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 be growth. 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 doing great. How about you? I'm doing really well. I'm really happy that we get to chat today, we were talking a couple weeks ago, you're telling me a little bit about your career and it has almost entirely been in disruptive technology and marketing to a new category. And I have a lot of questions for you and I'm super excited to hear your answers but before we jump into that, I'm curious and we just love to hear what has been the draw, too disruptive technology for you. Yeah, I think there's a couple things. One is that you know, if you are marketing in a defined category, it begins to become really a feature conversation. Do you have this feature? Do you not have this future? And I think that it really brings the level of the conversation down that you're having with a customer because they're just comparing you to other things they already know about and you know, you've got to make sure you're still leading on the product side and staying ahead of that and there's a lot of great technology out there. So I'm sure there's plenty of great challenges there that other marketers love. But for me that's not the most interesting challenge 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 brand new that no one's ever really thought of before, how do we show people that there's a totally new way of doing things when they've got a really kind of set vision in their mind of what this thing looks like. And as a market or the challenge that it is exciting to me about that is I'm not just trying to get my brand name out there, I'm not just trying to show you that my solution is better than someone else's solution. I have to educate people on what is this new way to do something. They've never seen it before, They've never thought of it before and they're feeling the pain of the legacy way of doing things, but they don't yet know there's a solution. So it's this, you know, the ability to educate the market and really define what is this category mean is really interesting to me. And then within that, how do I make sure I define and maintain a leadership position there? Oh my gosh, that's fascinating. I totally can see when you put it that way, I can absolutely see the draw and I'm even more excited to kind of unpack this with you. So with that being said, you are educating people, you are, you are presenting a brand new idea to them. What do you have to think about while marketing for this new category that you wouldn't otherwise if you are marketing in the legacy way? Sure. So if I if I take team pay as the example, we're displacing a lot of existing technologies that you might have heard of already, like a procurement solution or an expense management solution or a traditional corporate card solution and we essentially displace all of those. If I tell you that I've got the world's greatest expense management solution for you, you automatically know what that is. You've seen it before, you've used one before. If you're the buyer, you've probably got a line item on your budget for that. But if I tell you I have a distributed spend management platform, you're gonna look at me like I'm crazy. You're gonna not know what that means. You might be able to make an educated guess, but it doesn't mean anything to anyone. And so what's different about it is you can't lead with this is the solution that we are and we're the best you have to lead with. You are currently feeling pain and I actually have a way to solve that for you. And it's an entirely new way to think about it, but I can solve your pain. So you really have to lead with what are the problems that your product solves? Not just we are the best X, y z...

...solution on the market. So how do you manage the brand and how do you Yeah, yeah, I want to say that general because I'm learning alongside all. Okay. Yeah. So the brand parts really tricky because you've got the joint problem of people don't know your category 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 you build, which ends up being a strong component of that education piece. And if you can position your brand as a thought leader in the industry, then you attract a lot more people, they start to learn, they learn about different ways of doing things, they learn about related concepts that may not actually have to do with your product, but people then start to look to you as an expert and it gives you authority in your space. So you can start to actually have real conversations where people are coming to you and looking to you for advice. I mean at team pay, we we do um educational 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 the webinar was dead and it was a little bit revived with covid, but most folks I'm talking to now are seeing a lot of drop off because no one wants to sit on zoom anymore. We're not seeing drop off. People are still coming to our events and I think it's because it's that educational piece and now they can associate the team paid brand with someone who is an expert and they're going to get value from us even if they're not ready to buy or they don't quite know what our product is yet. It gives them that positive association that we do know our industry and what we're talking about. Yeah. You bring up something that I'm super curious about what these these channels that are performing really well. Have you seen over your career as you've moved from his role to role? Had there been consistent channels with with knowing that 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 with the thought leadership, just making sure that you can keep that engine running the channels kind of very Less by company and more by um kind of the era that we're in. So you know 10 years ago webinars were like one of the best ways to reach people. People were going to several a week and it was like you know this really incredible educational experience. And then that really went by the wayside and like I said it had a bit of a renaissance over the last year, 10 years ago when QR codes came out it was like everyone was saying we've got to use these in marketing. So every piece of collateral that I ever printed, how to Q. R. Code that would take you to our website, I don'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 engage people because it was the cool new thing that went away and then also came back over the last year. Although less so on the marketing side and much more practical way to use it. I do think the opportunity to share information with your audience and reach them is really really critical for defining a new category. And so that could manifest itself in different ways. Whether that is that webinar where you're giving great content with speakers or it's your blog where you're sharing really great insights or templates that people can use or other kinds of information or actually you know going to in person events and meeting people and being able to share without leadership at a conference. Um so I think there's a lot of different ways that that manifests itself but it comes back to how do we get the thought leadership and education into people's hands and what are the right ways to distribute that? Yeah I want to go kind of granular here. And how do you tell people 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 right time right place all of that in mind. Yeah I think it comes back to something we touched on already around leading with the pain that they're feeling and the problems that they're facing. And if we can talk about all the manual work that they have to do right now, I mean, I don't know the last time you did an expense report, but they're not very fun and that can resonate with pretty much anyone you talk to, we get rid of those, right? So if you can actually tap into, you are probably frustrated at work because he was an employee are spending all this time on expense reports, the finance pain is even greater. So when we're talking to our actual buyers that are in a finance role, they've got so much manual work, they always have to be the bad guy telling, you know, they never know what's been spent. So their numbers aren't reliable, they have to go back and forth all the time between employees, 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 those problems and then they're not along because there are things that we all feel, whether you're on the employee side or the finance side and then we can 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 tools like a spend management platform to help you get that better control and better visibility and it still takes a lot of work from there to really help people reframe how they're thinking about it, but that's kind of the journey that you need to take them on. Mm I love it. Okay, so if I missed it before I get it now, lead with the pain and I love that it seems like built into the brand of, of a successful disruptive technology company. Is this like benevolent facilitator of education and of information and being the like public square for a lot of people as they learn. I think that's so cool. So so you need a strong message externally, obviously educating your buyers, bringing them to awareness that they have, there's a better solution to the problem they encounter every day. But I'm curious about what this looks like internally, as you arm, your sales team with the same message. How do you educate internally and make sure that your sales team is really equipped with the 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 sales is always so important but I think a lot of times we focus a lot on the demands on side of those things, which is very important as well. And, you know, our team meets weekly as a revenue team to make sure we're aligned on everything but where this really comes into play is in the product marketing of the product and you know, having a strong product marketer who can really define that message, distill it down, put it into the right materials, but also work hand in hand with the sales team to make sure they're living and breathing. That message becomes really critical. So we run actually a team pay every other week. I think it is a sales enablement session where we're rolling out new materials or reiterating new messages or getting feedback from the team on what they're hearing in the market. And are there new objections coming up or new competitors coming up that we need to 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 of their calls so that we can understand what are buyers saying, How are they reacting to the message, which helps us get a lot sharper uh, and make sure that what we're saying is going to actually resonate with people. And if it's not, we need to figure out a different way to talk about it. Um, so I think you set up those regular cadence is whether it's once a week or once a month for us, you know, twice a...

...month we're doing sales enablement, but it's got to be this constant feedback cycle between the sales and marketing and a real partnership. So there's there's definitely a lot to do is we scale to make sure that our approach will scale with the business. Um, as we hire more and more sales reps, you know, it's harder to keep tabs on. Does everyone actually feel good about the message and have it down and where do they need help? Um, so that's something we're actually looking at building out over the coming year as the business skills up. How do we scale up the enablement side with that to make sure that they are really comfortable with the message and how they deliver it and that it's consistent. I think one of the things for me that's been really important throughout my career is if we're going to define a message, I want to make sure that the first time a lead ever interacts with us, they're hearing the same words and language that they hear when they then meet the sales team and that they then actually encounter when they're a customer and they're talking to RCs team where they're getting released notes from us, etcetera. We should be talking about the product in the same way across, even if it's a little more on the awareness side, in one place, in a little deeper on the other and just really taking a consistent approach and consistent view of how we get that message to the entire team pay team so that we all feel like we're singing from the same song book. I love that. It's it's so funny and just so human that there's like opportunity for miscommunication and opportunity for people to get things just by nature of having conversations and being sometimes so deep in the weeds that you kind of miss out on some of the messaging or the overall tone and it's awesome that that's such a coordinated effort. 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 thing that you're selling your selling marketing automation, yeah, you've got to sell your finer points but people know what it is. You don't have to be as focused on the message across the board, but when you're completely starting 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 message across the different touchpoints. Yeah, I'm curious. What do you think the like most common in defining a new category specifically? What do you think the most common like reasons why somebody gets lost or somebody doesn't purchase if there are a good candidate? Like what do you think? What do you think are kind of the common hurdles or flaws of if I may be so bold? Well it comes back to the fundamentals of crossing the chasm a little bit and I think where we lose people are if they are later adopters and later on the maturity scale for that there are much more resistant to change and there they're resistant to thinking about things differently. They know how to do something. They've done it a long time and it makes perfect sense. I mean you've got your habits, you you know what you're looking for because you've seen it before and you just want to do it the way you've always done it. And so the challenge then is like how do you open those minds? So team pays early success was definitely with people that were more digital forward digital friendly, open to new ways of doing things. There's a lot of, we work with 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 we get this message to really resonate with people who might be more reluctant to try something a different way. And so I think when people get lost in the story it's because they can't get over their own bias of how something should be. And that really comes back to us focusing back on that pain and like you've you've been doing it this way. Sure. But what if you had you know 10 hours back each month that you're now...

...spending on manual reconciliation, What would you do with that? How would you partner better with the business. What if you had confidence that your numbers were up to date accurate in the middle of the month and you didn't have to wait for tens of thousands of dollars of expense reports to come in several weeks later to know how much money you've spent and really just kind of helping them understand that value that a 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 used to doing things a certain way and are not necessarily interested in experimenting. 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 sales and marketing alignment. We talked about, you know, just a few minutes ago about the importance of communication and sales enablement marketing like you were saying, listening to the sales calls, meeting weekly with them, hearing what the buyers are saying. But I'm curious what your thoughts are on the evolution of even more intimacy between sales and marketing and if you as a marketing leader in your own organization, how closely you kind of link arms and see those two things as more and more the same. So I would say that they're not the same. But I think the alignment is more critical than ever, buyers are smarter than they've ever been there do more research on their own than they ever have and you've got to be aligned and coordinated in your efforts, your approach, the message, you know, from start to finish. So we've got a really great relationship with our sales team team pay. It's something that is a personal mission of mind to build because I would say for the most part of the companies I've worked for that have 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 together my marketing team, we align ourselves on the qualified opportunities that we generate for the sales team. We then as a marketing team back out, how many MQ else does that mean we need and how many leads does that mean we need? So we can actually, you know, run the top of funnel. But by aligning on the qualified opportunities, it means sales is not just saying you brought us the quantity we want, but you've also brought the quality and not just make sure that the incentives are in the right place. We meet very, very frequently as a team I mentioned is the entire um, sales and marketing organ meats every monday morning, we kick things off for the week. We talk about what happened last week. What went well, what can we do better, what do we want to do next week and anything, making sure that they've got everything they need to know, uh, to be successful and do their jobs. I personally meet one on one with our sales leader once a week. Um and then usually more than that at hawk with other things that come up. Um I just got out of a meeting where we were talking through our upcoming fall email calendar because it's really packed with a lot of events and how do we want a sequence in the sales emails and that was, you know, between sales leadership and marketing leadership meeting and and aligning on that. And I just think it's really important that we all feel like we're one team. But I do think there's some healthy tension between 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 things we need to achieve. And I think one example is if we want to go back to talking about the brand sales doesn't necessarily care that I've got a billboard out in san Francisco I mean it's cool, it's fun, I love having a billboard that's really important for a brand awareness That does not translate into a direct lead for them, but it's still something I need to do, so we need to be aligned, but it doesn't mean that we necessarily are prioritizing all the same things because I'm thinking about what's best for the business from marketing perspective and they're going to focus from a sales perspective and 95% of the time that's...

...gonna overlap and the other 5%, I'm going to do the things I need to do and they're going to do the things they need 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 a negative tension. It's really just, you know, these kind of competing ideas and making sure we are prioritizing the things that matter. Nicole for somebody who is marketing to a category. A new category. For the first time, I'm curious what you wish you knew or what you would tell them. You wish you knew when you first started out or what you would tell them as advice. Yeah, I think the most important thing is because the education component is so important and the establishing yourself as an expert is so important. You have to know a what are the words that my audience uses and be? Where are they going to get information? Because those are the places you need to be. So, one of the first things I typically do when I started a new role is ask the buyer or if there's someone in my own organization whose representative of the buyer for example, a team pay our own VP of finance is a great potential buyer. Where do you go for information. What are the newsletters? You sign up for? What are the websites you read? What are the events you go to and that helps inform where I deliver my content, where I want to spend my marketing efforts, but then you really have to listen to the customers. And so that might mean going to other vendors, webinars that are in your industry, even if they're not necessarily doing the same thing where they've got different, you know, leaders in that role speaking and you can start to absorb the language. It probably means reading a lot of those websites that you just uncovered where the buyers are are going for information. And then any time you can actually talk to your customers, um, which is certainly different in every company, how accessible they are. But if you can talk to them and interview them and understand the pain they go through and how they would freeze it or you know, how how do they think about wording certain things and just put on your listening listening hat for for that if you can listen in on sales calls. That's always a great a great piece too because you can often hear people talk about their current set up their current day to day and really not just get an understanding of what that data is, but again, really sharp on what are the words they used to describe it. Is there was there a warning sign you encountered any red flags along the way as you first ventured into this new category that you would warn people against or tell them to watch out for. It's kind of the two sides of the same coin like you've got to watch out for like not just assuming you know about your buyer and not just assuming you know how they're going to think about things, but you've got to do the research otherwise you're just going to come across as an authentic and people will write you off and you don't always get a second chance to reframe their opinion. Oh, I love that if there was only one thing that somebody could take away from this episode, what would you want it to be defining new categories as a marketer is really hard but really fun and I think if you want an interesting challenge, this is it. And so you know, go for it. I would say so Oh my gosh, what a blessing. I love that. Do all the new the new category marketers, I love that. Well I I have learned so much. I feel like I'm really, really, I think the thing that stands out to me the most is again I said this before, but this like being the facilitator of education and conversation is especially in the information age. I think that's some of just continuing to arm yourself with new information is so valuable and so being in a position where you can make that happen for other people,...

...strategically your buyers but is a, I just, I said this before, but it's a really benevolent position to take Nicole. If people wanted to learn more about you or team pay, how could they do that? Where could they go? Yeah, I am on linkedin. Nicole linden mom, you can look me at, I'm happy to connect and if you want to learn more about team pay, you can come to our website which is team pay dot C. O or check us out 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 to be growth. Thanks Olivia. It was my pleasure. Is the decision maker for your product or service at BBB marketer. Are you looking to reach those buyers through the medium of podcasting? Considered becoming a co host of GDP growth. This show is consistently ranked as a top 100 podcast in the marketing category of 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 on delivering incredible content to our listeners if you're interested email Logan at sweet fish media dot com.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1708)