Eliminating Distractions as a Marketing Team with Rex Biberston

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Benji box sits down with Rex Biberston, VP of Revenue here at Sweet Fish Media. We discuss how to best capture ideas, prioritize effectively, and communicate the goals of our department, company-wide.

Connect with Rex:

rex.biberston@sweetfishmedia.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rexbiberston/

Connect with Benji:

benji.block@sweetfishmedia.com

www.linkedin.com/in/benji-block

Mhm Welcome back to be, to be growth. I'myour host Benji block today. We're so excited to be joined by rex Roberston.He is not new. Right to the, to the sweet fish community to BBB growth.He's been here before, but there is a new development. He is now the VP ofrevenue here at sweet fish. So rex, welcome back to be to be growth andwelcome into the sweet fish kind of community here. Yeah, no excited to bea part of the community part of the show. Again, I was co host man backbefore I think episode 1000 and we're in the two thousands now, so, pleasureto be joining you, Benji. Maybe we need to dust off some really, really anxiousrecordings for you. Right, Love it. Well, we're gonna jump into what Ithink is gonna be a fascinating conversation today. One that is timelyand important. We're going to talk about eliminating distractions as amarketing team and in the current landscape, I mean Phil talk about alandmine of potential distractions. Right? So rex, how did you kind offirst come to realize like, man, this is something we need to tackle. And uhwhen did this kind of become important to you? Yeah, I will say thatdistractions professionally are rampant in every department, but perhapsnowhere more so than in marketing. And so in some of my early marketing roles,being asked to do things that couldn't be tied back to any logic. We couldn'texplain why were we doing these things And then additionally, just alwayshaving this kind of open one side of your, one side of your face this ear isalways open and listening for new ideas from people who had various levels ofqualification to be throwing ideas and then those being acted on as if theywere like the gospel truth, Okay, somebody said we ought to do this, sowe ought to do this and now we gotta drop everything we're doing and startover. And I remember the level of exhaustion and frustration thatmarketers would feel in these scenarios...

...and it's like it just burns you out Andthat's the opposite of why we got into marketing. We got a market to doamazing things to share stories and communicate with people in a way thatmakes them magnetized. They want to come to you, they want to be excitedabout what you're doing and when we're just creating to create, when we'regetting distracted by all kinds of new ideas, we can never really go as farwith what we want to build and the level of quality that we want to forour audience. Yeah. For you specifically, when did you notice likeman, you ever have a time where it's like I am so distracted right nowbecause there's a million things we could do, right? There's always amillion things we could do in marketing give me an experience maybe for you oryou felt like, wow, I am distracted right now. Yeah, I'll tell you as thehead of sales and marketing at my second startup, right? I was a cofounder and in my partner, my co founder was always throwing new ideasinto slack and because he was the ceo, everyone thought that he meant doexactly what I say, because I said it and all he wanted to do was drop ideas.He wasn't trying to burn anybody out. But I mean, you couldn't even imaginethe number of times somebody dropped the project to start a project he cameup with and that was exactly the opposite of intention. He just wantedto give us good ideas for future use. And so we just burned out super fast onall these new ideas and we wasted a bunch of cycles on them. So for me thatwas the real moment of okay, how do we push back against this problem? Notthis person because he wasn't the problem, it was that we didn't have agood mechanism for determining what is the valuable work we're doing and whatopen space mentally and time wise do we have for new ideas because you kind ofalways have to stay open to new ideas. And I think that's why it's hardest inmarketing is if you're not looking at the market, if you're not listeningactively, you're gonna miss them opportunity, right? Not the club housesof the world, are you going to miss the flash in the pan, but like you're gonnamiss a major channel or a major market opportunity, you should be grasping atquickly. So you kinda have to keep your ear to the ground. But that for me wasthe moment that I realized, okay, we're...

...gonna kill ourselves over this problembecause this guy is not gonna stop giving great ideas or you know, a mixof mediocre and great ideas, but we can't drop everything every time he hasa thought and having that. I mean, you want that person on the team, You wantthe person that's constantly dripping ideas and you don't want to limit themcompletely to be like, okay, we got to just stop, We don't want this anymore.Right? So finding that balance is critical and so what have you found tokind of be that better way? What started to be like, okay, we could trythis and maybe you found some some secret there. Yeah. So there'sdefinitely a couple of secrets that I've been slowly uncovering like anarchaeologist. Like there's, there's something deeper than what I'veunderstood so far that I'll continue to develop. But one of the big things forme was determining what was the value of marketing and each of the companiesI've worked at where is the highest order of value that we can provide tothe company. So my last company we had, we had a very specific hierarchy ofneeds. And so we would, we would lay out that hey, the very best thing wecan do is help a customer buy more from us ideally if a new project comes alongand we're working on all this great stuff. If something comes along, we'regonna help a customer by more. That is inherently more valuable than trying toget strangers to care about something new. We're saying in a platform wherewe're barely making a dent. So we had this hierarchy and it went from helpingcurrent customers buy more down to helping acquire ideal new customersdown to helping us acquire, you know, good new customers down to convertingan audience into actual leads and then all the way down to the bottom, whichis trying to get strangers to pay attention to us and a lot of peoplethink that the value of marketing is getting strangers to pay attention tous. Some companies, if you have a specific role of like if your demandgen or if you have a very specific function absolutely all day and night,that's what you eat, sleep and breathe. But for us is like a small marketingcrew. We really couldn't look at it...

...that way. So we had to say, okay, ifsomebody comes along and they want to buy more, but they are not enabled withthe resources and materials or events that they need to support that action.We're gonna give them probably 20% of our time. Yeah, right. And we mightprioritize if there's an ongoing need will re prioritize next quarter, butwe're gonna keep those quarterly goals. We're gonna focus on this. We used okay,ours. You would focus on quarterly goals and would leave open that 20% offlex time really, it's almost like a hierarchy of needs. I mean, okay. Or itends up defining like what's most important to us, right? And then theseideas kind of get filtered through this, this is what's most important and thisis what's most needed. Yeah. What were some of the results that you started tosee as you went from this like and almost flying by the seat of my pants.Like, here's all these different ideas. Let's try each one to okay, no, we'regoing to actually start to prioritize. I will tell you everyone's happierregardless of the marketing outcomes, which were really, really, reallyimportant. The business outcomes are critical. Everyone on the team washappier everywhere that we've deployed that that methodology of like actualprioritization and then having somewhere to put good ideas, which isthe other thing that we didn't touch on is missing that you need to havesomewhere to put good ideas and come back to. But everyone has been happierand we're able to live the mantra that I've always believed but hasn't alwaysbeen the case, which is, there are no emergencies in marketing. We're not aheart transplant surgeon. We don't do that stuff. We're just trying to getpeople to pay attention and to buy stuff from us and it should be muchless of a hair on fire running around like a crazy person because that's justnot the function that we serve in the world. And that's good. We should knowwhat function we serve and so everybody is more calm. We're able to accomplishthose big goals because we're not also taking into consideration every othersingle idea. We have a place to put them when we set our goals again werevisit them. And if something really comes up that's massively critical tohelp move the needle, we know how to prioritize how we can say great, it'sgoing to move the needle on, getting...

...more strangers to pay attention to usbut that's not going to be something we do this quarter and just having thatmuscle of saying not now but thank you is critical for marketing leadership.Hey everybody Logan with sweet fish here. If you're a regular listener ofGDP growth, you know that I'm one of the co hosts of the show but you maynot know that I also head up the sales team here at sweet fish. So for thoseof you in sales or sales ops I wanted to take a second to share somethingthat's made us insanely more efficient lately. Our team has been using lead I.Q. For the past few months. And what used to take us four hours gatheringcontact data now takes us only one where 75% more efficient. We're able tomove faster with outbound prospecting and organizing our campaigns is so mucheasier than before. I'd highly suggest you guys check out lead I. Q. As well.You can check them out at lead I Q dot com. That's L E A D I Q dot com.Alright, let's get back to the show. Okay. So I think people would easilybuy into the premise of this episode, right? Because everyone's bombarded,everyone's got, you know, someone on their team that's coming up with ideasand you're going, OK, I understand what you're saying, rex, I understand thewhy behind what you're saying, but honestly where I wanted to get moregranular and where I really want to lock us in over the next few minutes ison how, what you just kind of started to transition us into that spacebecause how we execute this is really all that matters. So where did youstart to keep track of these ideas? Let's start there. So it happens in acouple of ways. So one we had an ongoing projects board. Right? So weused monday dot com here. Sweet fish. We use Asana. Love both products. It'snot about the product about the process. So having a place where you can putthem and then some sort of like section that you can drop them down to for like,hey this is our backlog and then hey, this is on the table for next quarterand then hey, this is this quarter.

It's kind of moving those things up asyou determine their value. And then literally telling people thank you somuch for that idea. I just put it on our monday or asana project. We'lldefinitely take a look at this the next time we review these ideas, I gotta askyou a follow up, how varied were these ideas? Oh, all over the map, All overthe map. But I think there are certain ideas that are gonna come up reallyoften. So let's say we're going to launch a new website for sweet fishmedia dot com. Right? We're going to say this is, we're starting fromscratch. There's gonna be a whole bunch of new ideas on this website. First ofall, we're going to develop that without a ton of all of the team memberinput and all the customer input because we don't wanna have to exposeeveryone to the project on an ongoing basis. But once we launch, we want torespect that. There are people who know more than us about certain aspects ofhow the website should run. They might know more about what our customers need.Our customers might have some feedback about, hey, I don't know where to getthis information. So our customer success team is gonna be gatheringgreat data. So we're going to have instead of just a general project board,we're gonna have one specific board that is for the website. So we'll sayall right, we're gonna take all of your ideas about the website and put them ona one specific place where we are evaluating the success of the websiteand continue to evaluate new ideas for how the website functions. That'sprobably the most popular place to run into new ideas. It's like, hey, what ifwe had a page for this? Another one is sources of materials like, hey, what ifwe had a pdf that talked about that and then getting really clear on, Okay, dowe really need that? What function does that serve? How scalable is that? Isthat something that everyone needs or just one person? But putting them allin there, there's all kinds of ideas. But I do split it out if there's reallycommon stuff that comes up a lot, it gets its own place to live. What aboutrecurring times to sort of generate some of these ideas like when were you?Because we might be running through a process and we have this, you know,I've even slapped you in the last month of us working together and like I gotthis idea, I'm gonna slack rex right now. That's different than like anideation process where we're going, we...

...want to think of new things. Right. Sowhen were you kind of having time to talk about this stuff. Yeah. So we hada couple of mechanisms and my last company, I actually learned this fromsomeone else from the Head of marketing, a company called Alice, she talkedabout these concepts called inspo sesh. So my marketing team without me thereas the leader to kind of distract or maybe do too much. Like over handedguidance, they would host these meetings where they would come up witha problem they were trying to solve for like, hey, how do we get moreattendance at our events or how do we get more people to to accept our offersor how do we get more X? Right. And they would just go off on thesebrainstorm sessions for a full hour and nothing was wrong. It was kind of yesand classic improv approach? And they would come up with all these fantasticideas. So we did have a monthly mechanism for that, that was recurring,right? And it was hosted by a different person every time she had three teammembers, each one got to rotate who was hosting. So no one person dominated theconversation too much. But then we also have those one off, like any idea isjust going to go on the board and then on our weekly marketing meeting, wewould revisit and say, okay, is there anything critical here? No. And then inquarterly planning, we go back to all those ideas and say, okay, what's theinspiration here, what are the themes that we're noticing? What are wemissing? And we'd pull up that board and look at those things. I love that. Because having thosemechanisms in your calendar to revisit ideas is so important. You can uncoveran idea in a second but then not have the proper kind of like runway right tomake an idea actually work. And so having time to really think was thispros and cons of this idea. And if we execute well on it, what's the R. O. I.Such an important part to deciding what to actually do and put your time into?Okay, so tips and tools for how to do this, right? I mean, you mentioned it'snot about the actual like monday dot com vs. Sonic conversation. But arethere some other things that we should be thinking through that could behelpful. Yeah. Part of the process that we haven't touched on that I think isreally essential is communicating the...

...value order to everyone else in thecompany. So a big part of what I do is I share with the company. Hey,marketing is working on X. And here's what we think of the value of Y and Z.And A and B. And here's the order that they fall in. So if you're gonna comeup with ideas focus mostly on X. Because that's the most valuable thingfor us, right? So we give them that order of value so that they know why wesaid no to something at the very bottom of the totem pole. Yeah. You know what,That's a great idea. We'll put that on the list and no, we're not going toaction that right now. And they don't feel bad. It's not like they don'tthink I'm a valuable member of the team. It's more like, okay, well that's not acritical priority for them at this moment. So you've got to educate, youhave to reiterate that at least every quarter. That's just a valuable note tobe sharing with the entire company. So when you have an all hands are like aquarterly review, share it with the team and then certainly celebratingwhen someone else's idea comes up and marketing is a success or even if it'sa failure, if we executed against it and we can share that somebody elsebrought us that idea, It's really powerful. But from a, like a tips ormaybe the tools that I would use, certainly some sort of form orsubmission process that's formalized. Like, hey, if you have an idea formarketing, drop it in the general slack or the marketing slack or throw it inthis form right here for marketing ideas and then it all flows into oneplace and there's someone responsible for capturing that. That's the otherthing. I think teams mrs like, hey, what was that idea that the CFO put inslack like six months ago, you guys remember that and it's not anywherebecause it lives in this place. That's, it's like a news feed? It's justconstantly spinning. So somebody being responsible for taking those out,someone has to go all the way back through slack. Find that one messagefrom six months ago. Yeah. So on an ongoing basis have somebody who knows,okay, if a new idea pops up in the marketing channel in slack, I've got toput that over in a sauna. I love the idea of prioritizing at it like an allhands. Just communicate. Sometimes we know what's going on in our silo. Iwould say often we know what's going on in our silo and we don't know what'sgoing on in others and we don't communicate what we would like fromother people, which often is ideas...

...right? Because that they have freshperspective that we can gain from and no experiment is totally a failurebecause we're learning from all of this stuff and so sharing that at a meetinglike that is vital and really important. Anything else you would say as we kindof start to, to wrap this conversation up rex Yeah, it's definitely abehavioral issue that comes from the top down. Also say like if you model asa, as a marketing or revenue leader, if you model bad behavior here, if you'resetting everyone else's hair on fire all the time, you're the problem. So Ihave to be really good at not setting someone else's hair on fire and saying,hey Benji had this crazy idea for me to be growth show, why don't we go do X.Like how quickly do you think you can pull that off? It's more like, okay, Ihave an idea, I'm gonna bring it up in my one on one with him and we'llprobably throw that onto our board for consideration at the revenue teammeeting next week and accepting that if it's, if it's not something that'sgoing to move the needle on that top priority of value, that's okay, let'stalk about it when it's an appropriate time. So modeling that behavior as aleader is critical and just reemphasizing, I do love using thephrase, there's no such thing as an emergency and marketing. Yeah, we just,we don't have emergencies. People aren't bleeding out on the floor inmarketing, it doesn't happen. I love that too. You've said it several timesoffline and then in this episode and people can really take that and runwith it. And also if everything is urgent when it's coming from the topdown then nothing is, and we will easily know right as a company, oh,that's just the way they're wired is to communicate, everything is urgent. Andso once in a while an idea comes along, we go, man, we want to do this rightnow, we need to implement and then it makes that experience more fun. Peopleare more bought in because this doesn't happen every day. And so having in mindwhere we have these conversations is vital. I'm taking a lot away from thisconversation with you rex wrote down several things. Always have awhiteboard, always have my mark already. And uh, I'm thinking about having anongoing project board in a section to...

...drop things into maybe to talk aboutlater. I'm thinking about having an inspo sesh, right, I love that idea.Just a monthly recurring meeting where we're throwing out ideas and then we'reprioritizing those. And then also it's just prioritized communication and inall hands, sort of meeting and and in that space as a marketing team going,hey, here's what we're focused on here is what we are prioritizing over thenext quarter, over the next however many weeks and we would love your ideasand and having a way to filter those. Having someone that's responsible forthose, That's kind of the key takeaways. This that's very practical. What we cando this week, this month, things we can actually apply that will make ourmarketing better rex. Thanks so much for taking time to be with us on B2Bgrowth today. How can people connect with you further? Yeah, I love linkedin.That's a place where I spend the most time on social say it's actually theonly channel I use on social for now. So linkedin dot com. I'm rex by Burstonlast name is real tricky. B I B E R S T O N and otherwise Sweet Fish media dotcom. I'm gonna be all up in that website. Love it. Yeah. And connectwith me as well. Benji block on, linked in. We would love to have conversationswith you guys about marketing, business life. Always ready to connect, Hey,stay in touch with us. You can subscribe to be to be growth whereveryou're listening to this episode and we'll catch you again soon. Keep you inwork that matters. Mhm. At Sweet Fish, we're on a mission tocreate the most helpful content on the internet for every job function andindustry on the planet for the B two B marketing industry. This show is howwe're executing on that mission. If you know a marketing leader that would bean awesome guest for this podcast. Shoot me a text message. Don't call mebecause I don't answer unknown numbers but text me at 4074 and I know 33 to 8.Just shoot me their name may be a link to their linkedin profile and I'd loveto check them out to see if we can get them on the show. Thanks a lot.

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