Optimizing Sales and Marketing Operations

In this, The Faces of Business, Sean M Doyle, CEO and Principal, Sales, and Client Strategy, FitzMartin, Inc., talks about optimizing sales and marketing operations to make smooth and fast business progress.

In this, The Faces of Business, Sean M Doyle, CEO and Principal, Sales, and Client Strategy, FitzMartin, Inc., talks about optimizing sales and marketing operations to make smooth and fast business progress.

Sean is a seasoned B2B sales and marketing consultant with over 25 years of experience assisting mid-sized businesses with their most pressing issues. As a sales optimization and marketing operations expert, Sean applies the science of behavioral change to business disciplines such as planning, positioning, branding, and promotion.

Throughout his career, Sean has completed over 5,000 client engagements, gaining matchless expertise in assisting B2B companies to sell more to their most profitable customers. His capabilities include defining brand culture, coaching leadership, and integrating sales technology. His specialty is to help companies with annual revenue between $5 million and $70 million to improve operations and optimize sales.

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Sean is an established author who wrote Shift: 19 Practical, Business-Driven Ideas for a Marketing Executive Without Marketing Training. Similarly, His first book, Enabling Profit, serves as a roadmap for sales and marketing executives to implement disciplined, effective, and customer-focused programs and contains Sean’s processes, insights, and underlying theories and strategies.

Damon starts the show with his customary energy. He warmly greets Sean on the Livestream, setting the stage for an engaging discussion. The show begins with a discussion on building a stronger sales and marketing operation that can improve the business in the short and long term, leading to better results.

To further the show’s agenda, the host requests Sean to talk about his professional background.

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Sean shares his story about how he learned a systematic approach to sales and marketing from a book, which helped his business close deals with 1500 prospects they couldn’t close before. He advocates for having a scientifically validated and proven framework rather than relying on opinions or creative ideas. He calls this framework “centricity” and says it is based on the transtheoretical behavioral change model, which he has been validating for over 20 years. He believes marketing should focus on equipping buyers to buy rather than just equipping salespeople to sell.

Damon mentions the positive impact of book reading. He has recently read, They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan. The book emphasizes the importance of answering customers’ questions to help them make informed decisions.

Agreeing with Damon, Sean believes that businesses run into a struggle to convince customers to make a change, even if their product or service is better. He mentions that 80% of people will stick with the status quo because they don’t see how the change is worth the effort or cost.

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The guest suggests businesses should focus on aligning themselves with the buyer’s needs rather than trying to align sales and marketing. By doing this, they can naturally achieve sales and marketing alignment.

Damon asks how to approach buyer alignment when dealing with multiple buyers, such as in oilfield services with clients in the field and corporate procurement people.

In response to Damon’s query, Sean says that in dealing with multiple buyers, such as oilfield services, finding an advocate, who can sell for you, is standard sales and marketing methodology. A mature business is aware of the presence of multiple decision-makers.

Similarly, the guest argues that deals are typically scored internally based on the most advanced buyer, but this conflicts with the desire for predictable pipelines. To resolve this conflict, the deal should be scored way back at pre-contemplation, and the courage to recognize the awareness level of each buyer is necessary.

Different messages can be delivered to each buyer through marketing technology. For the CFO, the message could be how the company’s cash flow could improve with a rapid response team. Different buyers need to be equipped with different messages.

The guest wants business owners to connect with consumers deeper by focusing on the results and benefits of a product or service rather than just the features. He applies this approach to sell cigarettes, where the value proposition is ten more years with a grandchild, and capital expenditure equipment to manufacturing companies, where the goal is to increase throughput and revenue.

The sales and marketing wizard is a proponent of having a systematic and strategic approach towards marketing and sales, which can be a lever to impact cash flow and elevate the value of a company. He believes marketing and sales are often undervalued and viewed as a line-item cost rather than a serious lever. To address this, he suggests having a framework for decision-making and evaluating tactics against strategy. Sean intends to offer a free worksheet called “the cognitive marketing map.”

Moreover, renouncing the commercial purposes, he wrote a guidebook, Shift, with nineteen ideas to equip executives with strategic marketing and sales goals.

Damon praises the guest’s passion for helping people and emphasizes that getting information to those who need it should be the primary goal of writing a book. He commends Sean’s impressive track record, with over 30 years in the industry, 5500 client engagements, and an average ROI of $287.

Similarly, Damon thinks aligning a business around the customer is a game-changer because it helps companies understand what customers want and need, leading to industry success.

While talking about the challenges businesses face in a buyer-focused approach, Sean highlights the importance of having a CMO on the executive team to make strategic decisions around market innovation, product lines, and financial goals. The CMO’s focus should be on the company’s strategic needs, tying in with the CFO to make decisions that will lead to predictable cash flow and gross margins.

To strengthen his argument, Sean suggests that hiring a futurist can help a company gain insight and make strategic decisions. He also emphasizes the importance of visiting with customers and learning about their problems to improve customer satisfaction.

The host agrees that a good CMO can be strategic and bring the voice of the customer and industry to the company.

Damon asks Sean about the signs that a business has hit a barrier when it reaches $10-15 million in revenue. Moreover, he wants to learn about the importance of mid-level management.

In reply, Sean discusses the challenges businesses face as they grow and provides insights into potential solutions. He suggests that as companies grow, they need to implement middle management, adopt dashboard-driven accountability, consider infrastructure needs, shift their focus to gross margins instead of cash flow, and think about marketing and sales alignment. He recommends planning at a profit-and-loss level instead of a company level, making strategic decisions about budget allocation, and recognizing that natural shifts occur as a business grows.

The guest discloses that he has compiled all such impediments in Business Barriers to Growth, a premium document, and suggests that businesses email him to request it.

Sean raises a point of concern. Only about 30,000 businesses in the US have 200-500 employees, and only 6 million businesses in the country make $1 million in revenue with ten employees. The government only acknowledges businesses as “small” once they reach 200-300 employees, but Sean thinks this is wrong.

Sales and marketing, to Sean, should be part of general business consulting, as business leaders are good at sales and most acknowledge the importance of marketing as a strategic advantage.

The show ends with Damon complimenting Sean for his insightful thoughts on aligning sales and marketing around the buyer and the importance of consciousness-raising.

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46:42

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

business, buyer, people, marketing, cmo, sales, problem, talking, strategic, framework, buy, book, clients, equip, line, company, gross margin, strategy, deal, run

SPEAKERS

Damon Pistulka, Sean Doyle

 

Damon Pistulka  00:01

All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I am excited for our guests today because we have Sean M. Doyle here from Fitz Martin, talking to us today about optimizing sales and marketing operations. Thanks for being here today, Shawn.

 

Sean Doyle  00:22

It’s incredible. I feel like we’re balancing the nation out, you’ve got that kind of upper left quadrant, I’ve got the southeast, we should be totally in sync Barry balanced nationally. So I’m not sure that’s what you want to talk about, but probably not. Let’s talk about what business leaders and owners can do to have great exits. And if they don’t want to exit great sales and marketing operations that achieve their goals. Why wouldn’t you run your business that way? You bet.

 

Damon Pistulka  00:49

It’s all good. It’s all good. I mean, in building a better sales and marketing operation builds a stronger business that, you know, feed you better feed you better today. And then in the long term, if you decide to

 

Sean Doyle  01:01

Hey, now we’re preaching. Yep.

 

Damon Pistulka  01:05

So Shawn, we have to do a little, little, little historical journey first. Because saying

 

Sean Doyle  01:12

I’m old. So what you just said?

 

Damon Pistulka  01:15

No, I just say we always like to learn more about people, before we get into a topic. So tell us what got you into your history and how you got into what you’re doing today?

 

Sean Doyle  01:34

Well, my standard answer would be fly fishing. But I don’t think that fits here. So we could talk about that. But the interesting thing about fly fishing that does apply is as simple as it seems as beautiful as it is. It is systematic, and there are ways that you fly fish that you break down and say, what is working?

What should I optimize more? What’s not working? What should I stop doing? And, and candidly fishing, I don’t want to really say sales and marketing should look like fishing. That’s cheese ball, it shouldn’t. But it should look like a process, you should have a way to break down what you do, you should have a starting place and a framework.

But that’s not really what got me going what I will I’ll share a quick story. Yeah, I had a business full 15 years ago. And it was it was the same business. We were driven by one big gorilla client, that big gorilla client called me and said, Hey, we’ve got this problem. Now I’m in the sales and marketing consulting business. And we for some clients, help them execute the strategies and do the tactical work. This particular client was asking us, we’ve got 1500 prospects that will be game changers.

Our sales team has met with the prospects, they know, the companies, the buyers knew the sellers, the sellers knew the buyers and they couldn’t move the needle. Well, I had just been given a book that has changed everything about the way I approach sales and marketing. And the book said that there is a systematic way that all of us go through a buying process. Okay, so half of you half your audience just went, Oh, gosh, it’s gonna be a sales pipeline conversation. It’s not hang in there with me hanging. Because the aha moment where is that?

There are, there are 10 there are 10 best practices that impact specific parts of the way the buyer goes through the journey. And as a marketer, a professional salesperson, I didn’t know that. I knew that sometimes I did things that worked. And sometimes it didn’t. And this business was a major business that challenged us with this, they’d gone through to other agencies, and they failed. Those other agencies aren’t dumb. They’re smart people. They do beautiful creative work, they’re wise.

But they didn’t have the insight that this book shared with me and that we now apply it we call it centricity. And there is this proven playbook that allows us to predict a buyers needs. And and I think that if we think about things, and marketing is often taught that we should equip sales to sell and that’s wrong. Marketing should be expert at equipping buyers to buy that doesn’t that sound subtle? But it’s very different. Oh, yes, very different. So that got me so fabulously interested in this.

So we mapped out. We use this framework, we’ve mapped out what had been done by the past few agencies. We found out the buyers weren’t equipped to go across the finish line. It was a late stage sales problem. But agencies for the most part, see the world as an awareness problem, an early stage, well, that’s fine. There’s 80,000 agencies in America, most of them could do a pretty good job with that early stage awareness thing. It’s the late stage. And that’s when the best practice, that’s when the gold happens.

That’s where the magic happens. And that is what we tried for this bank. And it was a bank was a financial institution. So think about a bank has parity. This is even better of a story. Because that bank didn’t sell anything different than the other bank. We were able to create wins $380 million of closed business deposits, net new customers from the same 1500 prospects that they couldn’t close before. Wow. So wow, Sean M. Doyle and Fitz Martin, we must be really smart, right? No, we’re not that smart. We just have this great content that’s scientific.

It’s a model that works. It’s a framework. And we’ve been applying that for over a decade now. And it gets consistent results. So if you want to know how to make sales and marketing work, start with a great framework. That’s scientifically validated. That’s not creative. Some marketing guys idea. That’s not some sales. You know, we call out hope, hyperbole and hubris. That’s not a model.

That’s just some person’s opinion. This isn’t our opinion. We don’t claim it. It’s the transtheoretical model of behavioral change. How do you like that for a mouthful? That’s why we call it centricity. But it’s not our science, and it’s validated. It’s validated for 20 years of results. It’s been an a great 10 years of results has been incredible. So that’s what got me doing what we do today. That was probably more of an answer than you expected. But it’s yeah, I’m passionate about it. It’s game changing. Yeah.

 

Damon Pistulka  06:52

I can see why. And, you know, I, I still tell people this day, the most impactful marketing book that I’ve read in the last couple of years, is one by Marcus Sheridan, called they, they ask you answer, and it is it is just just answer their questions and allow them to make informed decisions, because that’s what everybody and it gets down to the point. What you’re talking about is, is absolutely, I believe, spot on, is people don’t want to make a bad decision. And if they don’t have any information to make a good decision, they will make no decision or make a decision, they will make no

 

Sean Doyle  07:35

100%. So you are like, it’s like I prompted you to say this, and I didn’t add the science, they got to think about this, this word. So my expertise is in emerging middle market business to business space. We love that space, we’re really good at it. I love it because it’s complex.

But to think about let’s simplify the whole thing. So if you run a retail shop, if you run a spa, if you run a small consumer business, if you run a major enterprise, if you run Georgia Pacific, this all is true. 80% of the people will reconsider and stick with the status quo, instead of making change. Not not because your product and service isn’t better. Because they don’t see how the change is worth the effort. They don’t see the difference. It’s not worth the change. Because change has a cost.

We approach the world saying look at our thing, our thing is so much better than those other guys thing. But guess what businesses have to operate, you’re running $100 million business, you’ve got to make priorities because cash flow isn’t just free, right? You’ve got to decide am I going to is this? Is your marketing? Is your is your product better than the product? I’m using? Yes. Is it worth the capital that I’m going to have to invest of time and money and resources to make the change?

No. Why? Because you’re going to give me a 25% improvement. And it’s going to cost so much. And I’ve got five other things that are bar priorities in my business that have nothing to do with sales and marketing. They have nothing to do with so people have I mean, you have to understand that you have to understand that your world is not their world.

And it may be that that 80% Number is important to you. And that you should let those people retreat in the in the in your pipeline. Don’t put your pressure on sales. Why didn’t you close the deal? Come on. We put your pressure to get on the side of the buyer and understand what a great answer. I would buy this today. But there’s the three other capital expenditures and I’m going to do that and need to do that.

Let’s talk in a year. Okay. Sure. It’s great. Yeah, that’s a it’s a real life problem, but you’ve got to have the buyers. The Centricity has to be on the buyer. You’ve got sales and marketing alignment is something that business leaders need. decoratives talk about and try to achieve. And I believe most people approach it wrong. If I try to align sales to marketing, what happens? Sales and Marketing get aligned? Maybe? What did that achieve? What did that achieve though? What if? What if marketing got aligned to the customer’s needs the buyers needs and sales got aligned to the buyers needs.

The net result of that is sales and marketing are aligned because they’re both focused on the needs of the buyer as they go through the journey. The net result is sales and marketing are lined the goal is not sales and marketing alignment is the worst name trend in business right now. If you focus on buyer alignment, buyer alignment creates sales and marketing alignment. Yeah, Centricity be centered on the buyers needs. Man, I feel like I’m preaching, I’m getting fired up, let’s go change the world. Good.

 

Damon Pistulka  11:01

This is good. This is good. So so let’s go down this now. Because a lot of our clients are in the people that are listening to this, they might have multiple buyers, like you talked about a larger company or um, say, say I’m in heaven forbid, I’m in something like oilfield services where I have clients that are out in the field. And I have the corporate procurement people that I have to deal with. How do we do that when we have this buyer alignment, but I have multiple people that I need to align with?

 

Sean Doyle  11:38

Yeah, well, it’s a great question. I think standard Sales and Marketing methodology is you look for that advocate. And then you get them to sell for you and you tried to leverage that person to do the you’re inside sales. Because it is complicated. You do have multiple decision makers and different perspectives.

So I think a mature business and most of your clients from what I can tell are pretty mature businesses that are looking for operational gains, ways to do sales and marketing better. But they’re not learning that there’s multiple decision makers. That’s not the aha moment. I think one of the aha moments, and it’s just the one I’ll focus on limited time, is the deal is typically scored internally at most sales marketing organizations, based on the most advanced buyer.

So let’s say there’s five buyers, one’s ready to close. The other three are lagging behind somewhere, they maybe they don’t even know that there’s a problem. Think about that. Oh, so we got one buyer saying I can fix the problem. You’ve got another buyer that says I don’t even know the problem. Didn’t even even know those existed. But the salesman is going back to the company going, Hey, I got one at the finish line. We’re getting ready to close this one.

This is so good. And we want you know, as executives, we do want predictable pipelines, that’s important. We also have a conflict where we want the best salespeople want the best. And the best outcome from us, from their point of view is the close deal. So what do you do? How do you when you when you get somebody that says I’ve got a deal, it’s at the finish line? Well, you’ve got to score the deal way back at what we would call pre contemplation. That mean, there’s somebody in your business, if there’s three buyers in your business, or five, I think was the scenario we were playing on.

There’s if there’s two of them, let’s say the CEO and the CFO have never even contemplated that there was a problem, then your deal is at zero, because one influencers is ready to buy isn’t can’t get it past two gatekeepers that have authority, wisdom and structure. So you’ve got to have the courage to say we’ve got five people in the deal. In typical deal, we know that two of them are even aware that we exist or that the problem even exists at their company, we see it with clarity.

Now our job, our buyer centric job, is equipping buyers to buy, we have a reason to talk to people and marketing technology today, especially in the b2b space is incredible. We can today take those five buyers and deliver different messages to each of them. And I’m talking about when you’re looking at the Wall Street Journal, we can present an ad to you to you. I mean not we’re not talking about ads to CEOs.

We’re talking about an ad to one CEO at one company with one log in one URL. And I mean, it’s astonishing the abilities we have to do that kind of work. We could do. Let’s say it’s a large capex decision that’s going to impact production, you mentioned oilfield services. So if it’s going to impact production, well we can we can communicate to the people in the patch and let them know how or why their lives Is there going to be improved? So their life improvement might be less time waiting more uptime? less downtime?

We’re gonna get you back up to speed because in the oilfield a day could be worth 100,000. Us. Yes. So who cares if your service cost $20,000? I mean, honestly, if you’re charging 20,000 hours, you should probably charge $60,000. Because the value of your service is not what you’re doing your value, the service is uptime. So what if we tell the people in the field and deliver messages through techniques like geofencing, you’re going to hit your bonus, because you’ll have more uptime?

How did we do that? Well, we got this service we do this thing we do, or the rapid response time with the message that’s of the same company, the CFO should not be getting that message per se, right? The CFO should be told, if you imagine what Wall Street would see or imagine what the private equity firm will see if we can improve your cash flow by 10%. How are you going to do that? Well, we have a rapid response team that gets the field up faster, very different messages.

Maybe that was too subtle to forget illustration. But hopefully that demonstrates the idea. And you can do that, you can do that nowadays. And you can have somebody that pre contemplating, and you could have somebody at the action step. So you should be telling them different things. One person is being asked to make a public commitment to Yeah, we’re gonna buy this company services, or even a more powerful public commitment.

You’re asking me to come in and recommend that I’m putting my name on the line to need business growth, m&a advisory services from this BMW bike riding dude from the northwest, right? So if I’m going to tell my CEO that I think you are great at this, I’m now risking my reputation. Right? Has nothing to do with you, I’ve got to be comfortable, that you’re going to deliver great business growth in m&a advisory services. Well, that’s we would call that a an important bit of private and then public commitment.

So before, I’m going to make a public commitment, I’ve got to understand that I can trust you to not make me look like a fool. You had to do that before getting on getting me on your show, I could, I could ruin your show by being an idiot. But you validated whether I would gain value or add value to your show and your listeners or not. There’s ways that you do that in the podcasting world. While the same thing is happening with every one of your buyers. So the person that’s unaware, they’re not even thinking about the problem.

Your job is to raise their consciousness that there’s a solution to a problem that they didn’t even know about, versus that late stage buyer where you’re, you’re helping them create trust to make a public commitment. This is a simple demonstration. And notice the word awareness, I never used the word awareness. Awareness is probably one of my other least favorite words. I don’t, you know, I’m aware that I need to lose 15 pounds. I’m aware. My behaviors not changed, but I’m aware. We’re all aware of things. I’m aware that Corvette has a new car. Okay, yep.

 

Damon Pistulka  18:28

Doesn’t mean going out and getting one. Right. Yeah,

 

Sean Doyle  18:31

I don’t know how it matters to me. Awareness is is one of the most pursued least powerful aspects of powerful marketing and sales, effective marketing and sales.

 

Damon Pistulka  18:44

What is that? What is the word that you would use instead of that?

 

Sean Doyle  18:49

consciousness raising? There we go. I want you to a that was two words, wasn’t it? But you know, I’m in marketing, I can make up terms and I can add words. So consciousness, right, what is consciousness raising? It’s the difference between being aware of something exists, and understanding how it matters to me. It’s super simple. It’s not complicated. And it’s not and we didn’t invent it. It’s the science behaviors never change. If I don’t understand how it matters to me. I’ll lean on the science for a second. Do you believe there’s anybody in America who is not aware of the negative impacts of smoking? Is it hard to do?

 

Damon Pistulka  19:34

I don’t know if it’s possible anymore.

 

Sean Doyle  19:37

I think you’d be living in a cave or certainly a Luddite, or maybe I don’t know you’re off the grid. But I’m not even sure anybody possibly could know that anymore. But we still sell cigarettes in America and you can buy them and you see people smoking. So that’s an awareness does not make the change. Some people change their behavior because they saw how well matter to them.

Now how might quitting smoking matter to me? Well before the show we’re talking about, I’ve got a grandchild. That’s awesome. So if I’ll quit smoking, I get 10 more years with my grandchild. Well, that’s cool. So it had nothing to do. What I like about that illustration is it had nothing to do with smoking.

My Value Proposition was 10 more years with my grandchild. But as marketers, and as salespeople, we go out talking about our, Hey, quit smoking stuff, you know, we got this patch, we got the methodology, we’ve got small groups, whatever, we talk about how we help people quit smoking, but what we should be doing is talking about helping raise consciousness, we’re not really talking about smoking, we’re talking about giving you 10 more years with your grandchild.

That’s more powerful. That’s a consciousness raising, because it connects the dots. Okay, that’s great. That’s great oil, but I sell a large capital expenditure stuff to manufacturing companies. Guess awesome, it’s, it’s the same thing. I really don’t care about the wire cutting machine in the fab shop, what I care about is it increases my throughput by 25%. And that equals $5 million a year. So you want me to buy a $200,000? Wiring machine?

Sure. That’s not even, I don’t even care. That’s not that’s a, that’s a rounding error. If I can increase my capacity by 10 million. At ease, yeah, it’s the same thing. We’ve got to quit selling. We’ve got to start selling the results of what people are buying. And talking about that instead of talking about how fast our wire machine is, or how it’s built with stainless steel. Whatever that Yeah. I’ve never sold a wire stripping machine. But I have seen the impact of it in a manufacturing facility.

 

Damon Pistulka  21:56

Well, you’re right. It’s it’s about understanding how it matters to me, your buyer, and helping them realize what that means to them. Yep. So that it, as you said earlier, it gives them the reason to make the investment in time or money to buy your product or

 

Sean Doyle  22:19

service. And typically both, typically both both time and money. So we started with and I think your audience cares about how do I either create systematic repeatable programs and processes, so that I can elevate the value of my company, or I can elevate my cash flow, and I can enjoy the benefits now. Or maybe it’s on upon exit that I can do that. I would challenge that the simplest best thing to do is have a systematic approach that is predictable. Okay. There’s the least exciting advice of the day because everybody knew that before I said it. How do I do that?

Well, it’s strategic, you’ve got to make it a strategic priority as an executive team of your business, to give weight to it, you probably will have to help your executive team or my goal today is to help an executive understand that this is a great lever that’s probably been underutilized. If you think about all the different dials and levers on the tool of business, how many things can you turn up, turn down, you can impact cash flow, you can hire people, fire people, you can lay off, you can buy equipment, you can use finance, you can use.

There’s a there’s 100, strategic things you do daily in your business. But often we don’t think first of how marketing can impact and how sales can impact other than sales can impact buy, sell more. Okay, great. Got it. You know, everybody, every salesman ever has had the joke of. So I hit target this year. And now I’m going to be punished with a higher target. Yeah. So I mean, yeah, so more. Okay, that’s not very strategic. But so how do you approach things strategically? I think you’ve got to have a framework to make decisions.

Otherwise, what happens is sales and marketing people rely on hope, hubris, and hyperbole. And they come in and make recommendations. And we don’t really have a good framework, I believe education in the executive world is limited on how to use the marketing lever from a strategic point of view. And as a result, we devalue it and we look at it as a as a line item cost non as a lever that we can be serious about. And it may be that the marketing people you’ve worked with, don’t even think this way.

So I want to help you see that the right consultants, the right advisors get this. They see it first as strategic and how a business can achieve it. objectives. But beyond that, you’ve got to have a framework that gives you a way to evaluate it, the evaluate the tactical work against the strategy. So the gap, often if you do get a marketing strategy isn’t then do we have the marketing strategy?

It’s often that gets thrown over to do execution and the execution doesn’t follow the strategy or doesn’t know how to execute on it. So when that bank at the top of the show, came to us and said, we’ve got 1500 prospects that sounded like a very strategic No, excuse me, it sounds like a very tactical problem. We’ve got 1500 people, we need a marketing firm to do communications or whatever it is you people do, and get this across the finish line.

But what happened is it needed a strategy to solve the problem. And the strategy had to do with understanding how buyers sold. It’s not that we our company does not produce better creative, does not have better strategies. We don’t make better websites, we don’t you know, there’s nothing that we do that other people can’t do. Literally nothing. What we do that’s different, that creates ROI is we have a framework for the strategy, that we can look at tactical tools, and they’ll become effective so that when we’re executing a strategy, we know that they’re going to work.

In the bank’s case, our strategy was to let’s deal with late stage problems, late stage sales problems, who just did it right, is that wrong? See, it’s such a natural thing. It was late stage problems, the buyers weren’t being equipped properly at the finish. Because we were seeing the world as sales and marketing, not from the buyers point of view. So once we understand that the buyers had these best practices, six needs, there’s six different ways you can communicate that equip the buyer solves their equips them meets their needs.

And if you understand that, then you can tactically execute against the strategy. And if you want this, I’m an old geezer. Right so you said that at the top of the hour, so there’s you can go to Fitz Martin fit Zi M AR ti n.com/free, help, the framework is there, just download it? Very good. I don’t I don’t, I can’t help everybody. I wish I could, but I can’t. So download the worksheet. It’s, it’s called the cognitive marketing map. We’re, we’re lagging in our marketing getting that updated.

So there’s also some videos that would that I can extend that will explain this in more detail. And I wrote a book about how executives can achieve some of the strategic goals and equips them as 19 ideas to equip them. And I think I’m past the point of making a living selling books. The bad news is I’m not a book author that makes money. But yeah, the book has a lot of good advice. So just there’s a place there, I’ll ship you a book. And no, I’m not gonna hit you up. It’s not like high risk, you’re going to start getting a lot of sales calls. I’ll just ship you the book. And if you’d like it might help call me. That’s fine.

 

Damon Pistulka  28:10

Awesome. Awesome. Well, the

 

Sean Doyle  28:12

publisher is not impressed with these comments, by the way, so he thinks I could be selling. I don’t I don’t care.

 

Damon Pistulka  28:20

Well, I think if you honestly back your your publisher, I think if you’re writing a book, because you’re passionate about helping people selling the books, is secondary to getting the books, the information in the hands of the people that need it. Yep. Yeah. And I think that if you’re really I mean, I can I can I can feel it from you. I can feel the passion about how you helping people come through you come through your words come through your dedication to what you’re doing.

I mean, you don’t do something like you’ve been doing for as many years more than a couple. And, and still, no, I was gonna let you say it, but it’s awesome. It’s awesome. I mean, you you got a 30 plus year career in this and let’s just talk about you a little bit 5500 client engagements, you guys got an average ROI of $287 to one invested I mean you guys are doing some pretty incredible things.

And that’s why we you know, really being able to talk with you about this is so incredible, and I you know what you’ve been telling people today about aligning around the buyer, rather than aligning sales and marketing and aligning everyone around the buyer is is the is the way to improve your chances of selling your right products and services. I’ve had some I’ve had some wonderful experiences with this in my career. Not and this is before people were even I don’t even know if they said talked about Mark Getting back then.

But when you can take an entire business and align it around the customer, then you then you really, really start to do some game changing things in an industry. When you when you go, Okay, what is our customer really want? And we talk about yes, there’s we’re trying outreach, but what is our industry as as a whole really need? And doesn’t have, but our customers would would love if we did, and we would, you know, just go lightyears ahead of everyone else if we could do this,

 

Sean Doyle  30:36

then go ahead. Yeah, well, I just want to say this thing, it’s your businesses hit these natural barriers in growth. And what you’re discussing is, how do you come over there? How do you get over those growth? So you have a lot of experience in the m&a world? So before that you’re really focused on cash flow? And how do you allocate your investments? And you’re starting to think about the quality of the customers?

And how do you scale or have market expansion? You’re beginning these ROI ideas, but you’re not yet focused on all I really thinking about is gross margin, and how do I do the m&a growth and buy? How can I start looking at p&l focus at a product line? How can we get to that predictable profitability, and that’s what that next level is going to take. And you I would challenge that you can’t get there.

Until you have this kind of framework and an agreement, the sales and marketing are going to be focused on the buyer. And through that buyer focused, you can start making these fully strategic decisions and that a CMO should be at some point you need a CMO. I’m not saying you need a marketing director. I’m saying you need a CMO who’s fully strategic on your executive team. And they’re probably not looking at your the ads, or the color.

Whether Yes, yeah, whatever our application, we’re reading the copy, they’re looking at the strategic needs of the company, where’s the marketplace? Going? What what do we do as an organization to innovate? What are the most valuable things for I mean, I want to see the marketing director tied to the CFO and making strategic decisions around Hey, what you know what we’re scaling so much. But this product line takes a ton of time has low gross margin, what if we drop a product line?

What if we open a new oh my god, what if we like, those are the kinds of strategic decisions that you want a CMO making and if you’re gonna have that predictable cash flow, and if you’re gonna have that gross margin mindset, to either be prepared for m&a or to be prepared for your own success to keep continuing it, then that’s the that’s where marketing’s got to get to is got to achieve those types of goals. I’m done preaching on that one, I’m dropping the mic. No, I’m,

 

Damon Pistulka  32:53

I’m just thinking, I’m just listening, I’m just absorbing this because this is incredible. Because you know, when you when you say CMO, so many people talk about, well, I’m, I’m the person that’s, you know, I’m, these are the campaigns or this is the things that they the kind of things we should be doing to bring awareness and all these other kinds of things. But you’re saying the CMO is really more like the the sidekick beside this, see fo the COO, the CEO that’s going Listen, listen here, people, I see this. This is the way we should move. Because the market is telling us this.

 

Sean Doyle  33:35

Yeah, whether it’s a and it can be that. Yeah, it can be that that person, a wise cmo that can’t doesn’t have that kind of futurist vision. That’s okay. I did an engagement once for a company where we hired five futurists to give us opinions around this specific market niche. And then I presented what those five futurists did.

And you say, Well, what’s a futurist that sounds fancy, it’s a, you know, it’s a college professor, or it’s a, it’s a practicing person in that field, we’re looking at another list of speakers at a conference that is in a space for a client and we’ll go to them and say, Hey, we’re gonna pay a $500 to sit in the phone for an hour with this game. And then we’re just going to ask them questions.

Where do you see this going? What’s happening next? And you know, some people roll their eyes. Well, a college professor doesn’t know what’s happening next. Well, you know, maybe not, but you should listen because they sit around all day. They’re not distracted by every college professor just got mad at me there. I know. You don’t sit around all day. It’s okay. But you don’t have the pressures of commerce.

You didn’t get HR calling you this morning and you didn’t have to hire somebody in the line didn’t go down and that supply chain didn’t fail and you don’t have to get distracted by all that you’ve got time to think. So a good cmo can hire out that kind of work, but somebody is going to be doing it. Somebody should be done. Visiting with your customers and our learning what are, what are your problems? We think we know what they are because we’ve been making this thing forever.

But what are your problems you may discover? I was actually working with somebody who installs does it does start up work using one of my clients, pieces of equipment. And by listening, they the executive I was talking to was talking to some customers. And they found out it was something simple, and I didn’t entirely understand it. But like, the guys couldn’t get a wrench inside to connect it, this piece of equipment to the grid. And it was just a weird angle.

So the torque wasn’t right. And as a result, things loosened up. And then they had problems. Well, incredible insight, what if we can improve customer satisfaction because the stuff stays up running longer, with less problems? And all we had to do was go to engineering and say, hey, you know, this is a problem? Oh, no, we didn’t know it was a problem. Let’s just move this and that and the other, and then we’ll build it differently. And we’ll be fine. So I mean, what that’s a, but you can’t do that sitting at the office, you’ve got to go talk to customers.

 

Damon Pistulka  36:13

Yeah, and so you get your craft CMO, yeah. Because they can be that strategic, that’s getting the voice of the customer to you, the voice of the industry, too. Because as you’re talking about that with the college professors, right? I will say that the college was partial professor may not be in the commerce, part of your industry. But what they don’t have is they don’t have, like you said, the pressures that keep them focused on their their little world. And this is what I see a lot of clients, they’re so focused on their little world of running their business and their nation, their customers that they don’t look at the industry overall.

 

Sean Doyle  36:54

Well, and I’m not trying to limit futures work to professors to it can be a practicing, it can be a consultant, it can be somebody who has exposure to work with 30 companies a year, well, guess what that person has that you don’t have visibility into 30 different sets of problems that might be in your space, great person to hire, what do you see happening in the future? You know, so there’s just anyway, there’s that strategic level of CMO is really Yeah, so

 

Damon Pistulka  37:24

yeah, this is incredible. So when when you before we go on you, you and this you may have been talking about this ready, but you, you mentioned there’s a point that businesses get to, you know, their 10 $15 million in revenue, where they really hit this barrier this wall? And what are some of the signs of that? So people listening today go, oh, man, I were hitting this and I didn’t even realize it.

 

Sean Doyle  37:49

Yeah, it’s, uh, it’s pretty remarkable when you break down the research and, and it’s all data I’ve pulled from other people. So once again, I don’t do anything, I just gather data. So if you look at, you know, a lumpy and Associates, United States business profile, SBA, Office of Advocacy, our experience, you know, you start seeing these patterns emerge.

And let’s just stick with the one that you’re talking about, you know, there’s probably 140,000 businesses in America today that have 5075 full time employees, maybe the 15 million in revenue, revenue numbers really hard to use. Because if I’m a lawyer, and I have 15 million in revenue, that’s very different than somebody manufactures something that has $15 million in revenue.

So it’s, I tend to think the FTE number, the full time employee numbers a better one. So let’s say let’s just imagine you’ve got 75 employees on your team, you’re starting to run into some problems, you’re starting to realize, you know, what the org chart is established. But now we really need middle management. And we fought middle management, all the way up from a small business to be this size. But now we’re starting to go maybe middle management is does have value.

You know, you’re moving into some you’ve got some probably have some dashboard Driven Accountability, but that’s going to grow that needs to grow. You’ve got some some leadership thinking you might be bringing in a consultant, like an execution Maximizer Capricorn leadership Eos, which tends to be a little bit smaller, but you’ve got some outside consultants for leadership. Maybe you’re parting convene, or Vistage or some group like that.

And that’s those are really helpful tools. There’s some infrastructure things that you’re happening, you know, you’re, you’re really getting ready to face. My disparate technology systems aren’t working as well functionally. Maybe it’s time for the ERP that can really eliminate some of that cross silo communications. Maybe we need to start looking at data As science, we might have enough of a business now and enough of enough data that we can identify patterns.

And that’s something that we never dealt with before. Because before, we were just not ready for that kind of infrastructure. We already mentioned the business focus moving from cashflow, focus to gross margin, you know, but from a marketing and sales, and that’s really where my expertise is, yeah, you’ve begun to think about this marketing and sales alignment, you might not have a CMO yet.

Maybe you need a fractional CMO, as you grow, you know, I think fractional CMOS can be effective. Maybe you have 200 500 employees, you can still based on your business type, you could still have a fractional CMO, but somebody’s got to be providing that executive team strategic work while somebody else is leaving the executional. And that might be a director of marketing.

So you’ve got a CMO strategic person. And then you’ve got a director of marketing, who’s taking care of that tactical day to day work. They’re managing the agencies, the craft teams, the training department, they’re doing all of that. So that’s those, those are the kinds of shifts that you’re gonna start needing to see, you’re probably gonna need start thinking about marketing and planning on a p&l level, instead of a company level. Somewhere, that starts to be common important.

Why? What, why would we, one of my best clients, we just made the shift from a traditional product line to a new product line, and probably cut the budgets in half for the traditional budget for the traditional product lines and moving it into a new, very future innovative product line that’s having radical success. So those kinds of decisions have to start happening. Yeah, I know.

So I’m kinda, there’s 100 of these, if you just email me, Sean at Fitz Martin, it’ll come to me doesn’t go to the sales team. And I will send you a document that I use, that’s called the Business barriers to growth, and you can just look at it yourself. But you’ll see what I think the thing is, when you start seeing you feeling these pressures, and this happens in my own business, too. I start feeling these pressures. And then I like, I’ll look at my industries data, and my leading provider of that data.

And I’ll go, oh, yeah, we’re at this transition point. That’s natural to feel the stress. It’s not that I lost control or didn’t know how to lead or, or whatever, you know, it’s just that there’s natural, there’s these natural shifts and what worked for you when you had 25 people doesn’t work for you now that you got 75. And guess what, what you’re doing at 75 people isn’t going to work when you have 500 different business different needs. So can you imagine having 500 people, and you said nope, no middle management ever in my company?

 

Damon Pistulka  42:42

Yeah, that wouldn’t work. That would work too. Well, that’d be a bad day. It’d be a bad day. So veterans will be really bad day.

 

Sean Doyle  42:53

So not many people that scaled out size, by the way, the data shows only about 30,000 businesses in America, we’ll get to that 200 to 500 employees size. So that’s rarefied air. That’s a success. You know, there’s only think about this in the entire country. There’s only about 6 million businesses that get to 1 million in revenue and have 10 employees. Only 6 million.

You have something I think sometimes a small business, because the government doesn’t call a small business until you get to 200 300 people. Yeah, that’s when the government acknowledges it. I think that’s wrong. Yeah, I’m a small business. We’ve got 16 people. Well, there’s only 6 million businesses in all of America that got to that big. You know, we’re tipping over into that 25 full time employees base. There’s only a million businesses that get that large. That’s Yes.

 

Damon Pistulka  43:48

Huge. That’s massive. Yeah, huge success.

 

Sean Doyle  43:52

So if you don’t get to 200, you know, there’s some lifestyle decisions there too. Yeah, I feel like we’ve moved into general business consulting, but sales and marketing should be part of that mix. It’s got it Yes. Part of that mix. Yes, business leaders are good at sales. So that is naturally part of the executive leadership. And most business leaders, at some point, acknowledge and see marketing as a lever they could pull that they haven’t pulled yet. And significant strategic advantage can happen, if they will.

 

Damon Pistulka  44:25

That is a great, I tell you what, I just want to say, Shawn, we’ve been here for about 40 plus minutes, and it seems like five because just listening to you speak the words you know, all the way back from consciousness raising, you know, understanding how it matters to the to the you know, when I’m speaking to someone and aligning the sales and marketing around the buyer, and how that gets alignment when we shouldn’t be talking about Sales and Marketing alignment, we should be talking about buyer alignment. So much good stuff here. I

 

45:06

just wanted to tell anyone that’s listening today. Kennedy. Thanks for the comment early on. And Phil, Thanks for the comment on and the other people that are listening. Thank you so much for being out there. But

 

Damon Pistulka  45:18

rewind this thing. And listen, if you didn’t hear some of the stuff Shawn was saying earlier, and and go back through it, because man, there’s a lot of nuggets in here. Thank you for being here today, Shawn.

 

Sean Doyle  45:31

Well, first of all, I’m a little anxious that there were comments. I need to go look at those two. Instant feedback. Yes, correct. Great. Well, it’s either great or terrible. It’s been an honor to be here. You have a neat business. We didn’t even get to talk about you and your motorcycle, but we can do that offline, I guess. Thanks. Yeah, I hope there was some value helped. earlier. I’m 100% good with sharing anything I got. So I’m in at the age where I finally recognized I can’t help everybody in America. So I’m going to try to by giving it away. That sounds like a jersey line for a mattress company or something doesn’t it? Sounds

 

Damon Pistulka  46:06

awesome shot. It sounds awesome. But I just want to the Hey, we had Sean Doyle here from Fitz Martin. If you want to reach out to him, it is fit Zi M AR ti n.com. Reach out to him there. Connect with him on LinkedIn. And thanks so much for being here today, Sean,

 

Sean Doyle  46:28

my honor. Thank you. You bet.

 

Damon Pistulka  46:31

Well, everyone, we will be back again with another episode of the faces of business later this week. That’s all for now. Hang out for a minute shot and we’ll talk soon

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