3 Steps to Marketing Disruptive Technology

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Olivia Hurley talks to Nicole Lindenbaum, VP of Marketing at Teampay

Yeah. Hey everyone welcome back to be, to begrowth. My name is Olivia Hurley and today I am joined by Nicole Lindenbaum,who is the VP of marketing at team pay? Nicole? How are you doing? I'm doinggreat. How about you? I'm doing really well. I'm really happy that we get tochat today, we were talking a couple weeks ago, you're telling me a littlebit about your career and it has almost entirely been in disruptive technologyand marketing to a new category. And I have a lot of questions for you and I'msuper excited to hear your answers but before we jump into that, I'm curiousand we just love to hear what has been the draw, too disruptive technology foryou. Yeah, I think there's a couple things. One is that you know, if youare marketing in a defined category, it begins to become really a featureconversation. Do you have this feature? Do you not have this future? And Ithink that it really brings the level of the conversation down that you'rehaving with a customer because they're just comparing you to other things theyalready know about and you know, you've got to make sure you're still leadingon the product side and staying ahead of that and there's a lot of greattechnology out there. So I'm sure there's plenty of great challengesthere that other marketers love. But for me that's not the most interestingchallenge of how do I kind of beat people by having better features?What's really interesting to me is how do we define something completely brandnew that no one's ever really thought of before, how do we show people thatthere's a totally new way of doing things when they've got a really kindof set vision in their mind of what this thing looks like. And as a marketor the challenge that it is exciting to me about that is I'm not just trying toget my brand name out there, I'm not...

...just trying to show you that mysolution is better than someone else's solution. I have to educate people onwhat is this new way to do something. They've never seen it before, They'venever thought of it before and they're feeling the pain of the legacy way ofdoing things, but they don't yet know there's a solution. So it's this, youknow, the ability to educate the market and really define what is this categorymean is really interesting to me. And then within that, how do I make sure Idefine and maintain a leadership position there? Oh my gosh, that'sfascinating. I totally can see when you put it that way, I can absolutely seethe draw and I'm even more excited to kind of unpack this with you. So withthat being said, you are educating people, you are, you are presenting abrand new idea to them. What do you have to think about while marketing forthis new category that you wouldn't otherwise if you are marketing in thelegacy way? Sure. So if I if I take team pay as the example, we'redisplacing a lot of existing technologies that you might have heardof already, like a procurement solution or an expense management solution or atraditional corporate card solution and we essentially displace all of those.If I tell you that I've got the world's greatest expense management solutionfor you, you automatically know what that is. You've seen it before, you'veused one before. If you're the buyer, you've probably got a line item on yourbudget for that. But if I tell you I have a distributed spend managementplatform, you're gonna look at me like I'm crazy. You're gonna not know whatthat means. You might be able to make an educated guess, but it doesn't meananything to anyone. And so what's different about it is you can't leadwith this is the solution that we are and we're the best you have to leadwith. You are currently feeling pain and I actually have a way to solve thatfor you. And it's an entirely new way to think about it, but I can solve yourpain. So you really have to lead with what are the problems that your productsolves? Not just we are the best X, y z...

...solution on the market. So how do youmanage the brand and how do you Yeah, yeah, I want to say that generalbecause I'm learning alongside all. Okay. Yeah. So the brand parts reallytricky because you've got the joint problem of people don't know yourcategory and they don't know your brand and how do you elevate both of those?And I think a lot of that you can weave into the thought leadership that youbuild, which ends up being a strong component of that education piece. Andif you can position your brand as a thought leader in the industry, thenyou attract a lot more people, they start to learn, they learn aboutdifferent ways of doing things, they learn about related concepts that maynot actually have to do with your product, but people then start to lookto you as an expert and it gives you authority in your space. So you canstart to actually have real conversations where people are comingto you and looking to you for advice. I mean at team pay, we we do umeducational thought leadership, virtual events once or twice a month, you know,depending on the month and people come to them and I kind of thought thewebinar was dead and it was a little bit revived with covid, but most folksI'm talking to now are seeing a lot of drop off because no one wants to sit onzoom anymore. We're not seeing drop off. People are still coming to our eventsand I think it's because it's that educational piece and now they canassociate the team paid brand with someone who is an expert and they'regoing to get value from us even if they're not ready to buy or they don'tquite know what our product is yet. It gives them that positive associationthat we do know our industry and what we're talking about. Yeah. You bring upsomething that I'm super curious about what these these channels that areperforming really well. Have you seen over your career as you've moved fromhis role to role? Had there been consistent channels with with knowingthat education is top of mind that have...

...performed well? It's a great question.I do think having a strong content marketing arm is really important withthe thought leadership, just making sure that you can keep that enginerunning the channels kind of very Less by company and more by um kind ofthe era that we're in. So you know 10 years ago webinars were like one of thebest ways to reach people. People were going to several a week and it was likeyou know this really incredible educational experience. And then thatreally went by the wayside and like I said it had a bit of a renaissance overthe last year, 10 years ago when QR codes came out it was like everyone wassaying we've got to use these in marketing. So every piece of collateralthat I ever printed, how to Q. R. Code that would take you to our website, Idon't know why you needed that. I mean the website wasn't that long of A. U. R.L. But it was you know everyone just felt like that was the way to engagepeople because it was the cool new thing that went away and then also cameback over the last year. Although less so on the marketing side and much morepractical way to use it. I do think the opportunity to share information withyour audience and reach them is really really critical for defining a newcategory. And so that could manifest itself in different ways.Whether that is that webinar where you're giving great content withspeakers or it's your blog where you're sharing really great insights ortemplates that people can use or other kinds of information or actually youknow going to in person events and meeting people and being able to sharewithout leadership at a conference. Um so I think there's a lot of differentways that that manifests itself but it comes back to how do we get the thoughtleadership and education into people's hands and what are the right ways todistribute that? Yeah I want to go kind of granular here. And how do you tellpeople about this new category when...

...they don't know it's a new category.What does that look like practically with the messaging and with the righttime right place all of that in mind. Yeah I think it comes back to somethingwe touched on already around leading with the pain that they're feeling andthe problems that they're facing. And if we can talk about all the manualwork that they have to do right now, I mean, I don't know the last time youdid an expense report, but they're not very fun and that can resonate withpretty much anyone you talk to, we get rid of those, right? So if you canactually tap into, you are probably frustrated at work because he was anemployee are spending all this time on expense reports, the finance pain iseven greater. So when we're talking to our actual buyers that are in a financerole, they've got so much manual work, they always have to be the bad guytelling, you know, they never know what's been spent. So their numbersaren't reliable, they have to go back and forth all the time betweenemployees, uh and the books to make sure that everything is really accurate,They don't have visibility, they don't have control. We can talk about thoseproblems and then they're not along because there are things that we allfeel, whether you're on the employee side or the finance side and then wecan paint this picture of like, you know, there's a better way, there's a,there's a world where this doesn't have to be this way and it's by using toolslike a spend management platform to help you get that better control andbetter visibility and it still takes a lot of work from there to really helppeople reframe how they're thinking about it, but that's kind of thejourney that you need to take them on. Mm I love it. Okay, so if I missed itbefore I get it now, lead with the pain and I love that it seems like builtinto the brand of, of a successful disruptive technology company. Is thislike benevolent facilitator of education and of information and beingthe like public square for a lot of...

...people as they learn. I think that's socool. So so you need a strong message externally, obviously educating yourbuyers, bringing them to awareness that they have, there's a better solution tothe problem they encounter every day. But I'm curious about what this lookslike internally, as you arm, your sales team with the same message. How do youeducate internally and make sure that your sales team is really equipped withthe information they need to talk to buyers in a brand new category. Yeah,that's a great question. And the, the partnership between marketing and salesis always so important but I think a lot of times we focus a lot on thedemands on side of those things, which is very important as well. And, youknow, our team meets weekly as a revenue team to make sure we're alignedon everything but where this really comes into play is in the productmarketing of the product and you know, having a strong product marketer whocan really define that message, distill it down, put it into the rightmaterials, but also work hand in hand with the sales team to make surethey're living and breathing. That message becomes really critical. So werun actually a team pay every other week. I think it is a sales enablementsession where we're rolling out new materials or reiterating new messagesor getting feedback from the team on what they're hearing in the market. Andare there new objections coming up or new competitors coming up that we needto start to develop some messaging for? So that's one way we really look at,you know, how do we really partnered together? We also listen to a lot oftheir calls so that we can understand what are buyers saying, How are theyreacting to the message, which helps us get a lot sharper uh, and make surethat what we're saying is going to actually resonate with people. And ifit's not, we need to figure out a different way to talk about it. Um, soI think you set up those regular cadence is whether it's once a week oronce a month for us, you know, twice a...

...month we're doing sales enablement, butit's got to be this constant feedback cycle between the sales and marketingand a real partnership. So there's there's definitely a lot to do is wescale to make sure that our approach will scale with the business. Um, as wehire more and more sales reps, you know, it's harder to keep tabs on. Doeseveryone actually feel good about the message and have it down and where dothey need help? Um, so that's something we're actually looking at building outover the coming year as the business skills up. How do we scale up theenablement side with that to make sure that they are really comfortable withthe message and how they deliver it and that it's consistent. I think one ofthe things for me that's been really important throughout my career is ifwe're going to define a message, I want to make sure that the first time a leadever interacts with us, they're hearing the same words and language that theyhear when they then meet the sales team and that they then actually encounterwhen they're a customer and they're talking to RCs team where they'regetting released notes from us, etcetera. We should be talking aboutthe product in the same way across, even if it's a little more on theawareness side, in one place, in a little deeper on the other and justreally taking a consistent approach and consistent view of how we get thatmessage to the entire team pay team so that we all feel like we're singingfrom the same song book. I love that. It's it's so funny and just so humanthat there's like opportunity for miscommunication and opportunity forpeople to get things just by nature of having conversations and beingsometimes so deep in the weeds that you kind of miss out on some of themessaging or the overall tone and it's awesome that that's such a coordinatedeffort. I think that's so cool. Well and I think it has to be, I think again,if you're leaning on an established category and everyone knows the thingthat you're selling your selling marketing automation, yeah, you've gotto sell your finer points but people know what it is. You don't have to beas focused on the message across the...

...board, but when you're completelystarting something new for someone it's going to you're going to lose them,you're going to confuse them if you're not having the scene consistent messageacross the different touchpoints. Yeah, I'm curious. What do you think the likemost common in defining a new category specifically? What do you think themost common like reasons why somebody gets lost or somebody doesn't purchaseif there are a good candidate? Like what do you think? What do you thinkare kind of the common hurdles or flaws of if I may be so bold? Well it comesback to the fundamentals of crossing the chasm a little bit and I thinkwhere we lose people are if they are later adopters and later on thematurity scale for that there are much more resistant to change and therethey're resistant to thinking about things differently. They know how to dosomething. They've done it a long time and it makes perfect sense. I meanyou've got your habits, you you know what you're looking for because you'veseen it before and you just want to do it the way you've always done it. Andso the challenge then is like how do you open those minds? So team paysearly success was definitely with people that were more digital forwarddigital friendly, open to new ways of doing things. There's a lot of, we workwith a lot of other tech companies where I think that's just part of the D.N. A. And as we scale we're starting to find we've got to figure out how do weget this message to really resonate with people who might be more reluctantto try something a different way. And so I think when people get lost in thestory it's because they can't get over their own bias of how something shouldbe. And that really comes back to us focusing back on that pain and likeyou've you've been doing it this way. Sure. But what if you had you know 10hours back each month that you're now...

...spending on manual reconciliation, Whatwould you do with that? How would you partner better with the business. Whatif you had confidence that your numbers were up to date accurate in the middleof the month and you didn't have to wait for tens of thousands of dollarsof expense reports to come in several weeks later to know how much moneyyou've spent and really just kind of helping them understand that value thata different way in a different approach can provide becomes really critical. Um,but I do think there's always going to be some folks out there that are usedto doing things a certain way and are not necessarily interested inexperimenting. I love that and that's okay to their own. I'm curious with,you know, one of the most common topics in the B two B marketing space is salesand marketing alignment. We talked about, you know, just a few minutes agoabout the importance of communication and sales enablement marketing like youwere saying, listening to the sales calls, meeting weekly with them,hearing what the buyers are saying. But I'm curious what your thoughts are onthe evolution of even more intimacy between sales and marketing and if youas a marketing leader in your own organization, how closely you kind oflink arms and see those two things as more and more the same. So I would saythat they're not the same. But I think the alignment is more critical thanever, buyers are smarter than they've ever been there do more research ontheir own than they ever have and you've got to be aligned andcoordinated in your efforts, your approach, the message, you know, fromstart to finish. So we've got a really great relationship with our sales teamteam pay. It's something that is a personal mission of mind to buildbecause I would say for the most part of the companies I've worked for thathave been more successful are the ones where marketing and sales are aligned.So we find the KPI s that we're going to actually share and measure togethermy marketing team, we align ourselves...

...on the qualified opportunities that wegenerate for the sales team. We then as a marketing team back out, how many MQelse does that mean we need and how many leads does that mean we need? Sowe can actually, you know, run the top of funnel. But by aligning on thequalified opportunities, it means sales is not just saying you brought us thequantity we want, but you've also brought the quality and not just makesure that the incentives are in the right place. We meet very, veryfrequently as a team I mentioned is the entire um, sales and marketing organmeats every monday morning, we kick things off for the week. We talk aboutwhat happened last week. What went well, what can we do better, what do we wantto do next week and anything, making sure that they've got everything theyneed to know, uh, to be successful and do their jobs. I personally meet one onone with our sales leader once a week. Um and then usually more than that athawk with other things that come up. Um I just got out of a meeting where wewere talking through our upcoming fall email calendar because it's reallypacked with a lot of events and how do we want a sequence in the sales emailsand that was, you know, between sales leadership and marketing leadershipmeeting and and aligning on that. And I just think it's really important thatwe all feel like we're one team. But I do think there's some healthy tensionbetween marketing and sales at times. That's important because we do have,we're all marching to the same greater mission, but we've got different thingswe need to achieve. And I think one example is if we want to go back totalking about the brand sales doesn't necessarily care that I've got abillboard out in san Francisco I mean it's cool, it's fun, I love having abillboard that's really important for a brand awareness That does not translateinto a direct lead for them, but it's still something I need to do, so weneed to be aligned, but it doesn't mean that we necessarily are prioritizingall the same things because I'm thinking about what's best for thebusiness from marketing perspective and they're going to focus from a salesperspective and 95% of the time that's...

...gonna overlap and the other 5%, I'mgoing to do the things I need to do and they're going to do the things theyneed to do. And I think that's okay. I think it's actually a really good thing.So, and when I say attention, it doesn't mean that it has to be anegative tension. It's really just, you know, these kind of competing ideas andmaking sure we are prioritizing the things that matter. Nicole for somebodywho is marketing to a category. A new category. For the first time, I'mcurious what you wish you knew or what you would tell them. You wish you knewwhen you first started out or what you would tell them as advice. Yeah, Ithink the most important thing is because the education component is soimportant and the establishing yourself as an expert is so important. You haveto know a what are the words that my audience uses and be? Where are theygoing to get information? Because those are the places you need to be. So, oneof the first things I typically do when I started a new role is ask the buyeror if there's someone in my own organization whose representative ofthe buyer for example, a team pay our own VP of finance is a great potentialbuyer. Where do you go for information. What are the newsletters? You sign upfor? What are the websites you read? What are the events you go to and thathelps inform where I deliver my content, where I want to spend my marketingefforts, but then you really have to listen to the customers. And so thatmight mean going to other vendors, webinars that are in your industry,even if they're not necessarily doing the same thing where they've gotdifferent, you know, leaders in that role speaking and you can start toabsorb the language. It probably means reading a lot of those websites thatyou just uncovered where the buyers are are going for information. And then anytime you can actually talk to your customers, um, which is certainlydifferent in every company, how accessible they are. But if you cantalk to them and interview them and...

...understand the pain they go through andhow they would freeze it or you know, how how do they think about wordingcertain things and just put on your listening listening hat for for that ifyou can listen in on sales calls. That's always a great a great piece toobecause you can often hear people talk about their current set up theircurrent day to day and really not just get an understanding of what that datais, but again, really sharp on what are the words they used to describe it. Isthere was there a warning sign you encountered any red flags along the wayas you first ventured into this new category that you would warn peopleagainst or tell them to watch out for. It's kind of the two sides of the samecoin like you've got to watch out for like not just assuming you know aboutyour buyer and not just assuming you know how they're going to think aboutthings, but you've got to do the research otherwise you're just going tocome across as an authentic and people will write you off and you don't alwaysget a second chance to reframe their opinion. Oh, I love that if there wasonly one thing that somebody could take away from this episode, what would youwant it to be defining new categories as a marketer is really hard but reallyfun and I think if you want an interesting challenge, this is it. Andso you know, go for it. I would say so Oh my gosh, what a blessing. I lovethat. Do all the new the new category marketers, I love that. Well I I havelearned so much. I feel like I'm really, really, I think the thing that standsout to me the most is again I said this before, but this like being thefacilitator of education and conversation is especially in theinformation age. I think that's some of just continuing to arm yourself withnew information is so valuable and so being in a position where you can makethat happen for other people,...

...strategically your buyers but is a, Ijust, I said this before, but it's a really benevolent position to takeNicole. If people wanted to learn more about you or team pay, how could theydo that? Where could they go? Yeah, I am on linkedin. Nicole linden mom, youcan look me at, I'm happy to connect and if you want to learn more aboutteam pay, you can come to our website which is team pay dot C. O or check usout on linkedin twitter, whatever your favorite social media is, you love to,love to meet you. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I'm going tobe growth. Thanks Olivia. It was my pleasure. Is the decision maker for your productor service at BBB marketer. Are you looking to reach those buyers throughthe medium of podcasting? Considered becoming a co host of GDP growth. Thisshow is consistently ranked as a top 100 podcast in the marketing categoryof apple podcasts And the show gets more than 130,000 downloads each month.We've already done the work of building the audience so you can focus ondelivering incredible content to our listeners if you're interested emailLogan at sweet fish media dot com.

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