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'm your 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 of revenue here at sweet fish. So rex, welcome back to be to be growth and welcome into the sweet fish kind of community here. Yeah, no excited to be a part of the community part of the show. Again, I was co host man back before I think episode 1000 and we're in the two thousands now, so, pleasure to be joining you, Benji. Maybe we need to dust off some really, really anxious recordings for you. Right, Love it. Well, we're gonna jump into what I think is gonna be a fascinating conversation today. One that is timely and important. We're going to talk about eliminating distractions as a marketing team and in the current landscape, I mean Phil talk about a landmine of potential distractions. Right? So rex, how did you kind of first come to realize like, man, this is something we need to tackle. And uh when did this kind of become important to you? Yeah, I will say that distractions professionally are rampant in every department, but perhaps nowhere 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't explain why were we doing these things And then additionally, just always having this kind of open one side of your, one side of your face this ear is always open and listening for new ideas from people who had various levels of qualification to be throwing ideas and then those being acted on as if they were like the gospel truth, Okay, somebody said we ought to do this, so we ought to do this and now we gotta drop everything we're doing and start over. And I remember the level of exhaustion and frustration that marketers would feel in these scenarios...

...and it's like it just burns you out And that's the opposite of why we got into marketing. We got a market to do amazing things to share stories and communicate with people in a way that makes them magnetized. They want to come to you, they want to be excited about what you're doing and when we're just creating to create, when we're getting distracted by all kinds of new ideas, we can never really go as far with what we want to build and the level of quality that we want to for our audience. Yeah. For you specifically, when did you notice like man, you ever have a time where it's like I am so distracted right now because there's a million things we could do, right? There's always a million things we could do in marketing give me an experience maybe for you or you felt like, wow, I am distracted right now. Yeah, I'll tell you as the head of sales and marketing at my second startup, right? I was a co founder and in my partner, my co founder was always throwing new ideas into slack and because he was the ceo, everyone thought that he meant do exactly 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 imagine the number of times somebody dropped the project to start a project he came up with and that was exactly the opposite of intention. He just wanted to give us good ideas for future use. And so we just burned out super fast on all these new ideas and we wasted a bunch of cycles on them. So for me that was the real moment of okay, how do we push back against this problem? Not this person because he wasn't the problem, it was that we didn't have a good mechanism for determining what is the valuable work we're doing and what open space mentally and time wise do we have for new ideas because you kind of always have to stay open to new ideas. And I think that's why it's hardest in marketing is if you're not looking at the market, if you're not listening actively, you're gonna miss them opportunity, right? Not the club houses of the world, are you going to miss the flash in the pan, but like you're gonna miss a major channel or a major market opportunity, you should be grasping at quickly. So you kinda have to keep your ear to the ground. But that for me was the moment that I realized, okay, we're...

...gonna kill ourselves over this problem because this guy is not gonna stop giving great ideas or you know, a mix of mediocre and great ideas, but we can't drop everything every time he has a thought and having that. I mean, you want that person on the team, You want the person that's constantly dripping ideas and you don't want to limit them completely 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 to kind of be that better way? What started to be like, okay, we could try this and maybe you found some some secret there. Yeah. So there's definitely a couple of secrets that I've been slowly uncovering like an archaeologist. Like there's, there's something deeper than what I've understood so far that I'll continue to develop. But one of the big things for me was determining what was the value of marketing and each of the companies I've worked at where is the highest order of value that we can provide to the company. So my last company we had, we had a very specific hierarchy of needs. And so we would, we would lay out that hey, the very best thing we can do is help a customer buy more from us ideally if a new project comes along and we're working on all this great stuff. If something comes along, we're gonna help a customer by more. That is inherently more valuable than trying to get strangers to care about something new. We're saying in a platform where we're barely making a dent. So we had this hierarchy and it went from helping current customers buy more down to helping acquire ideal new customers down to helping us acquire, you know, good new customers down to converting an audience into actual leads and then all the way down to the bottom, which is trying to get strangers to pay attention to us and a lot of people think that the value of marketing is getting strangers to pay attention to us. Some companies, if you have a specific role of like if your demand gen 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 marketing crew. We really couldn't look at it...

...that way. So we had to say, okay, if somebody comes along and they want to buy more, but they are not enabled with the 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 might prioritize if there's an ongoing need will re prioritize next quarter, but we'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% of flex time really, it's almost like a hierarchy of needs. I mean, okay. Or it ends up defining like what's most important to us, right? And then these ideas kind of get filtered through this, this is what's most important and this is what's most needed. Yeah. What were some of the results that you started to see 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're going to actually start to prioritize. I will tell you everyone's happier regardless of the marketing outcomes, which were really, really, really important. The business outcomes are critical. Everyone on the team was happier everywhere that we've deployed that that methodology of like actual prioritization and then having somewhere to put good ideas, which is the other thing that we didn't touch on is missing that you need to have somewhere to put good ideas and come back to. But everyone has been happier and we're able to live the mantra that I've always believed but hasn't always been the case, which is, there are no emergencies in marketing. We're not a heart transplant surgeon. We don't do that stuff. We're just trying to get people to pay attention and to buy stuff from us and it should be much less of a hair on fire running around like a crazy person because that's just not the function that we serve in the world. And that's good. We should know what function we serve and so everybody is more calm. We're able to accomplish those big goals because we're not also taking into consideration every other single idea. We have a place to put them when we set our goals again we revisit them. And if something really comes up that's massively critical to help move the needle, we know how to prioritize how we can say great, it's going to move the needle on, getting...

...more strangers to pay attention to us but that's not going to be something we do this quarter and just having that muscle 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 of GDP growth, you know that I'm one of the co hosts of the show but you may not know that I also head up the sales team here at sweet fish. So for those of you in sales or sales ops I wanted to take a second to share something that'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 gathering contact data now takes us only one where 75% more efficient. We're able to move faster with outbound prospecting and organizing our campaigns is so much easier 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 easily buy 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 ideas and you're going, OK, I understand what you're saying, rex, I understand the why behind what you're saying, but honestly where I wanted to get more granular and where I really want to lock us in over the next few minutes is on how, what you just kind of started to transition us into that space because how we execute this is really all that matters. So where did you start to keep track of these ideas? Let's start there. So it happens in a couple of ways. So one we had an ongoing projects board. Right? So we used monday dot com here. Sweet fish. We use Asana. Love both products. It's not about the product about the process. So having a place where you can put them 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 quarter and then hey, this is this quarter.

It's kind of moving those things up as you determine their value. And then literally telling people thank you so much for that idea. I just put it on our monday or asana project. We'll definitely take a look at this the next time we review these ideas, I gotta ask you a follow up, how varied were these ideas? Oh, all over the map, All over the map. But I think there are certain ideas that are gonna come up really often. So let's say we're going to launch a new website for sweet fish media dot com. Right? We're going to say this is, we're starting from scratch. There's gonna be a whole bunch of new ideas on this website. First of all, we're going to develop that without a ton of all of the team member input and all the customer input because we don't wanna have to expose everyone to the project on an ongoing basis. But once we launch, we want to respect that. There are people who know more than us about certain aspects of how 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 get this information. So our customer success team is gonna be gathering great 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 say all right, we're gonna take all of your ideas about the website and put them on a one specific place where we are evaluating the success of the website and continue to evaluate new ideas for how the website functions. That's probably the most popular place to run into new ideas. It's like, hey, what if we had a page for this? Another one is sources of materials like, hey, what if we had a pdf that talked about that and then getting really clear on, Okay, do we really need that? What function does that serve? How scalable is that? Is that something that everyone needs or just one person? But putting them all in there, there's all kinds of ideas. But I do split it out if there's really common stuff that comes up a lot, it gets its own place to live. What about recurring 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 got this idea, I'm gonna slack rex right now. That's different than like an ideation process where we're going, we...

...want to think of new things. Right. So when were you kind of having time to talk about this stuff. Yeah. So we had a couple of mechanisms and my last company, I actually learned this from someone else from the Head of marketing, a company called Alice, she talked about these concepts called inspo sesh. So my marketing team without me there as the leader to kind of distract or maybe do too much. Like over handed guidance, they would host these meetings where they would come up with a problem they were trying to solve for like, hey, how do we get more attendance at our events or how do we get more people to to accept our offers or how do we get more X? Right. And they would just go off on these brainstorm sessions for a full hour and nothing was wrong. It was kind of yes and classic improv approach? And they would come up with all these fantastic ideas. 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 team members, each one got to rotate who was hosting. So no one person dominated the conversation too much. But then we also have those one off, like any idea is just going to go on the board and then on our weekly marketing meeting, we would revisit and say, okay, is there anything critical here? No. And then in quarterly planning, we go back to all those ideas and say, okay, what's the inspiration here, what are the themes that we're noticing? What are we missing? And we'd pull up that board and look at those things. I love that. Because having those mechanisms in your calendar to revisit ideas is so important. You can uncover an idea in a second but then not have the proper kind of like runway right to make an idea actually work. And so having time to really think was this pros 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's not about the actual like monday dot com vs. Sonic conversation. But are there some other things that we should be thinking through that could be helpful. Yeah. Part of the process that we haven't touched on that I think is really essential is communicating the...

...value order to everyone else in the company. 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 come up with ideas focus mostly on X. Because that's the most valuable thing for us, right? So we give them that order of value so that they know why we said 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 to action that right now. And they don't feel bad. It's not like they don't think I'm a valuable member of the team. It's more like, okay, well that's not a critical priority for them at this moment. So you've got to educate, you have to reiterate that at least every quarter. That's just a valuable note to be sharing with the entire company. So when you have an all hands are like a quarterly review, share it with the team and then certainly celebrating when someone else's idea comes up and marketing is a success or even if it's a failure, if we executed against it and we can share that somebody else brought us that idea, It's really powerful. But from a, like a tips or maybe the tools that I would use, certainly some sort of form or submission process that's formalized. Like, hey, if you have an idea for marketing, drop it in the general slack or the marketing slack or throw it in this form right here for marketing ideas and then it all flows into one place and there's someone responsible for capturing that. That's the other thing. I think teams mrs like, hey, what was that idea that the CFO put in slack like six months ago, you guys remember that and it's not anywhere because it lives in this place. That's, it's like a news feed? It's just constantly spinning. So somebody being responsible for taking those out, someone has to go all the way back through slack. Find that one message from 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 to put that over in a sauna. I love the idea of prioritizing at it like an all hands. Just communicate. Sometimes we know what's going on in our silo. I would say often we know what's going on in our silo and we don't know what's going on in others and we don't communicate what we would like from other people, which often is ideas...

...right? Because that they have fresh perspective that we can gain from and no experiment is totally a failure because we're learning from all of this stuff and so sharing that at a meeting like that is vital and really important. Anything else you would say as we kind of start to, to wrap this conversation up rex Yeah, it's definitely a behavioral issue that comes from the top down. Also say like if you model as a, as a marketing or revenue leader, if you model bad behavior here, if you're setting everyone else's hair on fire all the time, you're the problem. So I have 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, I have an idea, I'm gonna bring it up in my one on one with him and we'll probably throw that onto our board for consideration at the revenue team meeting next week and accepting that if it's, if it's not something that's going to move the needle on that top priority of value, that's okay, let's talk about it when it's an appropriate time. So modeling that behavior as a leader is critical and just reemphasizing, I do love using the phrase, 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 in marketing, it doesn't happen. I love that too. You've said it several times offline and then in this episode and people can really take that and run with it. And also if everything is urgent when it's coming from the top down 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. And so once in a while an idea comes along, we go, man, we want to do this right now, we need to implement and then it makes that experience more fun. People are more bought in because this doesn't happen every day. And so having in mind where we have these conversations is vital. I'm taking a lot away from this conversation with you rex wrote down several things. Always have a whiteboard, always have my mark already. And uh, I'm thinking about having an ongoing project board in a section to...

...drop things into maybe to talk about later. 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're prioritizing those. And then also it's just prioritized communication and in all 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 the next quarter, over the next however many weeks and we would love your ideas and and having a way to filter those. Having someone that's responsible for those, That's kind of the key takeaways. This that's very practical. What we can do this week, this month, things we can actually apply that will make our marketing better rex. Thanks so much for taking time to be with us on B2B growth 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 the only channel I use on social for now. So linkedin dot com. I'm rex by Burston last name is real tricky. B I B E R S T O N and otherwise Sweet Fish media dot com. I'm gonna be all up in that website. Love it. Yeah. And connect with me as well. Benji block on, linked in. We would love to have conversations with you guys about marketing, business life. Always ready to connect, Hey, stay in touch with us. You can subscribe to be to be growth wherever you're listening to this episode and we'll catch you again soon. Keep you in work that matters. Mhm. At Sweet Fish, we're on a mission to create the most helpful content on the internet for every job function and industry on the planet for the B two B marketing industry. This show is how we're executing on that mission. If you know a marketing leader that would be an awesome guest for this podcast. Shoot me a text message. Don't call me because 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 love to check them out to see if we can get them on the show. Thanks a lot.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1708)