788: How to Take on Goliaths When You Are a David in the Market w/ Jennifer Kyriakakis

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Jennifer Kyriakakis, Founder & VP Marketing at MATRIXX Software.

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A relationship with the right referral partner could be a game changer for any be to be company. So what if you could reverse engineer these relationships at a moment's notice, start a podcast, invite potential referral partners to be guests on your show and grow your referral network faster than ever? Learn more. At Sweet Fish Mediacom you're listening to be tob growth, a daily podcast for B TOB leaders. We've interviewed names you've probably heard before, like Gary vanner truck and Simon Senek, but you've probably never heard from the majority of our guests. That's because the bulk of our interviews aren't with professional speakers and authors. Most of our guests are in the trenches leading sales and marketing teams. They're implementing strategy, they're experimenting with tactics, they're building the fastest growing be tob companies in the world. My name is James Carberry. I'm the founder of sweetish media, a podcast agency for BB brands, and I'm also one of the CO hosts of this show. When we're not interviewing sales and marketing leaders, you'll hear stories from behind the scenes of our own business. Will share the ups and downs of our journey as we attempt to take over the world. Just getting well? Maybe let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob grows show. We're here today with Jennifer Curia cacus. She is the founder and VP of marketing at Matrix software. Jennifer, how are you doing today? I'm doing great. Thanks for having me, Jennifer. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I know that you've got some points of passion to share on this topic of how to take on Golias when you are the David in the market. I think a lot of our audience be tob marketers and sales folks out there, you know, find themselves in this sort of situation. So really excited to hear your lessons that you've learned in your career being in these sorts of situations. Before we do that, I would love for you to give our audience a little bit of context...

...as to your background and maybe what you and the team at Matrix software up to these days. Sure, my background is in the telecommunications market place, so I spent the early part of my career and pleventing big, big building systems, because telcodes started out as utilities and what the team at Matrix and I were really wanted to bring to market was a digital commerce platform for telcos. So telcos have traditionally been a utility, but now they have the opportunity to be actually packaging at different kinds of products and services to compete with all of the other tech companies that make money off of their networks right, but to be packaging things up like a Netflix or an uber or a spotify would do to actually help them monetize their networks better and really become digital players instead of utilities. Nice and I was looking at your background a little bit before we got a chance to do this interview, Jennifer, and I noticed that, you know, you have a bachelor's degree in information technology. Tell me briefly how that transition happened from going from it to marketing? Yeah, so it's a great question. I sent the first part of my career doing big system implementation for Telcos and really built that basis of understanding of what it's like to implement software, as implement and manage software, and so as I wanted to grow my career in the software and industry, I took that and shift it into a technical sales role. So being on the sales side to get that that different commercial perspective of how software companies operate and what it takes to, you know, take a product and make that technical stable to the customer. So after doing that for a number of years, you know, you're in these roles where you are out there in front of the customer every day telling different stories. I got the opportunity to join a solutions marketing team and...

I realize that, you know, these are marketing are the people that write the stories, these are the people that create the stories and figure out what the rest of us are going to say, and that really appealed to me and I realized who I want to be. I I have just as much fun writing the story as I do telling the story. So that's really where I want to take my career. So that is such an interesting journey. You don't hear that a lot from you know, implementation to sales to marketing. So I think a lot of those have probably informed the way that you approach marketing and I think that leads itself to a very unique perspective. So, with that being said, I'd love to get your perspective on. You know, how do you take on the Goliath when you're the David in the market place? And one of the things that we mentioned, as you and I were talking a little bit offline, was that you should only go big where it counts. Tell us a little bit about that. Yeah, I mean coming into as a start up, into a market that is already dominated by huge players. So the people that we compete against are, you know, anywhere from three billion to thirty billion dollars in revenue a year and they have huge marketing teams and huge marketing budgets, and so you just have to realize that there's no way you can compete across the board, you know, across every channel, across every event, and so we looked at it and and you know, it's especially when economic times are good. There are hundreds of events that you could go to all around the world, right, and so we really, you know, we tried to focus in on, okay, can we find that one event that we can we are sure we are going to hit the biggest number of prospect that and then let's just go big at that one and mask the approach we took. So, you know, people they don't. They don't necessarily see US everywhere they go, but when the majority of our prospects see us, we have a presence that looks much larger than we actually are as a company. And we we you know, weld in the early days that people come up to, you know, our...

...booth or our stand at the show and just be like, Oh, I matrix, I thought you guys were the tiny little company. Well, actually we are, but you know, we wanted to make a flash consistently at the same place every year and it's really driven. You know, that approach has driven a lot of success at that one show every year. I think we every year we increase our our meeting ranks by twenty percent. You know, we're doing eighty two hundred meetings diverse over three days. So it's really worked well for us. Just making sure you make those big bets were account so it kind of reminds me of, you know, when you get cookid and you see those retargeting ads all over the Internet, you like man, this company is everywhere. You guys were kind of doing the same thing offline right, exactly in an offline way and in a way that is is high touch right, because those are face to face meetings and people remember you. They don't just remember you, know, the name of the company, they remember the experience that they had with you. That's awesome. I love that and I love how you you owned it as well. You know, when I thought you were this tiny company. Well, we are, but we can definitely serve you in going to your value prop right, you know, right there facetoface and making that connection memorable. I love that. So the next thing that you mentioned was, you know, it all comes down to focus. So you've touched on this idea of focus when you're taking on these competitors that are much, much larger than you in relation to the events that you approach. For other folks in this sort of situation, what do you think? You know, our areas where they need to make sure that they're they're focusing so that they, you know, get the most out of the investments in their marketing and sales dollars that they can. Yeah, I mean this is going to go against the grain a little bit because as marketers, we all want to feel like we have addressed every single buying persona in our in our realm. But again, if you're small and you need to really get our lives from where you're putting every single dollar. You have to prioritize...

...and pick the most important persona. So we really focused in and some of our the earlier content production we did. We really did focus it around who are absolute highest priority buying persona was and then put a lot of effort into high quality content for that audience and that really helped our sales teams go out and have a material that they could talk to you that with very high quality, very sort of a thought provoking but again look like it came from, you know, the production value was looking like it came from a big software company or even a big consumer company. It was that level Party. And so that's and that's why I mean focus, focus, you know, when you don't have all the repurcus that your fingertips really you really can make an impact where it matters. Today's gross stories about an enterprise all flash storage hardware vendor serving twenty percent of fortune one hundred companies. But here's the issue. They were struggling to engage with prospects across different territories. With a goal of growing their customer base, this hardware vendor decided to work with a partner on high impact direct mail delivered to over eight hundred profiled leads across the UK, France, South Africa, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. This resulted in a fifty four point four percent increase in total contract value. Wow. So who is the partner that delivered these results with direct mail? MRP politics. MRP politics is an insights, power to account based marketing platform with streaming predictive analytics baked into its core, integrating multi channel a vm execution on these insights, mrp politics triggers display, email, direct mail and global insight, I'd sales in real time, helping the largest marketing departments in the world deliver the right message to their customers at just the right time. So could MRP politics work...

...for Youtube? There's a real good chance it could find out by visiting mrpfdcom or click the link in the episode description of this interview. All right, let's get back to the show, right. Yeah, so kind of looking at okay, these are the budgeting dollars. This is where the line is. So I need to be a realistic about this is where the line is and this is what's going to fall below the line, and I need to be okay with that, because going deeper on these high impact buying personas that could mean more lifetime value to the company or better than going, you know, an inch deep and a mile wide. Right exactly. And we did a very specific campaign that involved a series of high quality videos and then a very sort of high and actual printed peace, believe it or not, a book, and we ran a few tie that to one of our the big event that we do, and ran kind of a three month campaign around it, very targeted at a one persona, and the results were actually quite amazing, awesome, awesome. Well, the next thing I know you wanted to touch on was this idea that, you know, creativity stands out. So you're talking about, you know, the production value of the pieces that you create for the highest value buyer personas within your address ball market. But I love this idea. You know, it doesn't cost more to be creative. So tell us a little bit about, you know, maybe some examples of where you guys have used your creativity as a wedge to get, you know, more reach out of your marketing efforts when you don't have, you know, a ton of dollars to put into the marketing budget. At the same time. Yeah, and I think it came down to picking a different approach to what you're going to show visually. So in that be to be software world, you know, you get a lot of screen shots and, you know, sort of similar product diagrams and a lot of it, you know, contend to look the same, and so what we did was focused on the the end customer experience. So we had some part of what our customers...

...deployed. There's a front end mobile application side to it, and so we invested in making that front and Customer Experience Look Amazing and then lad with that customer experience versus with, you know, kind of the user experience, which is very different than want a lot of software companies to and so it was an investment. Is, you know, it's still an investment, but again it was the investment in the design and the screens and the user experience and then focusing on telling the journey from that perspective versus telling the story from the ITIC user perspective. And it it again, it just stood out compared to what everybody else is doing. I love that. The next thing you were talking about, Jennifer, is, you know, telling deeper customer stories and making sure that you're touching on, you know, the high impact measurements within those. This is this is an area where I think, you know, marketing really have to stand their ground and work with the sales teams and the executive management to make sure you build in referenceability into contracts right and it's something you can negotiate around, it's something that you know you can put a value on, and so it's important to be bringing that into the sales process early so that when you customer does deploy successfully, you've already kind of set expectations around the kind of stories you're going to want to tell about their use of your product or solution. And so by getting by getting the agreement early with the customers, you then have more access to get to real numbers around one of the things that we look at is net promoter score. So how did their, you know, our customers, how did their end customer satisfaction increase once they implemented our product? You know, we talk about that at throughout the sales process and so they know that once they're live, that's cut the...

...data that there. We're going to want them to share with us so that we can share that and tell that story around exactly what did they do that helped increase their customers net promoter score. So it's building in an early and setting the expectations around a kind of Kpis you want to track and then working with some on the back end. Yeah, I think that's such good advice because obviously, you know, as you mentioned, in marketing it's our job to to tell the stories, but those are so much more impactful when we can get to to the details and I know from you know, ten years of being in bb sales marketing sometimes can tell high level stories of well, you know, this percentage or that and kind of some some vague generalities. But I know you know from a sales perspective when I have very specific stories that tell very specific social proof to new prospects that come from another story of someone in the same role in the same market, that's much, much more powerful and it's much easier to get those when you set the stage early with those clients that there's an expectation that you're going to be asking those questions and getting buy in, as opposed to after the sale kind of trying to pry those out of them right right. Exactly awesome well, the last thing I know you wanted to touch on, sounds like you had some experience here, is, you know, when you're the David in the market and you're starting to see some success against the Goliaths, one thing you need to be ready for because your competitors that are larger going to have more resources. They may start copying what you're doing. What do you do then? Tell us a little bit about your experiences in that regard. Well, you definitely have to plot, of course. You know you can't. You can't kind of come up with a campaign or a position in a vacuum. You have to have plotted your course of what not as what are your next three moves? What are your next for move? So you know, early on we came to market pitching that the what had traditionally been two separate products in every single Teleco...

I see architecture in the world. We came to market and basically said that's the wrong approach. That should be a single, unified product. So you know, we kind of came out with a different perspective. You know, spent a year pushing that into the market and explaining why, and then immediately had competitors follow suit and you know, basically agree with with that proposition, but we knew where we wanted to go next, right, so we knew that our next move was to say, okay, you know, the next iteration of our product is going to be no longer, you know, advanced filling, it's going to be digital commerce. And here is how commerce is different than billing. So we had mapped, of course, out on what what the vision was and how we were going to start laying out that out to the market so that, you know, you got to stay at least two moves ahead, right, right, right, yep, thinking about it more more like a chess match and long drip right. Think you're yeah, everything you need to think about as if it's a drip campaign. HMM, yeah, we're along road trip with the kids. You know me personally. I know you've got to think about, okay, not just what's the first thirty minutes look like, but where is the next spot that we can stop on on the road trip and making sure that when you hit that spot of when you need to stop, there's a spot there. I think there's an analogy to be had that any of the parents listening to this can that can take from that so I digress a little bit, though. Awesome. Well, Jennifer, I really appreciated this conversation. I think you've got some really great takeaways for our audience to be thinking about when they're trying to compete with competitors much larger and with deeper pockets than they have. If anybody listening to this would like to ask you some follow up questions, follow you online or just stay connected in some way, what's the best way for them to go about doing that? Well, they can connect with me either on twitter on...

...that at Jennifer Kyria Aka. That's my twitter handle, or I'm up the on Linkedin and my last name is Kyri Aka Ki A. Awesome will make sure to put a link to your linkedin profile in the show notes make it easy for folks as well. Thanks by us the great talking to you. Awesome. Really appreciate it. Thanks for coming on the show, Jennifer. Becoming a thought leader doesn't just happen. If you want to build a strong personal brand and extend your reach online and offline, you need a plan. Want help developing yours. CHECK OUT IMPACT Summit. This one day event is bringing together best selling authors, professional athletes, influential CEOS and emerging entrepreneurs, all for one purpose, to equip you to lead, influence and inspire. Whether you're looking to build a lasting legacy with your business or extend the reach of your brand. Impact Summit speakers will share inspiring stories and practical lessons to help you on your way. Did we mention a session on launching and growing a podcast? You guessed it. You'll hear from sweet fish media's own James carberry during that session. You won't want to miss all of these influencers and leaders coming together in Salt Lake City on October thirteen. Ready to learn more? Check out influencer INC DOT Co. Impact summit be to be growth. Listeners can get fifteen percent off the price of their tickets for this event by using the Promo Code Sweet Fish. Sweet Fish, so use that code, get your tickets today and get ready to grow your brand and your influence at impact summit. Two Thousand and Eighteen.

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