think. I really took the turn from being so tactical to being strategic because I learned about Okay, here's how we generate revenue. Here's burn rate. Here's you know actually where money is coming in and out and okay, I'm generating R O I now for this, you know the agency and this is what matters. And I think that's where the career started, taking a bit of a pivot instead of just me. Really understanding. Okay, here's where I could bring in money and here's where I could help and then really aligning that to what our biz dev team was doing in the agency to and starting to pick up on things. And that's when I really started to grow my career and understand the strategy side behind a lot of that. So I think that's fascinating. Anytime, you know, turn one roll in and then turn that into the ability to sell a product or service. I have a lot of a lot of respect and appreciation for that. That's the world I come from. So I I understand. So you then, to get into becoming more of this strategic marketing leader, I find that and I love your input on this. I think that sometimes during the interview process, it's scary to your point to say, Hey, the goals you're setting out aren't attainable because then, does that say something about me? Or does it...

...say something about your goal setting? I have found that the right organizations and great leaders actually love when you educate them during the interview process. Based on your experience is based on the goals they have set forth for you to say, Hey, this isn't realistic in my experience, not always. But my experience is they're so grateful that you've include them in on a possible misstep, and it changes the dynamic of the interview process. Negotiation, role development, all of those things. Yes, Casey, you're 1000% right on that one. And I think it's a sign of a great leader that you want to work with as well. If they are, you know they're hiring you because they haven't had this person in their organization before. Because, you know, if you're the first marketing higher, then it's probably, you know, they need a bit of education on marketing, and you know how this should be working in their organization or the first sales higher the same thing. So you know something's unrealistic then. Yes, it's up to you, Thio, you know, level said, and provide you know, based on your experience, how maybe this should be working and, you know, Yeah, probably expect that they might go back to the board and say Hi. I heard this from the person that we're thinking about hiring for this marketing role. What do you think of the word? Probably say yeah, Based on our experience. They're correct in that assumption. But I think that just sets the tone for a really honest relationship that you're going tohave coming in with, you know, your potential CEO or whoever your reporting. Thio and I completely agree that it's great on those air. Probably That's a company you wanna work for. Totally. So in the past, have you had the board conversation come organically through the interview process? Or has it been something that you've asked for? I've had it come organically through the interview process of usually the company wanted me to talk Thio. You know one or more board members throughout that process got it perfect. So you get a you get alignment inside the organization prior to even starting right. It's let's understand, always let's set KPs. Maybe I am individual contributor to start, but I need to know at what milestone I can bring in other support or budgets for outside parties. Talk to me about any other you know, watch out missteps that you might have establishing. You know, your marketing practice inside an organization. Yeah, Another one that I kind of say to watch out for is once you get started is the shiny object syndrome, and, you know, you might be aware of that, but I have found it's very common in early stage companies and, you know, especially when you're the first head of marketing or head of sales, that you might experience this a lot. But you know, founders or CEOs, it's hard. You know, you see something that a competitors doing or you're getting a lot of input from the VC firm or your board, and they're saying like, Hey, someone else So and so is doing this like they just launched this product. Or have you seen this copy that they have on their website? Um, they're doing this type of event. Why aren't you doing this? And it becomes hard to ignore that noise sometimes, and sometimes I think marketing gets a lot of the immediate reactions of Hey, you need to go do this right now, because again, Company X is doing it, and we we need to try this. And I think if you don't have really clear goals or you know, whether you're using, like Okay, ours for V two moms or something like that to be measured, it's super easy to just say Okay, sure, we can try that and tested and slip into going completely off track, and then you're getting to the end of the quarter or end of however you're measured and you realize you haven't hit any of your goals and you're having to report in a board meeting and everything is completely off track, and it's really...

...no explanation of why. It's just like we decided to test this and something is not working. And I think that's, um, something I see a lot in here about happening that hits home to me so much. In a previous role, I we had a quarter where we needed to do some customer research around some new offerings. We were coming out with our sales team, you know, because we were closest to the customer, chose to take that on, but What we really didn't realize at the time was by saying yes to that we were saying no to doing the actual sales work. And so we were turning down or you know, not, not intentionally. But we were not focused on what the near term revenue goals where we were focused on what might be in 12 to 18 months and then to your point at the end of the quarter end of the year when we had to sit down and have those conversations. Yes, we learn something new that made our business better, but we also weren't able toe handle things today. And I think that that, you know, especially when you're working closely with a board or a founder CEO, whoever that could be a really challenging position to find your voice and your confidence I have found Okay, ours. You mentioned those. I have found those to be super effective mechanism to say, Listen, we've already laid these out and it's almost like an if then statement, right. If if this is your goal and we agreed to do these things, then there is no place to put this, and if we are introducing it What else are you going to remove from my plate? And I find that a lot of times what could be a flippant idea like, hey, so and so is doing this. They may mean it and just this is an idea. And if you're taking it as Bible, so to speak, if I have to do it, there's, Ah, disconnect. And so, by having that taking a beat, having that conversation of Do you really want this to be a trade off of the work I'm doing today? I have found that usually the answer is No, no, stay where you're at. I This was just a nice idea. I was sending your wedding. Oh, that makes sense. But if you are changing course, then at least it's alignment across the board. Exactly. And I think, you know, seeing having okay, ours, too. The great thing is that it usually is so tied toe. Other organizations, you know, everything waterfalls down from what the CEO of what the company goals are. So if something changes in marketing, it's probably affecting sales, and it's affecting customer success or product. And you know, if you look at that and say, well, then I'm not going to accomplish this, and it's like, Oh, well, then this may impact sales, hitting their goals or something and product, you know that we're not gonna be able to communicate this product release, and you really start to think about it and tie it back. It's not a simple it's just like Okay, well, then this got pushed in marketing two months. That's a bigger ordeal and something to think about. So I really I love okay, ours. And you know how they can really help in organizations. See the bigger picture around. What's important in that, you know, a little decision of changing course or messaging on something you know someone might have an idea to try can really make a bigger impact. For those of you, they're listening. That may not be as familiar with Okay, are is it's a framework called objective and key results, in which you can help set organizational all the way down to individual goals that align Thio Whatever your company is trying to accomplish, there's a great book called Measure. What matters, I believe, is the name and it's it lays it all out, gives a lot of tangible examples. The thing I will say I have learned okay, Are there never perfect their first roll out? They take time, but just the act of doing them builds a muscle organizationally, that creates so much focus and clarity that even if you do it 50% of the way, it's better than not doing it all exactly. Yeah, they I think they take at least a year to get right. I feel like, honestly, it sounds really painful, like a lot of work, but they do take a while to get right. But once you get into that motion, you know, just like you said, at least doing them getting 50% of the way there is better than nothing. Totally. I think a year is a very realistic timeline. I know at a...

...previous organization, there was a lot of discussion amongst the leadership team. Well, if it takes a year, is it even worth it? And what we saw that a year to get perfect. But you started seeing benefit a quarter into because you're developing just a new way of operating. So stick with it, guys. It's worth it. We promise. Okay, so we talked about building new to an organization. You know, getting that leadership alignment at the onset, getting your board on board. Look at that board on board. Uh, you are You're avoiding shiny object syndrome, which is so like classic like anybody gets that. I think inside a company, marketing and sales get it, get it worse than most being. And then one of the things you and I were chatting about is in this. I'm fascinated to learn about your experience joining tackle right before the pandemic hit in which most of your work has been remote building trust inside an organization as a marketer. Ah, lot of it is painting a vision of what could be and getting people to align and buy into that while also having to still prove it out. That's tough, and I think that it takes some stamina and focus and vision. And so I'm curious. How do you go about building that trust and maybe even some tangible examples of your time and tackle this year? Sure, Yeah, I think that's one of the most important things that you can do is a marketer when you're the first person in or at any time is you know, you have to go trust across all parts of the organization because you are. I mean, you're really that bridge between every part. You have to showcase what everyone's doing and make sure like that you're putting everyone's work, you know, front center, inside of marketing. And you know, you can't go in on day one that you start and start blowing everything up and saying, You know, this doesn't work. We're not doing this the right way or I'm changing everything on the website. Um, so I think understanding, listening and then starting to say, like, based on what I've heard, you know, after this time, here's what I think we should do and why. But no one's going to trust you to start doing that in month one. You know, I kind of think of things is like four steps, and I'll kind of talk through each one. But I like to say like you have to prove it works and you can do it yourself. Then build a process and then, you know, help build your people on your team. And then you think about technology first. But what I like to say is like, you know, prove it works, and you could do it yourself, eh? So, you know, you can't spend your first, you know, not 30 60 90 days in the job, just observing. You know, you definitely do need to be observing and listening. Like I said, you don't just go blowing things up. But you should be thinking about like, what are those quick and easy wins? You can get that a line around company and priorities and strategy. And again, like, hopefully you did your homework like I was talking about during the interview process. So you know, some of this already. So when you're jumping in that you're like, Okay here, some of the things I already know that I wanna like hit and, you know, get up and running right away. So at tackle when I started, you know, a really big deal. Waas. We haven't really done it. We didn't do a great job. We had so much stuff going on in product and engineering. I mean, our team is just we're probably releasing, you know, at least 2 to 3 new releases each week with our products. So, like they're just a machine but we weren't doing a great job of getting the word out about that. So right away, I was like, Okay, I'm gonna at least start doing a monthly roundup log posts about this to, you know, condense some of these, um, topic so that we can at least start putting that out to people have this communication of what we're doing to talk about the product and then dio bigger post each month around Ah, bigger release announcement when there's something like, really big that we want to talk about and doom or, you know, press and promotion and females around that as well. Another big piece was kind of So yeah, e I want to talk about that. So you took the question right out of my mouth in the sense that you get in and listen. But don't wait...

...too long to do something right like you. You're 60 days in and you're observing at some point, somebody's gonna look around, say, like, and what are you doing? And so I find that and I'm curious your point of view. But within those 30 60 90 milestones to set a period of time in what you say you know, the 1st 30 days I'm going to observe. But by day 45 I'm going to make a recommendation or setting up that proactively I find in the the absence of expectation or a narrative, people will build their own. And so being able to get ahead of that and set those inside to the company is really important. And then even what you were saying around the block post around, you know, the release that was making your peers and your teammate looked really good to write, like you're doing something that does solve a customer need but also celebrates what the people inside the company are doing. And I find that that, you know, marketing a lot of times is telling those internal stories just as it is, you know, building customer demand. And yeah, I think it's it's really like finding out what's important. Thio, each team member and their department. So you know, what is it? What sales? Biggest priority that you could help with right now. What is customer success? What is it for a product you know, and then going in and saying okay, like, how could I help each of them you know, right away. Like, what is something small I could do to make a big impact here and then going in And, you know, figuring out how in those first, you know, 30 or 60 days, you could start to do that. Like sales. They needed ah, little bit of help with some of the hub spot automation. E can go do that. And I can could help with some data sheets that they needed done in customer success. You know, that was some stuff of How can we help with some customer marketing materials as well? So again, it's like these little winds, you know, you want to set up more strategic process around this. You know, this was also like I was building budget beginning of the year and figuring out more strategic programs, but you cannot sit there and not do anything on. Just say I'm just thinking. I'm just listening to calls. The first the 1st 30 days, I'm just going to observe meetings. You have to still be doing some stuff, and it's not all going to be right and perfect, and you're probably gonna redo a lot of it is you go on but be doing some things and you're gonna learn, I think is a market or two. You're gonna learn a lot writing things in the early days. Like my product stuff I wrote it first was terrible. I was learning the product and but the federations and as I kept going about this and revising and learning more just that helped me actually like, understand tackles, products and what we're doing and how I wanted to talk about it and I think drives customer empathy out of the roof because you're learning about the product for the first time to just like your customers are in a lot of ways. So you going through the learning process of what resonated? What did not what did you not understand? Helps you adapt? You know how you communicate it. So you get in, you say, prove it works and you can do it. Then we talked about process. Where are there Gaps in the organization on Um, I love that you said like technology comes later. Like first we had the gap. So tell me, Talk to me about that. Yeah, So I think there's always, you know, things of like, especially when you're coming in. On the marketing side of you know, things aren't necessarily ever written down, especially at the start up of where people have just been moving extremely fast. So, you know, for example, we had been starting to do some. We were starting to do things like weekly office hours where people could come and ask us anything on these and they were open to prospects and customers, and we were recording them. But there was no like process for this. And then what happens after someone comes to office hours? How do we follow up? What's the process? And then same thing with Webinars, Um, again. So just documenting and a Google doc, anything...

...works, you can do whatever you want. It's written down but again documenting the process of like what happens before these events. What happens during the event? What follow up do they get after? How does sales follow up? How does marketing follow up like, what are the rules of engagement? Things like that? I think that just makes it really clear of who owns what what are expectations and also, you know, Then there's not eliminates friction to between departments when you can lay that out and have conversations about it totally. And I think it organically leans into things that might be, you know, skill sets that come from marketing right documenting process, better communication. I found I came from the sales organization, and then later, you know, took on some of the marketing roles. And what I found is that you know, your sales people they love to be in the moment. They love to be with the customer doing their thing. They're not great, always the process that comes before And Soto have a counterpart that can lean in and really helped to develop and documents something so it becomes less of that burden of I got to do something I don't like, but rather I'm just checking off my list. I think that does a tremendous amount. Thio build camaraderie across teams. Yeah, I agree. And you know it's our job. I think is marketers make it easier for sales. Thio move leads through the funnel and get a deal closed, and I think anything we could do There is, you know, a big part of the role, and I love that you said like we did the office hours. And then what? I cannot tell you how many times I put out, like, we're going to do the thing. We're gonna go to the conference or D o r. And then somebody says, And what happened? It's like, Oh, I talk to 10 customers. But what happened? It's like, Oh, I don't know, because you get so wrapped up in that that you know that good momentum there that you you forget that there's this whole cycle that you have to document. And, yes, sitting here on this podcast, it sounds like Duh, obviously. But when you're in the throes of a sale cycle and you get excited about that one or two prospects being able Thio document sometimes feels like an afterthought, for sure. And it's a pain to like have to sometimes like through that and go about it and, you know, remind set up reminders and all of that, so get sure for sure. So you got in identified gaps. Then we talk about, you know, you mentioned if the onset that, you know team is always something like resource is, I don't think any function can ever have too few or too many. Um, usually it's, you know? Hey, I need more people. I we could do better things. So how do you go about deciding what kind of team you need? What do you in house versus what do you outsource? Um, what level of team member do you need? You need, you know, somebody that's more entry level or manager versus a director or more senior level. So talk to me about how you begin to assess team needs. Sure, I think, too. That also depends on some of the goals of the organization where they are, you know, in revenue. And so for tackle. We were looking to build a lot of the brand and content around that, and, you know, how do we explain what we do? Because it is a new category, and so there's not a lot of education out there of what we're doing. So we knew like we had a lot to develop around that. So my first hire was ahead of content and brand to help me develop that narrative and story and one of the things you know, we did. So we didn't do this and we didn't even start this. Told June. So it was like almost six months after I started, um, that we decided Thio redo the website kind of update the brand update all our messaging and content. But again, this took a long time. Like a lot of learning and understanding of what was next and conversations with the leadership team before we did this. Thio make this change. But, you know, I hired her and, you know, we took some satisfaction, said, Let's do this. But, you know, that was based on this is our This is the position we wanna be into. That would be the strategic first higher, and then I usually you know what I was looking at. Okay, we have big goals, pipeline goals, and we need...

...to drive top of funnels to my next higher was a demand gen manager to help do that. And then, um you know, some other things I will look at is, you know, I want to make sure kind of all my functions aligned to functions in the organization. So you know things. I'm looking out for next year's I grab my team where things like product marketing, customer marketing, you know, more, more content is always something that I want and to build those areas. But I think you know things. I looked a outsource, our bigger projects, like websites. You know, that was outsourced. Initially, I was outsourcing. Some of the work we're doing for our marketing automation system were like Hub Spot supported, helping us get some of that set up when I was first here and just didn't have the bandwidth to do it myself. And then we do outsource some content and design needs is well, right now, we just don't have in house people that can do all of that. So it sounds like the way you think about the team is almost through. The customer journey itself right is its product. It's the parts of the organization that we need to tell the story. But I love that. You said it's early stage demand gen its content to that parent brand, and then it's post sale customer. And how do we make sure that each of those parts of the organization or SAPO sorted through the marketing lens? Yeah, that's correct. Just really want to make sure all of that is the lines and that marketing touches all of those areas through the funds. Have you had any pushback from the board or leadership? Is you expanded your team, or have you been able to build a case like what does that look like? I think so far I've been able to build a good case about why we need this. Um, I have a great I think support partner to in my CR Oh Don, who has been great about, you know, supporting what marketing needs and the same thing. Like my CEO, John is very supportive of marketing, So I think when you have a great leadership and, you know, gets a build a team like that and you know they understand why marketing is important and you can show to that marketing is driving results from what you're doing, that's important. And I think when that happens, and then you could make the case of like, here's why we need this person. Here's what they're going to be doing. And here's kind of some of the results I would expect this person to achieve then that's a little bit easier, I think if I hadn't been able to deliver results this year and I was asking for more people. That would probably be a harder conversation. Yeah, but I think that speaks to you, and any sort of marketing leader is that you're responsible for building the business case. This is not something that the business comes to you and says, Hey, what do you need next? You have to be grateful of thinking ahead and, you know, sitting at the table of those growth conversations talking with the board to say this is what we have to accomplish. And then you're able to come in and build a case as to why you know your department organization to schedule? Yeah, exactly. And then finally we talked about technology, which I just love that you said it's the last thing because I think that you know, a market, or sometimes we can get excited about every new tool available and go out and say, Oh, my God, I'm gonna get all these in my tool kit, but not necessarily have a dedicated use or having vetted what is most important. So talk to me about how you then begin to go from people into technology. Yeah, yeah. Don't get me wrong. I love tools. As well, and I am just a big, biggest sucker for, like, a great, you know, marketing text back as the next person. But yes, if you when you are coming into the first marketer, I am just a firm believer. And do not go out and blow all your budget on tools right away. Because first off, you don't have people to help you, you know, implement these tools and you don't wanna be running a huge tech stack on your own either. So I really think that it takes some time to understand what you're really gonna need as you build this system and what makes the most sense what tools actually make the most sense for you to be using? So, you know, really, this year, a tackle, I you know, I added some minimal tools to the marketing tech stack of, you know, things that are pretty easy for us to...

...use. Like we're using Canberra. We're using Vimeo things like that, a sauna, but nothing that's like a major overhaul. I mean, we have hub spot for our marketing automation platform, and so we had some of those basics, but you know, nothing super expensive and big next year will make some of those bigger investments Now that we have a bigger marketing team. We've added a director of Rev. Ops. But I just don't think that it's a big thing that you need to be doing, at least in the first six months. Yeah, thank you for forgiving those tangible steps. I think that that sometimes when I I hear content, I you know your story is inspiring, right? You've done this three times over. You've joined this amazing organization, but I walk away and say, Okay, how do I start to implement this? So the four steps just to plan back to people you know as your mark as a marketer, number one coming into an organization and you're building something new, come in and prove it works and that you can do it. Don't spend the 1st 90 days just observing. Yes, listen, yes observed, but demonstrate quick wins. The second are identified gaps in the organization, particularly as it relates to your function and being able to solve those for your peer group can go immense, can have immense value and building trust and alignment as the organization. The third is people begin to assess where based on those gaps, where do you actually need individuals to join your team? And where can they make the most impact? Being able to build that narrative over the course of your tenure there and paying attention to business goals and outcomes will help you tell that. Build that case and then, finally, technology. It's the least important factor. You know, at the end of the day, we all love great tech tools and and marketing stack. But you have to be able to demonstrate value first and then figure out what tools you need toe make it come to life. Anything to add there? Nicole. No, I think that sums it up. It's ah, Like I said, I think following those four steps really has helped me, as I've done this now for my third time, focus on what's important and get it right. And this has definitely been the smoothest transition I've made into running a marketing team at a earlier stage company. That's really fast growing, and I think again, you know, focusing on when, even when you're interviewing, understanding those questions, you know, asking the right questions, you know, and then building the trust as you go along in the organization. Well, really set you up for success. Excellent. Nicole. If people either and you know we'll talk about in the revenue collective community, they want to get in touch with you about their own journeys. What's a good way for them to do? So? Yeah, they can reach out to me on LinkedIn. I'm always happy to chat there, or they can email me as well. It's Nicole dot smith at revenue collective dot com. All right, you heard it. Here. Nicole Smith. Nicole Gino Smith. I want to get that right. Thank you for being a guest today on the podcast. Thank you for sharing your journey. Obviously incredibly successful having done this three times over and appreciate you sharing, you know, lessons learned along the way of how someone starting out as marketer number one can come in, Um, set the right expectations and make an impact. Thank you so much for having me. It was so much fun to chat with another awesome Atlanta Revenue collective later. Yes, Atlanta represent. All right, Nicole. Alright, Revenue Collective. We will see you next time. This is Casey, like Gordon I'm your host. And this is the revenue collective podcast that waas one of my favorite episodes. Thank you, Nicole. So much for bringing very tangible, very hands on advice and honestly, just representing Atlanta in the marketing community. So well, this episode was brought to you by quota path. Quota path is the first radically transparent and and compensation solution from sales reps to finance. Get started free at quota path dot com.

And your next commission cycle could be totally automated. Thank you, Revenue Collective. Thank you to this community. I'm Casey, like Gordon, and I'll see you next time.

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